DocLab 2018's Preston on the inspiration behind his latest documentary project.
This new short documentary explores masculinity and mental health through one man's mission to fundraise for charity.
I was going back to my hometown Burnley in Lancashire to visit family, and I’d checked the local paper for any new things going on. I’d read there was a bloke who was running to all the Burnley Football Club away games, all to raise money for local and mental health charities. My last doc was around the young men’s mental health so I was intrigued how different it would be for the older generation. I was interested in how someone had the mindset to run over 3000 miles in one season and it turned out Scott had a few problems of his own. When first chatting with Scott he asked the question, are we all running away from our problems? Scott and I discussed his story and the project for many months as I pitched the short documentary to a number of platforms. I pitched the doc under Copa90’s Creator Commission programme, a grant of £1000 to make a film about a local football story; along with the help of The Kit Room I had access to all the tools I needed to tell the story. This story was about a man from Burnley who was doing something extraordinary, touching football fans at every stadium he ran to as well as receiving messages from around the world.
I thought it was important to go back to the roots of how Scott’s mental health had developed, after moving to South East Asia working politically with some very graphic cases in crimes against humanity. Then his decision to come back to Burnley to find some space, only to find those problems still existed. He had found running to be a very positive solution to his mental health and had put his career on the back burner to take on his biggest challenge, Runaway - running to every away game. We quickly found I couldn’t run too quickly with the Sony FS7 to every game but found those moments when he arrived at the stadium were profound, after sometimes running up to 200 miles a game to be greeted by other football fans asking about his story and why he is running. Scott had a lot of people who wanted to join along the way and support wherever they could, but I think his mate Paul summed up the Burnley mentality of grafting and how someone turning 50 can still get out there running too. With the support of Burnley F.C’s In the community I was also able to film inside Turf Moor Stadium on Super 8 film, taking us back to the roots of what it means to be from Burnley and the experience of being a football fan.
Scott’s story was very complex and challenging to condense into a 10 minute film; with his many jobs in different parts of Southeast Asia and other hurdles in his life but he had ultimately found his solution was running long distances, that had even stirred conversations with older men and lads as young as 9 years old. I’m very thankful to Copa90 in letting tell a regional story, with the help of The Kit Room I was able to shoot something in my hometown and all the football charities that gave me access into all football grounds. I’m personally thankful to Scott for letting me tell his story, a Burnley story, that is already creating a more positive conversation on men’s mental health. I look forward telling new stories with other platforms and creating new films about; sport, working class, masculinity and British culture.
Begin your own career in TV, working on exciting and important projects like Preston, and apply to Grierson DocLab 2019 now. Applications close Friday 15 March 5pm.
Published: 27 February 2019