There are a few reasons why I wanted to make a short film about Preston. The first is because I love the city beyond measure, and the second is because nobody else has done it justice, at least not in video form.Advertisement
There are many great photographers in Preston – one just has to look at the Preston Flickr group to see that – but if your aim is to capture the living, breathing city, and to show it to others, I think photographs can only go so far.
I’d seen Preston in television documentaries and football programmes, and I’d seen Preston in promotional videos for Christmas, and for the University, but they never really resonated with me. Whilst they were technically very good in terms of camerawork and video editing, they’d almost exclusively been directed and shot by people who weren’t from here, and who hadn’t lived here, and who hadn’t grown up here. They never really felt right to me.
I wanted to make a project with the professionalism you’d expect from a television network, but with the soul and perspective of a local. I wanted to make something that I would be proud to show to people and say “this is where I come from,” and to make others as proud of Preston as I am. The aim is to showcase Preston as the great place to live that it is, but to do it in a sincere, heartfelt way as opposed to feeling like I’m running a marketing campaign.
I think the city has a real ‘small town’ image problem, but from my experiences, it seems to be perpetuated and reinforced by people who live here, take it for granted, and don’t know anything about its history or its cultural and industrial impact.
Preston is a great, important and often beautiful city whose rich, 1,300-year history has influenced the development of the country and even the world.
Once upon a time, it was described as an upper-class haven for the country’s entrepreneurial gentry, and was famous for its grand houses, elegant streets and coaching inns. There is still evidence of these times everywhere you look in Preston, but it goes ignored by so many, seemingly whom prefer to put it down at every opportunity because it doesn’t have a Pret-a-Manger on every corner.
Preston is an ancient city with ancient traditions, but also modern and progressive sensibilities. A lot of its places and buildings are record-breaking in one way or another, and it’s a remarkably green city that’s embedded so elegantly in its surroundings; we are so close to nature here in our city. If I can just get a small glimpse of that on film (well, silicon,) I’ll be happy. I want to do Preston proud.
The whole film will be directed, shot and edited by myself in my spare time, so it’s a pretty massive undertaking, especially as it’s not-for-profit. It’s also rare to get a day of what I like to call ‘filming weather’ at this time of the year. The film will be shot at 1080p in cinematic 24fps for a lovely, filmic look. I’m currently toying with the idea of adding a spoken narrative to tell the story of Preston, but I’m undecided so far.
Its ultimate aim is to instill a sense of local pride into the community, particularly amongst youngsters who ought to know what a great and special part of the world they live in. My age group seems to be wholly apathetic towards the place – many even hold disdain for it – and that really bothers me. I just wish they could see the city how I see it, so that’s what I’m trying to do.
Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to put a timeframe on this; I simply don’t know when it’s going to be finished. Working as a one-man-film-crew means I might be restricted on what and where I can film. Additionally, I don’t know where it’s going to be shown, although it will most likely be public domain – think Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr etc.
If this project could potentially pave the way for me to collaborate with Preston City Council on promoting the city in a classy, discerning way in the future, that would be incredible. Right now, though, it’s just a personal project. As I said, it truly is a massive undertaking for one person, and requires expensive equipment, and a whole lot of time. If anybody feels like they could donate a small amount to the project, that would be amazing and much appreciated.
What do you think of Rory’s plan for a short film? Let us know in the comments below