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The making of My Heart is Broken Unseen

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My Heart is Broken Un-seen by Paul Page got a 4-star award at BIAFF 2009. Paul decided to make this film to show the outside world what he had endured as a child. This is  shortened version of the story as he tells it:

Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'.What you see is nothing to what really happened

I was born in 1968 in East Dulwich and lived in a ghetto beyond comprehension. My mother was a violent lady who physically abused me. What you see in My Heart Is Broken is nothing compared to what really happened.

My mother is English and my father is Turkish. My father spent most of his life in prison rather than looking after his family. So my mum found it very difficult to bring up my baby sister and my older brother on state benefits. Most of her anger and frustration would be aimed directly at me as I looked like my father. The screaming and shouting coming from my mum and dad made me have many nightmares. Because I had wet the bed I was to endure pain that you would not imagine. So I would shit myself and cover my whole body so she could not touch me.

Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'.

Going to primary school my behaviour became disobedient. I was kicked out of so many schools for fighting, that no other school wanted to take me on. At the age of eleven we moved over the other side of the road to a three-bedroom flat. As soon as we moved in, we got bricks thrown through the window, fireworks placed through the letterbox. And also the front door kicked in. The police could not do anything unless they had an independent witness come forward. My dad had tolerated so much stress that he ended up taking the law into his own hands. After that he got respect from the youths around the estate. Since that day I have looked at my dad as a role model.

At secondary school my maths teacher had shouted at me for talking and sent me out of the room. I was so angry I went into empty classrooms and lit the curtains. I then went into the science lab and turned on the gas taps while lighting them. I was eventually arrested for arson and sentenced to 4 years in care. Most of my time in care was not long as I always absconded, and was living on the streets of London. I meet lots of shady characters while living on the dark cold streets. I ended up sniffing thinners or glue with a guy who I ran away with. While being in care I was placed in a detention centre and eventually ended up in borstal. My criminal convictions were getting out of control, from shoplifting to burglary and even to stealing several motor vehicles. Most of my teenage years were spent in prison.

Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'. Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'.

I took up an acting course

As a young man I took up an acting course. My passion in life was to become an actor, so I took up a 2 year national diploma in performing arts. I learned about method acting, writing and devising and also how to get in touch with my emotions. Because I was so good at getting in touch with my emotions through my childhood, the drama teacher told me that I had the makings of a powerful actor. After my course I got myself an agent to find my stardom.

I ended up being an extra in The Bill and also East Enders. I did several commercials and unpaid theatre work, but was not happy with my acting career. Because I had this past-demon inside me I couldn't hold down a full time job. I have been sacked so many times when my temper got the better of me. As a postman, milkman, forklift driver, packer, bus driver, kitchen porter I have been sacked through my anger.

In my spare time I did a lot of low budget African films and ended up being a star in Africa but not here in London. I started to watch how it was behind the camera instead of being in front of it. When I was picked to be a main actor and auditioned at the London Film Academy I saw how professional film makers put a film together.

The response was amazing

Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'.Although the filming ended I did not want it to stop. So I went and bought a Sony VX 9000, two red head lights ,a German microphone, monitor and tripod. I then sat at my computer and wrote a film called My Heart is Broken. When I finished writing the script, I then placed an advert in P.C.R. for wannabe actors. (PCR = Production and Casting Report - a website.) The response was amazing so I auditioned all my actors at my local church. I then managed to select them with my girlfriend at a later date. It was very hard to be a cameraman, direct, do the lighting, set the microphone and organise the locations. I felt like the waiter out of Carry On Abroad where he tries to be so many people working in a hotel.

What was so frustrating for me was when it started to rain and I phoned two days in advance for the actor to shoot the outdoor scene. So I then had to phone other actors in a short period of time to film the indoor scenes. What made me so angry when I found an editor who told me that he could put my film together for thirty pounds an hour? I didn't realise that he was cheating me. He kept on saying that his computer was freezing which meant he needed to do it again. A week later he told me that he was burgled which meant one of my tapes was missing. So my film was not a forty minute feature. The film was made into a fifteen minute short film.

I was so upset that my hard work was thrown away.

Still from 'My Heart Is Broken Un-seen'.I entered my film to the Surrey Film Festival where it won the runner's up trophy 2005. In 2008 the missing film was sent to me by post. The film had been found which I was delighted about. I decided to buy an editing software package called Pinnacle 9. I got all my sound effects from my local library and put My Heart Is Broken Un- seen together in my bedroom at the weekend. Because I was working as a warehouse person my only time was at the weekend.

The reason why the film had so many faults is because I had hardly anyone to help me. I felt so bad that I placed false names in the credits - but otherwise my name would be coming up all the time. What frustrated me was that the Sony VX9000 gives off a hissing noise as though someone was frying bacon in the background. That's why I had to place music in the background to drown the hissing sound. *

Everything in that film is true up to the car crash but the killing scene is fiction. If I had people to help me make a film I would not be picking up a four star certificate. I know I would have picked up the I.A.C international winner's trophy.

- Paul Page

[* In fairness to Sony this is not a common problem and may have been caused by faulty microphone connections.- Editor.]

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Page updated on 06 October 2011
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