Award-winning short Big Mouth inspires new feature, which is part of Hothouse scheme.

UK writer/director Henry Darke was at the Les Arcs European Film Festival pitching his debut feature, Crooked Hill.

The Cornwall-set feature is inspired by his latest short, Big Mouth, which is a coming-of-age story about a deaf boy.

“It’s about a guy trying to keep his dysfunctional family together, even though his father is a heroin addict,” Darke notes. “It’s social realist but also quite cinematic.”

He plans to shoot the feature a budget of less than £500,000 in Cornish towns Camborne, Newquay and Padstow. (The director was born in Cornwall but now lives in London). That short played at the 2010 BFI London Film Festival and won a special mention at Encounters.

Crooked Hill is part of the LFS Hothouse development atelier and is now at the third draft stage, and nearly ready to send out to potential financiers. Lisa Williams, who works with Kevin Loader’s Free Range Films, will produce.

Darke also has another feature script in development with The Bureau’s Save Our Scripts initiative and producers Camille Gatin & Dan McCulloch. Road trip comedy Where The Bulls Run is about two brothers taking a bike trip in the Basque Country on route to the running of the bulls in Pamplona. “Their sibling rivalry is made worse when they meet a Basque girl,” he adds.

And he also has another project in development with Big Mouth producer Philip Herd, which will star Adeel Akhtar (who recently starred in Darke’s Hooked for Channel 4’s Coming Up strand). That London-set story is also about two brothers, one who has been scared to leave home and the other who is — on the surface at least — living the high life in Shoreditch.

He is repped by Tally Garner at Curtis Brown.