HOLLYWOOD has been beckoning for a Dudley mum and her nine-year-old son who have starred in a series of short films despite having no formal acting training.

Rita and Reece Jagpal-Mohan first starred in Wheel Gone Kid – an award-winning film about a computer-game obsessed youngster.

The film, made in 2021, was written and produced by Keith Long, who met the pair by chance before the coronavirus pandemic, and they have since gone on to appear in his other projects including a follow-up flick that was recently screened at a film festival in Los Angeles, California.

‘Wheel Gone Kid 3 1/2 Plane Stupid’ was nominated for Best Comedy at the Skiptown Playhouse International Film Festival in LA although it missed out on winning.

Dudley News: Rita and Reece Jagpal-Mohan at Skiptown Playhouse International Film Festival in LARita and Reece Jagpal-Mohan at Skiptown Playhouse International Film Festival in LA (Image: Keith Long)

Another film featuring nine-year-old Reece, who is a pupil at Tividale Hall Primary School, however, called ‘Twin Leaps’ saw Keith pick up an award for best short film producer after beating off competition from more than 150 short flicks.

A third short film entitled ‘Tuna and Ted’ - starring Rita in the lead role - was also screened at the same festival in Hollywood in November.

Single mum Rita said of the experience: “It was amazing. It’s been a lovely journey. We didn’t expect it.

“Me and Reece are just grateful someone’s given us the opportunity to shine.”

The 47-year-old, who runs Lemuria Retreat hair salon in Birmingham city centre, told how she met Keith when he popped into the salon by chance while his flight was delayed pre-Covid and they went on to become friends.

Keith, from Loughborough, said he got Rita and Reece involved with his film projects after he discovered Reece’s “fantastic memory for remembering lines” while he was helping him with home schooling during the Covid lockdowns.

The first film, which was shot locally, was about a young boy addicted to computer games and the latest project sees the pair fleeing together on a plane from a failed magician ‘Houdini Love’.

The next instalment will be filmed in 2024.

Keith said: “We will be using some phone footage from Rita and Reece’s trip to Hollywood and we hope to film at least one scene in a special place in the West Midlands.”

Rita, who had no professional acting background, is now looking forward to the next film outings. Having previously done comedies, a forthcoming project, in which she has the lead role, delves into darker matters. Entitled Silent Treatment, the film is about mental abuse and Rita said: “It’s going to touch a lot of people. I’m really looking forward to this movie.”

She added that she’s been hugely proud of what she and Reece have achieved together and said: “We’re not millionaires, we’re just a normal average family, trying to survive like everyone else...and trying to bring something positive to Dudley.”

She said the best thing about their shared success has been the memories she’s been making with her son Reece.

She told the News: “It’s been great. It’s like a lottery win.”