SCHOOL PORTRAIT (2011)

I was traveling in Italy last year when I had an idea about a school photographer who was having a bad day - seemed like a great excuse to work with Jonathan Rhodes. Producer Michael Berliner came on board and together we found Shirley High School and Stuart from Stagecoach, who introduced us to a wonderful group of kids who were excited about being involved.

The aim of the film was to tap into the nostalgia for peoples’ school photos: tie dye backgrounds, bright coloured uniforms and cheesy grins. It was actually proved quite difficult getting the sky blue mottled background I vividly remembered from my school’s photos and we had a bit of adventure tie dying bedsheets with different combinations of dyes after the internet came to our rescue: http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/MakingBackDrops.asp

Whilst we knew the set up of an embittered photographer telling it like it is to 6 year olds would be funny, we also wanted to make the photographers' lines resonate more widely by tapping into the series of depressing events happening in the world right now. Sadly, much of what is said to the kids is indicative of the pretty gloomy future facing this generation. Hopefully the end of the film shows that no matter how cynical you are there are always things that can give us reason for hope!

FULL GALLERY

BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS

The kids were fantastic on the day. The dialogue you hear wasn’t delivered directly to them as we didn’t want to expose them to the character’s true cynicism. We used lighter dialogue to get the right reactions for the edit but the kids also came up with some hilarious improvisations of their own. After improvising around filling out a tax return, Jonathan asked Kian if he had filled his out and he straight bat answered ‘No, because I don’t want to!’ The crew were also brilliant and delivered some lovely little details in the production. Well done folks!