I hour for TV
40 minute festival ready version
‘An apparently ignorant journalist interviews Dan about living with mental illness. Through a series of surreal flash backs they discover mutual inner peace through their suffering’
Shooting starts on 22nd May for an independent film called ‘Frosted Glass’ that is a semi-autobiographical story written by Asperger’s sufferer and poet, Anthony Fairweather. It is the first feature production for new production company Stretch New Media, who are looking for diverse ways to present stories and voices that are under represented in the media (www.stretchnewmedia.com).
Carlotta Allum, Producer, says “I had been looking at innovative and exciting ways to express the stories of the people that I work with. At the heart of my digital stories is the story of transformation. I saw an opportunity with Anthony’s story to try an innovative process of story development. Uncovering an untold story, that is also connected to the redemptive power of the arts and poetry, this is exactly the film we want to be producing. We have been unable to find any examples of plays or films being written / produced by people with Asperger’s Syndrome, and have discovered that artists with Asperger’s Syndrome are hardly represented within the arts. It is these findings that have inspired us to produce this film, as we believe that people with Asperger’s Syndrome need to be given a voice and role in the Arts as well as in the wider world. We hope that Frosted Glass will encourage others on the Autistic spectrum to become involved in the arts.”
Anthony was undiagnosed until he was 26, his time at school was marred by physical and verbal bullying by pupils and the occasional teacher, along with being stigmatised as the perpetual class misfit. By the time he became a teenager (where the tribal instinct with young adults is at it’s height and anyone ‘different’ is seen as fair game for abuse), he quickly decided that he would not try and pretend to be something he wasn’t in order to be liked. He would much rather be him and take the stick for being so. In 1998 he went away to University to learn how to be a grown up. However, his brain decided it didn’t want to be a grown up and had a nervous breakdown in protest. Throughout 2004 he wrote many poems about his mental state, and they helped him. They did not make him feel remotely happy, but they provided a cathartic process that made him happier. Then in 2005, after seeing some of Spike Milligan’s poems, (both nonsensical and serious) he decided to write lighter poems as well. In the Autumn of that year he returned to University and showed his poems to his new psychiatrist (a Dr. Dawson), who as a result of reading them diagnosed him with Asperger’s Syndrome in early 2006. It was one of the best days of his life as finally he knew why he is like he is.
As a result of his ongoing therapy he decided to write his autobiography which included many of the poems he had written about his mental illness. It was published by Chipmunka publishing and reached No.4 in their Bestseller list. Anthony has included many of the poems and experiences from the book in the film, entitled Frosted Glass. It was at this stage that Anthony became a performance poet. It wasn’t quite stand-up comedy, but close enough. He also took part in and won may poetry slams and became a regular contributor to entertainment programmes on Hope FM radio. As a poet his proudest moment was being chosen to support the legendary John Cooper-Clarke at a sell-out gig in 2011.
Frosted Glass draws upon many of his personal experiences and is intended to promote a better understanding of mental health and related conditions, like Asperger’s Syndrome. Throughout his life, Anthony has had to cope with the discrimination and stigma that many people in his position have had to face. Statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness at some point in our lives, and yet it is one the last great taboos that people are reluctant to discuss and a huge amount of discrimination exists as a result.
Money for the production has been raised from private donations and patrons and Anthony hopes the film will serve as his calling card to be taken seriously as a writer. Director and cinematographer Ben Cole http://bencolecinematographysite.com
who speaks on the film https://www.gofundme.com/frostedglassfilm is very excited about the project. Two fantastic actors are taking the roles of Dan and Jenny in the film, Andrew Dowbiggin http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4138895/ and Rebecca Hutchinson http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3803140/ – Rebecca said of the project, ‘Mental health issues are a subject close to my heart, this a brave and exciting story that will be very well received I am sure’