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How I Turned My Brexit Anger Into a Short Film That'll Make No Difference

05/08/2016 10:58

I know, it's not a very upbeat title is it? I doubt any of you are desperately finding the link to my short and clicking on it with fevered anticipation.

We hope that art influences society by challenging opinions, instilling values and translating experiences. But does it? I mean, how much can a comic 7-minute short do? Really? Oh god. Is this film tantamount to one of those rambling and complaining facebook status' I hiss at in my news feed? Probably.

I'm really selling this well, aren't I? But these are the questions that nagged me once I had written this script on that sad Brexit day. (Did anyone ride the tube that day? It was like Elton John had died.) These are the questions that raced through my mind as I desperately pulled together friends and favours to film it. As I watched hilarious actors and talented crew bring my script to life, I was still thinking - why exactly am I doing this?

As a rule, I cringe when actors/film makers/rock stars make a political comment but now I've done it myself and maybe I should go run and hide in the corner of a darkened hipster café in deepest Shoreditch because I know I'm speaking from a place of middle class privilege and patchy knowledge gleaned from late night readings of my Guardian app.

Why did I bother if I knew all of the above? What is politically motivated art there to do? OK... Try this... A song, film or novel can sometimes rouse emotions in those who encounter it, inspiring them to rally for change.

No. That can't be it. This isn't the film to do that. It shouldn't be. I'm not a fan of complaining after the fact. The democratic fact. The decision has been made, things are changing, let's go with them.

But I know I loathed Brexit. I didn't want our country to seem so insular, fear-based and - get ready for this big word - mean. After some reading, googling and chats with friends, that's how Brexit appeared to me.

This short film I made (which you can see here) is how England appeared to me. Like some myopic, ruddy-cheeked simpleton who, harking back to the days of the empire and the moral dark ages, made the blunt choice to cut themself off from a continent oozing with culture, class and history. And decent food. But I know I can't have the whole story. 52% of the population can't all be the lead character in this short. The hapless bloke who doesn't realise what he's got until it's gone. It's just a corner of the story. It's a possibility in the patchwork of reasoning that makes up this mind-boggling, confusing, societal decision.

So maybe this was just for me, maybe it was just a selfish vent on a sad weekend, maybe art can be as simple and small as a dark corner in a Shoreditch café.

'The Exit' was written and directed by Daisy Aitkens and produced by Georgia Tennant. In case you've missed it in this article (doubtful) you can view it here.

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