Screening before Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 18.27.49Tonight we traveled to Bermondsey to attend a short film night at the Trispace Gallery Space.

There were seven films showing over the evening and after each film someone from the production answered questions about their film. When it came to screening Jimmy Then and Now neither of us had really watched the film with an audience and properly projected on a big screen since 2010 at the Wood Green Film festival. I’d been watching it over the last couple of days for technical checks before sending it to the gallery for screening and had tracked down the original edit on a hard drive and exported it at a higher resolution. But I’d just been watching it in a little window on my computer screen.

Seeing it now with an audience it became something quite different. It became really powerful. As the end credits rolled I turned to Jimmy and tears were rolling down his face. It was our turn to answer questions and although Jimmy was obviously overwrought we went up to the front. The host Rizelle asked us about how the film had come about and I explained how the drug and alcohol service had commissioned me to work with their group and how I’d then met Jimmy and he had wanted to make a film about his life.

We then fielded questions which ranged from those about Jimmy’s tattoos, to the selfishness of being an alcoholic. We answered more questions than we did at the last Q&A session we took part in. The one that made me look at the film differently was from a woman in the audience who said how much she felt that the film should be shown to families going through similar situations and that she personally related to the interactions between Jimmy and his grand daughter in the film. It made her remember a relative, who when she was growing up, was never seen without a drink in his hand.

As we have developed the new film the interaction between Jimmy and his grand daughter and her concern about Jimmy has become something really worth incorporating again – the scenes with her in the park were quite central to the first film. Also the real Amy is very keen to visit the set when we are filming to see how the film is made.

It was a really good evening and a really great way to engage film makers with audiences. During the break I was talking to a guy in the row in front of me who is currently a film student at LCC – my old film school. He told me he’d just finished his dissertation on Nietzsche and Takeshi Kitano. If you have a short film to screen I recommend contacting the gallery and it would be great to go back with Jimmy There and Back once the film is completed.

Help make this film through Kickstarter

kickstarter-logoToday I set up a Kickstarter Pledge for JIMMY THERE AND BACK. It has actually taken me about 2.5 days to set up the project. What took the most amount of time? Making the video. Kickstarter say you really need a video to engage people. So I spent time working out the script, recording it and then re-recording it, then some more tweaking as I cut it. I’m glad I’ve done this now – I think next time it would be a lot easier. Now comes the waiting game… Follow this link if you’d like to PLEDGE money to the project.

The Highest Tea Plantation in India

I wasn’t in last week. I was instead running Easter animation workshops for young people in Southgate. We had less young people than expected and so I did my own short animation.

When Jimmy came in today he showed me what he had competed last week. He had worked on the interior of a building at the tea plantation. The building included machinery for processing the tea.

Jimmy brought in a photo that Homeless International sent him of his India trip. It showed all the walkers outside the tea plantation.


I started building a small scale model of the tea plantation. I created tea growing areas in the foreground. Behind them I placed tea processing buildings on a small hill.


Jimmy started building a model of the house that they had stayed in one night. Whilst he was in India it was monsoon season. That year it hwas late. By the time they arrived the monsoons  should have finished.

One night they needed somewhere to shelter from the rain. They found a building where they could light fires and dry off their boots and sleep in the dry.


We got to film the different scenes we made today. When we filmed the interior of the plantation building Jimmy remembered more of what it had been like. He remembered a sifting floor above the ground level. So he mocked this up and we filmed it. This shot is quite abstract. It breaks with the more straightforward documentary style what we have be using so far.


I would like to recreate the classic PG Tips image of a woman picking tea. Jimmy said that is how the tea was being picked. PG Tips don’t use this image anymore. Nobody wants to see images of people from developing countries toiling on our behalf. Can you imagine  iPhone packaging, showing a Foxcon employee working in a factory.

Jimmy wasn’t his usual self when he came in today. After he’d  settled he told me that he had been coughing a lot lately.  When he’d gone to the doctor they had sent him for an X-ray and there was a shadow on one of his lungs.

It could just be an infection so he has antibiotics to take and then go back for another X-ray.

“I only started smoking to take the taste of the glue away…”

Making mountains

Today we moved on to visualising Jimmy reaching the top of a mountain and looking out at a magnificent view.


As we worked out the mountain scene we realised that we could use two scales for this scene. For Jimmy reaching the top of the mountain we can film the scene backlit. So jimmy is in silhouette as he reaches the top.  For this we can use a small model  of a mountain vista.


Then we can switch to jimmy’s POV (point of view).  Or an over the shoulder shot of the larger scale puppet. As Jimmy takes in the view – including clouds below and a rainbow.


Filming in this way should cut down the amount of large mountain we have to build. We may be able to get away with just creating a layered cyclorama.


Towards the end of today we moved on to looking at a scene set in a tea plantation which we will continue with next time.