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Director upset as ToryBoy film screening cancelled.

Byline: Sarah Dale Reporter

A DIRECTOR is "disappointed" that a planned screening of his political lm ToryBoy the Movie at Teesside University will not go ahead.

John Walsh, who stood as a candidate for the Conservative Party, in the 2010 general election, lmed ToryBoy during his campaign trail of a Londoner trying to gain a seat in Middlesbrough.

His lm caused a stir when he confronted the late Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell - whom he unsuccessfully stood against - over his refusal to hold ward surgeries in his constituency - a move defended by Sir Stuart as the result of a personal attack.

e screening of the 90-minute lm was scheduled to be shown by the university's Students' Union on Sunday, April 26. e Students' Union has denied that a date or venue had been con-rmed, although a screen shot appears to show a poster advertising the event.

But "in the 11th hour" when lmmaker John, 45, was due to make travel arrangements, he was told the lm would not be screened.

"I think it's a shame really," said John. "It's a unique opportunity for students to hold me to account. Students are really bad at voting."

ToryBoy e Movie follows John, a life-long Labour supporter who became disillusioned with the party and switched sides to run for the Tories.

After the Londoner was selected as the party's candidate in Middlesbrough, he sets about taking on the Labour veteran, who died in 2012.

e lm was screened in Middlesbrough's Cineworld in 2011 and has been shown across the world and is due to be on television later in the year.

"e university asked me, I didn't approach them," he said.

"Someone from the uni was going to referee the questions at the end, so it was going to be non-partisan. at had all been agreed.

"What surprised me is that they have said it breaches the external speakers' guidance compliance notes because it's near the election, but they already knew that and I had wanted to hold it in March, and it's being shown in other schools and colleges in April."

He said the lm is "not a party political broadcast for the Conservatives". "e Tories don't come out very well in it either. It was originally going to be a 10-minute lm but it turns into a big expose of Stuart Bell."

John added: "My lm work has often provoked heated discussion and challenged perceptions, but this is the rst time that I can actually say that I have had one of my lms "banned" so an entry of note at least for the Wikipedia page."

" Will Ridley, president of Teesside University Students' Union, said: e Students' Union has been talking to Mr Walsh about a possible screening of his lm with a Q and A afterwards, but no date or venue was formally conrmed.

"e Students' Union ultimately decided that to hold it so close to a General Election might be a threat to our political neutrality and could be deemed an attempted intervention in how students eventually voted."


John Walsh and a screengrab of the John Walsh and a screengrab of the |film's 'promo'

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 6, 2015
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