Pride filmmakers brought social activism to residents

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Pride will be the closing night film in the directors’ fortnight section of the Cannes festival, on now (14-25 May).

Even ahead of the screening, we at FilmFixer applaud the filmmakers for the way they worked with residents on location, both in Kilburn and, in particular, on Southwark’s Aylesbury Estate in Walworth.

Starring Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Paddy Considine and Imelda Staunton, Pride is set during the summer of 1984. It’s about Gay Pride activists who raise money to support the families of striking British miners.

In real life, the maker, Proud Films, took their social activism to the Aylesbury Estate, making a donation to the Aylesbury Residents’ Association and also providing funding to train eight residents about breaking into the film business.

Run by The Calltime Company in December, the training included two visits to the Pride set where the location manager and assistant location manager ran through on-the-spot training about their side of the business.

At a later session, the producer of Downton Abbey, Chris Croucher, came along to discuss how trainees could go about making their own short films. His shorts, for example, include Friend Request Pending, with Dame Judi Dench. Katy Milner, who also makes short films, came too to share her experiences.

Calltime Company director Vicki Allen explained, “We started by running through all the expectations for entry level crew on the production side of the business, and specifics for landing those roles.

“We followed this with the set visits. The Pride production team were great about making a lot of time for us, talking about what they do and how they go about it.

“Some of the trainees said they were interested in making their own short films – so that’s why we then invited Chris Croucher and Katy Milner to come along and speak.”

The Calltime Company follows up by helping secure opportunities for trainees who are keen to go ahead and work in the industry.

FilmFixer manages the film offices for Southwark and Camden Councils, negotiating on behalf of the community to ensure they benefit from the filming.

FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord said, “It’s really important to see film crews respecting and supporting residents. I take my hat off to Proud Films, and their location manager Pat Karam in particular, for everything they did. They set a great example to the industry, by making the donation, funding the training and making themselves available to locals to explain what they do.

“We need to keep working with the industry to ensure Londoners are fully benefitting and getting involved in the filming happening on their doorsteps.”

In addition to the filming in Southwark, another FilmFixer client, Camden, welcomed the team into an empty shop in Kingsgate Road, Kilburn. This became the key location for the bookshop in the film, called Gay’s the Word.

Take a look at a short clip of Dame Judi Dench in Friend Request Pending.

View one of Katy Milner’s short films, called ROGUE.