From a self-published debut novel to a full feature film production, BRITISH WINTERS is testament to a strong DIY ethic and what can be achieved through an inspiring community arts programme. Ahead of a showing at FACT on Monday 12th June, indie film maker Andrew Turner discusses how his project came to fruition, the important work of TAPE arts centre and North Wales’ fertile music scene.
Tell us how things began with the British Winters project.
I penned the novel back in 2012 and self-published via Amazon and Smashwords. Having just finished film school my mind was buzzing with creativity but had nowhere to channel it and so I wrote British Winters with the intention of making it a film “someday.”
Shortly after that I began working with TAPE, Community Music and Film, an arts charity in Old Colwyn, North Wales. TAPE runs a local film festival, Coastline. As part of that festival we needed to make a feature film. A couple ideas bounced around from musical to a bio pic (all ideas that are still in the pipeline) in the end, to my surprise and delight, British Winters was chosen as their first project.
Tell us a bit about the work you do at TAPE.
My work with TAPE is community film making on a smaller scale, working with people to create short films or promotional videos for community groups or charities. TAPES ethos is to maximise peoples potential through music and film, giving groups and individuals a voice and platform.
What gave you the confidence to turn a self-published novel into a feature film?
I’m not sure confidence is the right word, I’m passionate about films and equally passionate about community work. I don’t ever remember during the process feeling confident more single-minded, thinking constantly that, “this is happening, this needs to get done”
What was the biggest challenge you met making British Winters?
The overall time commitment. While it took only five (intensive) weeks to film, the post production has taken over a year. Making a feature length film is not for the fainthearted, you need to be passionate and love what you are doing but saying that I look forward to having my weekends back.
Your local community must contain a lot of talent for such a production to be created only with the help of volunteers. How did you connect with people with such a wide range of skills?
Using the TAPE model to use music and film to maximise peoples potential, 90% of people in the film had never done anything like this before. People approached us interested to get involved and we would find the role best suited for them whether in front of the camera or behind.
What practical advice would you give aspiring filmmakers looking to embark on a similar project but feel overawed?
The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to make a film is to be adaptable. It’s not about compromising your vision but its about ensuring that any personal artistic perfection does not derail your project. The end scene of the film is not anything how it was originally scripted but turned out better then envisioned. Remember having an imperfect completed film is better than having no film at all.
What is British Winters’ Liverpool connection?
Some of the tracks from the film were provided by Gintis and The Mexican Walking Fish who were originally North Wales bands but are now part of the Liverpool music scene.
How did you go about choosing the soundtrack for the film?
It was important to me that I approached the soundtrack in the same way I approached the film, by utilising and providing a showcase for local talent. All the bands have a connection with the local area either being from North Wales or by currently living North Wales. We chose some really great bands and on a personal note I have been really pleased by the British Winters playlist. They’re all great tracks from very talented people.
What should audiences expect from the British Winters event at FACT on 12th June.
To witness a truly independent film! A film done by the community with people coming together to create a product that we at Tape are really proud and excited to show.
British Winters will be screened in The Box at FACT on Monday 12th June at 7pm. Tickets available through the FACT website.