‘SATURDAY’ is a short-film by Mike Forshaw, a fictionalised account of how the Hillsborough stadium disaster unfolded for one family back home in Liverpool. I asked Mike about the project.
Mike, what’s the essence of your story?
SATURDAY is a short film about how the Hillsborough disaster unfolded back home in Merseyside, seen through the eye’s of an 8-year old whose older brother is at the match.
How did you come up with this?
Hillsborough was a defining moment of my generation — everyone remembers where they were that day, and the idea for SATURDAYwas initially sparked by my own memory; coming home after playing football with my mates to find a young man in our house, really upset and being consoled by my Dad. It turned out he was one of my cousins who I hadn’t met – he had a ticket for the game, but gave it to a friend that never came home. I was struck by this image and can still clearly remember it today.
Years later I shared my story with a good friend, who then told me his brother survived the Leppings Lane. Although he was too young to understand at the time, he remembers his Mum going off her head – ringing the hotline and just watching the news and not knowing what they could do.
Obviously this was before mobile phones, meaning families back home couldn’t immediately contact their loved ones, and so that time period — just after the game was stopped and before fans could get to a phone — had a huge impact across the region and further afield.
Have you spoken to anyone at the HFSG or the HJC about this? What do they think?
We’re really proud to say that our project has the official backing of both the HFSG and the HJC. I’ve spoken to both Sheila Coleman and Margaret Aspinall, and both have been fantastic in their support for the film!
Once they understood my intentions, and where I was coming from as a Liverpudlian filmmaker, they have really got behind the idea and agree that we dealing with an aspect of the disaster that is often overlooked. Their only real guidance was that we approach the subject matter with truth and sensitivity.
If we reach our funding total, needless to say I will approach both organisations again for consultation before we begin filming.
It is a hugely sensitive topic. I am sure you can understand some people’s difficulty in engaging with a story around the disaster. What do you hope the film tells us afresh about the aftermath of Hillsborough?
By setting the film in Liverpool – away from the scene of the disaster – and focusing on the immediate impact on families back home, I hope to approach this story from a fresh perspective.
Our film is about how Hillsborough spilled into the front rooms of every family that had loved ones at that match; who had no way to contact them, and helplessly watched the disaster unfold on TV.
In this respect, I hope our story will help more people understand that the disaster didn’t just affect the families of the 96 who lost their lives.
Your kickstarter target is a lot of money. What will it be spent on?
As you know, short film projects usually depend on people working for no or very low pay, but we want to make sure every one that works on the film is paid properly.
The period aspects must be a consideration too. It says so much about how long the fight for justice has taken that this is now a period piece?
Exactly! The biggest expense will be recreating that day, as effectively we are making a period film! We’ll need everything from original Candy LFC shirts (which go for over £100 on Ebay) and Panini 89 stickers, to dated electrical props and vintage décor’s. We’d also like to shoot on 35mm film to help us achieve an authentic 1980’s look!
Also, to capture the initial excitement of what was a gorgeous day that only later turned to tragedy, we have approached the BBC about using archived radio commentary and original Grandstand footage; the later of which is absolutely crucial to the films ending. That material will cost thousands to legally clear.
What do you intend to do with the film when it is shot?
After the script was awarded a top prize during Nisi Masa’s European Script Pitch earlier this year, we are confident the film will do well at international festivals next year. However the overriding purpose of this film is to continue to spread the truth and to add to the support behind the justice campaign. As the 25th anniversary of the disaster approaches next year, we want to commemorate those who lost their lives and remember all those still affected.
SATURDAY is my story of 15th April 1989 – but we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people coming forward to share their experience of the day with us. In this respect, we’d love the film to act as a cathartic sounding board. Ultimately we hope to find a home for the film online, as part of a dedicated website that invites people to share their thoughts and remembrances of the day, and draws a new audience to the facts of the disaster.
Contact details and for more information:
Email: [email protected].
@saturdayShort on Twitter.