Community group reaches for the silver screen

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By a Newsnet reporter

A few years ago a group of friends from Milton in Glasgow were chatting over Christmas dinner, reminiscing and thinking about how important family is. Conversation turned to ambitions and how great it would be to make a film. For many folk this would be idle chat to be forgotten the next morning, but not for this particular group of people.

By a Newsnet reporter

A few years ago a group of friends from Milton in Glasgow were chatting over Christmas dinner, reminiscing and thinking about how important family is. Conversation turned to ambitions and how great it would be to make a film. For many folk this would be idle chat to be forgotten the next morning, but not for this particular group of people.

They hit the January sales and a standard definition video camera was their first purchase. Jacques Cousineau produced a script for a 52 minute film soon after. Jacques is a multimedia graduate who has worked in software development and children’s games and TV but never script writing. Most budding film makers start with a few short films, but not Jacques.  He went straight for the jugular with a 52 minute feature. It was then that Sorepaw Productions began to take shape.

Some people might say that attempting to make a  short film with no previous experience of script writing, producing, directing, editing or acting was madness and they would find significant sympathy with that view. That did not deter the team at Sorepaw Productions, what they couldn’t buy they made, begged or borrowed. They filmed everything locally and persuaded local businesses to allow them to use their premises as film locations free of charge.

Sorepaw Productions has a core team of four people. Suzanne Hendry is an executive producer but also turns her hand to promotion, logistics, proof reading and make-up. Her friend, Karen Flynne, is also an executive producer who gets involved with promotion and liaison. The third executive producer is Jim Bremner, an IT graduate with a lifelong interest in photography. Jim is also a director, colourist, web designer and story-boarder.  All of them are in full time employment and all have family commitments, as do most of the cast and crew. Many of those involved work shifts.

“The sheer logistics of trying to arrange a shoot involving 16 people was a nightmare,” said Suzanne

But with a budget of around £150 (most of which was spent on rolls and sausage), and an old mobile home as a crew bus, after one rehearsal at the local community centre they started filming. Their film A Year and a Day was filmed over 24 non consecutive days and took three years from inception to finish.

Getting the film in the bag was a monumental achievement and you would be forgiven for thinking that the hard work was over but it had only begun. How do you go about marketing a film without any industry connections at all?

The first thing was to get the film up on a screen and get it seen. There was a premier to sort out. That in itself was an uphill struggle, the Grosvenor Independent cinema while extremely helpful didn’t have the capacity that was needed. Other larger film theatres didn’t return their calls.

Eventually they managed to book the GFT which fitted their purposes perfectly and the premier watched by nearly 400 supporters was screened on 4th of September 2012, followed by a ‘meet and greet’ session at the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

Since then the group has made good use of social media in marketing their film sending DVDs as far afield as New Zealand and the USA as well as to Edinburgh, Dunbar and the Isle of Mann.

They have contacted celebrities who hail from Milton to seek endorsements. People like Paul Riley, Peter Mullen, John McLaughlin and Maureen Carr. They haven’t limited themselves to their home town though and have sent a copy of their DVD to Alan Bissett. They are beginning to forge links with the Milton Arts Project and had a stand at the Milton Community Fair on the 22nd of September. They hope that in the year of Creative Scotland that this community initiative can attract funding and support so that they can embark on the next big project which they have in the pipeline.

One thing is for certain, they won’t be short of volunteers as the project has inspired the community. It is a positive force coming from an area which has it’s share of social problems. The folk at Sorepaw have big ideas and big ambitions but they wish to realise these ambitions on their home turf. Sorepaw productions is rooted in Milton and they do not intend to lose sight of these roots, they wish to build something constructive for their community.

The film is hard hitting and true to life, it makes great use of traditional Glaswegian humour. As would be expected the language is realistic and not for the easily offended. Sorepaw Productions suggest that it is not suitable for those under 15 years of age.

http://www.ayearandaday.co.uk

http://www.sorepawproductions.co.uk