Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sign off

My work in Newcastle was completed at about 4pm yesterday, when a delegation of the great and the good from the BBC came to view the film. The response was extraordinarily positive. There were tears and laughter and a genuine sense that what we'd made was perhaps the best thing that BBC up there had ever done. 

I went for a drink afterwards with Nell. The two of us were the double act who kept the project on track and lit the lanterns which led us through the darkest patches. We toasted the end of the project with a sneaky G and T and I returned to London feeling relieved, radiantly happy, nostalgic, tearful and incredibly grateful to the wonderful people of the North East and Cumbria for commissioning the film, making it happen and, above anything else, being brave enough to take part. 

I got home, and for some time, sat looking at the DVD of the film, wondering if I'd ever be brave enough to watch it. It takes guts to watch or listen to something for the first time in the cold light of day. Fortunately it looked as good on the telly as it had in the edit suite, and I watched it about eight times in a row, weeping like a little child whilst feeling deeply proud. 

It's such a unique film, as much a social project as it is a work of art. Each person in the film says a simple sentence about their life in 2012, and as the participants move from childhood into old age, their obsessions move from something as simple as learning to ride a bike without stabilisers, through the existentialism and naked ambition of adolescence, the sometimes frantic attempts to find stability in one's 30s and 40s to the pain of losing life-long companions. Those who reach their 90s genuinely seem fairly thrilled simply to be alive. 

The ageing process is imperceptible throughout the film, as it is in life... Suddenly, you're aware that you're staring at a 100 year-old without really knowing where the years went.

It's a remarkable project and I can't wait to share it with the world.


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