Red carpet excitement as new film gives people a voice
A GLITZY movie premiere links James Bond and David Beckham with a charity that supports people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. But the real star is the message it sends out.
Witney-based Advance's How To Complain is written and performed by their customers who explain how to tell the charity when it gets things wrong.
"But the underlying wider message is that everyone has the right to voice their concerns, whether it's about a repair Advance hasn't carried out properly, or something more serious, like hate crime."
"Recent scandals, from Winterbourne View to the on-going Jimmy Savile inquiry, are rooted in people feeling unable to speak out," says Advance's Communications & Appeals Manager John Kay, whose organisation also has a robust staff whistle-blowing policy which has been rebooted in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust report.
Firebird Films Director Ross Mackenzie has produced all of the films on the charity's www.advanceuk.org website, but says this is his favourite.
Produced by Dreambase Studios' Mark Kenna, the short film's big stars are the four leading actors - Advance customers Antony O'Dell, Claire Crombie, Paul Ward and Theresa Brind.
They'll get the red carpet treatment at the February 21 golden ticket only film premiere at Witney's Cineworld, which is donating the facilities for the event. "We're delighted to make a special event of what is a very special and beneficial project," says Operations Manager Steve Wright.
Also in the spotlight will be 17 other Advance customers who were involved in the project by helping to write the script providing the sound effects or producing art work shown on the animated backdrop to the action.
It took 17 hours of filming to produce the 7,200 animated frames alone and Ross had to create 25 drawings for just one second image, but he says it was worth it.
"We all had such fun the production team was very sad when we called it a wrap," he says.
"We wanted to do something really special so that even in the credits you don't want to look away.
"Advance people are a joy to work with, and everyone was really excited when I told them the camera we were using came from the same company, Sandstorm Studios, whose kit was used on the James Bond Skyfall film!"
And the football icon link? Well John Kay has a blonde bewigged supporting actor role, and he bent it like Beckham when he broke his metatarsal during big movie crash scene. Becks, you'll remember, did for his before the 2002 World Cup.
"It sounds grander than it was," says John, who also helped provided the film's music track.
"I didn't even know I'd done it until my foot swelled up the next day and A&E identified a disappointingly small fracture.
"That's showbiz and it certainly didn't detract from the enjoyment of making the film, which we're very pleased with.
"It's very creative, quirky and takes engagement to a whole new level. Most importantly, everyone is very energised by it, which means the all important message is being broadcast loud and clear."
PICTURE CAPTION: It's a wrap! The How to Complain stars and film crew. Picture by Lis McDermott Photography
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Media representatives are most welcome to join us at the premiere, at Cineworld in Witney on Thursday February 21 at 10am. The Cinema is at Marriot's Walk, OX28 6GW. Please let us know if you're coming.
2. We can arrange for you to photograph or film the red carpet arrival, at 9.45am, and Advance's John Kay, Firebird Films Ross Mackenzie and Cineworld"s Steve Wright will be available for interview after the screening.
3. You can see the making of the film of the Firebird Films website at http://www.firebird-films.com/index.asp?m=2&;s=0&ss=0&c=1001&v=45#video And the time-lapse short at http://vimeo.com/38580996
4. We can also provide preview copies of the full film.
6. Advance is a 37 year-old national charitable organisation, based in Witney in Oxfordshire, which helps people of all ages with disabilities or mental health conditions live the lives they choose - at home, at work or in the community.
7. Cineworld Witney can be contacted on 0871 200 2000, or log onto http://www.cineworld.co.uk/venuehire/venues/77
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