Frank Skully Saint or Sinner?
My love of films started when my father put a small black and white TV in my bedroom. I would stay up all night watching a variety of films. Foreign subtitled films intrigued me more than the usual ‘Carry On’ and popular films. The idea of me, a black man, being in a film seemed so far removed from my world. In fact, there was always a celebration in our household if we saw a Black face on TV.
The path my early life took, led to me being sent to prison as a teenager and also an adult, it was this path that allowed me to fulfil my early ambition of being in theatre and film.
In 1995 while serving time at the open prison Blantyre House I was given a trusty job at an Opera Theatre in Royal Tunbridge Wells where I worked alongside the director Simon Callow. This fuelled my love affair with the theatre and films. The prison governor allowed me to attend a course in Drama and theatre in Rochester Kent where I gained an A level. This was to be my first academic test since my school days and led me to assist with producing a Christmas pantomime in the prison for the local school kids.
During Black History Month in 2006 the Synergy Theatre Company came to Brixton prison to put on a production of Elmina’s Kitchen, written by Kwame Kwei-Armah. I was cast in the lead role of Del. It was at that time I started to take a career in the theatre seriously. The director of the Synergy Theatre Company came to court and pleaded with the judge for my freedom. I was facing a charge of the theft of £25,000 from Securicor cash delivery vans. The judge agreed to free me on the condition that I carry on working with Synergy, and go on tour with a Synergy production. At last, a sinner with a future!!
In 2012 I worked with Ben Drew on two of his music videos, and eventually his debut film Ill Manor. I was cast ironically as a policeman who arrests the main character at the end of the film. This gave me the inspiration to write the story of Saints and Sinners, based partly on my own life and events.
The story of Saints and Sinners starts when I was born in the 1960’s, to the present day. Using the backdrop of the notorious All Saints Road, renowned in the folklore of many West Indian immigrants like my parents who settled in West London in the 1950’s.
Saints and Sinners is the first of many projects that I and screen writer Adrian Scott of Mellow 9 productions would like to bring to the big screen.
Adrian Scott was introduced to me by Kyan Laslett O’Brien , the grandson of Rhaune Laslett who was instrumental in bringing the Notting Hill Carnival to the streets of West London. After adapting Saints and Sinners from my as yet unpublished book, Adrian and I selected director Goetz Werner to help put a promo trailer together. It was this trailer that we took to the Cannes Film Festival looking for production companies to work with us to develop our concept. We are now currently in discussions with major film companies to start production.
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