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Jake, not finished yet

Ian Thomas Ash (MA 2004) and Jake Janos Caswell filming

Ian Thomas Ash (MA 2004) and Jake Janos Caswell filming

30 September 2010

A documentary film made by six alumni of Bristol’s MA in Film and Television will have its North American Premier at the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival in November.

A documentary film made by six alumni of Bristol’s MA in Film and Television Production will have its North American Premier at the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival in November. 

Jake, not finished yet, which held its world premier at this year’s Visions du Reel documentary festival in Nyon, Switzerland, in April, tells the story of a young boy, Jake, over the course of the four years following his mother’s death.

In addition to director Ian Thomas Ash (MA Film and TV Production 2004), the other Bristol graduates who worked on Jake, not finished yet include the editors Lizzie Minnion (MA Film and TV Production 2000) and Anthea Harvey (MA in Film and TV Production 2004); Ed Ison, post-production/ online editor (MA Film and TV Production 2000); Claudio Ahlers, dubbing mixer (MA in Music Composition for Film and TV 1998) ; and Ken Kwek, producer/ camera for the ballad of Vicki and Jake footage (MA Film and TV Production 2004).  The executive producer was Colin O’Neill, a tutor on the MA course at Bristol.

Jake, not finished yet is O’Neill and Ash’s second feature documentary collaboration. Their first was the ballad of Vicki and Jake (2006), which won the 2006 Prix du Canton Vaud (best first film) at the Visions Du Reel International Documentary Film Festival in Switzerland.

Although Jake, not finished yet is not a ‘part 2’, the film’s story does pick up where the first documentary ended. After making the first film about Jake and his mother, O'Neill and Ash decided to make a film with Jake so that he could help tell his own story. To accomplish this, they gave Jake, then just 14-years-old, a camera so that he could start to film from his own point-of-view. The unusual approach of working with Jake to help tell his own story leads to an unexpected result when Ash’s own story, as seen from Jake’s point-of-view, becomes part of the film.

In addition to the North American premier in Montreal, the documentary has been chosen by the festival to be the one film presented at a local women’s prison because of the story of the mother-child relationship and the message of hope that it presents. O’Neill and Ash will be travelling to Montreal for the special screening at the prison and to be present for discussions at the film’s two main screenings during the festival. In addition, the filmmakers have also been asked to take part in a special panel discussion with Kaleo La Belle, director of award-winning documentary Beyond This Place, to talk about the ethics of filming a documentary that blurs the boundaries between filmmakers and their subjects.

Prior to travelling to Montreal, O’Neill and Ash have been invited to visit Plattsburgh State University in New York, from which Ash graduated in 2000, to present a series of lectures to undergraduates in film and theatre. 

Due to both of the films’ strong Bristol connection, O’Neill and Ash are currently in discussion with the Watershed Cinema in Bristol to present one or both their films. Also currently being scheduled are double-features of both of the films followed by a discussion with the filmmakers at cinemas in Berlin and Munich in January 2011.

The team

Colin O’Neill, executive producer/ camera.

O’Neill teaches on Bristol’s MA Film and Television Production Course. He is currently the director/cinematographer on a documentary film about a man who has Tourettes, OCD's and who is registered blind.

Ian Thomas Ash (MA 2004), director/ additional camera.

Ian has lived in Japan for 8 years and currently lives in Tokyo where he works as a freelance reporter for public broadcaster NHK World.

Lizzie Minnion (MA 2000), editor.

Lizzie worked in theatre in the early stages of her career before deciding to study at Bristol. Lizzie has edited a diverse range of film and television. Her experience ranges from independent feature documentaries to broadcast TV. Most recently Lizzie has been editing with the BBC in behind the scenes TV shows including Dr Who Confidential, and David Tennant’s Hamlet. She’s currently editing the new series of BBC Wales’ Coming Home.

Anthea Harvey (MA 2004), editor.

Anthea is a narrative editor working primarily in documentary. Recent work includes award-winning health education short dramas in a Bollywood-style, a feature-length documentary about suicide prevention, and the TV series Berkeley - An English Country Estate for which she was nominated for the 2008 RTS Craft Award for Editing. She also works as a guest tutor for undergraduates in editing at Bristol.

Ed Ison (MA 2000), post-production/ online editor.

Ed is an award-winning producer who for the past eight years has combined his film work with a career as a freelance editor specialising in the latest digital post production techniques. His film work has always been at the leading edge of technology testing new story telling techniques including multi-screen work Hindsight. Ed is also a freelance lecturer on production at Bristol.

Claudio Ahlers (MA 1998), dubbing mixer.

Claudio worked as a dubbing mixer and in-house composer for a Bristol-based television production company. Claudio now runs his own sound post-production studio in Bristol and works as a freelance composer writing music for TV and film. Over the past ten years he has done sound post-production for a great number of documentaries for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and National Geographic Television. He has also composed many scores to accompany these films. In 2007 he was part of the award-winning production team for the film Ray Gosling OAP which took home that year's Grierson Award in the category ‘Most Entertaining Documentary’.

Ken Kwek (MA 2004), producer/ camera on the ballad of vicki and jake.

Ken Kwek is an award-winning Singaporean playwright and filmmaker. In 2008, Ken wrote his first feature screenplay, The Blue Mansion. The film was nominated for Best Asian/Middle Eastern Film at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival. Ken’s second feature screenplay, Kidnapper, was co-written and directed by acclaimed Singapore director, Kelvin Tong. Ken recently completed his third screenplay, again in collaboration with Tong; It’s A Great, Great World! is currently in production and is to be released in 2011.

In the theatre, Ken’s first play, I’ll Have The Special, garnered four awards at the 2008 Short + Sweet Theatre Festival in Singapore, including Best Production and Best Playwright. The one-act farce was subsequently re-staged at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in 2009. His first full-length play, Apocalypse: LIVE!, a critically-acclaimed political satire about the media in Singapore, was staged at the Singapore Drama Centre in August 2008 as part of the OCBC Singapore Theatre Festival. Ken made his directorial debut in 2009 with his play, The Composer, a tragedy about a classical musician and his conflicting loves.