Filmmaker Ryan Morris, 26, grew up in Southmead. Now he’s coming back to his roots to film his new short film ‘Joe Was ‘Ere’. The film follows an eleven year old boy as he tries to connect with his Mum, who’s in with the wrong crowd and suffers from heroin addiction.
The team have partnered up with local charities such as the Southmead Project and the Southmead Development Trust to raise awareness of how substance abuse is seen.
The Mead wanted to find out more about the project – what the team hope to achieve and how residents can be involved – so we asked Ryan a few questions. It was a pleasure to talk with him and to wish him good luck. The project sounds amazing and The Mead will keep you up-to-date on its progress.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a young filmmaker at the beginning of my career. When I was nine or ten I moved to Southmead after my grandmother got sick and my family moved to be closer to her. During this time I lived in Ringwood Crescent and it was here that not only did my family life get very difficult but that I also found my love for cinema. I remember, as clear as day, thinking that one day, somehow, I was going to make a film in Southmead.
I’ve got a history of making short films, and this is my first fifteen minute film. When I was growing up in Southmead I dreamed of making films and now I want to make stuff that is authentic, and for me that’s looking at problems in the real world and shining a light on them.
Tell us more about ‘Joe Was ‘Ere’?
‘Joe Was ‘Ere’ is a short film (fifteen minutes) about a lonely eleven year old trying to connect with his heroin addicted Mum. It’s an exploration of things that are really personal to me such as loneliness, isolation and looking for family. But it’s also looking at stuff that’s really important as well like substance abuse and how that affects kids in those families.
It’s really come from a place of me knowing these other kids as I grew up, whose parents had a problem, and how it affected them. It was something that was really taboo, that you couldn’t talk about, and it became this demonised thing, and these kids had to grow up very fast.
What do you hope to achieve with this film?
Really, it’s to start a conversation, to change the way people see this and remove the stigma so people can get help. We’re not looking at drug abuse in a sensationalistic way, but in an empathetic way. It’s a problem that affects every town in the UK, so why can’t we talk about it?
When I was writing the film I reached out to Bristol charities such as Hawkspring and Nacoa, who work with children and families 1:1 and really see that everyone suffers when a parent falls to substance abuse. I also met Dr Mike Peirce from the Southmead Project. He was a great influence, just speaking about his experiences as a child and how he turned that into helping others really informed the film and inspired me. I want to champion the work these amazing groups and people do through the film as well.
Why do you want to film in Southmead?
I could have shot this anywhere as the community is never named or referenced in the film, but I’ve always wanted to be true to myself. When I think about who I am, I’m working class, I’m Bristolian, I had to shoot this somewhere personal to me.
Growing up in Southmead really shaped me, and I’ve got a lot of love for this place. I wanted to champion the area as somewhere to film and work with the fantastic community; we’ve asked a local business to do our location catering, and with the help of the Southmead Development Trust we’ve set up a base at their Greenway Centre. None of this would be possible without the amazing community spirit in Southmead, it’s such a fantastic and loving place.
Visually, it’s also very beautiful. My childhood bleeds a lot into this film, images of lying in the grass, the sun between my hands, red brick houses etc. The way the estate bleeds into the fields and woodland is incredible. I’m really looking forward to capturing this in Southmead this summer.
How can residents get involved or help?
Please watch our introduction film to find out more about the project here> It’s part of our kick-starter campaign to raise additional funding to help get the film made.
Also, we’re looking for houses to film in, so if anyone’s interested please contact my producer Amir (on the left here), email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anything else you want to add?
Just that I can’t wait to start filming in Southmead and really look forward to showing the film to the community when it’s done!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.