Just back from the LLGFF screening at the BFI of my friend Campbell Ex‘s first feature. What a delight to see it on the big screen there, a packed and appreciative house.
To make one’s first feature is a huge achievement, to make it on a nano-budget is even more amazing, and for it to be comprehensively queer, inclusive, challenging, warm, funny (and the kind of ‘diverse’ that shows up the usual one-of-each kind of diversity for the tick-boxing that it is) is astonishing.
So many people say they want to make work, they’d like to make work – very few actually go out and do it. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said to me they want to make theatre, want to make a film, want to write a book – very few of us are born with silver spoons or contacts in the media or related industries, most of us do it by DOING IT. Exactly what Campbell’s just done.
It was a delight too, to see so many names I know in the cast and crew and production team and in the ‘thanks to’ – so many friends of friends supporting the work of a mate because we want to help each other work, we want to support each other in our work, and most of us also working in the arts, with insecure incomes and uncertain futures. A question was asked afterwards, how did Campbell manage to create a tight core of leads in such a short time (2 weeks rehearsal – and even that not full time – and ten days shooting), and people spoke about hard work, and respect, and trust. About the work Campbell had already put in long before it came to rehearsing. All true. But I also think it’s about building a team before you even know you have a project you want to make together – making relationships through our networks, through friends of friends, so that when it comes to the crucial moment, people who ALREADY care for each other, come through for each other. In theatre, I find I’m often working with friends or people who have become friends through our work – we know we have hardly any money, we know we’re working long hours to try to create a shared vision, we know we need to do it together. When we support each other in this way, it becomes much easier to make the work we say we want to make. To actually get on and do it.
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and here’s a clip :