Ken Loach (Director)
Ken Loach has created a diverse and illustrious career as a chronicler and poet of Britain's working classes. After studying law at Oxford, he branched out into the theatre, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in alliance with producer Tony Garnett he produced a series of docu-dramas, most notably the devastating CATHY COME HOME in 1966, which had an impact so massive that it led directly to a change in England's homeless laws. Loach made his feature debut with POOR COW the following year, and, in 1969, directed KES, widely considered one of the finest films ever made in Britain. The following two decades saw such critically-acclaimed films as THE GAMEKEEPER and LOOKS AND SMILES, as well as more TV work, some of which was never broadcast (most notoriously, his documentaries on the 1984 miners' strike).
Loach made stellar contributions to the cinema of the 1990s, with a series of award-winning films firmly establishing him in the pantheon of great European directors. HIDDEN AGENDA won the Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival; RIFF-RAFF won the Felix award for Best European Film of 1992; RAINING STONES won the Cannes Special Jury Prize for 1993, and LAND AND FREEDOM won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and was a substantial box-office hit in Spain where it sparked intense debate about its look at fascism. MY NAME IS JOE, a romance between a former alcoholic and community health worker in a tough Glasgow neighborhood, which won Best Actor at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for Peter Mullan and earned Loach the British Independent Film Award for Best Director.
Loach's films also include THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD AND ROSES (2000), CARLA'S SONG (1996), LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (1994), RAINING STONES (1993), FATHERLAND (1985), BLACK JACK (1978), DAYS OF HOPE (1974/6) and FAMILY LIFE (1972), in addition to his many dramas made-for-television and documentary films. Loach received the Fipresci at the European Film Awards for SWEET SIXTEEN.
Paul Laverty (Writer)
Paul Laverty worked as a lawyer in Glasgow and then for a human rights organisation in Central America before turning his hand to screenwriting. This is his fourth collaboration with Loach. "We are always talking about different possibilities but in the end you have to put something down on paper," says Laverty. "You need something concrete, whether it's just the age, gender or where the character is from. It's often good just to write a scene or two to give them a voice. Then you have some sense of forward motion, even if it's to work against what's on paper. "
After much discussion, Laverty and Loach decide if the idea is worth pursuing. "It's got to motivate both of us, give us that little spark. If it passes the great cup of coffee test and we feel there is some energy to it and I'll get stuck in it. " Once some research has been undertaken, Laverty introduces Loach to some of the people he has met. "It's a way of becoming familiar with the territory and subject matter," says Laverty. "I'll send a first draft much earlier to Ken than I probably would to others. We've been working together for a long time and I've got a lot of confidence that we'll just test it, probe it for all its inconsistencies which might lead us off elsewhere.
"I should also mention another key figure in the process - Roger Smith, the script editor. He sees the script with a fresh eye and I think he has a wonderful instinct for homing in on the weak bits and asking all the tough questions. Even the casting helps refine the characters so it all changes gradually. " Once the filming has started, the script still continues to develop. "It's a process that doesn't really stop. "
Laverly's films include BREAD AND ROSES (2000), MY NAME IS JOE (1998) and CARLA'S SONG (1996). He currently has several projects currently in development. He received the Best Screenplay Award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival for SWEET SIXTEEN and was nominated for a European Film Award.
Rebecca O'Brien (Producer)
"I think it took about a year to 18 months from Paul's idea to when we started shooting the film. So it was quick, like MY NAME IS JOE," explains Rebecca O'Brien. "We were able to commission the script ourselves. " This gave freedom right from the start for the script to develop without having to depend on outside sources for finance. "We put it together piecemeal so there is no one major funder, and that's key, because it means the burden of finance and cost is spread. It also means we keep control of the film ourselves. Providing we keep the budgets down to a reasonable level, it makes sense for us to make films in this way. I don't know if it will last forever but we're still making films the same way we did seven or eight years ago. "
SWEET SIXTEEN is a co-production with Road Movies in Germany and Tornasol and Alta in Spain, Scottish Screen has invested in it and the BBC has the British TV and Theatrical rights. The film has been pre-sold to Diaphana in France; BIM in Italy; Cinéart in Belgium and Holland; and the Glasgow Film Fund have given a grant for working in the region. Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen also gave funding.
