A talented filmmaker from the village has shared his story of how he has become an award-winning director and producer.
James Sharpe, 49, who lives in Shenley, has been interested in film for as long as he can remember, and from his school days, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking.
He began working as a film projector at The Odeon Cinema, however, he knew that eventually, he wanted to write, direct and create his films. As technology developed and became more affordable, he was able to begin experimenting with shooting on camera and using computers.
20 years of hard work and determination producing films including The Tree, The Letter, Lodgers, and The Robber, James has won prestigious awards, including at the Los Angeles Film Awards.
His work has been recognised at various film festivals across the world, including the Chicago International Film Festival, Melbourne Lift-Off Film Festival, I can Lax International Film and The Independent Short Awards.
James is a testament to the fact that you don’t need expensive equipment to produce high-quality videos. He revealed that his film The Letter was shot on a Canon 600D with a basic kit lens and used a £65 – 50mm f1.8 prime lens. The Tree was made with just a £7 lens from the 1960s.
The award-winning filmmaker says that his work helps his mental health, in particular navigating his schizophrenia. James told RadlettNews: “I suffer from a sort of paranoia, type of mental health problems and take meds to help control this. Due to this, sometimes I can’t leave the house for days and the filming is down only by close friends who normally suffer too with mental health. Like Tyson fury, mental health needs goals in real life.
“Scott Hillier who I work with a lot suffers from bipolar, we are now starting a film later in the early summer called KATIE which is a love story about a man who falls in love with a ghost but the fact he doesn’t believe in them makes it very tricky.”
One of his most popular films, The Tree was shot at locations in Shenley and Borehamwood, many of which residents will recognise.
In the film, an old man that has dementia is given £150 by his carer to pay his council tax but instead finds himself drawn to an antique movie projector he spies in a charity shop. He runs the film entitled The Tree and falls in love with the woman in the film.
He becomes obsessed with finding the actual tree used in the film thinking it will lead him to the love of his life, all against the advice of his family and friends. The heartwarming story features actors Hayley Marie Axe, Paul King, John Jesper, Darren Luckin, Emma Piech, Ronnie Price, Jan Rook, and James himself.
James has also produced viral comedy sketches and memes online, some of which have accumulated millions of views and been shared on social media accounts such as UniLad.
To watch The Tree visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrNjCHwSHSE&t=1448s