Can Lindsay’s love for her husband Paul sustain her through the trauma of his brain injury, which leaves him in a perpetual loop of memory loss and joke-telling?
Interview with Director Hannah Currie
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I have wanted to make this film for a long time. Ten years ago, my uncle Paul suffered a brain injury and the series of complications that followed left him with neurological side effects – including short term memory loss and, fascinatingly, the propensity to tell jokes repeatedly. My aunt Lindsay has stood by him through very challenging times – even when friends and family members have peeled away, she has stayed. They live in the remote Wicklow Mountains of Ireland which makes things even more isolated. I was interested in their relationship and her incredible resilience.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
At its heart, the film is about love and identity and I think we can all relate to those themes deeply. But more than that, Lindsay and Paul are just the sweetest, funniest characters and I think you’ll enjoy spending ten minutes with them! The film straddles the line between laughter and tears, because their life is a little like that. The humour can help ease the trauma but it can also exaggerate it sometimes too, because it is a noticeable part of Paul’s injury.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film is highly personal – you can hear my interaction with Lindsay and Paul from behind the camera and you can feel the trust and love between us. But the themes at play are highly universal: love, relationships, identity. What happens to these things when you can’t remember? What can we learn from two people who have been tested to their limits and keep on going?
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The film was made as part of Scottish Documentary Institute’s Bridging the Gap Scheme, therefore it underwent three months of intensive development before I pitched it for funding. Twelve films underwent development and then five received funding to go into production, and I was lucky enough to be one of those five. The film changed a lot during that time. There were things I wanted to include – like some of the friction caused by my uncle’s maladaptive health behaviours (he smokes and drinks and he shouldn’t); and the difficult financial situation they find themselves in because Paul can no longer work like he used to… but the remit of the Bridging the Gap scheme is to make a short film approximately ten minutes in length, and it quickly became apparent that I would need a much longer film to cover all of the complexities of their relationship. It is my intention to develop and make a longer film in the future.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been unexpectedly wonderful. Making a film about my family was much more difficult than I’d anticipated, and when I finished it I thought it was terrible. But then I started to hear from film festivals that I could only dream of being a part of and they wanted to show my film! (Thanks to Scottish Documentary Institute for distributing the film). Then, we heard words that the film was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award – the ultimate honour! The ceremony is on 3rd November. In terms of personal feedback, people just seem to love my characters, which is wonderful because I love them too and I’m proud to share them with the world.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Absolutely. I am highly self-critical and I really convinced myself the film was no good, but now I accept that I was being too hard on myself. I am looking forward to watching the film with audiences and viewing it through their eyes. The best experience of making films is watching them with other people and feeling their reaction first hand.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am grateful for any and all opportunities to talk about the film and it’s so lovely to be a part of the global filmmaker community – a dream come true – so I was delighted to hear from We Are Moving Stories. What a cool platform! I’m privileged to be a part of it.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above! I’m brand new to this game so I’m very happy to hear from anyone who is interested in helping me move my film projects forward and get them seen by wider audiences. I have two further documentaries in development, which I believe are very strong; plus another completed film (the award-winning We Are All Here, which tells the story of the suicide of 21-year-old Glasgow rapper Lumo). And, as mentioned, I have hopes and ambitions to develop That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore into a longer film.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
A warm, fuzzy, heartfelt one, which leaves people thinking about love, family, relationships and resilience. Maybe someone in the audience will go home that night and hug their nearest and dearest a little bit tighter – that would be just fine.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
If your partner was to change irreversibly, would you stay or would you go?
Would you like to add anything else?
I am bringing my aunty to DOCNYC and Cucalorus with me to watch the film and partake in the Q&A. She is very excited – these festivals are a long way from the abandoned farmland where she lives. She works tirelessly as a nurse and never gets holidays, so it means the world to me to bring her along on this adventure. So if you see the film, or see us, please come and say hi and tell us what you think!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
My Producer Beth and I are working on our next project, a documentary about a self-taught painter from Glasgow called Ross Muir who has overcome tragedy to become one of Scotland’s most successful artists. He is wickedly funny and highly entertaining to spend time with; but his story is not a simple one and sometimes his demons threaten to undermine his success.