Welcome to Unbeaten Path Films, a completely new micro-venture for me. The name pays a loose but enthusiastic tribute to the woman who has probably inspired me most over my life (as a writer) – Mary Wollstonecraft. She was a lone parent, Britain’s first ever woman travel writer, she survived the French Revolution, she survived mental health problems and eventually found happiness with the writer William Godwin. And she wrote some damn fine books and kick-started feminism. Anyway, along her rocky road, she wrote: “I was not born to tread in the beaten track.” She’s an inspiration to any woman (and I guess to many men) whose life has veered from the norms. She’s been my silent cheerleader for many years now.
Unbeaten Path starts with a trailer to promote my next book: No Place to Call Home: Inside the Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers, which came out in August 2013, published by One World Publications. Do take a look at the book trailer here:
Particular thanks go to Sam Lee, who was kind enough to sing one of the songs he was taught by the Scottish Traveller, Stanley Robertson, which he then reworked so it sat well with the pictures of Dale Farm, Tom Green, whose edgy sound and music bed gave the trailer the gritty feel for which I was hoping (no Borrovian sentimentality, thanks), the wonderful Sebastian Hesse, whose photos grace both the trailer and the book (along with those of Tom Green) and the director and camera-man, Johnny Howorth, who was kind enough to share his Guardian/Dale Farm footage with us and edit the film (along with Tom doing the dub and final edits). Thanks also to the Guardian, which gave us permission to re-use Dale Farm eviction footage. And a special mention to Cuzzy Delaney, whose son Johnny was kicked to death ten years ago this year, for being ‘a Gypsy’, who appears in the film, holding his photo.
Here also is the film I made for the BBC, about searching for my Iranian birth father, in 2010.
In due course I’ll also link to clips from some of the old films I’ve made for the BBC and other channels, and maybe get round to making some more.