Dave Reynolds: An Appreciation

(Article by John Morrish – Film Cheltenham)

I was sad to hear of the death of Dave Reynolds. Dave was a good friend to film in Cheltenham, and took the brave and unusual step of producing his own movies: Louisa: an Amazing Adventure and Falkland Square, both of which were premiered at the Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester in May this year.

Louisa is an hour-long animated feature. It tells the true story of the Louisa, a lifeboat in Lynmouth, North Devon. In 1899, with her volunteer crew, she rescued the 15-strong crew of a ship called the Forrest Hall off the coast of Porlock. Dave heard the story in 2007 on a visit to Porlock Literary Festival, and having decided it would make a good film, he set about the long process of making it happen. In 2014, he saw a documentary about the disaster, produced by actor Russell Meyers. He commissioned a writer, Adrian Tyson, to create a script for an animated feature. He later teamed up with producer/director Stephen Cookson and the production companies CK Films, Red Rock Entertainment and Lipsync. Celia Imrie did the voice-over. The film has been well received around the world and has won a number of prizes. It s available to watch on Amazon Prime or to buy on DVD. The music was composed by Toby Dunham. This site has lots more on both the boat and the film.

His second film, Falkland Square, was co-produced with Lexicon Film Productions. It is a feature about a veteran soldier of the Falkland War with PTSD, who is living on the streets of Portsmouth. It stars Russell Meyers, who co-produced, and was filmed in Bridgnorth, Portsmouth, & London UK in 2019. Distribution is being sought.

Dave’s wife, Maralyn (Maz), has helped me put together a few words about his life.

David Reynolds was born in Queensbury in North London. During school holidays, and almost every Saturday, he spent many happy hours watching films in various London cinemas; made easier as his best friend’s dad was a station master and gave the lads free train tickets. This started his lifelong interest in films and filming.

His first job was situated opposite the back lot of Elstree film studios, where he watched the filming of Summer Holiday, The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare. He was an extra in Champions and The Whistleblower and, in 2017 finally achieved his long term goal of setting up his own film company.

In his earlier career, he was a traffic engineer, working in local government for 33 years. He started in Outer London, then moved to Devon County Council and to Cheltenham in 1979. He instigated the Park and Ride scheme at the Racecourse and was mainly responsible for what he called ‘signs and lines’ and sorting out one way systems and temporary road closures/ diversions.

His great enthusiasms were photography and film-making, but also steam trains, skittles, cricket, food and conviviality. According to Sarah Bamford of Up Hatherley Parish Council, where both Dave and Maz were councillors for many years, ‘He was behind the camera at every big occasion in Up Hatherley, recording the ordinary and the special occasions. He made a video of the Safeway Marathon and Fun Day that was held in 1989, back in the days before Sunday trading when the car park could be given over to a community event.

‘Film-making followed, notably Waters End, a short film that included Lord Nigel Jones playing the part of a chauffeur and in the following years many film projects were launched by Dave and Maralyn. In typical style, the company was first called ‘Flat Broke films’ later changing to ‘Great British Entertainment’.

‘Dave had a great sense of humour: for example, as a nod to the mortgage they took on when they moved to Up Hatherley, the house was named ‘Millstone’!’

Dave and Maz set up and ran the Brian Jones fan Club for 11 years. In 2007, he took John Harris of the Guardian to see Brian’s grave in Cheltenham Crematorium. In true Guardian tradition, the article describes him as a semi-retired chauffeur, which he was not.

Maz told me a little more about their life together.

‘We met in Exeter, where I was on stage and Dave was in the bar. (Nothing changed there!) We were engaged after four weeks and married six weeks later.

‘That premiere [of his own films, at the Sherborne in May] was the last social event Dave was able to attend, and I am so grateful that it happened. Dave had stage four cancer, which did not respond to treatment, and he died peacefully at home. We were married for 49 years and I miss him so much.’

David Stanley Robert Reynolds. Born London 18/10/1943. Died Cheltenham 23/9/2022.