Tuesday, 15 June 2010

After a long absence...

Where did I go? Where da fok did I get to on this blog...

It's bad etiquette just blowing out your blog, but as its a blog and no one can tell me what to do on it, I'm just going to indulge my conscience with a stream of excuse.

The film went totally out of my fairly incapable hands. Will and James started logging the 100 hours of film, and then, slowly, James started to work on an edit that we could take out to investors broadcasters and distributors. This took significantly longer than we ever factored in. I remember when we first went to Passion Pictures (you may know them from such documentaries as the new Rolling Stones one, One Day in September, Age of Stupid and My Kid Could Paint That), who, if Mission is any cop, are going to come on board at distribution and festival time. They asked how long we estimated the edit process would take, and Will said about 6 weeks and they kind of laughed, really nicely, at us.

Meaning. Yes, it is taking a lot longer than that.

And it will probably take a lot longer than the lot longer we imagined. Will and James are busy, they just moved into new (and well-flash) offices, and Mission is a passion project until I can secure some more funding from investors and the UK Film Council. Ah, see it isn't out of my hands.

Creatively though, I had no part in the process so I just carried on being a freelance journalist, doing a bit of telly and radio, and life reverted to normal.

Money is an on-going need and I did get myself out there on Mission's behalf. And doing this I met P.

P is a highly intelligent and accomplished character, who has a life of achievement behind him that I find surreal in its extraordinariness. He has lived in all sorts of interesting places, has climbed mountains, jumped from planes, made millions, he has helped whole towns come into being, and is, I think what they call in finance a big swinging dick without actually being a dick at all.

I was introduced to P by a woman I met while doing Panchakarma in India (she and I bonded over drinking warm ghee daily, which isn't anything I'd recommend in the moment, but I sure felt good when it was over and all my 'doxins' had released themselves). The woman listened to me talking about Tom and about our Mission to Lars and a penny dropped, "I think I know someone with F-X" she said. This was P. She asked him for some money for our film and he invested the largest sum of anyone. When we had shot the film I wrote to him saying thanks and describing some of our experiences.

A month or so later I went to visit. P has partial mutation F-X, this is what carriers have, while Tom has full mutation, which causes the mental disability - what I should, in PC terms, label his learning difficulty. Partial mutation can mean many things, it means you may pass F-X on to your children; it means you may develop depression, experience early menopause, it means that, particularly as a male, you are likely to develop an age-related neurodegenerative disorder, specifically fragile x associated tremor ataxia syndrome, somewhere in your early old age. and this is what happened to P.

I've been to visit P a few times now. And it's not really for me to write about his condition or his circumstances, but F-X has blighted his later life alright. safe to say that. he has this fierce superior intellect, he is connected to all the right people, he is treated by the world's foremost medical and clinical experts in the F-X field, Randi and Paul Hagerman (see blogs passim), he has permanent, gentle, superior care givers. He is, all things considered, fortunate - relatively. he is fortunate because, for no reason other than this, he knows the cause of his mystery illness is the inherited lack of a specific protein that causes Fragile X.

Randi Hagerman suggested to me that there are many millions of people around the world affected by F-X, including doctors, who have no idea what Fragile X is. If we can make an entertaining film AND provoke more interest in this little known, yet widely suffered, condition, then we will have achieved something.

Thing is, without the entertainment, the education won't happen.

So its all well and good feeling noble and that but its of no use in making watchable films.

Thankfully Will and James don't have delusions of self-importance and nobility, and it is in their hands at the moment. All I have to do is find money and fill out film fund forms. Which I return to doing now.

Nose turns grindstonewards... x