Midlands Spotlight - GRID from Lightbeam Productions
By midlandsmovies, Sep 16 2016 08:58AM
Midlands Movies Mike checks out new short film GRID from regional filmmaker Dave Hastings which tackles difficult issues in the LGBT community.
After spending last summer on the feature film The House of Screaming Death, Dave Hastings has wanted to focus on short films again in 2016 during the former’s post-production period. With that in mind, and a wish to return to dramatic rolls, Dave has made a film about LGBT subjects and themes, which he says are close to his heart.
Previously directing short film BRINK which dealt with the violent and tragic aftermath of a homophobic attack on a young man, Dave returned to other important issues within the LGBTQ community. And with GRID he hopes that his story tackles difficult issues head on.
Grid is in the mid-1980s with the virus that would eventually be known worldwide as AIDS, has already struck fear into the medical profession as well as the LGBTQ community.
As large numbers of this populace are being unmercifully struck down by this horrid and mysterious/insidious killer virus, in one hospital there remains hope. Nurse Angie Wordsworth (actress Charlie Clarke) meets infected patient Daniel Cole (Steven Salt) who is a patient who has no-one but Doctor Andrews (Ernest Vernon) to care for him.
Having lost a friend to AIDS a very long time ago, Dave Hastings was very conscious of what he was attempting to do.
“We were treating the subject and characters with the respect they deserve, while at the same time hoping that my friend, wherever he is now (and who also just wanted to “make movies” himself), approved of what we were producing on set”, explains Dave.
“Speaking of ‘on set’, just wow, you have some amazing actors to look forward to seeing in GRID. First up is Steve Salt, whom I met through HOSD, and my goodness, he is just one of the best actors I’ve ever had the pleasure to see perform and know as a friend. After Screaming Death, I knew I wanted to work with Steve again, and after presenting the script to him months ago, we met up and discussed the project and I was so happy he agreed!”
Also featuring is Charlie Clarke who Dave describes as “the perfect actress to bring Angie to life. She is simply magnificent”.
Finally the last member of the cast, Ernest Vernon, is an actor Dave has worked with multiple times. Playing Doctor Andrews, Ernest has the difficult task to provide the context for the film’s overall storyline.
Dave says he doesn’t want to shy away from the delicate subject of the AIDS/HIV epidemic, which is still seen as a credible threat despite medical advancements.
“With this in mind, I had to approach the story I wanted to tell (& like any other I would), with care and dignity. Researching all this was not easy though and a lot of times, I had to step away from it, because it overwhelmed me so much. I came across some horrendous stories of gay men who had been abandoned by their families and friends, leaving them to suffer alone. But as well as this, I read the loving stories of nurses working around the clock to tend/comfort patients…and giving up everything to strive to find some kind of cure and quickly before more lives were claimed.”.
Researching everything he could about those troubled early years in the 80s, as well as the current climate, Dave felt that these stories, all these experiences, needed to be told.
Alongside the difficult issues, Dave assembled a “stunning” production crew to tackle the filming in a small hospital suite. This included Joshua Baggott (DOP), Suki Sandhar (1st AC), Kaush Patel (2nd Unit & Photographer), James Hall (Sound) and Dave explained how they were all struck by the emotions being acted out. “Some of us, myself included, had to take in some air between takes as it felt too real at times”.
And if you’re wondering, why call it GRID…? – “Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID) was the name first proposed in 1982 to describe an “unexpected cluster of cases” of what is now known as AIDS”.
More updates about the film can be found by following the news at LightBeam Productions website: