Peddling all the way to Pitcairn is quite an undertaking, but it was a lifelong dream that actor and new film-maker Julian McDonnell set out to accomplish in his documentary Take Me To Pitcairn.
“I’m just a bloke. I’m an actor, though not a very good one,” he begins. “I’m a pedlar; I sell kites.” Holding a rather rare Pedlar’s certificate that allows him to traipse across Britain selling his wares, Julian has been trying to move into filmmaking and presenting. “I didn’t have a showreel so I got a little camcorder and started filming and interviewing people,” he says.
A lifelong fascination with Mutiny on the Bounty sparked the idea for Take Me To Pitcairn. “Since I was fifteen years old I’ve been fascinated by the romance, sunshine, adventure, survival , mystery and exoticism of it all,” he says. After some research he realised he was not alone in this. However pulling together the funds to physically get there was certainly not smooth sailing, by any means. “I’m a bloke with no budget and it’s an odd insular, isolated place, they only get about two ships per year,” he explains. After convincing a charter boat to take him for free, Julian set off to follow in the footsteps of the HMS Bounty mutineers. With several hiccups along the way, including a difficult captain and plenty of colourful characters, it turned out to be quite a mission. “It’s basically a story of one man trying to get to Pitcairn island on a tiny budget and it looking like his dreams are basically going to be shattered,” Julian reveals.
The three year project started off as a simple historical documentary and quickly became a 55 minute travel romp docu-drama. Vox pops featured in the beginning of the film were conducted at the Thames festival while the sea-shanties were written and recorded by Julian’s sister L’il Lost Lou and the incidental music by Daniel Waples, both of whom frequently busk on the Southbank.
A screening of Take Me To Pitcairn along with a director Q&A will be held at the Roxy Bar and Screen on April 20 at 3pm. Admission: £4 (£2 for Roxy members). Phone: 020 7407 4057. http://www.roxybarandscreen.com