We caught up with Nathan Glendinning ahead of his Random Acts film The Boneyard, screening on Channel 4 on Thursday 17 November 2016 at midnight.
In The Boneyard Nathan creates a eulogy for the industrial past of his home town of South Shields, combining audio from research trips with newly shot sequences that explore the relationship between the past and present.
Nathan is a recent graduate of the University of the Creative Arts where he studied Film Production. He currently works as a runner in the television industry as well as writing and directing his own independent films.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @NathanGlen
Why did you apply to Random Acts?
I had recently graduated from university and had a lot of creative ideas flowing in my head but lacked the access to make them come to life, Random Acts seemed like the best way to sharpen the skills I’d already made while making new ones.
How did you hear about Random Acts?
I was passed on the information from a friend who knew I had an idea for a short film. I had watched Random Acts previously and always admired the broad and varied work of talented individuals.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
I returned to the North after three years living away for university. On my return I needed to find something new, something that inspired me. I realised there was a rich history in the town of South Shields that I had never looked at before – and after hours of hiding away in archives in the local library I found this rich history of the shipyard industry and its effects on the River Tyne. All of this has gone now and I wanted to find out why.
Tell us a bit more about how you brought your idea to life.
I had studied local history for a long time, and thanks to the guidance of Tyneside Cinema I was able to look at my research from other perspectives. I decided to take an alternative route to retell this history: after careful selection, we travelled around interviewing those that had worked in the shipyards, collecting everything they had to say. In each conversation I always tried to slowly direct it to the darker, more personal aspects of their past.
Tell us a bit more about the whole Random Acts experience. Did everything go as you expected or were there unexpected aspects?
I intended to go forward with a nostalgic memorial as my film, however, throughout the vigorous exercises and mentoring, I came to realise this was an overdone format which didn’t really say what I intended. I realised that what really shook me was the stories I would hear about the injuries, mutilations and deaths of men that worked on the shipyards. I realized these men were carrying a burden, a story which we needed to remember them by.
In a few words, what’s the best thing about Random Acts?
Random Acts gives you access to freely be creative, but also pushes you to become a stronger artist and create a piece of work even better than you intended in a friendly environment.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying this time around?
Be strong with your idea, and make sure it is something you are passionate about, but don’t be afraid to spin the idea on its head and go towards an unknown route which could make a stronger film.