Round 2: Rissington – 08/04/2017

The Super One Karting Championship started in March (Rowrah, 25/26th)! With her new number 2 plate, Abbi is competing for the win this year. Her class, Junior TKM, has 6 races throughout the year and on 8th April, I went to Round 2 at Rissington Kart Club in the Cotswolds.

Due to late developments and problems with equipment, I arrived at this event just before Abbi was to start heat 1. During qualifying, she earned 2nd spot on the grid meaning she will start 2nd for all 4 of her races throughout the weekend. After the rolling start, she went down to 6th due to a bit of trouble, but crawled back to 3rd during the lap. There was a continuous scrap for the lead within the top 3, and Abbi held 1st place for a while. But with a problem close to the end, she crossed the line a close 3rd place.

Heat 2 saw a problem, where another karter had gone off and the ambulance had to come across also (Motorsport is dangerous)! As the drivers waited patiently on the start line, they restarted the race and from there Abbi dominated in 1st place. Though, she had a problem with the carburetors on her last lap, meaning she was overtaken and finished a close 2nd.

I followed Abbi on and off track throughout the day, and you can clearly see how admired she is by others, in and out of the sport. Although, the camera followed and panned to her movements, I could still hear her name mentioned around me as she raced. In the engineers tents, I filmed as Abbi got a few visitors, including her Tal-ko sponsor, and head of media in Super One. They don’t have to check in, yet, they do when it comes to Abbi. They are ready to nurture her talent, and even caught “a potential Formula 1 driver in her.”

Both Abbi and Andy, as ever, are so lovely to be around, enthusiastic and passionate. Sunday saw Abbi dominate both races by finishing 1st and, therefore, now leads the Super One Championship!

Next up: Race 3 in Dorchester on 3-4th June!

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Autosport Show – 14/01/2017

The Autosport International Show at NEC Birmingham is one of the largest motorsport shows in Europe, and I had the pleasure to gain a media pass to document the event. Mainly to follow Abbi, we filmed her receive different awards and her interviews with other media peoples.

Our first stop was to the British Women’s Racing Driver’s Club Stand, where we met Lorraine Gathercole who is Vice Chair of the organisation. She then introduced us to the three nominees of the Gold Star Elite award: Trish Cecile-Pritchard, Kate Milner and Abbi Pulling! After a quick interview with the three of these (with our extremely limited equipment), we ran over to the MSA stand (Motorsport Association) to film the ceremony. Unfortunately, Abbi didn’t win, but the equally talented Kate Milner did and it was great to see Abbi nominated and recognised for her achievements in Super One.

The MSA also had a Karting Magazine presentation, where Abbi received an award also. After this, we head over to the Super One stand for the official award ceremonies, where we saw Abbi was given her trophy for coming second and her new “Number 2” plate, which she will ride with on her kart this year.

One thing we gained, is that Abbi had changed her tune a little from when I last spoke to her in September. She now is pursuing becoming a Formula 1 driver as her ultimate goal. This is an exciting new dynamic for the documentary!

The Super One season starts March, where we will be following Abbi during her racing season!

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Wyedean Rally – 12/11/2016

Up at the crack of dawn for a drive deep into the Forest of Dean, today was a first step into another segment of the documentary: Rallying. As well as following our main subject in the karting world, it’s equally important to show the world of rallying and the women competing there.

Firstly, Rallying is not circuit racing like F1, karting etc. It’s terrain focused, point A to point B timed driving and set out in stages. There are normally six stages per rally event, each different locations. Wyedean’s were all in the Forest of Dean, near a place called Mitcheldean and primarily gravel terrain.

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The driver we met with was Sara Williams, probably the most successful female rally driver in the UK right now, who has won events and can be spotted in her white and pink Subaru Impreza. After collecting our passes, she met us in the car park and chatted. The plan was to film stages 1 and 4 (once finished, she run the 2nd and 3rd stages straight after each other, and we wouldn’t have time to get to 2 and 3), but before going to number, we’d come back to the services during their hour break to do a short interview with her.

 

Watching and filming the rallying was one of the most fascinating and coolest moments of my life so far. My crew wasn’t sure what rallying was until this point, and I’d told them it was dangerous, so they needed to have their wits about them – and at one point this came into practice when a rogue Ford Escort came off the track and into the crowd nearly killing our sound man!

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Unfortunately, we got trapped in the rally stages and couldn’t make it back to the services in time for the interview, so decided to stay for stage 4 and watch Sara run again. Unfortunately, also, we didn’t see Sara start, and after speaking to multiple marshals and trying not to be ran over, Sara had had an accident during an earlier stage and was forced to retire.

