Redcar in 2018 is a place suffering the worst ravages of the UK’s economic depression. Its traditional industries – tourism, fishing and steel – are in near-terminal decline and the effects on the local economy, culture and way of life are severe. Brexit is coming and the local populace is in a kind of sleepy denial of the consequences for the town of the result of a referendum they voted overwhelmingly for.
We are introduced to DYLAN as he makes his way home up the beach. DYLAN lives with his mother in a trailer park, within sight of the decaying steel plant and also the offshore wind turbines which line the coast in silent rows.
Successive failed job applications have exhausted him and he relies on benefits and his mother’s income to sustain his minor drug habit and to have something to fritter away in the town’s amusement arcades. DYLAN and close friend STELLA, having nothing better to do, regularly visit the Pleasureland amusement arcade on the sea-front.
They have befriended JOHNNY, a junior manager, whose less-than-total commitment to his job enables him to offer the odd ‘freebie’ to the pair in return for a toke on a spliff round the back of the building.
The best-known customer at Pleasureland is BRANDON, another unemployed man in his mid-twenties, who seems to spend his entire days battling for control of the ‘2p Machines’ (Penny Pushers) in the vain hope of changing his life with a massive windfall. An initial argument between BRANDON, DYLAN and STELLA over the use of a particularly advantageous slot at the machine slowly develops into a grudging mutual respect.
BRANDON frequents a local pub, in which he has met and fallen under the influence of MR. SNOWMAN: local legend, wizard, curiosity and drunk. Each evening, MR.SNOWMAN attempts to wheedle drinks out of the clientele by performing magic tricks. BRANDON has moved, over time, from fascinated observer to acolyte, sometime pupil and would-be assistant.
One day, after a session at Pleasureland, BRANDON invites DYLAN and STELLA to the pub to see MR. SNOWMAN in action. STELLA skeptically declines but DYLAN is intrigued. Will DYLAN be able - or want to - 'see the magic'?
The film explores two emotive, complex and seemingly unrelated subjects against the background of unliftable economic depression. How on earth is a young person with this (undiagnosed) condition supposed to make their way in a world so harsh? The film, like I Daniel Blake, suggests that the 'best intentions' of people are compromised by a lack of real-world support, recognition and understanding - and that maybe some other answer is needed.
I'm a winner of several international awards for my documentary work, but it is work that is still largely self-funded. This is my first feature drama and I am seeking money to be able to produce a piece of cinema that will move and change people. In order to do so I need to be able to expand my equipment base beyond the single camera I have. I need to invest in other cameras, film lights and also to be able to licence a piece of music - Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead - which is critical to the narrative of the film and the mentality of the central character.
Thanks for considering me.