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We all scream! Jersey soap star scoops directorial debut with mental health film

We all scream! Jersey soap star scoops directorial debut with mental health film

Wednesday 21 February 2024

We all scream! Jersey soap star scoops directorial debut with mental health film

Wednesday 21 February 2024


A Jersey-born performer is making his directorial debut with a short film exploring men's mental health and self-discovery inspired by his lockdown experience of working in an ice cream van and recovering from the pressure of a shock exit from The X Factor.

Actor, dancer and singer Jonny Labey (31), who is best known for his role as Paul Coker in the popular TV soap EastEnders, will shoot and produce his first short film ‘We All Scream’ on-island in collaboration with local filmmakers and ArtHouse Jersey.

The film, which is set to be completed by the end of the year, aims to convey the message that joy can be found in the simplest of things.

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Pictured: The former Grouville and Victoria College student has written his first short film based on his experience of returning to the island and working on an ice cream truck during lockdown. (Sam Mackay)

It was inspired by Jonny's experience working in a local ice cream van during lockdown, which taught him the importance of slowing down and taking care of his mental health.

Jonny said: "It's a simple concept. It's a beautiful message. It's a nice, happy film."

The 31-year-old explained that the film reflects a "particularly dark moment" of his life that followed a build-up of pressures after his early exit from a celebrity edition of The X Factor competition in 2019.

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Pictured: The actor inside an ice cream truck as part of a trailer produced by ArtHouse Jersey at a filmmaking workshop.

Returning to Jersey, the former Grouville and Victoria College student found solace in working at an ice cream shop at La Pulante – an experience he described as a "saving grace."

"I was going through a particularly rough time with my mental health, and Jersey, as always, has been a real saving grace."

"I returned to roots and community, and that experience saved me hilariously in an ice cream van."

The film explores themes of toxic masculinity and emotional projection – drawing parallels to the actor's journey of navigating external pressures and self-discovery.

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Pictured: Jonny wants to foster a thriving film industry in Jersey. (Seb Houis)

"The story is called 'We all Scream', obviously because of ice cream, but also it's about listening to the right voices and surrounding yourself with people that understand you," Jonny explained.

He has also launched a fundraiser to support the production costs and hire a Jersey-based crew for the film – and is on the lookout to gain sponsorship from local businesses. 

ArtHouse Jersey, which provides financial assistance to local artists to create new work, had kind words to say about the Jersey-born actor. 

The Director of the charity, Tom Dingle, said: "Jonny has an indisputable talent for engaging audiences as a performing artist and we have every reason to be confident in his ability to make 'We All Scream' a success.

"Investing in artists who are truly committed to their craft while striving to develop their skills and the quality of their art to deliver to audiences is at the heart of what it means to develop and nurture a successful arts ecosystem for the island.

"We encourage local creatives working in all mediums who are looking to take their work to the next level to consider applying for an ArtHouse Jersey Development Grant this year."

GET INVOLVED...

Anyone wishing to support the film is encouraged to attend an event on 23 March at South Pier Harbour.

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Pictured: A poster for the upcoming promotional event. (Benjamin Martin)

Feature live local music by Von Cassidy – and, importantly, free ice cream – it will provide an opportunity for local businesses and investors to learn more about the project.

Islanders can also sign up to be 'extras' or 'supporting actors' in the film by attending the event and emailing ninebyfiveproductions@gmail.com

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