Overall, we didn’t get what we came for, but it was such a fun experience and truly epic to be so close to the rally! I’ve discussed with Sara that we’ll definitely rearrange to interview her soon, probably sometime in the new year.

More pics soon!!!

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Crew selfie from left to right: Jamie (Sound), Oscar (Camera 1), James (Camera 2), Emily (Producer) and Me (Director / Camera 3)

Inside Obama’s White House (2016)

On Monday 14th March I had the privilege of being at BAFTA’s lovely comfy seating about to watch a preview of Inside Obama’s White House (BBC 2 on Tuesday’s at 9pm). As an audience, we were invited to enjoy episode 2, Obamacare. The screening was followed by a Q+A with series producer Norma Percy, executive producers Paul Mitchell and Brian Lapping, and director/producer of episode 2 Sarah Wallis. And enjoy it I did!

Inside Obama’s White House is a four part series concentrating on important moments of Obama’s presidency: economy, healthcare, foreign policy etc. It reminded me of how Sir David Frost’s four interviews with President Richard Nixon focused on similar topics: foreign policy, Cambodia and Watergate. After the screening and watching episode 1 ‘100 Days’ last week, I quickly realised we were in similar territory, and if these documentaries continue as they mean to go on, they could be as historically influential and poignant as the Nixon interviews were.

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What strikes me straight away about this documentary is the level of access the production team were able to receive, which in itself is extremely impressive! This included an interview with the President himself, which was the hardest part according to Series Producer Norma Perry- they were only allowed 40 minutes with him, amounting to a strict 10 minutes covering each topic.

With America in the world’s eye right now because of the presidential campaigns, the elections and Donald Trump being Donald Trump, there are a lot of political based documentaries and dramas crawling onto our screens e.g. Race for the White House, Scandal, House of Cards etc. But we live in a time where documentaries are popular and becoming more and more successful, particularly those that document and focus on America’s society. Most recently and famously Making a Murderer, a Netflix 10-part documentary series focusing on wrongly incarcerated sex offender Steven Avery, who, after his release, went on to also be the primary suspect in a murder case and tried to prove his innocence. Similarly, Inside Obama’s White House also has underlying subtlety about it; it highlights America’s society and all that is wrong with it’s political system.

Many believe, including the American gentleman who spoke up at the Q+A screening, that the election of Barack Obama marked the real end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. It was a turning point, that America had progressed and matured in terms of discrimination and was setting an example to other nations. He was to take over from President Bush who left the country knee deep in the war on terror and facing the worst economic crisis for decades. Episode 1, 100 Days, focuses on how Obama desperately tried to steer America out of the inevitable; the new Great Depression. Episode 2, Obamacare, focuses on how the President tries to fight for a healthcare reform, so that it is fairer and more favourable to all, as everyone has a right to healthcare. The tone of the series is factual, yet the edit includes moments where Obama is dismissed by many Americans. His political endeavours aside, the bottom line is, his years in office were difficult as he was still discriminated against for being a black man.

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It’s with Obamacare we really see how the edit is used to include moments where Obama is undermined every chance given, particularly by the Republican party. They throw everything at him to stop this reform, yet we can see how determined and optimistic Obama is and gives it everything he has to make the reform happen, benefiting hundreds of thousands of Americans. Yet, it’s a bitter sweet victory. With the elections coming up, there is a chance a Republican could gain office. The options are looking like Donald Trump (shivers) or Ted Cruz (shivers), who are both supporters of the Tea Party protesting to undo the reform and Obama’s hard work.

All political talk aside, Inside Obama’s White House is powerful and definitely one to watch. As well as hard-hitting and enthralling, it also has a humorous tone, to reflect Obama’s nature that he is an easy-going man at heart. A favourite moment of mine is the recollection Frank Lutz has when Obama spotlights him during a talk at a Republican event: “if the President points you out and says your name, the only thing you do is try not to faint!”

Inside Obama’s White House was described as a “privilege” at BAFTA, which is correct. As a filmmaker, you only dream to document the most powerful man in the world, therefore this series was a privilege to create, and we as an audience are privileged to have a chance to witness these events and interviews in an intimate manner. The documentary is honest and true to Obama and his years in office and will join many in preserving America’s history. It’s absolutely fascinating and, indeed, a privilege to watch.

M x

Start Your Engines: a Karting Documentary

So I thought I would post something a little different today…

This is a short documentary, myself and 3 friends were responsible for making! This version from friend/camera guy Tom on YouTube is the version we submitted and won ‘Best First Year Documentary’ last year at University! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it!

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