Since opening back in June, our Backstage Bar has been quite a hive of activity. From Press Night for King Lear to a secret gig with Sofar Sounds, our next experiment with the space will see us screen three short films created in the South West on Fri 26 Aug.
Here we talk to Sarah Watts and Alison Hargreaves, directors of MAKE THE MOST OF ME.
Tell us a little about the film and what inspired you to create it.
Working closely together at Bristol Old Vic we realised we shared creative instincts and ambitions and started talking about making something together. We recognised that in the media older people are presented with a sympathetic, distancing gaze which focussed upon the disadvantages of old age. We couldn’t see any genuinely compelling representations of old people as full individuals and participants in the world. We decided to film them differently, and engage them in casual conversations which would capture the full force of their presence and personalities. We didn’t focus on their disadvantages, or present them as voices from the past. Our motto became “shoot them like they’re 30”.
How did you approach the creative process and the challenge of working with the elderly/vulnerable?
We worked it out as we went along! Our process began with the two of us talking a lot, interrogating our ideas and drawing pictures, and speaking with other people we knew would have wisdom for us. We then had a number of days in the care home where we established the wrong and right way to shoot the space and the wrong and right way to engage with our interviewees on camera. We were incredibly lucky to work with Acer House Care Home where the staff were so accommodating and the residents were such good fun. The residents are the masters of their own schedules and movements so we had to be ready to wait for them and ready to shoot at very short notice.
Where did you acquire the funding to create this film?
We were very lucky to receive an Arts Council Grant, and we received a lot of support through our relationship with the University of The West of England, as we gave work experience to two graduating film students. It would have been impossible without that support.
What is the one thing you would most like this film to achieve?
Opportunities to make more work!
The process of making the film has already taught us so much. We hope the film will serve to introduce us to new creative people and help us generate support for future projects. We also hope this film triggers thinking around the way we treat older people.
Do you have any future plans for the film? Is there another project in the works?
We’re very keen to share it with as broad an audience as possible. A crucial part of our plan from the beginning was to go on tour to nursing homes around the South West and create inclusive, intergenerational events around the film. We’ll also make it available to view and share online, and we’ll submit it to the appropriate film festivals. We will be working together again and are in the process of deciding what that next project might be…
MAKE THE MOST OF ME will be screened in our Backstage Bar Fri 26 Aug alongside two other short films; Life of Brians by Andy Oxley & Joshua Gaunt, and Light and Dark by Michael Smith and Tom Stubbs.
For more info and to register your interest, email: firstname.lastname@example.org