Telma Dias has written a short script on the subject of mental illness & submitted it to the BFI Shorts 2012 scheme, managed by the digital culture agency Lighthouse which has been set up to help young creative talents in the film industry.
She is a young filmmaker here at the company. She has been with us since mid 2011 & is very much at home behind the camera. She is currently hard at work at work on her film about racism in football which is a big concern for her. She loves the game but not the ugly face of racism.
It was suggested to Telma that she work on a documentary about mental illness. She is interested in the subject generally & feels deeply about those so afflicted although she herself isn’t assailed with such demons. But Telma felt that a drama film would be more appropriate to draw attention to the problems inherent in mental illness than a documentary would be. She felt that in films on the subject generally there is too much extraneous information about the other characters & not enough attention given to the sufferer herself. This is what her script addresses. We see how events have driven the main character to her state of breakdown & what happens to her when she seeks help.
We follow a young woman experiencing a breakdown. One of those dark nights of the soul that some of us sometimes feel might be about to occur to us. It is a powerful piece of writing script; the script is tense & tight. It goes from one crisis to another from one revelation to another. Much is revealed about the main character during the film & the ending is cataclysmic. It is a powerful piece of work. In the way that the drama moves at breakneck speed, there is something in it of Alfred Jarry’s masterpiece Ubu Roi.
This is the link for the BFI / Lighthouse scheme
In February 2009, InFactuation Productions attended a conference at South Africa House. The ghosts of Apartheid were still there. It was a grey forbidding building outside, austere inside, built when the empire ruled a lot of the World. South Africa was one of the Dominions like Canada, Australia, New Zealand & as it was then Rhodesia. They were countries where the white man had gone & totally usurped the indigenous population bringing new diseases & subjugation.
South Africa House is on the East Side of Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square used to be a focal point of demonstrations against Apartheid system, the much hated system which literally translates as separate development but in practice meant that the majority black population had no rights, were not allowed to enter white areas, had to have their identity pass on them all the time.
When Africa was tribal, artificial boundaries were created as a result of the colonial powers, mainly Britain, Belgium & France carving up the continent.
The conference was the precursor to the G8 becoming the G20. There was much hope around that finally the World would act as one. Poverty & disease especially AIDS in Africa is an enduring & intractable problem which the west has alternately done nothing or not enough to help alleviate & much hand wringing has taken place on the issue. The failure of the West to do enough to help Africa is shameful.
Many speakers including Fred Harrison a Researcher Director,Jakob Von Uexoll founder of the Right Livelihood Awards and Cherie Blair, married to former Prime Minister Tony Blair among many other agree that Africa is exploited by developed countries & by China.
What all these people had in common was that they recognised that the World is not full of injustices but is run in an unjust way. The issue of land is an interesting one. Without land people are not empowered. Food & shelter comes from land. Some land is more fertile than other land. In Amazonia for example is not generally good land. Land can be rural or urban. For agriculture there is good land & non fertile land.
It was a great experience to go back there and I look forward going back again.
London Video Productions have a project which involves making a film about racism in football. We are investigating the extent to which footballers in the UK & elsewhere have experienced racism & the extent to which fans in the ground are racist.
My observation in football is that on the whole fans do not mind what race or colour the people who play for if they play for their team & their team is winning. When I was growing up in the sixties Albert Johannson was the only black player on the scene. He played what was then called outside left in the Leeds United team managed by Don Revie which almost won the league their first season in the first division after being promoted from the second division.
At the same time, at that time, most of the footballers people really admired were in fact black. In 1958 Brazil won the World Cup. Their best player was Pélé who was 17 at the time. To me & I assume to many other people it seemed as though Brazilian footballers were from another planet. When we all sat down & watched the World Cup final in 1970 between Brazil & Italy which Brazil not only won quite easily but they played in a more beautiful way than any of had ever seen before. Some of the players were black some were white.
There is much racism in football. The footballer Roberto Carlos has been playing in the outer areas of Russia & has suffered much racial abuse including having a banana thrown at him. Indeed black players playing in Russia have had to endure continuous abuse. In Spain & some of the Eastern & Central European countries the English FA have complained many times about their black players being abused by the crowds.
In the 1960’s race relations were a hot issue. Harold Wilson, who became Prime Minister in 1964 & his home Secretary Roy Jenkins introduced the first race relations legislation. Both Wilson & Jenkins were decent men who felt strongly about the subject.
We have come a long way since those days. But the recent case of John Terry being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand shows that the problem has not gone away. I gather the Chelsea fans themselves piled on the agony by chanting abusive slogans about Ferdinand at their next home match. What I find surprising is that Terry seems thus far to have escaped punishment. It is hard to believe that he is innocent of the charges. He may or not be a racist. Only those who know him can say that.
The incident involving Luis Suarez & Patrick Evra does surprise me. They say Suarez is not a racist. But apparently (& I assume a fair of lip reading has gone on) he used the term that he did use again & again. His defense seems to be that in Uruguay it is ok to do that. But even if that is true, it doesn’t make it right. In Nazi Germany it was obligatory to be anti-semitic but that didn’t make it right. Personally I cannot see that any form of abuse in sport is acceptable.
People, foreign players coming to play in English clubs and children in particular should be taught respect for others no matter what their skin colour or country of origin.
– one that I’ve written and want to direct. I’m more or less a novice – written and directed a short which got into the Portobello Film Festival. I run my own video production company – we make mainly documentaries for the social sector and film – conferences / talks / seminars / event.
I studied film and video at Uni – many years ago! But got diverted into documentary, there was something about drama that was too contrived, I liked the unpredictable aspect of docs. But now I’ve gone back the other way – drama and film.
And writing! Something’s been activated. I’ve never been so focused on a project – obsessed.
So I need to finish the script. Get a producer on board. And convince them and any backers to take a punt on a first timer. Oh, and raise £1,000,000!
Watch this space!