When I was 15 I saw a movie that changed my life. In The Name Of The Father is based on the true story of four people falsely convicted of a violent IRA bombing. The injustice made my blood boil and set me on a path to make political documentaries.
Fast-forward twenty years and I’m a film producer living in Dartmouth Park. A fellow producer who lives locally, Christo Hird, mentioned the idea of a local film club and together with his colleague, Matt, we decided to go for it. We knew that lots of film and TV people lived in the area and we hoped to watch each others’ work and build a network of likeminded people. We also wanted to support the Highgate Library which had its budget cut massively recently.
We always have a Q&A afterwards, often with the filmmaker who lives locally. So far we’ve had renowned director Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland, Touching The Void) and double Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man On Wire, Searching for Sugarman).
Our screenings are free to attend, so anyone can come, but we do ask people to contribute what they think the evening is worth, and what they can personally afford, when they leave. As a guide we suggest a donation of “£10 if it was a good night out, £5 if you could’ve had as much fun at home with Netflix and some biscuits, or £0 if it was rubbish”. People donate £7 on average – and this covers our running costs.Our is developing a lovely community vibe: some people bring cakes they’ve baked; we pass bottles of wine around during the Q&A; volunteers put up posters on trees to share the workload; and the family who run Joginder’s Supper Club bring along delicious Indian snacks to every event.
The best moment is seeing people get emotional as they watch. It reminds me of the power of film to move people and the importance of a big screen and a group experience: after the Tom Hardy film ‘Locke’ we all felt as if we’d been on an emotional rollercoaster together.
Sapphire is shown on Monday, April 18 at Highgate Library Civic Centre, Croftdown Road, 7pm. More info: dartmouthparkfilmclub.com