Monday, 4 June 2012

“Hard Time and Great Expectations”

Hard Time and Great Expectations” – a short film based on an extract from “Broken Dreams” by Nick Quantrill

The theme of the 2012 Humber Mouth Literary Festival, maybe not surprisingly, as we celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens is “Hard Times and Great Expectations” With the work of Dickens having obvious links to crime writing, through both its subject matter and its craft, I wanted to find a way of including my work in the programme.

Broken Dreams”, is a crime novel which in part concerns the case of a missing woman.  PI Joe Geraghty is hired by her dying mother, who wishes to make one last one attempt to find her.  More specifically, it’s a story about my home city of Hull and its defining feature, the fishing industry.  But the fishing industry is long gone, effectively dying at the hands of government policy in the mid-1970s.  Being born in 1974, I have no direct line of reference as to how the city was at its finest, but I can see how the effects still trickle down now in terms of unemployment and lack of opportunity for many.  The only conclusion I could draw was that in such circumstances, some people prosper and some people throw the towel in. “Hard Times and Great Expectations” in a nutshell. 

Within “Broken Dreams”, I knew I had a passage, which voiced this.  Geraghty goes to a pub on Hessle Road, once the heart of the fishing industry, to talk to the missing woman’s family.  It’s there that Geraghty learns that her father worked the trawlers that would leave the city for months on end and what a heavy price family life had to pay. 

The Festival organisers liked the potential of the idea enough to commission me to work with a local filmmaker.  I knew of Dave Lee through his work with the Larkin 25 project, but more importantly, the short-film he had made with fellow-Hull writer, Russ Litten, to promote his novel, “Scream If You Want To Go Faster”.  I knew people like Dave and Russ saw the city the same way as I did.  So after thrashing out the details, the scene was moved from the pub to the Pier Head, which overlooks the city’s docks, to allow details of the city’s regeneration and hopes for the future to be included.

The reading of the piece was given by Hull-born actor, Paul Popplewell.  In my naivety, I simply thought was a job suited to the writer of the piece.  I was very wrong.  The two characters are brought to live in a way I could only dream of, and it is no exaggeration to say I could have cried tears of joy when Paul pronounced ‘overdose’ as ‘ova-dose’.  It was the sound of Hull captured in a single word.  The setting was created for Dave to lay images over the top of the reading and his film perfectly captures the beauty and desolation of the industrial backdrop.  As the deal to bring green technology to the Docks of Hull and create thousands of jobs is about to be concluded, I’m proud that the film captures my city on the cusp of a major change.

View the film below!

 Humber Mouth crime event – “Crime Writing and The Humber : The Hardest of Times” – June 28th 7pm £2 (including refreshments) Hull Central Library featuring David Mark, Nick Quantrill and Nick Triplow.

No comments: