I wanted to share two particularly poignant emails I have received, both from professional film makers who have suffered personal loss. The first email is from an Irish Director, Paul Brady, who saw Gone Fishing last week and felt compelled to contact me. Second is from our old friend and Gone Fishing Associate Producer, Simon Van Der Spoel, who has featured several times on the blog now, as he has so much passion for the film, and he has also made his own documentary, Spitfire Guardians.
First, here is Paul…
I just want you to know how inspired I was by your truly incredible and beautiful film. It's a fine balance of a movie which treats the audience to an uplifting story and deals with universal themes such as death. My own film Janey Mary deals with universal themes too.
I'll tell you a little about my film. It's set in 1947 against the destitute post WWII landscape and tells the story of a little 5 year old girl who is sent out to beg for food on the streets of Dublin. It's a very emotional story and uplifting too. I was adamant about shooing it on 35mm B&W film stock. Like you I used a top DoP who made my film look wonderful.
My dad had a small part in the film, playing an old homeless man. His scene is what we come to call in movie terms 'movie magic'. When a scene truly lifts off the page and becomes something of its own onscreen. He got to see the final cut just a couple months before he passed away from cancer. He cried watching the whole film and told me he was very proud of me.
Your film, 'Gone Fishing', made me think of both of my parents who are now both passed. Death is the singular most powerful element that will touch all our lives at some point. Your film was like a warm blanket on a cold day when I needed it most.
Paul Brady, Director – Janey Mary
You can watch the trailer for Janey Mary below. If you want to know more about Janey Mary, check out their website.
Here is the email I got from Simon…
I've screened the DVD to my family, and my wife's family and the reactions are the same, the emotions pour out, and they all want to see more. You've managed to package a full feature into 13 minutes, and it truly is an emotive experience. As I said in my previous email, it brings me to tears every time I see it, nor am I ashamed to say that. The music score, combined with the whispered words of solace at the end, makes me shiver, filled with a keen sense of… something indescribable… I can't put it into words actually.
It speaks the loudest to one side of my family and myself for reasons I haven't fully explained.
In the space of 12 months, I've lost two of my younger brothers. Ben, at the age of 17, committed suicide, leaving no explanation as to why, but then depression is the most insidious of diseases of the mind. My other brother Chris, aged 23, was killed in a head on car collision, 10 days before the year anniversary of Ben's death.
It was a bad year to say the least, but one can't linger on the pain of the past, Onwards and Upwards as you say, though I must mention that the blog piece about Bruce Lee's words of "What is…is" strikes a chord. Your film and your words mean a lot.
You once told me that an email I sent resonated with you, but mate, your words, images, sounds and efforts resonate the world over. It has been a privilege to contribute, and I just wish I could contribute more than what I have…
I check the blog regularly, I watch the counter and smile, and I know you can achieve what most of us dream about… but then you're entire message is stop dreaming and start filming…
Simon VanDerSpoel, Australia
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author