Shane Meadows is a self-taught, British film-maker who hails
from the Midlands in the UK. He was born in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire,
UK on 26th December 1972.
After dropping out of school before reaching his O-Levels, Shane
Meadows originally set out to become an infamous, criminal mastermind
of legendary proportions. Things didn't go to plan however.
After being caught buying a stolen set of limited edition John
Lowe darts, and later admitting to stealing and eating an egg-custard
tart from the local Sainsbury's, it was clear that he just wasn't
cut out for the hardened criminal underworld. The final straw
came when criminal charges against him were read out in court
and laughter could be heard from the gallery and the judge's
bench. The charge was for theft of a breast pump from Boots
the chemist. It was after this humiliation that Shane put his
breast pump pilfering days behind him and began to put his energy
In 1994, Shane's first
step into the world of film making was to volunteer his
services to the Nottingham based Intermedia Film and Video
Ltd. The arrangment was that he would be allowed to borrow
camcorders and use editing equipment in return for him
working there for free. Shane asked friends and family
to get involved in his video experiments, but they were
understandably quite wary at first.
After Shane had put together a couple of short videos
that he had made entirely on his own, many of his friends
watched them and became sufficiently impressed to want
to become involved in future video shorts. As their enthusiasm
grew, they were soon making nearly one new short film
With a growing catalogue of short films,
Shane and his friends soon became frustrated that there were
no real festivals or venues in which to screen their films.
This frustration lead to them setting up there own mini event.
The event was called 'Six of the Best' and was held every couple
of months in an old local cinema. Anyone could bring along a
short film they had made, and for a small fee have it screened
to a small audience. The event grew in popularity and eventually
became an international video festival called 'Flip Side'.
The first of Shane's short films to grab
the attention of the film-industry was 'Where's The Money,
Ronnie?'. The acclaim won by this short lead to Shane
being given a shot at making a documentary for Channel
4's 'Battered Britain' series. The film was called 'King
of the Gypsies' and was a short documentary about
Bartley Gorman, a bare-knuckle boxer born in Uttoxeter
amd a man that Shane had known for many years. A full
length feature of Bartley Gorman's story is still the
dream project that Shane is waiting to get underway.
From the Channel 4 documentary, Shane got
the money to make 'Smalltime'. Originally to be titled 'Left',
Smalltime was a prime example of Shane's philosophy for aspiring
film makers. Stick to what you know, and you won't go far wrong.
'Left' was written in Shane's lunch breaks while he was volunteering
at Intermedia Film and Video in Nottingham, and was orginally
simply written as a basis for improvisation. Smalltime won acclaim
at a number of European film festivals and garnered enough favourable
attention from potential future investors and distributors that
Shane soon had the chance to make his first full length feature
film. Twentyfour Seven.
From Twentyfour Seven through to This Is
England, Shane has continued to make hearftfelt films that attract
an ever growing collection of fans.
Sadly however, the critcal acclaim and success of his films
at various festivals throughout the world has yet to be reflected
in box office takings. Because of this he still remains a somewhat
unfamiliar name to most cinema-goers. Differing reasons for
the lack-lustre box office performance of his films can be sighted.
The blinkered un-willingness of the majority of modern film-goers
to watch a black and white feature (Twentyfour Seven), or the
lack of film prints available for screening (A Room for Romeo
Brass opened with only ten prints nationwide) and more obviously,
the small budget for the promotion of his films (most Hollywood
releases in the UK have promotional budgets that exceed the
entire budget of one of Shane Meadow's films).
Thankfully this trend seems to be coming to an end with the
success of This Is England at the UK box office!
As Shane looks to future feature length
projects, he still likes to return to the creation of short
films as often as he can. As This Is England was released in
the UK, Shane was busy shooting a short documentary about his
life-long friend, the singer/song-writer, Gavin Clark.
As well as still returning to short films, Shane is still keen
to share his knowlege and experiences with new film makers.
After a Room For Romeo Brass, Channel 4 approached Shane to
create a video masterclass for budding film-makers. The result
was the brilliantly exuberant 'Shane's World', a collection
of short films and film making advice. Shane's own no-budget
productions not only entertain, but are also there to inspire.
Their raw energy and enthusiasm send out the clear message that
any one can make a film with a little bit of talent, some borrowed
equipment and a tenner for a raid on a charity shop.