Feature: Starfish

Starfish is the true and incredibly moving story of Tom and Nicola Ray (Tom Riley, Joanne Froggatt), whose love is tested to the limit when their perfect life falls apart.

When Tom puts his small daughter to bed one chilly December evening, he has everything he could ever want – the house of his dreams, the life of a writer, a beautiful wife and a second baby on the way. By the next morning all of this is in jeopardy as Tom succumbs to the devastating illness that is sepsis.

As Tom and Nic battle to hold their family and their marriage together, the strength of their relationship is the only thing that can save them.

FROM WRITER AND DIRECTOR BILL CLARK

For the first part of his career Bill conceived and created images and campaigns in print, photography, live events and film for a wide range of globally renowned brands and artistes including British Airways, Kate Bush, Bandai, Vision Express, PolyGram / Universal, Cacharel, Lagerfeld, Fendi, Slade, The Pink Floyd, BMW, Audi, Warners and EMI. In 1998 he optioned the award winning US children’s book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey which he adapted into a screenplay and then developed and directed the film version, starring Oscar™ nominees Tom Berenger and Saoirse Ronan and Golden Globe winner Joely Richardson. The film was released in 2007 and won the Best Film award at that year’s Salt Lake City Film Festival. Starfish is his second feature film.

Tom Ray never put himself at risk – never did extreme sports or fought in a war – never even watched Jackass without wincing. Yet Tom woke one morning to find himself in a nightmare of biblical proportions, with a body so damaged and a future so bleak, so dark and so unfair that only supreme courage and self-belief would save him and his family from disaster.

I first met Nic during the 1990s, when we were both working out of offices at a film studio near Leicester. I knew her as a talented and creative producer and director, confident in her talent with the world at her disposal. I moved on but mutual friends kept me in touch with her story – how Tom had moved up from London to be with her, the birth of their daughter Grace, their marriage, their golden life.

Then in 2003 I heard the terrible news of Tom’s illness and invasive surgery, the birth of Freddy and how Nicola had had to give up her work to run house and family. There are no safety nets for people who work in our business, so a fund had been formed and money raised to try and improve their lives. Like everybody from that original Leicester film community, my wife and I spread the word. A friend offered to organise a fundraising dinner for them and we escorted Nic to it. That night, the drawn, worn ghost of the girl I knew from the studio days gave a speech that broke the hearts of everyone in the room – the template for our film’s reconstruction many years later.

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