Thursday, March 17, 2016

“Fly” the Documentary: Behind the Lens

By Andy Marmer

For a sport so young, quidditch is no stranger to the big screen. From the Activities Fair at Barden University in Pitch Perfect, to the campus of Google in The Internship, the sport has been fictionalized a fair bit by Hollywood. Perhaps slightly rarer, or at least less notably, filmmakers have also made documentaries on the subject, most notably Mudbloods, which followed UCLA Quidditch on its journey to World Cup V. Yet so far, no movie has considered the status of quidditch in the United Kingdom. Jennie Grimes and Caroline Taylor of Triple Hoops Films are setting out to change that. The duo will be following TeamUK’s journey to this summer’s World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany in Fly, the first full-length documentary following quidditch in the UK.

Jennie Grimes and Caroline Taylor | Photo Credit: Triple Hoops Films

Grimes and Taylor finalized the idea at Northern Cup this past October. Taylor had previously suffered an injury that prevented her from playing, and she took that opportunity to get more involved in quidditch filmmaking. When she met Grimes this autumn, the two quickly formed the idea for a documentary based on TeamUK.

Filming quidditch sounded particularly interesting,” said Grimes. “We eventually decided that we should make a documentary together.”

Although World Cup is still months away, the two have already begun shooting in earnest. A few weeks ago, they filmed TeamUK training in Leeds, England and Triple Hoops hopes to also shoot footage at the British Quidditch Cup this coming weekend.

While the documentary will tell the story of QUK’s journey, the duo have chosen to focus in particular on one prospective member of the team, Durhamstrang Captain Jackie Woodburn.

We felt that in choosing a female player, we could show people who don’t know a great deal about quidditch how women can be highly successful and recognised in a mixed-gender sport,” said Grimes. “She has the right personality and performs well in front of the camera, which also helps.”

Beyond Woodburn’s charisma, the decision to zoom in on her was also governed by some practicalities.

“We wanted to choose a member of TeamUK who we were confident would make the final World Cup squad, said Grimes. “We both agree that Jackie is an incredible player.”

Woodburn’s base in Durham, close to the duo in Leeds, was also a factor.

While Taylor and Grimes are using Mudbloods as a model, they do think Fly will differ in some crucial ways.

‘Mudbloods’ is an American documentary; nothing of its calibre has appeared yet on our side of the pond,” said Taylor. “The reach and scope of ‘Mudbloods’ was a big inspiration to us in the initial development of Fly, and I really do hope we can emulate its success!”

“Fly” is undoubtedly a project spearheaded by Triple Hoops, but its scope has truly encapsulated the national quidditch community, with TeamUK in particular helping with the project.

“TeamUK have been really supportive and helpful so far,” said Grimes.For example, a great deal of our donations have been from members of the team. The coaching squad have given us a plan in advance of each session we have attended so we can make a filming schedule, and the team has been very open in general to the whole idea.”

While Triple Hoops appreciates the support it has gotten so far, the team is appreciative of more assistance. They plan to sell merchandise at BQC and are still accepting donations.

Our fundraiser is currently over halfway to its goal, with one week left to go we’re making a big push to get the full amount by BQC, with the campaign ending on 23 March, 2016,” said Taylor. “This money will make the film possible by allowing us to buy equipment and transport and cover our distribution costs.”

More information on “Fly” can be found on Facebook.

If you are interested in contributing to Triple Hoops’ campaign, please donate to “Fly” here.

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