Former Matravers School pupil Jonnie Hurn will see his hard work finally pay off when his debut feature film is screened at nine major cinemas around the UK as part of the Indie Films showcase on February 7.

Do Elephants Pray? is a semi-autobiographical film based on events in October 2005, when Mr Hurn’s now wife Stéphanie lured him into the forest of Brocéliande in Brittany, France at midnight.

The filmmaker, who lived in Bratton with his parents before moving to London when he was 20 to study at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, wrote, produced and played the lead role in the film.

After getting lost in post-production for two years, the film eventually premiered at a film festival in Los Angeles, before going on to win eight awards at various film festivals around the world.

Mr Hurn, 41, who now lives in France with his wife and four-year-old daughter Rosalie, said: “It’s fantastic that the film will now be screened in cinemas around the UK as it has been a huge labour of love.

“It is based largely on real events and most of the conversations the lead characters have in the film are ones that me and Stéphanie had in the forest of Brocéliande.

“I practically bankrupted myself to make the film. I was living in France mopping floors in a hotel when the film premiered in Los Angeles.

“The lead actress, Julie Dray, did go to that festival and won an award, the first of eight such awards for the film at various festivals around the world.”

The film tells the story of frustrated advertising executive Callum (Jonnie Hurn), whose life descends into poetic chaos when he meets the free-spirited French seductress Malika (Julie Dray).

It is directed by Paul Harris, known for his award-winning 1996 film Boston Kickout, and also stars Marc Warren, who has appeared in TV series such as Band of Brothers, Hustle and Life on Mars.

Do Elephants Pray? will be shown as part of Showcase Indie, which takes place at Showcase cinemas around the country every Thursday at 7.30pm.

It will be shown at Show-case cinemas in Nottingham, Peterborough, Reading, Teesside, Leeds, Bluewater, Derby, Leicester and the Cinema de Lux Bristol; and at The Westway in Frome once they get their new digital projector.