Acclaimed writer and musician CHRIS WADE makes his film debut with THE APPLE PICKER, which has been selected for Sydney World Film Festival 2017. From working with RIK MAYALL on the comedic audiobook CUTEY AND THE SOFAGUARD, to running the varied music project DODSON AND FOGG, Wade has dipped into many areas over the past few years, including magazines, illustrations and non fiction books. A life long cinema buff, it's been one of his dreams to
make a movie.
THE APPLE PICKER is a darkly comic surreal drama about an old man who, disjointed from the world around him, looks back upon his life and into the darkest corners of his psyche. Shot in black and white, the film was pieced together in shooting bursts over a few months. The edit took two months.
"My love of films goes way back. Me and my sister Amy used to make weird arty films on our stepdad's Video camcorder," Wade says, "and I was obsessed with films at that point; watching films, reading about films, dreaming of making films. The first one we did was in 2001, when I was 16. I still have some of them on video. They were like my practice really, in a way, a bit like a film school or something. I liked the theme of madness, and surreal imagery always appealed to me. In many ways those daft early films with my sister formed the basis of THE APPLE PICKER.
"I just wanted to make something that interested me and kept me passionate and into it 100 percent. I loved doing it. Not everything in it is easy to figure out and I didn't lay everything out bare or explain everything for the viewer. I didn't want it to be obvious. I wanted some mystery in it. Watch it and see what you think it all means. Why is the old man looking back? What is he looking back on? Did this stuff happen or is it in his mind? What's wrong with his mind? What is the meaning of the video the young guy, played by me, puts in the player at the start? I like to think it unravels and reaches a kind of conclusion at the end, but that it stays open enough for each viewer to take out what they want. It's the kind of thing I'd like people to talk about hopefully. It isn't just a film, a product or something, It's more like a painting in some ways, without sounding like a pretentious git... which I just have! Some people might see things in it that others don't. I like films that like that."
The Old Man is played by Jack Napier, Chris's father in law, and his daughter Lily, partner Linzi and mother in law Patricia also appear, not to mention his dad Andy. Shawn Dimery, who plays the drifter, has been Wade's friend since they were 6. Toyah Willcox and Nigel Planer have worked with Wade before and spared some time to narrate some text Wade wrote for the movie.
"Nigel provides some surreal humour," Wade says, "and Toyah kind of gives the whole thing a bit of a conclusion, and wraps it up in a way. It needed to be a great actress for that monologue and Toyah is just brilliant, so it was a treat for her to take some time out for this project. It's all been such fun. I hope people get something out of it..."