'The Art of Parkinson's' is our latest Film of the Month winner

23 May 2019 in Film of the Month

5 mins
'The Art of Parkinson's' is our latest Film of the Month winner

We are very pleased to announce that our latest Film of the Month winner is The Art of Parkinson's, a moving documentary from filmmaker Cray in Kent. Watch the film above.

The Art of Parkinson's focuses on Cray's own grandfather, whose artwork helps him navigate getting older and living with Parkinson's disease.

'The Art of Parkinson's' was so beautifully filmed, with such a lovely positive message about a disease that tragically affects so many. I wish there were more films out there like this one!

Film of the Month judge on 'The Art of Parkinson's'

We got in touch with Cray to find out more about his film.

How long have you been making films for?

I would say that I've been making films when I started college at 16. But I have played around with making videos and sorts when I was a lot younger.

What inspired you to make a documentary about your Grandfather?

I always thought that my Grandfather was a creative individual and I always look up to him for creative inspiration myself. I started to realise that he suffers from Parkinson's but he still perseveres with creating these amazing pieces of artwork! I didn't know of anybody else that had a grandparent like that so I knew I had to share his story.

The Art of Parkinson's has a very warm, relaxing feeling - how did you achieve this effect?

I'd say that there is a mixture of different elements that makes The Art of Parkinson's have a warm, relaxing feeling. But most importantly I think it's the fact it's been filmed in my grandfather's house. Seeing his surroundings allows for the viewer to experience another perspective of my grandfather and it builds a greater perception of his personality as a whole.

A lot of filmmakers put themselves in their documentaries either on camera or with voice-over - what made you decide to remove yourself from the film?

Simply because I knew that the main contributor of the documentary was good enough to lead it himself. It's about his stories and experiences so why not let him share it with the audience?

What message would you like people to take from The Art of Parkinson's?

"Get out there, and get off your back side and do something", no matter what situation you're in or how hard you may have it, if you have a positive attitude and a strong sense of perseverance you can achieve anything that you put your mind to!

If you could make The Art of Parkinson's again, what would you do differently, and why?

If I could make it again I would definitely change the music. It was hard to come across accessible music that I could've used for the documentary and it took me a while to find the track that's in it now, but I don't think it is the most appropriate tone to match the contributor and the subject matter. I wish I had approached talented young musicians that could've made a piece that was more personalised and fitting, but that has been a lesson I have learnt making The Art of Parkinson's, approaching other creatives to collaborate is a good thing and it can make your piece of work so much better.

Who are some of your favourite filmmakers, and how have they influenced your film?

To name a few I'd say that some of my favourites are Spike Lee, Andrea Arnold and Stanley Kubrick but the filmmaker that influenced my documentary would be Sean Dunne, specifically with his documentary The Archive as it is character led from such an interesting individual.

What three tips would you give to someone who's about to make their first documentary short?

Is your subject matter something you're interested in? You need to make sure that you're passionate about your subject matter, otherwise you can't expect your audience to be. 

Research, research and research - make sure you know your stuff! When it comes to interviewing your contributors you need to know what you're talking about. The more prepared you are the better. 

Don't be scared - if you have an idea that you want to develop into a documentary, don't be afraid to go out there and do it! Even if it doesn't turn out how you expected it to be, you'll learn something new, and it will help you with the next one.

Cray's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and all of our Film of the Month films are now on the Into Film YouTube channel, and he has also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop his future films. Think you could win Film of the Month? Find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you've been inspired by The Art of Parkinson's then make sure you check out these related films:

  • Faces, Places (2017, 12, 94mins) Engaging for 11+
    Documentary in which filmmaker Agnes Varda travels around rural France with a street artist, capturing portraits of local residents. 
  • Loving Vincent (2017, 12, 93mins) Engaging for 14+
    Fascinating animated drama about the impressionist artist Van Gogh's last few days, told entirely through painted pictures in the style of Van Gogh's works. 
  • My Kid Could Paint That (2007, 12, 82mins) Engaging for 11+
    Documentary about American four-year-old Marla Olmstead whose "abstract" paintings are described as masterpieces and sell for thousands. 
  • Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010, 15, 82mins) Engaging for 14+
    Mysterious documentary on the iconic and controversial British street-artist Banksy.

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