Film inspired by Walden boy at Cannes Film Festival

Max Rowlandson on the set of the film Maximus

Max Rowlandson on the set of the film Maximus - Credit: Rowlandson family

A fantasy film based on a Saffron Walden boy’s battle with cancer will be shown at Cannes Film Festival this summer.

And an online premiere organised by SubMotion Productions will separately take place on Wednesday, April 28 and is open to all. Ticket proceeds will be donated to Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust.

The film poster for the film Maximus by SubMotion Productions

The film poster for the film Maximus by SubMotion Productions - Credit: SubMotion Productions

Max Rowlandson was the inspiration behind the short film, Maximus. His younger sister, India, tells the story of Maximus, a brave warrior fighting monsters with the help of a powerful wizard.

The Rowlandson family can be spotted in the film. Max and India are in the background of a hospital scene and their parents, Jodie and Danny, can be spotted from afar.

Max, now 13, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2010 at the age of two.

He underwent treatment at Addenbrooke's Hospital and will celebrate his seventh year in remission this summer.

Max's mum, Jodie Rowlandson, said: "The doctors and the nurses are the real wizards of this world.

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“They are the magic; they are the ones that are saving the children.

"So many people over the last year have realised how amazing the NHS is. But we've been there quite a while and so they've always been heroes to us.”

One character in the film is based on Dr Michael Gattens, Max’s consultant at Addenbrooke's.

Jodie added: "It's just nice to be able to say, ‘thank you’, especially to the team that saved Max and helped put him back on his feet."

Ben Pryke, family friend of the Rowlandson’s and course director of Media Production at West Suffolk College, had the idea to make a film about Max’s battle with cancer.

He approached SubMotion Productions to bring it to life. Director and co-founder Richard Prendergast wrote the script.

Richard said: “What I really did not want to do is tell a miserable story.

"I wanted it to have a central theme of hope, championing the great work that doctors all around the world do."

The idea came from testimonials written by Jodie and her husband, Danny.

“There was one sentence in the testimonial that said, ‘I’ll never know how to thank this man enough, in my opinion, he's God’,” said Richard, referring to Max’s consultant.

“I imagined that this little girl, India, would have overheard all of these conversations and built up her own story in her head, combined with snippets of films she has watched.”

Maximus is the story of a child trying to make sense of cancer with odes to fantasy classics such as Gladiator and Harry Potter.

Jodie said it’s not just Max’s story, nor is it just the Rowlandson’s, but any child that is going through this battle and having this fight.

The film was made in July 2020, despite difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Tickets for the online premiere are £4.99 and can be bought from https://birdbox.film/Maximus/

The Rowlandson family on Sheringham beach

The Rowlandson family on Sheringham beach - Credit: Rowlandson family

The Rowlandson family on Snowdon

The Rowlandson family on Snowdon - Credit: Rowlandson family

The Rowlandson family from Saffron Walden taking part in the EACH Colour Dash

The Rowlandson family from Saffron Walden taking part in the EACH Colour Dash - Credit: Rowlandson family