Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) stars in Award-Winning Rally Short Film | Group B

Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Bodyguard) stars in a high-octane drama set in the golden era of rally racing. Known for its incredibly dangerous off-road races, notorious for lack of crowd control, and some of the most powerful and sophisticated cars the world has ever seen, driver Shane Hunter is facing a comeback to Group B competition after a long and troubled absence.

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Group B
Directed by Nick Rowland
A National Film and Television School Production

“Having debuted his BAFTA-nominated short SLAP on S/W back in 2014, NFTS graduate Nick Rowland returns to the site with “Group B”, a tense and gripping 25-minute film which immerses its audience in the dangerous world of competitive rally driving. Starring Richard Madden (best known for his role as ‘Robb Stark’ in HBO series Game Of Thrones) and Michael Smiley, Rowland draws from personal experience to create a truly visceral and cinematic exploration of grief, survivors guilt, and what it takes to move on. “Group B” is much more than a tribute to the golden era of rallying, it’s a deeply human story about an individual who has to face his demons.

“You don’t need to care about cars or have knowledge of engines to connect with this story”, Rowland explains as we discuss the inspiration behind his film, and he’s right! Despite some truly impressive driving scenes, Group B isn’t really a film about racing. The adrenaline-inducing moments come from a much scarier aspect of the motorsport: waiting at the starting line. For Madden’s character, Shane Hunter, participating in another race could spell disaster for both him and his new co-driver (Smiley) if he can’t get in the right headspace, and it’s in this situation that Rowland’s filmmaking truly shines.

A film with very little dialogue, especially from the story’s protagonist, Group B manages to capture an intense inner turmoil as Shane decides to return to rallying after an accident left his previous co-driver dead. With the exchanges between characters always skirting around the issue, the film forces you to read between the lines and realize the true gravity of the situation. Driven by a potent performance by Madden, Group B is a tense rollercoaster of a film which amplifies the audience’s anxiety as you dread the thought of another accident.

When it came to capturing the sport on camera, Rowland drew from his own experience so that the viewer could see and feel what his character was experiencing behind the wheel. “I used to compete as a rally driver before I turned to filmmaking”, explains Rowland. “Rally driving is a sport that I love, and I was excited at the idea of introducing people to it through the film, but the story is not really about motorsport or driving. It’s a universal story about guilt, grief, and allowing yourself to move on from tragedy and regret”.

Group B was a Royal Television Society Award Winner in 2016 and picked up nominations for a Student Academy Award and the AFI Fest Grand Jury Prize. Since leaving the NFTS, Rowland has directed several TV shows and directed his debut feature “Calm with Horses”. The film, which premiered at TIFF and screened at the 2019 edition of the BFI London Film Festival, was picked up for distribution and is now available to buy or rent on YouTube (in America it was released under the new title “The Shadow of Violence”). The filmmaker is currently developing a crime drama feature that takes place within the same world of competitive rally driving as Group B – we can’t wait to see it!” – S/W Curator, Chelsea Lupkin

Shane Hunter Richard Madden
Martin Kelly Michael Smiley
Sullivan Dominic Wolf
Richard Matthew Jure
James Stephen Bent
Marcus Andrei Alén
Psychologist Alexandre Campbell
Young Marshall Walter Sweetman Jr.
Senior Marshall Ian Clare
Physiotherapist Wayne Peters

Director & Co-writer Nick Rowland
Co-writer Joe Murtagh
Producer Alexandra Breede
Cinematographer Sverre Sørdal
Production Designer Laura Mickiewicz
Editor Paco Sweetman
Sound Designer Matis Rei
Composer Terence James Dunn
Sound Recordist Nik Stojkov
Colourist & Online Editor Sara Buxton
VFX Supervisor Filipe Guerrero
Production Manager Tom While
Stunt Driver David Higgins
MG 6R4 Engineer Dave Boucher

Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.


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