‘Forgotten Valour’ is a short experimental documentary that aspires to help understand and destigmatise post traumatic stress disorder. Although we aim to represent the topic of PTSD as a whole, the film focuses on the struggles of those who have served in the armed forces. Specifically the experiences of one man: Rene Cope. A former Royal Navy engineer and firefighter, and a veteran of both the Gulf and Falklands Wars, Rene served primarily aboard the HMS Glamorgan. Rene earned a medal for bravery after the ship was hit with an Exocet Missile. Following the end of his service he worked for National Rail, where he often dealt with railway fatalities. Due to this Rene suffers with PTSD.
Rene has lived with the condition for over 35 years, however, he wasn’t diagnosed until 2017. Through a culmination of interviews, experimental imagery and poetic narrative devices, we will tell Rene’s story by diving into his psyche, whilst also spreading awareness of the condition.
We have partnered with Forgotten Veterans UK whom we are working with to accurately portray the community of veterans who struggle with mental illness. We will be visiting Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth which is their base and also the first respite centre for veterans of its kind in the UK. We want to reach as wide an audience as possible so that we can help people who have or are currently suffering with PTSD.
Taylor Doggett – Director
This is Taylor’s first major solo directing role. Having modelled himself primarily as a Producer and 1st Assistant Director he brings a lot of focus and organisation to his role. The story and themes of ‘Forgotten Valour’ are incredibly important to him, learning about the struggles of Veterans and how their mental health issues are ignored inspired him to try and help de-stigmatise perceptions of PTSD by approaching the topic from a different angle within film. He has an immense sense of duty to tell the story right and representation of the community is key for him.
Sam Hemingway – Producer
Sam is a determined producer, who has just produced a commercial for the Nahemi Kodak commercial competition. His passions lie in shorter, more personal stories that the entire crew can resonate with.
Sam wanted to work on this documentary because of how important the subject matter is; PTSD is woefully misrepresented in mainstream media and that’s if it’s even shown at all. A change is being made in how we talk about mental health as a whole and Sam wants this film the be a part of the conversation in hope that it can be used as a starting point, which can hopefully lead to a more accurate portrayal of PTSD and other mental health issues.
Tom Moreton - Cinematographer
Tom is our enthusiastic cinematographer from South Wales. With a passion for visual storytelling and creating immersive worlds, Tom is delighted to be working on a project that deals with such an important subject. Tom has experience working in a range of short formats, including narrative, commercial and documentary; with one of his recent documentary projects being recognised by the Royal Television Society for the RTS West of England Student award for Best Factual film. Tom was drawn to the project when he first heard Rene’s story and he’s looking forward to bringing this story to life in a cinematic way.
Emily Bracken - Sound Designer
Emily Bracken is a sound designer from South East England. With a background in music technology, she enjoys blending natural and synthetic sounds to create experimental soundscapes. She was drawn to this project as she has a passion for telling real stories and positively representing veteran mental health in film. Emily grew up around military historians and musicians, and is looking forward to working with these instruments to find a soundtrack suitable for such an emotive film.
Conor Coyne – Editor
Conor is an innovative editor from Birmingham. He’s edited on numerous projects both narrative and documentary and relishes the opportunity to explore and put his own creative stamp on such an important story and shed light on such a fundamental issue within today's contemporary society.
The Director and Cinematographer's aim for the visual strategy is to create imagery that not only supports Rene’s interview dialogue, but also seeks to tell his story in an immersive and abstract way. To achieve this, they plan to mix a traditional documentary interview set up, with metaphorical imagery, dramatic reconstructions and observational footage from Fort Cumberland. They have been influenced by the short documentary ‘Black Sheep’ by Ed Perkins, as well as by the work of Alma Har’el, especially ‘Bombay Beach’, and by the narrative film ‘‘71’ (Yann Demange). Black Sheep tells the story of a man who experienced racism as a child and chose to try and become more like his racist tormentors in order to fit in. Much like our film, it tells a personal story in order to shed light on a much bigger problem by combining dramatic reconstructions and interview footage. By using a personal story to deal with a complicated and multi-faceted issue, it allows us as filmmakers to convey the prevailing thoughts and feelings on a subject in a small amount of time. This was certainly the case for Black Sheep and we hope it is the same for Forgotten Valour.
Rene served in the Navy aboard the HMS Glamorgan, so we have decided that visual motifs of water and nautical imagery would be essential to recreating Rene’s world in the film. This will also help to set the tone in terms of the colour palette, which we are planning to be predominantly blues and greens to stay in keeping with this theme.
Risks and challenges
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