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Film crew head to hills for Bigfoot shoot

The countryside around Wye became the isolated wilds of the northern United States as a film-maker made a movie about a mythical creature.

Phil Mearns filmed much of his self-financed – and rather tongue in cheek – indie feature film The Shadow of Bigfoot on the Downs around his home village.

Bigfoot is a creature based on North American folklore that’s said to live in the forests of the Pacific north-west.

Actors Ben Shockley and Keith Eyles go in search of Bigfoot
Actors Ben Shockley and Keith Eyles go in search of Bigfoot

And Phil, a life-long fanatic of the mysterious creature, which is also known as Sasquatch, didn’t want the fact that he couldn’t film in North Carolina to put him off making his film.

He said: “I asked Folkestone actor Ben Shockley to play the lead and he helped me find the rest of the cast.”

That includes Keith Eyles, Hugo Myatt (Treguard in cult tv show Knightmare), and James Payton (Frank Longbottom in Harry Potter).

The low-budget film shows Mr Shockley, 52, on his journey to hunt down the creature.

He said: “I play an obsessed hunter who goes out into the wilderness with two colleagues to track down, shoot, and bring back a Sasquatch as proof of their existence.”

The film took three weeks to film in the Wye Downs and on Bartholomew Street in Hythe, and is soon to be released on Amazon Prime, with the actors hoping to organise a future screening in Folkestone.

Big Foot or Sasquatch... myth or monster?
Big Foot or Sasquatch... myth or monster?

Mr Shockley also appears in the comedy film The Blazing Cannons with Shaun Williamson (Barry in EastEnders), which is due to be released this summer.

Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid figure, but scientists discount its existence, saying it’s a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a living animal, due to the lack of physical evidence and the large numbers of such creatures that would be necessary to maintain a breeding population.

Many sightings are attributed to various other animals, particularly black bears.

Mr Shockley said: “The problem with most Bigfoot movies is that they usually end up showing the creature, which is usually a bit of a let-down no matter what the budget.

“In this film we just show glimpses of it. Hence the title. This is more of a character-driven piece.”

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