Working on campaigning issues and portrait films allows me to meet and talk with incredible individuals and humanitarians. The making of this portrait film has been a reasonably long process, despite it’s short length of approximately ten minutes. “Not ready to die” is a portrait documentary short about Claire Whittaker and the BRCA2 gene mutation, which I would not blame you for being unaware of, had it not been for the announcement by Hollywood darling Angelina Jolie that she too had had a preventative mastectomy to reduce her risk of genetic breast cancer. I’m far the richer for having shared time with Claire and her family during the recording of this film. There was much I would love to have shared from the additional footage, and indeed please visit her blog through this link and read the story of her small children standing on a bride and waving to the traffic. Best you read it yourself.
The first in a series of short films about diabetes, a developing project. We’re currently working with partners to build this film into a series of titles to show the condition as a way of life, not necessarily a change of life. Bodybuilder, Powerlifter, Diabetic is a short portrait film about Glenn Branch, a celebrated natural bodybuilder, for whom exercise is his oxygen. Interested to hear if you have a story?
Anthony Millon is Head Pastry Chef at The Vineyard, Stockcross, a restaurant and hotel in Berkshire as renowned for it’s careful attention to the status of Californian wine as it is to the creativity of it’s incredibly talented chefs. “Let them eat cake” is a portrait piece underlining the cultural importance food had for an impressionable young pastry chef growing up in the Champagne region of France, learning how to navigate the kitchen under the watchful expert eye of his grandmother.
When suggested to Guy Portlock that he help produce a film that characterised his craft in a somewhat self derogatory fashion, we wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d considered the concept somewhat beneath him in terms of the hours invested in honing his impressive performance skills. Fortunately Guy’s response was immediately positive and he even cast the support actor we required.
We’d seen a handful of magicians’ promotional movies and each seemed to have a reactionary focus; how did you do that? I’d seen the script a dozen times, more than enough to understand that if this front page film on Guy’s website were to feel sticky in any way, it would need to have a different sense of recall.
In 2013 June turned 80. June is not famous. She’s has not featured on a reality programme. She has four children. To them, she is very much famous. To them, she is the reality of why. To them, she is precious enough to celebrate through this legacy film.
Late 2013 I was sat, shoulders positively nestled between an impressive array of celebrated film makers, documenters and directors in a Leicester Square cinema, attending the London Digital Film Festival. I’d entered a short film for this competition, though as the lights went down and the reels started to play, it started to sink in just how special the talent pool from which the top ten films would be drawn actually was.
I’ve heard it mooted, I think by my school rugby coach decades ago, that there’s no such place but first, in terms of competition. Of course he’d never made a film, or so I assume, and as I laid prostrate on Mr.Bennett’s rugby field aged 16 with my face firmly pushed into the mud following another collapsed scrum, I’m sure I may have mused that silver and bronze still required me to play on in gladiatorial fashion hours after the rest of the field had departed to enjoy hot showers and telly in front of a warm fire at home.
And so for me silver and bronze, well they certainly existed, and I still have a calf scar to prove it.
I’ve digressed slightly, but the relevance is that as I sat in the warmth of a cinema in London’s celebrated cinema quarter, and the final top three places were announced for winning festival films, being bronze certainly seemed an accolade worth achieving. And of course it was a lot more comfortable than being flattened for your sport by a dirty great prop.
I’m immensely proud of this film, but not just for the medallion; for the gentle nature of it’s story telling. I like to film alone when it comes to stories such as this, probably due to my background in radio, which was a very solitary occupation. If I can handle light, sound and concept, well, interviewees seem far more relaxed. They’re not required to play to a crowd.
Meet Johannes von Stumm, a sculptor whose work I am surrounded by living near Newbury, as one of his largest pieces adorns the centre of a main arterial roundabout to the town.
Initially this film was to spawn a series of short films about exercise. However, the focus somewhat changed. I don’t know whether the viewer can, but it’s very evident to me that as the camera rolled during the interview segments, my interest diverted in campaigning fashion to how you can develop and maintain peak physical fitness despite what some may see as a limiting condition.
This film was developed further to become ‘Bodybuilder, Powerlifter, Diabetic,’ which is a concept that may itself now spawn a series of further titles. We’re currently talking to partners to create this series during 2014/15.