Arundel video-maker creates documentary for Festival Theatre

Freddie Hill, of Arundel-based video production company Graded Films, is back at Chichester Festival Theatre in very different guise.
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Seven years ago he was on the main-house stage with the youth theatre as Peter Pan in their Christmas production. Now he has used his film expertise to make the 20-minute documentary film which accompanies Mom, How Did You Meet The Beatles in the Minerva. The piece tells the tale of how playwright Adrienne Kennedy impulsively left New York for London with her young son in the 1960s, intent on adapting John Lennon’s book In His Own Write for the stage.

Freddie, who lives in Coldwaltham, said: “I have been doing some work for the Festival Theatre for a little while doing some of their press kit stuff and some of their video trailers, and it's great to do. And then one of the producers there that I deal with a lot asked if I would be interested in taking on this project. It sounded something really different, to do a 20-30 minute film to accompany the play which is a one-act play. The idea was to provide a greater and wider context to the piece. If you're not necessarily familiar with some of the names and places that are mentioned, then the idea was to give a little bit into more insight into the back story of it all. I worked with one of the producers and she did a lot of the initial research and pulling in assets, and then my job was to go through it all and start to find more and then start stitch the story together. The process was something like three weeks. Making a documentary is actually very different and very interesting. You are working with existing material rather than scripted material. We did a couple of interviews – with Adrienne’s son Adam and with the cast members of the show and the director. And every time you speak to somebody you are getting new pieces of the story which take you in a different direction. And then it's all broken down and noted and you can start to look at these little bits and how you might bring them together and how you might order them. You bring it all together but then you will always need to do some tweaking or you find some gaps that you need to fill.

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“I'm really pleased with it. You never quite know where something like this is going to go when you start but it has worked out well. Somebody said that it felt like Act Two of the play. The play itself is like a monologue so it's great to have this extra context through the film. Originally they thought the play was going to be 50 minutes long and they wanted that extra insight.” The play is in fact 75 minutes: “And the film just works really nicely alongside it. Sometimes people just go home from the theatre and don’t really look into the story any more after that so it's great to be able to give them this back story to everything whilst they're actually still there.”

Freddie Hill by TESS JF PULLENFreddie Hill by TESS JF PULLEN
Freddie Hill by TESS JF PULLEN

The film comes through Freddie’s Graded Films: “Way back in lockdown when the acting scene was well out of the question, I decided that I’d continue my brief foray in film and set up a company to produce content for business and brand. Two years of trading later, and we’re now based on Tarrant Street in Arundel, and produce video for business, brands, music artists and more across the UK.”