PFI Filming – 17/09/16

17th September saw a small crew of us heading up North to Grantham and it’s PF International Kart Circuit. This included our two producers Emily and Kyle, camera operator Rachael, sound recordist Jamie and myself directing.

Immediately we realised how we underestimated the sheer size and numbers of people involved in the Superone karting championship. There were motorhomes and trucks lined up and so much hustle and bustle. As soon as we stepped out from the cars, the revving of engines hit us straight away – we all couldn’t help but be excited already.

Staying with Abbi and Andy most of the day and filming, I got to know them both and slowly learnt more and more about the car and the championship she competes in. Abbi is a Junior TKM karter and a works driver with Tal-Ko, her number 49 on her kart and she hopes to get into single seater race cars soon (she’s testing a Ginetta in October).

We confirmed then that a crew would follow her racing season in 2017, whatever she decides to do. This would be our documentary’s narrative arc.

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Our Subject – 14/09/16

Today I confirmed with a young driver and her father that they would be involved in our documentary as our main subject!

Her name is Abbi Pulling and we plan to meet them at a testing weekend at PF International circuit in Grantham on 17/09/16. This is to initially meet her and her father Andy, conduct a first interview, film some of the karting action and get a general idea of what to expect from a karting championship.

Abbi is exactly the kind of subject we wanted for this documentary; she’s quick, determined, consistently winning races and giving the boys a run for their money.

Consistently finishing in the top 3 (against 29 boys) and setting fastest laps, 13 year old Abbi joined Super One National TKM Junior Championship as a Tal-Ko works driver in March 2016. She’s won multiple awards which include the BWRDC (British Women’s Racing Drivers Club) awards for Karting, Top Junior Driver and the premier award, the Mary Wheeler Trophy for overall club champion, the youngest ever winner.

Spotlight (2015)

Winner of the ‘Best Picture’ academy award this year, Spotlight is one of the most spine-chilling true story cinematic experiences I’ve sat through. In January 2002, not long after 9/11, the city of Boston picked up their Boston Globe newspaper from their front step with the headline “Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years.” It’s the story that encouraged so many abused survivors to speak out. And the film conveys the same force and powerful message, and makes for an evocative journey.

When the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

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Spotlight‘s brilliance relies heavily on it’s dot-to-dot pace; we follow the team trying to join them up to unravel a scandal that just expands each time a passing comment turns into a discovery of another priest or victim. It cuts back and forth between victims stories, to one of the team chasing a new lead, back to another in the Court House. The further they delve, the more we witness the fear and paranoia that takes it’s toil on each member who are living in a majority Catholic Boston. Some have kids, some know victims and they each know how narrowly they escaped: “it could have been you, it could have been me, it could’ve been any of us!”

Another factor of Spotlight‘s brilliance is it’s underplayed cast. Michael Keaton is on top form as veteran editor Walter “Robbie” Robinson. Rachel McAdams is at her best as Sacha Pfeiffer, playing comforting and fierce all at once. Liev Schreiber is Marty Baron, non-Bostonian and non-Catholic, and is the new Editor of the Globe, here to make an impact. Brian d’Arcy James, John Flattery, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci are also all excellent, driving the film forward. But the true standout among them is Mark Ruffalo as the tenacious, hard-working Mike Rezendes.

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The victims’ stories of abuse and turmoil are so touching and so real, yet aren’t hammed up for the purpose of Hollywood. As Tom McCarthy and Stanley Tucci’s Mitch Garabedian reminds us, this is bigger than Boston and bigger than America; this is Global because “if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” The Church is portrayed as this completely untouchable entity by any distraught parent, lawyer, judges or the police itself: “no-one wants to cuff a priest.”

This is investigative journalism at it’s best, and the choice to tell their story of uncovering the scandal rather than the victim’s itself is original, bold and why this film works. It’s gripping from start to finish, and the ending gives me goosebumps every single time. In my opinion, Spotlight is one of the most important and powerful films produced in this century so far.

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