An actor from Bolton has starred in a short film which made the BAFTA longlist.

Haylie Jones, 26 from Smithills, plays a starring role in WanderLand – a short film by Manchester-based filmmaker Nicole Pott.

The film has been so well received on the festival circuit – including featuring as an official selection at Bolton International Film Festival 2022 which is associated with BAFTA – that it featured on the list of the 10 films to be considered for an award in the ‘British Short Film’ category.

Unfortunately, however, as the longlist was cut to the final five, the film missed out on the shortlist.

READ MORE: Productions shown at Bolton Film Festival in the running to win BAFTAs

Despite this, featuring that far along in the process is still a sizeable feather in Haylie’s cap.

She said: “We didn’t expect anything so even to get that far was just amazing, to be honest.

“It’s really good for all of us. For our careers. It’s amazing.”

WanderLand follows a young girl, Alice – played by “a little amazing actress called Hollie Hajbok” who was just seven-year-old at the time - in her attempts to navigate the sea front on the search of her missing alcoholic mother, Tracey, over the course of a night.

The Bolton News: WanderLandWanderLand (Image: Haylie Jones)

In a somewhat bleak story, playing Tracy was challenging for Haylie, who also works with children as principal of the drama and singing school Little Voices Blackburn, Darwen, and Ribble Valley.

She said: “It’s basically showing child neglect and what impact that has on Alice. Her mum drags her to the sea front every night after school while she goes off with guys. She gets pissed and Alice has to sit there and watch her.

“She’s awful. She’s just horrendous. It’s a really dark story.

“Because I work with children, I did find it really hard.”

Haylie says that she has learned more working with Hollie than she has in all her previous acting experience.

The Bolton News: Hollie playing Alice in WanderLandHollie playing Alice in WanderLand (Image: Haylie Jones)

She added: “A lot of actors do say that working with children is probably the hardest job you’ll ever do because you don’t know what you’re going to get.

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“And the job was such a difficult one anyway because of the content of the piece and the emotions they’ve both go to go through – she’s horrible to her daughter and that’s the complete opposite to me.

“It was really difficult at first and we had a lot of time talking with Nicole and I spoke to Hollie myself as well.

“I just thought it was important for me to get to know Hollie really well because even thought she’d done a bit of acting work before, it’s still a new job for her and new people and every time we’d go to do a scene we’d have discussions and say, ‘you know this is not Haylie. This isn’t me, this is someone else’, just so that it wouldn’t emotionally scar her.

The Bolton News: Hollie and Haylie starring in WanderLandHollie and Haylie starring in WanderLand (Image: Haylie Jones)

“Nobody can prepare you for that, really. It was a really eye-opening experience, but Hollie is an absolute professional. She was seven years old, and you’d think she’d been acting for 50 years.”

READ MORE: Bolton actress to bring her childhood to the screen

WanderLand appeared at a number of other film festivals last year, including Kerry International Film Festival where it won ‘Best international Short’.

The film has recently been released on and is also on YouTube.

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