The spectacular landscapes of Uig, on the Isle of Lewis, will provide the backdrop for a modern-day “tale of surfing, sex and hellfire”.
Silent Roar will focus on the escapades of two Hebridean school-leavers who form a unlikely friendship and a “maverick preacher” who has recently returned to their island.
Skye-based producer Chris Young developed the film in lockdown with writer-director Johnny Barrington, secured the backing of BBC Film, the British Film Institute and the Scottish Government agency Screen Scotland for a six-week shoot.
The film will be made entirely on location in the Uig area with a 60-strong cast and crew, who are expected to work with a local boat trip company, Seatrek, to film scenes off-shore.
Newcomers Louis McCartney and Ella Lily Hyland, who play teenagers Dondo and Sas, will star opposite Mark Lockyer, who plays preacher Paddy, in Silent Roar.
Skye-born Barrington’s story, which sees surfing enthusiast Louis struggle to accept the loss of his father Charlie in a fishing accident, was partly inspired by the death of his own father from a heart attack four years ago.
He said: “I’ve really been working on the film since not long after my father passed away.
“I was surfing one day and started thinking about the amazing release that it can give you and how it can help you to stop thinking about anything else.
“I got thinking about a character who is a surfer who has lost his father at sea. I was stimulated by a lot of childhood memories, as my father was a minister and also ran a boat yard on Skye.”
Young and Barrington worked together previously on the latter’s short film Tumult, about a tribe of Norse warriors traipsing across barren after battle with their chief close to death, which was nominated for a BAFTA in 2013.
Young said: “I saw Johnny the Christmas before Covid, when he said he had been working on a new script. As soon as he showed it to me I knew immediately that we were onto something.
“We worked on the script during lockdown and signed up with the BBC to develop it in January. I can’t believe how quick it’s been to get to this stage.
“I just love stories about adolescence, I loved the combination of surfing, sex and hellfire, but there was also a lot of depth in it. It is tackling big questions about faith and looking at whether what you see is what you believe or whether what you believe is what you see. I also knew that we could shoot it in Lewis.
“The landscapes in Uig are just exceptional, with the combination of the beaches, the mountains, the remoteness and the sea.
"I’ve become very friendly with Murray Macleod, who runs Seatrek, and we’ve got a fantastic line producer who lives in the area. We're very connected with the local community. It’s going to be a low budget film, but it will be very much of the place.”
Young, who also produced the feature film Festival, which was set at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, said Silent Road would celebrate the "joy and pain of adolescence.”
Barrington said: "The relationship between the two main characters has been great fun to write and the actors we’ve found for them are just phenomenal.
“Dondo and Sas haven’t been life-long friends, but are both finishing school together and develop an unlikely bond as Dondo deals with his grief in a very unconventional and personal way, to help keep his mind occupied.
“They end up getting into trouble and going through a lot of different things which help them understand what path they want to take in their lives.
“Paddy is quite a mysterious character who has been off the island for some time. He gets his hand on an old run-down church and wants to turn it into a church of his own making.”
Edinburgh-born Young said: "It will be a bit controversial. We will be a bit provocative about religion and questions of faith. But anything dealing with adolescence is provocative.
“I’m so bored with the kind of cosy, pastoral English views of Scottish landscapes. It won’t be that. It’ll be a bit wild and it’ll be fun.”
Barrington added: "The story has definitely got the passing of my father at its core, but there’s an immense amount of other influences in there.
"Growing up in a religious community, I got to see lots of different sides of it and a lot of funny stories come from that part of my life.
“I’m really interested in faith and belief, and what makes people have those things and other people not have them. I guess the film is about the funny moments that fall down the gaps.”