O'Brien was pleased to see Laverty tackle the subject of adolescence. "I think it's uncompromising, I think it will hit the audience between the eyes - it's tough. But I think it's funny as well. "
O'Brien's other credits include THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD AND ROSES (2000), PRINCESA (2000), MY NAME IS JOE (1998), BEAN (1997), LAND AND FREEDOM (1995), A STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS (1992), HIDDEN AGENDA (1990), ECHOES (1988), FRIENDSHIP'S DEATH (1987)
Barry Ackroyd (Director of Photography)
"The camera is always in a fixed position, at eye level with a long lens. It's as if you are in the doorway watching," explains Barry Ackroyd. "That is the psychology of Ken Loach's films - you feel this connection to the subject almost too closely. Sometimes if it is painful and emotional you may not want to be in the room. That is what it is like when you watch in the cinema. You are a witness, not passive, but you can't change events. " This approach is helped by the fact that an actor may not be given the complete script for a scene. "Sometimes you are filming an emotional scene - one actor is surprised on camera, no one can help them, and you capture that on film. It's not embarrassing but you do feel for them. " Ackroyd says his own emotional response is another gauge for Loach on how a scene has gone. "We've worked together so much and have a good rapport so we don't need long discussions. He knows and I know when it's worked. "
Ackroyd felt the story is almost a prequel to MY NAME IS JOE and wanted to keep a continuous feeling in terms of how both films look. "I emphasised the darkness of the story by lighting it naturalistically and exposing the film darkly. There is an intrinsic beauty when you use the camera completely functionally. " The landscape around the Clyde estuary is dramatic and stunning but Ackroyd explains it is never filmed just for the sake of it - it has to be of consequence within the story. "The weather conspired against us some of the time, but you have to go with what you've got. One day when we were filming Liam (Martin Compston) the sun broke out across the water and drew a line around him - the light represents hope. If you go with the weather sometimes it gives you more than you expected. "
Ackroyd's films include SUNDAY (2001), DUST (2001), VERY ANNIE MARY (2001), THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD AND ROSES (2001), THE ESCORT (2000), BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (1999), THE LOST SON (1999), MY NAME IS JOE (1998), UNDER THE SKIN (1997), STELLA DOES TRICKS (1997), CARLAS SONG (1996), LAND & FREEDOM (1995), LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (1994), RAINING STONES (1993) and RIFF RAFF (1990).
Martin Johnson (Production Designer)
Martin Johnson has collaborated with Loach on many TV dramas and feature films. "We try to make somewhere so believable that it is an actual place. It is not a set, so the actors don't have to act as if they are actually in a real place. All I've tried to do in the films is provide the right environment for Ken to shoot in. "
Johnson's films include THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD AND ROSES (2001), MY NAME IS JOE (1998), CARLA'S SONG (1996), LAND & FREEDOM (1995), LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (1994), RAINING STONES (1993), RIFF RAFF (1990), HIDDEN AGENDA (1989), HIDDEN CITY (1986), FATHERLAND (1985), BLOODY SUNDAY (1984), NUMBER ONE (1984), REFLECTIONS (1983), LOOKS AND SMILES (1980), THE GAMEKEEPER (1979), PROSTITUTE (1978), BLACK JACK (1978) and DAYS OF HOPE (1974/6).
Jonathan Morris (Editor)
Jonathan Morris started out as a freelance cutting room assistant in the late 1960s. After spending eleven years at ATV (Central TV) Elstree, editing award-winning documentaries and drama for the network, Morris edited the highly acclaimed Emmy Award-winning series Vietnam for WGBH/CENTRAL in Boston. He was also BAFTA-nominated for editing the documentary Hellfighters of Kuwait. Most recently he edited The Bluebird Legend: Return of a Hero for the BBC. Morris has been a frequent collaborator with Loach, editing all the feature films since FATHERLAND as well as a number of documentaries. When working with Loach he returns to the Steenbeck, editing on film.
Morris' films include THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD AND ROSES (2001), MY NAME IS JOE (1998), CARLA'S SONG (1996), LAND AND FREEDOM (1995), LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (1994), RAINING STONES (1993), RIFF RAFF (1990), HIDDEN AGENDA (1989) and FATHERLAND (1985).
George Fenton (Composer)
George Fenton has composed for many leading directors in film, television and theatre. He has received BAFTA and Ivor Novello awards and also many award nominations.
Fenton's credits include THE NAVIGATORS (2001), BREAD & ROSES (2000), SUMMER CATCH (2001), ANNA AND THE KING (1999), YOU'VE GOT MAIL (1998), THE WOODLANDERS (1998), THE HONEST COURTESAN (1998), THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION (1998), MY NAME IS JOE (1998), EVER AFTER (1998), LIVING OUT LOUD (1998), HEAVEN'S PRISONERS (1996), MARY REILLY (1996), THE CRUCIBLE (1996), CARLA'S SONG (1996), IN LOVE AND WAR (1996), LAND AND FREEDOM (1995), LADYBIRD LADYBIRD (1994), MIXED NUTS (1994), THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (1994), GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), SHADOWLANDS (1993), FINAL ANALYSIS (1992), ACCIDENTAL HERO (1992), MEMPHIS BELLE (1990), WHITE PALACE (1990), THE LONG WALK HOME (1990), THE DRESSMAKER (1988), HIGH SPIRITS (1988), A HANDFUL OF DUST (1988), WHITE MISCHIEF (1987), CRY FREEDOM (1987), 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD (1986), THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) and GANDHI (1982).