Harrogate man turns Testament of Youth into movie hit

Testament of Youth movie director James Kent on location with his leading actress Alicia Vikander.
Testament of Youth movie director James Kent on location with his leading actress Alicia Vikander.
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By Graham Chalmers

The son of a former mayor of Harrogate is the man behind current hit movie Testament of Youth.

Based on Vera Brittain’s poignant memoir about love and loss in the First World War, this moving new British movie has been directed by James Kent.

The son of late Rodney Kent, a liberal councillor and former Mayor of Harrogate, James was picked for the film by producer David Heyman, one of the team behind the Harry Potter series.

Best known for TV dramas such as ITV’s five-parter Marchlands and Margaret, the story of the political downfall of Margaret Thatcher, Testament of Youth is James’s first movie on the big screen.

James told an interviewer he was delighted to get the chance to helm such a high-profile project which stars youngsters Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington and veterans Dominic West and Miranda Richardson,

Talking to City A.M. website, he said: “The film happened because my view of the world mirrored what the producers wanted.

“It was difficult to convince some people because £7m is a big budget for a debut director. But in the end the BBC, Lionsgate and the BFI listened to the producers.

“Fortunately, the producer of the film shared my view of the world and she felt I’d be the right director for the project.”

Part funded by Screen Yorkshire, the BBC and the British Film Institute, much of the movie was shot in Yorkshire.