Last month Soul Source had a look at the mainstream media coverage of the upcoming film titled "Northern Soul".
As you may remember, in amongst the words we gave you a look forward to an exclusive interview with the award winning director Elaine Constantine.
Well come October and ! am happy to pass on to you that not only do we have the interview below, but we also have an exclusive first look at a video teaser of this film, that should give you a idea of just what the film is all about...
Northern Soul - The Film Teaser
Site Note - Please be aware that the original film 'teaser video' where a tv personality was head butted by omr of the leading characters is no longer available
An Interview with Elaine Constantine, director of forthcoming film Northern Soul
The previous article published here on Soul Source last month here covered the recent mainstream media take of Elaine and her current endeavour ( if you haven't read this yet, then it may be worth a visit via the links below before delving into the below)
"Award-winning director Elaine Constantine will begin shooting her first feature-length film Northern Soul in January 2012 under Stubborn Heart Productions and in association with Baby Cow Films"
Elaine, thanks for agreeing to do this. Most of the links in the article above contains details and highlights of your career and also your "northern soul" background.
I would guess that many now know of your previous work both via photography and short films, with obviously the video of Moloko - Familar Feeling springing to mind.
Your background and involvement with northern soul is documented as well, so how about jumping straight in with a to the bone question..
Q The title of the film "Northern Soul" is direct and takes no prisoners, can you state in a similar sort of manner just why you are making this film?
Most things that have represented Northern Soul in the media, whether documentary or fiction, have been an embarrassment for us. I want to try and get people to understand how brilliant the music is and how amazing it was to be part of that world.
Also, I really like northern soul music and all my friends have been or still are on the scene. I'm fortunate enough to make it my day job creating something about what I love.
I'm not going to change the title now, but I think it would have been really funny to call the film 'Mellow Souls', especially since I have never met anyone on the NS scene I could describe in any way as mellow.
Q Soulboy: I could say loads, but tongue biting has become one of my firm vices nowadays. I doubt if it would be really fair to either those involved or yourself to ask you any specific questions on the uk film industries recent treatment of northern soul
So will just ask how yours will differ?
It is a different genre of film to Soul Boy. From what I can tell, the makers decided at some point to market and produce Soul Boy as a comedy drama with a romantic theme. I think that was a bad decision, as it seemed to trivialize the very essence of what draws people to northern soul.
I hope that my film will feel more real in that it will have moments of tragedy and it will highlight, in a deeper way, the passion that people felt towards the music.
Q. The storyline from what I can gather is quite a different approach compared to previous treatments .Two northern lads trying or dreaming of to getting to the usa in their pursuit of major dj status' Take it this storyline is going to be the main thrust of the film, could you expand any more or do we have to wait to see ?
I don't want to give too much away, only to say that the quest for vinyl is ultimate in the story, and I think in a way that is the truth of the northern scene itself, it won't die as long as that quest survives through the next generation.
Q. There have been a few comments on aspects such as "warts and all", "documentary or story" What would you say in reply to those points ?
Well it's certainly not a documentary but I do intend the story to feel like it could be a fly on the wall in some ways. I don't want to sugar it up to make it appeal to young kids, or the faint hearted.
I sent the script to three script readers a couple of years ago in order to get advice on whether it was a good story. Two of them came back with glowing reports, the third came back with the statement' "I am too middle class and prudish to make any comment on this project." So I suppose 'warts and all ' is a good way of describing it.
Q. I always feel that everyone has their own individual "view" on what the term "northern soul" actually means which to me is one of the beauties of it all. How are you dealing with this aspect?
There are six main characters that take us through the journey of the story and they all represent for me, some of the best people I've met over the years who make the scene so wonderful. I suppose you might say that each one of those characters see the world of northern soul in a different way; and that impacts on how they understand it and the choices they make.
Q On the actual period setting of the film, I'd say soulboy got it wrong going for a certain time frame, as it seems that you are losing one of the advantages of telling a fictional story, as in a certain amount of flexibility. Are you going for a date perfect real world setting eg the summer of 197x at a certain venue or something different ?
Yes and no. There will be one or two of the bigger clubs in there but
It's not all about Wigan, or Blackpool, or any historical promoter or about what actually happened in the year 197x It's going represent a two or three year period and feature lot's of clubs scattered all over the North and Midlands.
Q. I imagine sorting out a soundtrack would be a most enjoyable task, matching the emotions and such on the display with the emotions and feelings from the music.
However could see that maybe after countless weeks of trying to secure licensing deals it may not be quite as enjoyable as it first sounds
How are things going on this front?
This was a very exciting thing to do, to match scenes with tracks. I remember when I had trouble concentrating, trying to get down and write, I would put on something like Lester Tipton's 'This Won't Change' and bang, I was in the world, chomping at the keyboard, so to speak. I had Butch collaborating with me at this stage. He would read the various drafts of the script and say, 'have you thought about such a track for that scene?' I had a big list of what I thought should be used but he always came up with great ideas that I never thought of.
Now things are starting to get complicated however as we start to nail down the rights to the wish list. I've been pursuing Gene Chandler's 'There Was a Time' for over six months only to find that it's not possible to use it. Long story but that has been pretty disappointing, and I'm sure there's more issues like that around the corner. The thing with this film is that we need to secure most of these tracks before we shoot as the characters talk about them, they sing along to them and a lot of the key scenes turn on new vinyl discoveries.
