To Trend on Twitter: Fundraising Film
PUBLISHED: 12:05 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 20 December 2018
Highgate film maker Andy Wooding persuaded 350 crew and celebrities to work on his fund-raising comedy for free
Highgate writer and director Andy Wooding has raised £1,000 for charity by persuading 350 film folk to give up their time for free.
Helen Lederer, Josh Whitehouse, David Baddiel and comic stars Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith all have cameos in his 22 minute comedy To Trend on Twitter.
Filmed around Golders Green and Temple Fortune, people can pay to watch it on Vimeo on Demand to raise funds for CLIC Sergeant - the UK’s biggest charity for children with cancer.
“It was community-led everybody cared about it and liked the idea, everybody gave up their time for free,” he says.
“It was amazing to work with really lovely and talented people wanting to do something good.”
To Trend on Twitter is about poverty stricken single mum Susie Mumma, whose baby falls ill. “She goes to a group support run by Helen Lederer’s therapist because she doesn’t feel she’s getting what she wants and doesn’t accept the horrible position she’s in,” says Wooding.
But in a “cartoonish” twist, after leaving a meeting about fundraising, she is papped with a famous “David Beckham-esque” footballer and finds herself trending on Twitter.
“Suddenly people are writing about her, who’s this woman? They thrust her into the limelight and she’s offered stuff by an agent like going on chat shows. She has no talent, just a sick child. It shows her meteoric rise to fame.”
Wooding, who also writes political comedy, was partly inspired by his time working on Big Brother.
“Getting close to celebrities and pseudo celebrities I’ve heard a lot of weird things and how it gets ridiculous: ‘can I have a plus one to Amy Winehouse’s funeral?’’ While working on a reality TV programme an idea came into my head to write a story about people pretending to have cancer online to get followers, and about how we are living in a time where everything online is very black and white: ‘ hate you, love you,’ ‘you’re an idiot, you are brilliant.’
“It’s all quite silly and done in a very light spirit.”
Wooding shot the film in Wallace bar, Temptation gift shop and Cohen’s optician in Temple Fortune as well as at the Union Chapel in Islington.
Poldark hunk Whitehouse, who has just been cast as the lead in the Game Of Thrones prequel opposite Naomi Watts, came on board as a friend.
“When I read the script I thought it was well written with a good concept and a strong message and it’s always nice to support a project which helps those in need,” he said.
“My role is only a small part playing rock star Francis Darc who appears on a talk show with Susie Mumma. Francis doesn’t like what she’s been doing and decides to speak up.
“I think helping people whenever you can is important full stop. Wherever you are in the world people suffer with all different kinds of problems. It’s important as humans we support each other as much as possible.”
The cause itself was close to Wooding’s heart after his own experience falling sick as a child.
“I had meningitis and was in and out of hospital so I have always cared about any problem that strikes anyone in life. Life is tricky enough without dealing with sudden illness.
“I also felt that I had spent a lot of time doing things for myself and my career and wanted to work on a charity project.”
He approached Hampstead author Baddiel who liked the script and agreed. Pemberton and Shearsmith were friends of friends, and he buttonholed Lederer in the street to ask her to take part.
“I was looking to cast someone very funny and passionate and just 25 minutes after someone suggested her, I bumped into her and she loved the idea.”
Lederer said: “It’s a dark comedy very much of our times about the power of social media. A mother with a sick child rises to fame online. I play an extremely over the top, group therapist leader who counsels mothers. She’s a guru who is well-intentioned but way off the mark. It’s funny because I’ve actually been to therapy myself, so to play a therapist was a nice change.”
She adds: “I think it’s great to support this charity. I knew that it was a project of integrity so what’s not to like? It was great to jump into it.”
Wooding says the whole experience was “a revelation in how amazing people can be if they are all working on a collective thing and everyone decides to give stuff for free. I have been directing sketches and writing for years, but this is the way that I like to do things.
You have to enjoy every day that your are given on this planet and this was a bohemian, egoless project with really nice, talented people.”
Pay to watch the film at vimeo.com/ondemand/totrendontwitter or simply donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/totrendontwitter