The short film that's turned a young boy's cancer struggle into a fantasy battle

A couple from Norfolk have made a short film during the pandemic based on the true story of a young boy with leukemia.

Rachel and Richard Prendergast were due to start filming 'Maximus' last April, but restrictions meant it was pushed back.

Covid-19 struck at the heart of the film industry, shutting down production on big blockbusters and closing cinemas.

There were 120 people on set, nestled into the grounds of Thetford Forest. Credit: ITV Anglia

Production on 'Maximus' started on 5th July, just a day after the lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The cast and crew had to follow strict measures to keep everyone safe, which meant filming was slower, more expensive, and more complicated.

This was one of the first UK productions of its size to get back on set under the new Covid restrictions. Credit: Submotion Productions

'Maximus' is based on the true story Max Rowlandson from Saffron Walden who has cancer.

The film is told uniquely through the eyes of his seven-year-old sister, India, where Max becomes a courageous warrior in a fantasy world - fighting beasts and fighting to survive.

Max is now cancer free and said he 'cried' when he watched the film.

Real-life India and Max Rowlandson

The filming took nine days and was done at Thetford Forest and West Suffolk college.

The production team not only worked with film students from the college, but also the make up department, performing arts, art department and music department of the college. 

Hana Al-Aride was one of the storyboard artists and also the clapper loader on set. "I did not think I would get onto a film set this early, just the experience of being on a set already and being part of such a big film is amazing", she said. An online premier for 'Maximus' will be held on April 28 and hosted by Bird Box Films.