To be (there), or not to be (there)?
My short film is screening all over the world simultaneously. It's forced me to get creative about solving the problem of presence.
Remember that short film I wrote about in late 2021 under the title Sex & Accessibility?
Well, it’s been made. It’s a real thing now, with a life of its own.
Its UK premiere was at the BFI London Film Festival in October last year.
By the way, welcome to my new take on Citizens of Nowhere.
I’m refashioning it into a ‘playwright’s notebook.’ I want to take you behind the scenes into my day to day. Which means interesting insights into the latest developments and inspirations across my slate of projects. You know, a newsletter! I’ve always got a ton of stuff on the go, or bubbling away in the back of my mind. I think I previously wanted to show you ‘finished’ work, but then I thought…
Getting to the end is a long process, and…
What does the end mean anyway?
Look at this short film. It took 6 years from inception to premiere! Yet, like a new born baby, the gestation months don’t really count towards its age. It’s only 3 months old.
The making of the sausage is extremely interesting to me, and I hope it will be to you too. I read a great quote the other day from a character in Edward Rutherfurd’s book China
The joy of the craftsman is greater than the pleasure of the owner.
I want to share more of that joy with you. Heck, I’m even going to open up the chat section so you talk back to me about it too. Who knows where that will lead?
Anyway, since its premiere, MEAUH has been welcomed into festivals and screenings all over the place.
As well as LFF and a couple more screenings in London, it’s been seen at Flickerfest in Sydney (3 screenings!) and Slamdance in Park City, Utah - where the Grand Jury awarded it an honourable mention, which is basically second place.
Upcoming screenings will take it to lots of places in the UK, North America and Europe. Hopefully more!
As much as possible, I want to be there for the film. I want to support it, and (to put it crassly) I want to be there in person to benefit from the opportunities it could throw up.
Impediments include the tyranny of distance, an ever present toddler, another baby on the way, and, you know, life.
Today is the perfect example. It’s showing at Art Without Limits in Sheffield, part of the BFI Film Academy Young Programmers Festival, which has been curated by 32 young people from across the UK.
Our programme is curated to showcase stories featuring disabled protagonists and films made by disabled filmmakers.
I mean, if this is not a perfect setting for this film, I don’t know what is.
Sam - the outreach and engagement manager of Showroom Workstation which is hosting the program - could not have been more inviting. SW wanted me and my co-writer Aminder Virdee to be there, and were prepared to go out of their way to make it as accessible as possible for Aminder - who has major physical access issues. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for her to be there. The reason we made this film was to make her voice more accessible to audiences in places she’s physically incapable of going. Job done. But how can I support it?
It’s a 3 hour drive from where I live. Sheffield’s a city I want to spend more time in (its the only place I’ve ever spent a night sleeping rough… twenty years ago… maybe I’ll tell you about that some other time.)
But I can’t go. It clashes with a long-standing engagement. But at the same time, I can’t not participate. A dilemma that I was determined to solve.
So, I got out my teleprompter - you may remember it from this post, and my flash new iPhone, and I wrote a script, then I put it all together.
It took me an hour or so to write, shoot, edit, upload and send to Sam. and got this reply about 40 minutes later.
“Thanks so much for this wonderful intro, we would be delighted to screen this ahead of the film programme. I will inform the young programmers too as they will be really happy to have this as part of the event. Projection have already converted it to a DCP so it will screen just before the film programme starts in the cinema.
Thanks so much and I will let you know how it all goes.”
I couldn’t be happier about this.
My hero Charles Darwin did the bulk of his life’s work from his home office, using the post to correspond and collect samples from around the world.
I’m really interested in thinking outside the box to co-opt today’s incredible consumer-grade tech to make me and my work more present in personal and meaningful ways wherever I feel the call.
This project is pushing me to do it.
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