Edinburgh International Film Festival premiere for Tom Ray’s story

A scene from the film featuring Tom and daughter Grace
A scene from the film featuring Tom and daughter Grace

An independent British film which is based on the real-life story of Rutland couple Tom and Nic Ray will receive its world premiere later this month at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Starfish tells the story of Tom and Nicola Ray, whose lives changed beyond recognition when, in 1999, aged 38-years-old Tom contracted septicaemia.

Tom Ray and wife Nicola Ray at Oakham. Tom had Pneumococchal septicaemia EMN-151124-160305009

Tom Ray and wife Nicola Ray at Oakham. Tom had Pneumococchal septicaemia EMN-151124-160305009

He ended up having to have both legs and arms amputated and part of his face removed.

Starfish is directed by the couple’s close friend Bill Clark, who lives in Seaton, and was inspired by their story.

It stars Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey fame and Tom Riley, who has previously starred in Da Vinci’s Demons, as the couple.

As part of the Edinburgh Film Festival, which runs from June 15 to 26, Starfish will join 11 films in competition for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film and Best Performance in a British Feature Film.

Parts of the film were filmed in Rutland, where the couple still live.

Eyebrook Reservoir will double up as Rutland Water while Hambleton, where the couple were living when the illness struck, also features.

The couple, who have two children, were closely involved with the film and the screenplay is based on interviews with them and on Tom’s diaries.

They were also consulted during production and in an interview with the Mercury during production, Tom said he “felt confident that they will do a good job”.

The film is described by producers as a “powerfully honest portrayal of the emotional depths that a family can reach when confronted with the unimaginable”.

Starfish will be distributed by Genesius Pictures through its distribution company.