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Friday, 19 September 2014

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The sharp end of a caravan holiday in Keswick

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most glamorous events on earth.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum is... a lovely place for a day out.

But the Keswick-based museum has just been an unlikely star of this year’s Cannes festival.

It appears in Sightseers, the new film by acclaimed British director Ben Wheatley.

Wheatley broke through last year with his horror film Kill List. At first glance Sightseers is a more gentle affair. It’s the tale of a couple who set out on a caravan holiday across the UK.

Their travels take them to Cumbria, and the Cumberland Pencil Museum. How nice.

Kind of – because the male half of the couple is a serial killer.

“The film has got a lot of murder in it,” says Wheatley. “But it’s also a film that shows the kind of England that we never get to see in films. I’m very sympathetic to all that stuff. We’re not taking a snide view of it. You have to love that stuff in order for the film to work.”

The pencil museum’s marketing manager Alex Farthing was on duty when Sightseers filmed there one day last autumn.

“We allowed them to film while visitors were in,” she says. “They filmed the actors in every part of the museum, sitting in the video room and having lunch.

“Everybody had to be quiet when they called ‘Action’. It was great for the visitors. They got a good insight into what goes into making a film.”

Alex is reluctant to give too much away – but was anyone stabbed to death with the museum’s giant pencil?

“No, they were not.”

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