In this blogpost, part of my series on 100 films you must see, I’m going to write about one of my own bits of work. Family Style, was my first broadcast credit in 1994, and was shown on Channel 4 as part of a competition for young script writers.
I was 18 when I wrote it, and was payed the princely sum of £70 for being an extra in my own work. The film is notable for being an early work of director Justin Chadwick and actor Ewan McGregor.
It was a terrific learning experience, and the film represents my influences at the time which where Rumblefish and The Indian Runner. The film was shot beautifully by photographer Alan Almond.
I wrote the script in about a month, it was just a ten minute script but I worked night and day on it. The competition that the script won – The Lloyds Bank Film Challenge, was an amazing experience at such a young age and it really did change my life. My experiences working in TV and film came directly from winning this competition.
I don’t lay any great claims to this film being a classic or a great example of a short film, however, the film does have a very strong voice behind it. It’s a voice that’s not developed very well, but I do recognise the voice as my own.
In one review, the film was described as a modern, hyper violent male Wuthering Heights. I’ll take that. You can see the film below…
So, 83 films to go!
Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.