Stuart is a young man with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). His life is difficult and a bit of a mess: no job, no girlfriend, no prospects and no dad. A party, a funeral and a wake are part of his journey to happiness, but no road worth travelling is easy.
CLOUDS - my road to Hollywood? (Via Harrogate!)
That's the basic story of CLOUDS, a heartwarming comedy/drama independent film, which yours truly will be IN! Filming took place in Harrogate recently; I'm an extra (here I am during filming, below!) and one of my hearses and an empty coffin were also used.
The film is called CLOUDS because, as director and co-writer Velton Lishke says: "The world can be a scary place for anyone with mental issues. Somehow, lying back - in a quiet place - and staring at the clouds seems to help."
Mental health, including men's mental health, is an issue that is getting aired, but it needs to be discussed even more. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished film and am sure it will provoke some much needed debate.
Award-winning writer David J Keogh and Velton Lishke wrote the script together. It is based on a true story and various true experiences. The pair went to great lengths to show that Stuart could be anyone, with 23 rewrites over a five-month period.
Family issues and childhood upheaval have left Stuart 'damaged', and he can't understand what's going on, or what's wrong with him. "During the film he discovers the root causes of his ADHD and his family and friends help to put him - and his life - into some semblance of order," says Velton. He thinks the film has potential for broadcast in any country "that likes comedy and has mental health issues."
(Here I am again, below, at the back...)
Dave Thorp, director of photography, says Clouds is a story "for all the 'losers' out there, the ones who think they aren't good enough, clever enough, or simply brave enough. Life is there for the taking, right? All you have to do is believe in yourself and take chances instead of spending your life with your head in the clouds."
The crew financed the film themselves and used "ingenuity, experience and the generosity of others to overcome challenges. The production has been possible through the kindness and generosity of family and friends and of cast and crew," says Velton. "Although we produced it on a tight budget it still has to look like a film costing millions - because that's the standard and benchmark alongside which it will be judged."
(Cast and crew - and some extras! - pictured below)
A lot of generosity was on display during the process, adds Dave. "We struggled to find a hospital where we could film a 'bedside' scene. Eventually we were offered the use of 'Change Mobility', a shop that sells mobility and independence aids, including hospital beds. So we recreated a hospital around the bed in the shop, and filmed it there. Then during the funeral scene we were blessed when award-winning South African chef Whaheed Rojan created fine food for the cast and crew on location at St Marks Church in Harrogate."
The film has a cast of 15 and also 20 extras - including me, did I say already?! I can't wait to see it!
Until next time,