Julia Higginbottom is the co owner of Rebel Uncut and has made her fair share of films from feature length drama to documentary and commercials. She now uses all her time campaigning and has a few things to say about why the forum should be more vocal. Julia is on the board of directors for the Producers Forum
I first met Chris in 2002, when I was freshly back in the UK after living abroad. I was looking for some people locally to make films with, and I ran into Chris at Coventry’s Call the Shots. It turned into one of the most important and defining creative partnerships, and indeed friendships, of my whole life.
When I met him, Chris was a tall man with an infectious smile and a keen mind. I thought he was just a few years older than me, and was very much surprised to discover that he was nearly twenty years my elder! We quickly became fast friends, and worked together on feature films, short films, music videos, documentaries, all kinds of projects. I was always impressed by his insight and talent, not to mention his quick wit and sunny demeanour. But then I came to notice his essential kindness. He was always ready to help out a friend, in any way he could, from lending out his expensive filmmaking equipment to fixing my exhaust pipe with zip ties.
Chris came to filmmaking relatively late in life, after a distinguished career in IT. His late start never affected his talents – after all, he already had decades of experience in problem-solving, project management, and creative thinking. Right from the beginning, with his earliest short films, he was winning awards and continued to do so right until last Autumn, when we won a prize for a film we made for Warwick Rocks. In between, he received accolades for his work as a cinematographer, director, and producer, at festivals ranging from Swansea Bay in Wales to Phoenix, Arizona.
He had a deep love of film, coupled with a deep understanding of it. I will always treasure the evenings we spent drinking bourbon and dissecting the genius of French car chases. He introduced me to many films that are now in my all time favourites list, such as Diva and Ronin.
He was a man of singular determination and resolve, which is a polite way of saying that he was stubborn as a mule. In addition to that, nearly every time, when he put his foot down, on further examination he turned out to be absolutely right, which was highly infuriating.
He was also a much braver man than I, as I discovered the one and only time I rode on the back of his bike.
He was a man deeply concerned about the state of the world, and the practical things that he could do to improve it. He was a strong supporter of Amnesty International, and a strong believer in freedom. On a local level, he served as a school governor at Trinity School in Leamington Spa for many years. He was a thoroughly decent, compassionate, hard-working man.
Chris was, like all of us, a man of many facets. He was a great filmmaker, an excellent programmer, a crazy man behind the wheel or on the back of a bike, a devoted husband, a dedicated father. None of us who were privileged to be his friend will ever forget him. We are all diminished by his absence, but our lives have all been enriched by knowing him. I will always miss my friend; but I will always be proud and happy to have known his friendship.
Writer • Director • Editor • VFX
Our partners at Creative England are running this new initiative, which we thought you might be interested in…
In 2013, the Producers’ Forum ran a special Mentoring Scheme (supported by Creative England) which led to a host of insights and support from top industry professionals for new producers on the rise. We thought we’d feature the outcomes of the scheme, and insights from its beneficiaries, here for our members…