A FILM director from Poole has released an award winning action/comedy short film which he hopes will “challenge” gender stereotypes and thrill audiences.

Stephen Ashwell’s self-funded film Wedlock tells the story of a best man late for a wedding in which he is the ring bearer. The film features high production action sequences including a car chase, as well as comedic moments set in a church.

Stephen said: “Action and humour, that’s me. For as long as I can remember I have been infatuated with the action film genre, and particularly car chase sequences. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Poole director Stephen Ashwell on the set of his short film WedlockPoole director Stephen Ashwell on the set of his short film Wedlock

“The Bourne trilogy, along with the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond films and the BMW film series The Hire are hugely influential to me as a filmmaker. I have spent my life pursuing a career as a director with one overarching goal in mind – to be a part of the film world that celebrates motion, energy, adrenalin, tension, and cars.

“There are number of people close to me who struggle with anxiety and depression, and I have seen first-hand the positive impacts that good comedy films have on these people’s mental health. 

“These two passions of mine have come together in my debut short film Wedlock.” 

The film has won Best Drama Short and was nominated for Best Sound at the International Motor Film Awards, described by Stephen as the “Oscars for cars”. 

He added: “Wedlock has also given me the opportunity to play with gender stereotypes. It is no secret that the action genre is dominated by great male leads which, as I have already mentioned, has led to the creation of some fantastic films and car content. 

“However, I was keen to switch this up in Wedlock and, despite having a male driver in much of the film, the real velocity of the chase comes into play when our female driver is introduced. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Still image from the short film WedlockStill image from the short film Wedlock

“My gesture in this area is only a humble one, but I hope to see these stereotypes challenged more so in the coming years.” 

The car action sequences were shot on location in Bedfordshire and featured no CGI or green screen effects.

Stephen said: “It has been no small challenge to pull off both a car chase and a wedding, and I am hugely grateful to the vast number of incredibly talented people who have brought my vision for the film to life. 

“Thank you to all the cast, crew, extras, and equipment suppliers who have made this film possible.”