A short film from Edinburgh is about to take on Hollywood when it’s screened in the Quentin Tarantino-owned Regent Showcase Cinema in California on Thursday 16 December.
Mum’s Birthday is a low-budget drama from writer/director Graham Fitzpatrick, the film focusing on the relationship between teenager Stephen (Chris Robertson) and his dad, Alex (Elek Kish), when they’re left to fend for themselves following the departure of Stephen’s mother from the family home.
Developed with resources from Edinburgh’s filmmaking hub, Pilton Video, and featuring new actors discovered as part of a programme designed to give teenagers from local schools and residential homes the opportunity to take part in acting workshops, the project began in May 2009.
Producer Sarah Drummond and Graham Fitzpatrick worked closely with professional actors Elek Kish and Tam Dean Burn to workshop scenes which would eventually form the basis of the script for Mum’s Birthday. The experience of family breakdown was the main theme which all contributors agreed should be at the heart of the film.
With funding secured from Creative Scotland’s Creative Identities programme, Mum’s Birthday went into production in December 2009, the resulting production earning column inches in local newspapers and now recognition from the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, which takes place between 14 – 16 December 2010.
Speaking to ReelScotland, Graham Fitzpatrick said: “The whole team are honoured to be chosen from thousands of films worldwide to be screening in Hollywood. Mum’s Birthday means a lot to everyone involved and came from the heart, for me personally, losing a partner to cancer, for the young people, living in care and coping with life away from parents and siblings, whilst others grew up in single parent households in tough Edinburgh housing schemes.
“Our hopes for the future are that each youngster goes on to use their undoubted talent, on and off screen, to enjoy a career they never dreamed of having before this experience. For ourselves as filmmakers, the aim if for this story to be realised at feature length, alongside others we’re currently developing.”
The film’s progress can be followed on the Mum’s Birthday blog, while a behind-the-scenes documentary shows some of the work which went into making the film: