Novelist and screenwriter Ian McEwan told an audience in Bridport that he couldn't imagine any other setting for his novel On Chesil Beach, recently adapted for the screen.

Speaking at a preview of the film at the Electric Palace on Wednesday night, Mr McEwan, who also wrote the film's screenplay, said that while in the early stages it had been suggested that other locations could be used for the scenes on the beach, he quickly realised he couldn't envision shooting anywhere but Chesil Beach itself.

The preview was held as part of Bridport Art's Page to Screen Festival, a cooperation with Bournemouth Film School exploring cinematic adaptations of texts.

Speaking at the event, Mr McEwan "It was so important to me that we shoot on Chesil Beach," he said. "Where the lagoon meets the sea, and the real meets the imaginary - that's the space I needed for the characters. They end up trapped in this liminal space."

On Chesil Beach, set mostly in the 1960s, is the story of a young couple, Florence and Edward, celebrating their honeymoon at a hotel on the eponymous Dorset beach. Despite their ardour, the wedding night founders on the pair's sexual incompatibility.

Many of the film's central scenes are filmed on the sweep of Chesil Beach, and nearby Lulworth Cove also makes an appearance.

Mr McEwan recounted hiking the beach some 30 years ago as part of a walking tour of the south-west. "The terrain is very tough going, and, I must say, at times rather boring," he said. "But the overall impression is really very lovely. There's nothing quite like it, not in the UK, not anywhere in the world. For good reason, it is a very treasured spot."

Producer Elizabeth Karlsen meanwhile spoke of the technical difficulties of shooting on the beach.

"We were adamant that nowhere else would do," she said.

She recounted that at first, the photography team had rowed over to the beach across the Fleet with handheld cameras; however, shortly before production began, the cinematographer had decided that the final scene should be shot from above - requiring a five-ton crane to be rowed across in multiple trips.

"The line producer almost had a heart attack," Ms Karlsen laughed.

Laura Cockett of organiser the Bridport Arts Centre spoke of how proud she was to bring the preview to West Dorset.

"On this, the tenth anniversary of the From Page to Screen Festival, it was really special for Dorset audiences to get the first look at a film shot in location here in Dorset," she said.

Ms Cockett expressed her appreciation to Mr McEwan and Ms Karlsen for taking the trouble to come to Bridport and attend a question and answer session after the screening. "To meet them and host this film was a real privilege," she said.

On Chesil Beach will be in cinemas on general release next month.

The Page to Screen Festival continues every day until this Sunday, April 15.