An important part of my work and activity right back to: ‘Telly Pieces‘ which was commissioned by channel 4 and Strathclyde Region for the year of Culture celebrations in 1990 and ending in 2012 with Diversity Films has been educational and community film-making. Or as we preferred to call it “out-reach film-making” or “Folk Cinema”
On these projects I’ve worked more as a creative mentor and motivator rather than as a film-maker and offering my professional experience and advice when needed. Because the aim of all these projects in the end was not to make films that we want to make by proxy with some community involved, but instead motivate disenfranchised groups to find their own voices and share their visions of the unique, sad, mad and sometimes outrageously funny worlds they lived in.
The end products are always collaborations that tell stories from the perspective of the participants, rather than from the editorial perspective of a parachute film crew, aspiring Community Artist or frustrated Film Director (although we did regrettably end up working with a few of them!.
I hope someday to return home to Glasgow and work once again with communities that I grew to love and respect on something that’s a bit different: A feature project of my own called Waveland, which as far as I can tell will be the first surf-movie ever to be filmed entirely on a Glasgow housing scheme.
AS IT IS
HORROR MOVIE TO BE SHOWN TO OUR KIDS!
Glasgow Evening Times Headline 11th September,2007
4 short films about Gang fighting
Commissioned by Glasgow City Council Community Safety services and Strathclyde Police (among others) these films when launched attracted a shock-horror front-page headline on a national Scottish tabloid newspaper (which as usual sadly seemed to miss the point about the films real intent and social purpose as an educational tool!)
Employing often shocking CCTV footage of gang violence (that includes at least one fatality) and graphic scenes and testimony from Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary in the aftermath of a machete attack, the stories in these films were told directly to camera, and include hard-hitting contributions from Gang fighters, the Police, Doctors, Victims and Parents who have lost their children to gang-related violence. The films are still in use in Glasgow’s schools and youth centres to this day.
Please note: some people may find the content of these films disturbing
1: AS IT IS
2: FAMILIES & VICTIMS
3: PAYING THE PRICE
4: MAKING THE BREAK
DETERMINED TO COOK
Take a Film-maker (when he’s not working on Minefield) and a Producer (caught in development hell!)
Mix-them and mash-them up throughly for 6 months with 3 inner city Glasgow schools.
Add 4 or more of Scotland’s best professional Chefs.
Stir in the most important ingredient: a group of talented and often misrepresented young people from some of Glasgow’s most deprived areas, who either have a passion for cooking or an eye on being film-makers.
Give them 3 quid each to cook with and teach them how to use camcorders and set them to work in the unhealthiest city in Europe when it comes to diet and life expectancy and be amazed at what happens when young people reinvent the TV cookery show for themselves.
From time-to-time you get a chance to work with some very, brave and special people.
This project made in the first half of 2012 in collaboration with the Dance and Theatre Company Visual Statement and the staff and service-users of the Riddrie and Accord day care centres in Glasgow’s east-end was one such occasion. Over the course of 6 months we filmed with and got to know some very special people whose lives and triumph over disability and disadvantage was an inspiration.
As well as actively being involved in the making of a dance exercise DVD that’s designed for use by the participants, their friends and families at home, we also made this wonderful observational documentary diary about a group of people triumphing over prejudice, adversity and marginalization. The film is a portrait that recognizes their talent and abilities rather than their disabilities.
With health and welfare cuts meaning that many day-care centres are closing – or in Glasgow case have been turned into car parks for the Commonwealth games that took place in 2014 – the film is documentary evidence of the importance of continued funding and support for such places and their activities and the need for us to back inclusion and not exclusion from society of our real A-list celebrities!
N.G.O and EDUCATIONAL FILMS
SHOW RACISM THE RED CARD
Voted Best Film: Scottish Muslim Awards 2010
2 films commissioned by the anti-racist football N.G.O: ‘Show Racism the Red card’
The film that we made on the subject of Islamaphobia was awarded best film at the Scottish Muslim awards and is still widely in use across the UK.
The 2nd film was commissioned was for SRTRC’s Anti-racism promo for Scotland.
SCOTTISH TRADE UNION CONGRESS
Award films 2012
3 short film portraits of the winners of the STUC awards for 2012.
Shown at the STUC annual conference 2012
VELOCITY: The view from here
A film commissioned to explore the role Art and Artists will be playing in the community (or not as the case maybe!) as Glasgow got ready to host the Commonwealth games in 2014. I’d describe it as a hybrid cross-over between a blue chip corporate and a piece of video art in its own right. In the end I really didn’t have a clue what the privileged arts bureaucrats behind Velocity were trying to achieve – other than hoover up arts funding – but it was also a good excuse to mess around with a Go-Pro on my bike and experiment with time-lapses!