It was red carpet time at the Stratford Picturehouse when Warwickshire Young Carers Project premiered a short film made by 17 young carers last Monday.
The youngsters, all from the Stratford and Warwick area, are aged 12 to 19 and are responsible for looking after relatives with disabilities and illnesses. Although there was no actual red carpet at the cinema doorway when Herald arts arrived for the late afternoon screening, we were greeted by a suitably excited crowd waiting to take their seats to watch MUTE, the five-minute film the group had made.
The clever and atmospheric MUTE tells the story of a young girl with catatonic schizophrenia. The film, which was shot on location around Stratford, uses choppy camera angles and atmospheric soundtrack to create the modern tale with a surprising twist at its end.
It stars Jazz Payne and Daisy Williams, both 13 and pupils at Kineton High School. Jazz plays the troubled lead character Rachel. She told us: “Making the film has been amazing, and for it to come to this point is incredible.”
Daisy adds: “I would love to be an actor when I’m older and this gave me real-life experience; like how many times you have to film it to get it right! It’s been cool to work and spend time with friends.”
Mute was made with help from Chris Bradley, of Willowmann Productions, he explains: “I do what you would call participatory film-making, working with young people to give them the skills and professional equipment to make their own film.
“The young carers have devised, scripted, directed and acted it, as well as doing the sound and editing. They took ownership of it, so when they see it on screen today they will be seeing something entirely of their own making.”
Chris adds: “You’ll see it’s quite a dark film. Often there’s a desire to have a happy ending but that’s not the direction the group wanted to go in. From the outset they were quite keen on the horror or thriller genre. At one point they were quite keen on doing a zombie western!”