PISS EYE is an accumulation of memories, feelings and the backwash of growing up in Pitsea, a small town in Essex, on the outskirts of London, which still lays grey, morally malnourished and lacking in hope as Thatcher's Britain and the contemporary forces continue to echo throughout every council estate and corner shop. The title comes from one of the town's earlier names during its existence from over the last millenium, which changed to Pitsea around 70-80 years ago when the boom of new development from the central town of Basildon came around.
A highly personal endevour, which as I stated, is a jumble of personal stories and lore of the lower working class, the never ending cycle of domestic abuse and faded dreams of an escape. I aim to starkly detail a 13 year-old larrikin's disdain with the system set around him, stuck between his abusive Father and his emotionally unstable Mother, feeling as if he has to choose as side.
The project will be written and directed by myself, Reece Hughes, 22. I am, as of writing this, a 2nd year student studying Film Studies & Production at The University of Essex, Colchester. I have produced a handful of projects over the last 5 years, including ME, MYSELF, BLUE, a documentary focussing on a millenial artist's outlooks concerning sincerity and class, two short fiction films: SPACE BOY and THE CHILD OF DESTINY, an experimental video installation piece about dreams sourced from various locals in Pitsea titled EYELID CHATS, and a collection of music videos for local musicians.
The film's lead roll, Louie, will be played by my own sibling, conveniently named Louie. A focus of the project in content will be its projections of reality. The whole of the cast will be compiled of non-actors, as I think the challenge of discovering the truth of the subject lies in collaboration and unpracticed contributions, which will reveal the truths of the system and the area that the actors and myself inhabit. The script is currently under development, but each scene, transcribed often from personal experience, is there and ready to be realized. The film will be an extended short i.e. 30 minutes, but has the possibility to be explored in feature length i.e. 75 minutes, it is all down to how much reality is let through the door during its production, as the actual creation of the film will reveal itself as a product of the process and seep into the product itself.
Stylistically I will be chanelling influences from Mike Leigh and his honest social commentary, Lars Von Trier with his masterful handheld eye and small town/community focussed epics, the blur between real life document and fiction so fluently portrayed in the Maysles Brother's work ala Grey Gardens and the humanisations and ironies of ego and turmoil shown in Rick Alverson's work. I have a selection of local and non-local musicians working on creating an original soundtrack for the project, which will mirror the brutal archetecture and "New Town" false optimism of the setting.
I will be shooting the film over a fair period, trying to capture real life and the mundanities between on my SONY DCR-TRV130E Handheld Digital8 camera, as I think its unembelleshed imagery will only add intimacy and help us persue a flow of conciousness in the narrative and visuals which will enforce our understandings of Louie, a one-eyed soft-at-heart lad searching for an answer amongst the struggles of being a fresh teenager in a struggling household, situated in a bleak surrounding area.
(image by Reece Hughes)
I am aware the project sounds drab and pessimistic, but really I will be trying to deliver it with such sincerity and love, to show to the community and everyone else that these domestic struggles can be condensed into positive creations and to hopefully inspire any creative from all the small towns in Essex and England to look at their troubling situations, past or present, and urge them to rise above them.
With the money pledged I will be looking to purchase my own sound recording equipment to ensure the story has the upmost clarity, which is the first and last production-based task to tick off. The rest will ensure all sets and actors are aplty dressed and comfortable in the lengthy process. Money will ensure deadlines can be met, travel of actors, myself and my team is always secured, and so the final product can be submitted into festivals and spread around to help garner the attention it will rightly deserve.