From short film to the big screen: why you should get behind this Bristol 80s adventure film

We caught up with the director to find out more about a big project – filming a feature in Bristol

Will Stone’s 80s-set short film The Fence is now sitting at over four million views on YouTube. Filmed on a shoestring budget, its tale of a bike robbery on a Bristol estate has captured fans of brilliant storytelling, vintage sets, and authentically gritty characters. Will, the writer and director of the short, quizzed his dad and drew up the script from real life stories from those that were there at the time. Now, the team behind the short film have their eye on a bigger project – turning the short into a full-length feature film. It’ll be the team’s first, and it’ll all be set in Bristol. We chatted to Will to get the lowdown on how the film is going to be realised with just two people on the team right now – and whether the set will be based near you.

On The Fence’s story

“It all comes from real stories about my dad’s childhood from the late 70s, early 80s. He was born and grew up on the Hartcliffe estate, which is known for being a bit rough in places. I always thought his stories were very funny. It was a very different time back then – school and growing up fighting, and stealing things, and all sorts of hooliganism. But there was also a lot of really good stuff that happened – a lot of morals and principles, and a real sense of community.”

On shooting

“I think we’re going to shoot in August and September. Me and Adam [Will’s business partner and cinematographer] have never made a feature film before. We have never shot anything that was longer than eight days. We’ll try and do some stuff in Hartcliffe, as that’s where it’s set, but it’s going to be tricky, because it’s very, very busy, and it’s full of absolutely full of modern cars. As a period piece, that’s a major issue. I think we’re looking we’re looking to film closer to Warmley, which has an estate of similar architecture, but in a much quieter area. It’s bloody hard to find these buildings. Literally nothing looks exactly right. It’s getting increasingly difficult to try and do a film like this, because loads of things are just getting torn down and remodelled.”

 

On the power of community

“I’d love [emerging filmmakers] to get in touch. We’ve had about 500 applicants to get involved already, and about two thirds of those are for acting, and then the remaining third are people who want to be the part of the crew or want to donate cars. [We] have the application form [on our website] that has a tick box system, and you can tick categories that you’re interested in… maybe camera production crew, acting, or you can say I collect classic cars, you can have one for a week or, my house still looks like it’s from the 1970s! Or you can send us an email. At the moment, we’re still a very small team. We’ll start expanding once we can get some money and we can start paying people. I don’t take a wage for this either. None of the budget actually goes towards me and Adam at all.”

On the importance of spreading the word

“I think we want to raise as much awareness as possible, and we want people to follow along. Follow us on Facebook, check out our YouTube channel and keep an eye out for stuff, because the more followers we have across all our platforms the more successful the film can hopefully be. We’re never going to get millions of people following us, but you need that initial dedicated crowd to go see it and then talk about it to their friends, because word of mouth is statistically the number one reason anybody watches anything. Word of mouth is what we need!”

To get involved with the filming of The Fence and follow its journey, head over to the project’s website now.

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