A filmmaker’s comedic story of a man who gets more than he bargained for on his first gay hook-up will be screened later this month.

26-year-old Stuart Armstrong, from Lazonby but based in Carlisle, made the short film Lay-by as a ‘proof of concept’ piece to attract further funding for a longer-form endeavour.

He began his career studying BA Film Practice at the University of the Arts in London, graduating in 2018.

Off the back of his Lakes-set Beatles comedy ‘Paul is Dead’, he then had his short film ‘The Leerie’ funded by the BFI in 2020.

He and Leerie collaborator Joseph Daly, who directed the piece, then accessed the BFI's early development fund in 2022 for their queer Victorian feature film ‘The Navvies’, which Mr Armstrong is currently working on as co-writer.

“I’m currently interested in telling stories about flawed, unconventional LGBTQ+ characters, especially in our largely rural, sparsely populated Cumbrian setting - an environment which one can’t necessarily blame for not readily celebrating queerness.

Stuart Armstrong headshotStuart Armstrong headshot (Image: Supplied)

“As such, I’m currently finding myself telling stories about closeted, middle-aged blokes who never could explore their sexuality and end up cheating on their wives; finding dark humour in their experiences along the way, so ‘Lay-by’ was a way to explore those ideas and themes though a narrative which is hopefully compelling and funny, whilst also being relatively inexpensive and short,” Mr Armstrong said of the film.

Still from 'Lay-by', by Stuart ArmstrongGeorge Usher in 'Lay-by', by Stuart Armstrong (Image: Supplied)

He describes his approach as having a goal of creating familiar worlds and characters who don’t ‘realise how darkly tragic and funny they are’.

“Maintaining pathos is also really important to me though - I want my films to feel grounded and genuine, even in moments where the comedy gets a little absurd,” he added.

The story and film are both short but intensely rich in emotion and off-kilter humour, as one of the only ways to describe its plot is that of a middle-aged man hoping to get lucky with a hunk in a lay-by that goes awry when he enters the wrong car.

The film will premiere on August 2 in Kendal’s Brewery Arts, during which his film will be shown alongside others that were filmed in Cumbria.

On what’s happening next, Mr Armstrong said he’s waiting to hear back about funding for his follow-up short ‘Meat Raffle’ which explores similar themes to ‘Lay-by’.

He concluded: “And as a co-writer, I’m developing various feature film projects, whilst also beginning to work on my feature film ideas because it's never too early to have an elevator pitch or two in your back pocket!”

To get a ticket for the film screening, click here. https://www.breweryarts.co.uk/event/fells-in-frame-a-cumbrian-short-film-showcase-filmmaker-qa/