After months of swaying and froing, and not knowing if I was coming or going, I’m pleased to say that my short film ‘Autumn Leaves’ is back on track and will commence filming from 26-29th June. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride getting it into production, due to rescheduling problems, budgetary restraints, re-jigging of crew and a recast of an actor, but all has been resolved and we’re full in to Prep mode.
Needless to say, much has been learnt before a camera has even begun rolling and I want to thank everyone who was involved in the project but no longer is and I want to welcome those who’ve jumped on board. Let the madness begin… So what is this short film?
“As Scotland goes to the polls to decide the destiny of a nation, a Scots family humorously find themselves caught between hope and fear!”
INITIAL TRAILER FOR CREATIVE PROMO PURPOSES ONLY (April 2014):
‘Autumn Leaves’ is a short film adapted from the One-Act Play, ‘The Age of Miracles’, by George Cummings.
The original play was written in the early ’90’s and one of it’s very first stage productions featured our very own ‘Dr Who’, Peter Capaldi himself (probably in a role that he doesn’t remember much!!!!?).
The play differs from the film slightly in that the original story was set on Hogmanay of the new Millennium; and with this new dawn came a new reality – Scottish Independence. Whereas the film we intend to make is set on the night of the referendum with no political outcome set.
The short film is a domestic comedy in the style of TVs ‘The Royle Family’ mixed with the sarcastic wit of ‘Frasier’ combined with the grumblings of Victor Meldrew’s ‘One Foot in the Grave’, set in a council estate in Glasgow.
It is the story of the McMillan family set on the night of the Scottish Independence Referendum, 18th September 2014. It is a story about love and loss, about family disunity and forgiveness, and about the choices we make and accept in our daily lives. It is about recognising what’s important to each of us individually, and in turn, helping to put aside petty differences and to stand up and fight for the life we think we each deserve. It is the story of self discovery and reconciliation, not necessarily with others, but primarily with oneself.
Having withdrawing into himself after the death of his wife (5 years previously), Old Andrew, crabbit and self-centred, has moved in with, and imposed himself upon, his willing daughter Jean and her reluctant family – husband Sandy and daughter Fiona.
As tensions build up and sarcasm boils over in to biting honesty, often culminating in hilarious and much needed home truths being spewed like verbal tennis between Old Andrew and his son in law, Sandy, old wounds are raised up and their relationship is brought to a head, not helped in the least by their differing political persuasions.
As the political polls near their conclusions, the family are gladly interrupted by the lively Mrs. McBride from upstairs, who’s invited them all, even “Old skin-flint” Andrew, up for a “wee shindig” to celebrate the results coming in, but moreso, her coming birthday.
This welcoming diversion is sneered at by Old Andrew who is too proud and set in his ways to join in. Will he change his mind? Can he reconnect with his wanting family? Can he reconcile with the past for a brighter future?
With this cast I am truly blessed and honoured to be working alongside some of the great actors in the history of Scotland’s Film, Television and Theatre productions.
A cast of this dynamism and versatility, with such combined emotional, dramatic and comedic experience, will bring ‘Autumn Leaves’ truly to life.
WHO DO WE MEAN?
Sean Scanlan as Old Andrew (‘The Tales of Para Handy’, ‘Rab C Nesbitt’)
Barbara Rafferty as Mrs.McBride (‘Rab C Nesbitt’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’, ‘Hamish Macbeth’)
Ruaraidh Murray as Sandy (‘Big Sean, Mikey and Me’, ‘Bath Time’, ‘Boxman’)
Tracy Wiles as Jean (‘Bronson’, ‘Swinging with the Finkels’, ‘Soapdodgers’)
Samantha Shields as Fiona (‘The Wee Man’, ‘Wild Country’)
As mentioned above, due to having to re-schedule the shoot, I had to replace ‘River City’ and ‘Small Faces’ actress Carmen Pieraccini with Tracy Wiles, as Carmen had planned a month trip to India; which clashed with our new dates, unfortunately, but we are more than excited about working with Tracy again, whom I directed in my Award Winning short film, ‘Soapdodgers’.
THEMES & CONTENT
‘Autumn Leaves’ deals primarily with grief over a life gone and fear over a life yet to live. It is this dichotomy of hope and fear; set against the backdrop of the Scottish Independence Referendum, that stands ultimately as the main focus point, of not just the McMillan family, but Scotland and the UK as a whole. After years of disconnection, isolation and fear of change, how does a person get their sense of self-worth, self-preservation and autonomy back? What’s more important? Pride and/or political differences, or love and the family way? Does it all really matter? And at what cost?
Once filming has been completed it will be off to the edit suite for a good few weeks to put it together and once it’s locked and finished, there’ll be a screening of sorts at the GFT in Glasgow then hopefully a TV commission in time for the actual Referendum. We can but hope and work to make it happen….so watch this space.
Many thanks to all who lent their support, either physically or financially in keeping this project alive. Words can’t describe my indebtedness to you all, especially those who pledged at our Kickstarter site:
and to those over at http://wingsoverscotland.com/
Will keep you all posted with daily blogs and pictures and stories once filming begins!!