Compelling short film “Help”, made for #GlobalClimateStrike – plus interview with director and producer.

This highly effective film is worth your time. (and is worth sharing)

The producer and director kindly answered a few questions about the film.

Who are you both (you and the director). What films have you made before/been involved in?
Director of cult classic film GHOSTWATCH Lesley Manning, and BAFTA Award winning film producer Annalise Davis.

Annalise and Lesley: We made SEVEN3 together in March (another climate change short). And we’ve made lots of feature and short films before that.

Tell us a bit about where the impetus to make this film in support of the climate strike came from? Were you approached/commissioned? By who? Did you pitch? Was it part of a competition.
Annalise: I was in a state of mild paralysis over climate breakdown until Extinction Rebellion and Parents for Future came along. It was cathartic to meet people who are as worried as I am, and I realised that doing something is always going to be better than doing nothing.

And so I decided to make the film and pay for it myself. It feels like such an urgent issue that there isn’t time to find the money elsewhere, and we did it on a shoestring. Not even a string, more like a thread. We’re lucky to know amazing film-makers, and work at the fabulous National Film and Television School, which also supported us. Then in the edit a minor miracle happened, we were given a grant from Our Kids’ Climate, which made a big difference in paying for the footage we had to use.

Lesley: Annalise approached me and I jumped at the opportunity. I am very proud of the fact that all crew and contributors have brought their expertise because of the issues, so no commissioner, no pitch, no competition.

Annalise: Lesley is also a great director to work with, that helps too!

Tell us a bit about the conceptualisation of the film – was it hard/time consuming to come up with the final idea? What other ideas would you have liked to use?
Ben Lyle, the writer, initially came up with the idea of a burning house, and all the adults are ignoring the fire as they’re on their phones, laptops etc. Only a kid is seeing the fire and trying to get them out. Fabulous idea, but needs lots of money! So his next idea was this one, which he came up with fully formed. It was conceived as predominantly a performance piece, and so finding an extraordinary actor was key…

Tell us a bit about the making of the film – the casting, the production (how long did it take).
Lesley: Julie [Hesmondhalgh] is such a clever actor, sensitive and intuitive, I was thrilled when she said she would do it.
Annalise: Julie was a godsend, and we’d worked with James already on SEVEN. In terms of location, Lesley had her heart set on a dream corridor, which she’s always liked the look of. We thought we’d never get it, as it’s in the centre of London. But we contacted the owner, and he was extraordinarily helpful. All along the way, people have been unbelievably generous with their resources and time.
We shot it in a day, post production was two weeks.

What impact do you hope the film will have?
Lesley: To make people think and hopefully feel.
Annalise: To make people feel and hopefully think.

What about beyond 20th September? Are there other films you want to make? Other projects around the climate strikers etc that you want to be involved in?
Lesley: Always! There are always films I would like to make!
Annalise: Making films, especially short films, is hard, but I love it. There are so many more I want to make, and in the pipeline. Watch this space…


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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