Q. From what have read and seen the "dance club" aspect has worked really well. Is it still going strong and can you see this developing as a stand alone affair?
To give you a bit of background info on the group, it's set up for 16-25 year olds who want to dance in the film. It takes the shape of a soul do, as in, we don't really teach - the people who have been coming a while get on the floor and the new ones when they feel confident. Some of the kids who come along are already in to it and can dance really well. You could say that that makes up about 30 percent of them and the other 70 percent had never heard of it.
I'm not encouraging over 25's to come along and learn, as I don't want to feature anyone in the film who's too old, as it would feel like a cop-out given the film is set in the 70's.
Having said that I will be doing a call out to the general scene, when timings and locations get nailed down, to anyone who doesn't mind being purely a background dancer.
I'd like the dance club to carry on as stand-alone affair, but I'm not certain that all those kids would still come together if it wasn't for the fact they are not in the minority.
If it was just a thing in itself and I opened it up to any age beyond 25, which I would have to do if it's not about the film anymore, the balance would not be the same and it would probably become, for those younger people, something that a lot of other soul venues already offer.
We have put on a couple of big events for them and they were brilliant, we opened up the doors for all ages too and got in a few DJ's. People were astounded by the atmosphere and pretty shocked how all these kids filled the floor and were really going for it. A lot of people came up and said it was the best thing they'd been to in years. It is a real buzz. Maybe it will develop on its own and some of the young'uns will become promoters.
I personally never intended to be a promoter and I'm not really going to be able to keep up this drive that has taken hold of me to get this film out there - but if someone wanted to take it on to a new level after the film I'd be happy to hand it over if that were to work.
Q. No doubt you have attracted many offers of advice, who's currently involved?
Loads of people on the scene have given me advice/research on music: Butch, Ady Croasdell, John Anderson, Neil Rushton, Guy Hennigan, Dave Withers. Too many to mention here, but they will all have a credit in the film.
I recorded a lot of interviews with DJ's and heard some great anecdotes. There was a pretty tragic story about a young lad from Stoke who Butch knew who died in the late 70's. He talked about this kid and what happened to him over the course of three or four years, and the story moved me to tears. I based one of the characters loosely on him. After all, we all have friends that we've lost on the scene.
There are several stories about lads running to the local phone box as soon the Soul Bowl record list came through the post and standing there for hours as the phone was constantly engaged. You can imagine tones of lads all over the country doing the same thing all at the same time.
I've also had a lot of help with dancing. We will be profiling all our older folks who come along and help at dance club on the film website in the coming weeks. Apart from Fran and Paul who run the sessions - you may have seen them on the videos - I try and get a few people in here and there to just come along and dance in the mix so the kids can watch them and get ideas - after all, we don't want a load of clones copying just one dancer.
Q The video clip to me lays down for all to see where this film is coming from. Was this intentional?
It was intentional. About seven years ago I was aware of around five feature films in development that were going to be based on the NS scene but you hear about these things in the film industry and they don't always come to fruition. I was really gutted when I learned that Soul Boy was actually going to be made. In some ways it spurred me on but in other ways it was crushing.
When I was planning to make the teaser (video clip) I wanted it to show everyone that this film was coming from the inside, and show that the characters were people who took their passion very seriously, so much so that they were not prepared to sell out for a bit of self promotion.
The video clip was made over two years ago and we wanted to wait until Soul Boy went away before releasing it. Which is why it's just going out there now. It's a taste of the kind of attitude to expect and an example for the way it will be filmed.
We are hoping it will get lots of hits on you-tube as the statistics will get us a wider distribution deal.
Q. Its been said that the plans are to start shooting in early 2012, is everything finalised for this, such as screenplays locked down, locations, all the necessary backing in place and so on
Filming should start in February if all goes to plan. The screenplay is pretty much the shooting script, and most of the financial backing is in place, but we still have to secure a bit more. Our EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) opens at the end of October and we have a fair number of people lined up who are serious investors. I will have a further announcement to make about financing and investment opportunities in a few weeks, so watch this space!
Locations are still to be confirmed, as we have had equity opportunities in different regions. Ideally I would like to film this in Lancashire, as that's my old stomping ground.
Q. All things being well, when would you see this being released ?
Possibly the end of 2012, but it could come together a little sooner.
Q. Fast forward to a year after the films opening, how would you like joe uk public to ultimately remember this film?
As the most authentic, and magical fictional film about youth culture ever made. Though if a lot of people simply came away thinking it was a good film, I'd be very happy.
Q A weary old soul source closing choose a 45 type questions to finish off.
If you had to choose just one track that would be a fair representation of all that this film is about, what would you choose...?
I'm not giving away the sound-track at present but I'll just say that a lot of them will be things discovered in the early to mid seventies. But if your asking me what records I personally Iike, that will NOT be in the film, these are some of my favorites.
Monique's double-sider on Maurci
Johnny McCall's I need you on Alteen
Oscar Wright on Fairmount/Hemisphere
TSU Tornadoes' Only Inside, Cecil Washington, Johnny Rogers, Darrow Fletcher's What Good Am I, Carl Carlton's I Can Feel It; Love, Warmth & Affection on Week End; Dee Edwards' Why Can't There Be Love, Milton James - My Lonely Feeling; Mellow Souls, Paul Smith's Once In A Life Time
Many thanks Elaine am sure many will appreciate yourself taking the time and the effort to take part in the above.
To view read more information, background, images etc featuring the whole "Northern Soul" film project you can visit ..