Former Islander, Jason Bradbury, has written and produced a short film, set on the Isle of Wight for the BBC Born Digital series.
The series celebrates the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web with 11 short films that “explore the many different facets of an invention that completely changed the world as we know it”, all of which were premiered at the BFI earlier this month.
My Sweet Prince
Jason’s film, My Sweet Prince, is set in the early 00s and shows fragments of his teenage video diaries (filmed during 2001-2003 on the Island).
Blurb for the film reads:
The director drew heavily on his own experience growing up on the Isle of Wight, as he began to explore his sexuality, and just how important the advent of the Internet was in this formative part of his life.
In a time before the commercialisation of personal data, online forums and instant messengers truly transformed the ways in which teenagers could find a sense of belonging.
Bradbury: “The Internet had a huge and lasting impact on me”
Speaking about the inspiration for the film, Jason said,
“I knew from the early stages that I wanted my film for the Born Digital scheme to be about my experience growing up on the Isle of Wight. The Internet had a huge and lasting impact on me. It allowed me to seek out a community and offer a safe space for me to explore my sexuality.
“Throughout the making of the film I had to wrestle with the warping of memory. This idea of confronting my past is what the archive and fiction juxtaposition represents. In a way, the fictional story of Tommy better resembles my experience as a gay teenager on the Isle of Wight than the footage captured on the VHS tapes.”
He went on to add,
“I remember my youth as oppressive, lonely even – but after digging out the tapes that document my youth, they are filled with fun, laughter and friends. I knew everyone.
“However, life wasn’t easy; I was bullied, I felt the lack of role models in the media, but perhaps the biggest enemy in my youth was myself. Not being able to admit to myself who I was, kept everyone else around me at a distance as well. This is something that I feel almost anyone can connect with.
“Throughout these years I was spending more and more time online – where I could search an interest and find a community. Hundreds of people in one, virtual place. Gay teen Placebo fans, united.
“The resulting film is a tightly woven record of both the reality, memory and feeling of what it was like to grow up during that time.”
Watch the film
After My Sweet Prince was premiered at the BFI, it was broadcast on BBC Four.
It is now available to watch via the BBC iPlayer (contains swearing).
Jason grew up on the Isle of Wight and graduated from Bournemouth Arts University. He has gone on to become an award-winning Director and his films have played at film festivals internationally, as well as over 14 million views online.
His work includes We Once Were Tide (BFI Flare), Dirty Laundry (Best UK Pilot at Pilot Light TV Festival) and Alone, My Friend (Straight8 Cannes).
Jason believes in the transformative power of cinema and is passionate about narratives that focus on outsiders and LGBTQ+ characters in particular.
You can find out more about Jason’s work by checking out his Website