In Memory of Jack and Paul
This documentary tells the true story of Claire Throssell who has faced parent's worst fear, the loss of her children. On the 22nd October 2014 during an access visit Claire's two young children, Jack and Paul, were lured by their father, Darren Sykes, into the loft to play with a new model railway set. He then barricaded them inside and set fire to the family home.
After cradling Paul as he died in her arms, Claire sat by the bedside of Jack who died from his injuries six days later. It became apparent in the aftermath of the tragedy that Darren Sykes had cancelled their house insurance prior to setting it alight, leaving Claire without a home. Claire had lost everything. Bereaved and depressed, many of her close friends and family were concerned for her wellbeing.
The remarkable community of Penistone rallied together to offer Claire support. It became a priority to raise the funding necessary to buy her a new property. After various charity networking events, it became clear that the sum of money raised would not be large enough to allow her to buy what she needed. One thing that members of the local community could offer was their time and labour services. Men and women of different trades came together and transformed her ruined house into a new home. Claire was then able to sell this house and buy herself a new property in the area where she lived and her boys were raised.
Part of Claire’s journey was being able to find new meaning in her life after the tragedy. She has since devoted herself to change the law in order to protect victims of domestic abuse, especially children. Thanks to Claire’s ongoing work cross examining of victims in courts is now illegal. This is her legacy to her boys.
Our documentary explores the lives of some of the people who contributed to Claire’s journey of recovery. We offer a window into the day-to-day lives of some of the people involved in the aftermath. It is ultimately a story of how in this time of crisis, the small rural community of Penistone came together to offer practical and emotional support to Claire.
One of the ways in which our documentary will be authentic is through its style. The stylisation of our interviews will vary depending on the subject of the interview. Our aim is to show the occupation of each of the interviewees through the location of the interview. For example, when a firefighter is interviewed, it may take place in a fire station. Having relevant props in the background should remind the viewer of the subject’s occupation and their respective contribution to Claire’s recovery.
Another way in which we aim to be artistically authentic is to present several events through animation sequences. These sequences include the fire that destroyed Claire’s property and the joint funeral of the two boys where a ‘circle of love’ was formed by members of the community by joining hands outside the church. If other stories emerge during the course of our findings they may also be animated. These sequences should tell the story more emotionally than the information drawn out from interviews. They will be hand drawn, two dimensional, and animated with black ink on a sepia background.
We also plan to access archive films of Penistone and the surrounding area of Barnsley. These grainy black and white images will illustrate the longevity of the Penistone community. Depending on the material, we would also like to recreate some of the footage. For example, shots of historical buildings that still remain in their original condition, such as the train station, the viaduct, and part of the town centre.
After the fire, Claire grieved partially through the social media platform, Facebook. She wrote several poems in which she poured her heart out about the loss of her two children. People responded with messages of kindness. This documentary will create individual short films to accompany Claire’s poems. These short films will be experimental. Abstract in their use of colour, editing, sound design, and image manipulation. We would like to shoot the footage required for these sequences with a Super 8 camera.
Director - Saul Tyler
Saul, a recent graduate from the University of Lincoln's LSFM school is an exciting new filmmaker. A direct product of BAFTA nominated director, Phil Stevens, Saul Tyler describes his style of filmmaking as 'unique, raw and meaningful'. His final year student short psychological thriller, 'Jessica' received a great reception from critics, as well as two Royal Television Society awards for Best Drama and Best Editing at the RTS Student awards in 2017. Saul draws inspiration from documentary filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Molly Dineen, and James Marsh, admiring the directors for their observatory approach to filmmaking, and particularly their close relationships with their subjects. The son of two illustrators, Saul likes his films to include a multitude of different art forms within his films.
Jessica (2017) won best drama and best editing craft skills awards at 2017 Royal Television Society Midlands Student Awards. Directed by Saul Tyler.
Producers - Patrycja Reimus & Ben Reynolds
Patrycja is a Media Production graduate from University of Lincoln as well as an MA graduate from Norwich University of the Arts in Moving Image and Sound. She has produced multiple short films and worked on experimental films. She is also a Norwich based artist with her most recent moving image installation being Praxinoscope Theatre of Horrors presents The Decapitated Head of Mr Doe.
Jessica (2017) won best drama and best editing craft skills awards at 2017 Royal Television Society Midlands Student Awards. Produced by Patrycja Reimus.
Ben is a Lincoln based film producer and runs his own production company called Green Eden Films. He is also an Arts and Publicity Assistant at Stamford Arts Centre. Same as Patrycja he is a recent University of Lincoln graduate in Film and Television.
Cinematographer - Jack Shelbourn
Jack is a Director of Photography, Camera Operator & Lecturer based in Lincoln, UK. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of both BECTU & UCU unions. He focuses on Digital Cinematography, utilising Digital Cinema cameras, LED lighting in addition to traditional camera and lighting equipment. Jack is the Student Engagement Champion for the school of Film & Media. He encourages and reports on projects where academic staff and students collaborate and work together on Practice & Research. Jack has shot films across the UK and Europe, working with local and foreign crews.
Jack was the cinematographer on the 'Imagine' short film dealing with the effects of Niemann Pick Type C on children and their families. The story was inspired by the life of Molly, a 10 year old girl suffering with the disease.
Editor - Isaac Tingey
Isaac is a recent graduate form University of Lincoln in Media Production. He is currently working commercially worldwide. He has vast experience in video editing which is evident in his portfolio.
Jessica (2017) won best drama and best editing craft skills awards at 2017 Royal Television Society Midlands Student Awards. Isaac Tingey was the cinematographer.
Sound - Paul Thompson
With over 20 years of experience in sound Paul was a prolific alternative rock musician in a band called ‘Globo’. They are currently based in Norwich and regularly put on shows. He is also a recent Moving Image and Sound graduate from Norwich University of the Arts. For his final project, Paul has created a musical for which he also produced music for. He has recorded sound on many international film productions. He is a big fan of integrated sound and likes to produce sound for productions from start to finish including the score.
Like Sunday | A night out takes a surprising turn in Ella Glendining's short film
OTHER MEDIA ON CLAIRE'S STORY
Women's Aid - https://www.womensaid.org.uk/childfirst/
BBC – The appalling cost of domestic abuse by Claire Kendall and Jeremy Cooke
The Guardian – ‘He saw our children as possessions': my husband killed our sons.
ITV News - Mum whose sons were burnt to death by their father demands more protection against domestic abusers
Independent - 'It took just 15 minutes for my life to end and my existence to begin' - mum tells how ex-husband killed their two boys
BBC Look North - Claire Throssell talks about the help from the community and Claire’s work with Charity Heads Together Barnsley
We tried our best to obtain resources for free from generous and creative individuals who are on board with this project but we still need to pay for basic costs such as travel and food. Here is our budget breakdown of what we still need funding for:
Score - £200
Animation Sequences - £1,250
Distribution/ Festival Fees - £300
Transport - £500
Food - £100
Other - £150
The bare minimum we need is £1,500, however if we would like to add the animation sequences we would need £2,500 in total. If there is any money leftover from our budget we would like to donate it to one of the charities that Claire supports as a thank you and appreciation for her agreeing to this project as well as highlighting the importance of anti-domestic abuse and domestic abuse survivors charities. We want this documentary to reach as many people as possible for that very reason. The Penistone community also deserves to be put in the spotlight for their efforts. Even in the darkest hour of someone's life a community of family, friends and strangers can come together and rewrite a tragic story to become one of hope.
From all of our crew Thank You for supporting this project.