Discovered at the Edinburgh Film Festival, director SHANE MEADOWS knows a movie a day keeps
the dole man away.
twins: Jason Best
\VllliN ()RSON WELLES made Citizen Kane. he had a Hollywood studio behind him. For his first venture into filmmaking. East Midlands auteur Shane Meadows had the DSS. Surviving on a diet of dodgy noodles, pineapple chunks and peanut butter. he made his first film for a tenner with money saved from the dole.
Only a few years have passed since this humble debut. but at the age of 25. Meadows can already boast an impressive body of work. He‘s written. directed and acted in over twenty
Shane Meadows: Small Time could lead to something altogether bigger
Hoskins. won the critics‘ prize at the Venice Film Festival.
‘l was making films because people in my life inspired me so much.’ says the crop- headed. exuberant Meadows. ‘There was something in my personality that made me want to tell these stories. We’d talk about them down the pub. When I did tell them to people. they were good, but I knew there had to be a way to make them better.’
Meadows stumbled upon the way to do this after being thrown out of a photography course at art college in 1994.
also put an ad in a local paper inviting people to come and make a film in a day. ‘We started off with a Ben-Hur chariot race using shopping trolleys which then turned into a sort of Invasion ()f The anbies.’ he recalls.
Unlike Tarantino and his ilk. Meadows‘s main source of inspiration was his own life. rather than old movies. Small Time. with its line-up of petty thieves. was inspired by the director's delinquent past — he even received a two-year suspended sentence for stealing a breast pump for an impoverished young mother.
‘I wanted to be like John McVicar or Jimmy Boyle when I was a kid.‘ he says. ‘like a crook who was on Central News for robbing
On the same day he came across a film crew from Nottingham’s media resource
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short lilms. ()ne of them. Where's the MOIIC'V, Runnivi’. won the first Channel One/NFT shorts award.
Small Time — an anarchic. wildly inventive hour-long crime comedy about a gang of incompetent pet-food thieves. shot in nine days on video for £4500 — was shown to acclaim at the Edinburgh Film Festival in l‘)9(). Last September. Meadows's first full- length feature Tu'cnivfimi‘Seven. starring Bob
13 THE “ST 20 Feb—S Mar 1998
centre for the unemployed. In return for volunteer work, he was offered free use of the centre’s editing suite and equipment.
A string of short films followed. Meadows showed the results to friends on the Uttoxeter council estate where he lived and before long everyone wanted to get involved. The gang were soon churning out ‘ten-minute comedies and serial killer ﬂicks set on the estate‘ at a rate of one a month.
Meadows set up a video ﬁlm festival in an old ﬂea-pit porn cinema in Nottingham. He
a rare parrot or something like that. I wanted to be one of these loveable crooks. I used to do Cockney impressions and go up to people who were eating sausage baps and pretend they owed me protection money.’
Small Time and Where’s The Money, Ronnie? screen at Glasgow's Gilmorehill Centre on Fri ZOISat 21 Feb and Glasgow Film Theatre on Sun 22 Feb. MentyFourSeven previews at the GFT on Sat 21 and goes on general release on
Fri 27 Mar. See page 28 for review of -
Small Time. A r