One In A Million is Patrick Ireland’s graduation film from the London Film School. Ireland loosely based the story on his own life experiences, growing up in Herne Bay, Kent, describing it as a rundown, seaside town, with his script perfectly encompassing the anxiety and discomfort of adolescence. The need to impress and the subtle competitiveness underides the story, exposing the vulnerability involved when bodies change and people try to adapt to the expectations of others. For some it appears easy and for others, like Kevin (Eddie Chamberlin), who is fantasising about winning the lottery and creating an easier life for himself, things are tougher when you don’t quite fit in. With social services replacing any parental affection, support or a welcoming home, Kevin loses much more as the film spirals into a tragic climax. Cinematographer Simona Susnea’s images in rich black and white, have added a beautiful aesthetic to the story.
The film is essentially about intolerance towards difference and the consequences that occur when people are not only bullied, but forced to live with the person causing them the most grief. Ireland has captured the awkwardness and loneliness that teenagers feel during the time when the most change is taking place, retreating to their bedrooms in order to shut the door on it all and try out a new identity, from a person with unlimited wealth to another who successfully navigates relationships. Despite the seriousness of the subject he has maintained some lightness through the funny failed attempts to impress.
The film was co-produced by Shout Out UK and the London Film School with additional funding supplied by Kent County Council. In a piece Ireland wrote for the organisation Shout Out UK an independent youth multi-media network for which he is the creative director, he stated that “British cinema – and art in general – needs more voices that express a different kind of life; a different kind of attitude; and that come from a different kind of background.”
Before attending the LFS, Patrick Ireland had already directed a few diverse films including other short films and the 2015 documentary Anonymous: A Million Men.
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