Creative England and disability cinema champion 104 Films team on Dawn of the Dark Fox
by Naman Ramachandran
- Feature film will build on award-winning Encounters short Light & Dark
Creative England will join 104 Films and support the development of Dawn of the Dark Fox, a feature directed by autistic savant Michael Smith and collaborator Tom Stubbs. The film will be an expansion of Smith’s short Light and Dark that won the audience prize at the Encounters Short Film Festival, Bristol, in 2009, and is a comedy about autism, friendship and filmmaking. Alex Usborne of 104 Films produces the film. It is funded through Creative England’s and the BFI NET.WORK Emerging Talent fund.
Usborne said, “We are delighted that Creative England has supported this project. It sends a strong message about their commitment to diversity and disability in the UK film industry.”
Paul Ashton, Senior Film Executive at Creative England, said, “At Creative England we look to support the strongest, boldest, most original voices in cinema, and that couldn’t be truer of Michael Smith and the team helping to realise his utterly unique vision on Dawn of the Dark Fox. This really is a one in a million project, like nothing you've ever seen before, and we’re over the moon to be backing it.”
104 Films is a pioneer in the field of disability cinema. Their last production Notes on Blindness [+see also:
interview: James Spinney, Peter Middle…
film profile], directed by Pete Middleton and James Spinney recorded John Hull’s journey into total blindness, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January alongside companion virtual reality project Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness (recently awarded in Tribeca – read the news). Curzon will release the film in the UK in July.
Usborne added, “The power of diversity is that different voices bring a new energy and approach to cinema. We have been developing disabled and neuro-diverse film talent for a decade now and with films like Notes on Blindness and Dawn of the Dark Fox we are finding voices and talent capable of entertaining audiences and changing the way we think about disability.”
Other 104 Films’ disability cinema examples include Steve Rainbow’s iWitness starring David Proud in the first film ever to have a disabled actor playing an able-bodied lead character; Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon’s documentary I Am Breathing [+see also:
film profile], following the final months of a man with motor neurone disease, winner of the 2014 Scottish BAFTA for best director; John Williams’ Oscar nominated short Paraphernalia about a boy who thinks his dialysis machine is a robot; and William Kirby’s short Hands Solo about a deaf porn star.