Take Me With You

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The story of the story

Film launched at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in September 2020.

This story is largely a tribute to the work of the people who work in and who manage care homes. During this crisis they have had to face unbelievable difficulties which they have done with intelligence and good grace, even if exhausted and upset. They have watched and felt ignored while the NHS was applauded. They have managed unexpected pressures and taken them in their stride. Staff have slept in the homes to keep residents safe. They have faced the anger and grief of families that were separated from loved ones. The characters in this film show how strong and courageous they had to be. In a society which often criticises care providers unfairly, and compares the staff in care homes unfavourably with other sectors like the NHS, they show that these are real people doing a difficult job in unprecedented circumstances. And it is a tribute to the families and residents, to whom the care home workers and managers dedicate their working lives.

In the early days of the Covid-19 lockdown, Raindog Production and the Dementia Services Development Trust brought together a group of writers and actors to collaborate to tell the unfolding story of what was happening to people with dementia in care homes, and how this was affecting their families, and the care home staff.

The writers of these monologues were confined to their own homes by the protective public health measures created by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. Through telephone and video calls they talked with directors Neil Leiper and Stuart Davids about what was unfolding and came up with inventive ways of creating this dramatic work within the artificial constraints of the pandemic.

The practical problems of making a film “in a bubble” meant that Sean McCardie, Bob Rafferty and Simon McCallum had to quickly learn how to use the app Filmic Pro on iPhones. That footage was cut by award winning editor Colin Monie and post produced by Serious Facilities. Martin McCardie and other writers shared drafts, enriching them with news stories as they came in, reflecting real life and personal experience.

Some of the professional actors lived in one household, for example Maureen Carr with her real-life family Erin and Michael McCardie who were filmed by brother Sean. Claire Knight was filmed at home by her husband, Simon McCallum. Bob Rafferty filmed his mother Barbara in their house.

All of this was done while coping with day jobs by teleconference, and the practicalities of living life in lockdown. Many  have in real life been supporting older relatives, or managing intercurrent illness of children, and home schooling, and just getting through. Some of those involved were volunteering or doing essential work. The participants on the teleconference might be on a bus journey, commuting to a caring role, or on a break in a hospital canteen.

The powerful performances and highest quality production have been enriched beyond measure by the music of Patrick Doyle, created especially for this film.

All of this work is dedicated to all those affected by Covid-19 and dementia in care homes, whether residents, families or workers. We honour those who died before they should, and those who will continue to carry a heavy psychological burden in the aftermath of these events. There seems to be more sorrow than we can bear, when we think of families separated at the time of death, and the exhaustion of the people who care. They all deserved better. We should have seen this coming. This must never happen again.

Photo information: top Claire Knight, middle Stuart Davids (l) and Neil Leiper (r), bottom Barbara Rafferty