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Capturing life with Tourette's on film

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A 22-year-old from Stratford has set up a fundraiser to cover the costs of a short film about Tourette’s and the struggles of living with the condition.

Tourette's and I co-writer Will Spires. Photo: Mark Williamson T30/11/21/8763. (53453644)
Tourette's and I co-writer Will Spires. Photo: Mark Williamson T30/11/21/8763. (53453644)

Will Spires, from Banbury Road, has completed the final draft of his script, Tourette’s & I, with co-writer and director Jack O’Sullivan – who has the neurological condition – before the two hope to begin filming in London in the new year.

The short film follows Liam, a young man with Tourette’s, as he attends a job interview, something based on director Jack’s own experiences of the condition.

Will explained: “Jack has Tourette’s, and he really struggles with it. I had a basic knowledge and he’s very much informed me on his experiences of it.

“He wanted to make the film to raise awareness of the subject and highlight the struggles people with Tourette’s go through, and I really wanted to get on board. I’m always looking to get involved and make projects, especially if they can help people.

“I would frame the film as a day in the life of someone with Tourette’s, highlighting the struggles people go through living with the condition. We see how other people interact with his condition on the way to this interview. I guess it’s about finding a light at the end of the tunnel, relating to the experiences of people we’ve spoken to, as well as those of the director himself.”

Tourette’s Syndrome, or TS, is an inherited neurological condition that results in involuntary sounds and movements, and is often misunderstood as involuntary swearing, something only 10 per cent of people with TS experience, according to support and research charity, Tourette’s Action.

It’s estimated that the condition affects one school child in every hundred, with over 300,000 children and adults in the UK living with the condition, and many who suffer with it also experience co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, OCD and anxiety disorder.

The film is being produced by Sarah Leigh of Inclusivity Films, who are committed to both authentic casting and having at least 50 per cent of their cast and crew on all projects being disabled or neurodivergent.

Will said: “The lead actor of this film will be someone with Tourette’s. We never considered having anyone who didn’t have the condition, because we wanted to truly commit to it.

“I think it’s really important that everyone gets a seat at the table and everyone gets a chance. It’s nice that this project lends itself to more than just the subject matter, it’s all based around looking for more inclusivity and awareness.

“I’ve never worked on a project like this before, I’ve always had my own little ideas, whether that’s fantasy or crime, but this is something that’s very real to a lot of people working on this film.”

The production company have set up a GoFundMe page to fund the production costs, which have been budgeted at £7,000, as Will explained: “It’s not only to have good locations and good quality equipment, we want to pay everybody a decent amount.

“Being a student filmmaker, I’m used to not getting any pay, but it’s about taking that next step as a company. Sarah’s been excellent but the fund can help us get there bit by bit. We’re very optimistic about it.”

To donate to the production company’s GoFundMe page visit www.gofundme.com/f/tourettesawarenessdrama

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