top of page

18th BFI Future Film Festival, 2024

"I struggled a lot in college and it wasnt until meeting Jordon Scott Kennedy through my careers teacher that I first even held a camera."
Blood From A Stone

Blood from a stone is a surreal animation that follows ‘Lyndon BEEFY Skinner’ a young boxer who struggles with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia in a battle to cut weight.


Hi Charles, thank you for talking to TNC. How does it feel to be screening Blood From A Stone at the 18th BFI Future Film Festival?


It feels incredible to know that Blood From A Stone has been selected for the 18th BFI Future Film Festival. It is something I’m hugely proud of and pleased that a project covering the subject matter of its kind will get to be shown to a wider audience and hopefully create more awareness within the topics of Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders. 


Are there any nerves ahead of the festival or are you just excited and eager for your screening? 


No… Well, that's a lie of course there is. Out of all the acting and performing I've done, Sitting and watching a film you’ve created is the most nerve-wracking thing going. I think it’s probably because when you are acting you are saying someone else's words whereas with your film you are saying your words, you are almost letting everyone into your world.

How important are festivals like Future Film Festival in creating a platform for short films and emerging filmmakers?


Festivals like the BFI’s Future Film Festival are crucial for emerging filmmakers, giving a voice to extremely important narratives. All the films look excellent that have been selected and I am extremely excited for the festival to give all of these a voice. 


What more can be done on a local/national level in the UK to offer short films more visibility to audiences outside of the festival circuit?


I feel a lot more can be done and things are moving in the right direction. Places like The Unit, Bradford are great examples of this, backed by Channel 4, Screen Yorkshire and Bradford Council they run free workshops practically every week from Animation Workshops run by myself to Producing workshops led by the incredibly talented Casey Shaw and so much more they have amazing facilities such as a cinema, editing suite and equipment that is free to book out. It’s places like this that are crucial for ensuring filmmaking remains accessible and for everybody, it’s all about collaboration, not competition. Recently The Unit & Keighley Creative combined with Bradford Council, Screen Yorkshire and Channel 4 to create: The Stockroom Cinema. This space allows people to create films and see them on the big screen. Incentives like ‘The Five Minute Film Club.’ run by The Unit and created by The Unit’s Creative Lead Jordon Scott Kennedy are such a success and have caused the creation of over a hundred films within its first year by local filmmakers.

How did the Idle Work Factory collective start and how essential is it for you to use film as a medium to explore and uplift Northern narratives and experiences?


It was created by Jordon in 2015 in response to the media’s portrayal of working-class people as ‘lazy’. He wanted to provide a platform which showcased Northerners telling their own personal stories and he provides practical filmmaking training through on-set opportunities To date. Idle Work Factory has made three Channel 4 films. One of which; Youthless has just been optioned as a TV series, our feature film; Suicide Kelly has just won Best Picture and Best Director at British Urban Film Festival, and in 2023, we opened our own SIGN-backed free film school.


Can you tell me how Blood From A Stone came about, and what inspired your film?


The Unit, Channel 4 and Bradford Council were holding an entry open to everyone from the region to apply for an amount of either £1000 or £10’000, Blood From A Stone received £1000 as well as two more Idle Work Factory projects Casey Shaw’s “Sons and Daughters of Subcultures.” and Jordon Scott Kennedy’s “YOUTHLESS.” This allowed me to create this animation and pay for things such as a cast, a recording studio etc. The idea came about when I was younger. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and at a young age I became obsessed with exercise, through this I developed Body Dysmorphia and my eating became very negative without getting into too much detail and speaking on any triggering aspects I struggled with this for some time and wanted to talk about how these issues within men aren’t spoken about enough. I was compelled to tell a story that would speak to those who are dealing with these topics and let them know they aren’t alone and that support is there for them.


"I pride myself on telling narratives surrounding my own experiences, a lot of which fall under the umbrella of working-class stories and cover topics of mental health."

What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing Blood From A Stone to the big screen?


The biggest challenge I faced when it came to animating and creating Blood From A Stone was ultimately the equipment I used. But I loved this about blood from a stone and it is everything I and Idle Work Factory stand for. D.I.Y. Filmmaking and the ethos that story beats all. I used a laptop older than probably some of the filmmakers who have entered the festival and a tablet I bought for £20 from C.E.X. All the software from what I used to animate to what we edited the project on was completely free. I wanted to show people that you don’t need tons of money or the best equipment to create a story that is personal to you. 


Now you can be reflective. What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken away from making Blood From A Stone?


Now looking back and reflecting on the project, the most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from creating ‘Blood From A Stone’ was the power of talking about these topics. Hearing people discuss the subject matter in the animation was so important. From those involved in the project to audience members and beyond. Witnessing this happen is so crucial and has instilled in me how giving a voice to these issues can encourage everyone to reach out and seek the help they need as it is out there.

Where did your passion for filmmaking and animation come from?


Ever since a young age, I have always been quite creative however I never really thought filmmaking was for myself or animation for this matter. I used to illustrate a lot and then write too. I took an idea to Jordon Scott Kennedy a good few years ago and it was surreal and quite out there (Most of my ideas are.) He suggested I try animate it and since then I’ve been teaching myself the medium of animation. My passion for filmmaking came from my curiosity and connection with cinema. When I attended college I struggled a lot. I was in CAMHS twice a week as well as failing every subject and was working at a factory making car parts in the evenings. Film was escapism for me as I’m sure it was for a lot of people. It wasn’t until meeting the team at Idle Work Factory that I even realised it was something I could do. 


How much does your background as an actor help inform your approach to filmmaking?


I think my background as an actor lends itself to filmmaking massively. I’m dyslexic so reading books is something that I struggle with massively, however, the way scripts are broken down means I find it a lot easier. I feel acting lends itself well to most creative practices. Especially within animation; Animation is ultimately about making choices and decisions within a character and trusting how something should perform. In essence, so is acting. I continue to act now and it gives me a great insight into how a set runs and works and I get to watch and pick up on small details and take them into my other creative practices. 


Do you have a favourite film/filmmaker that has inspired you?


I always struggle with this question, the ones that come to mind initially are films like This Is England. That captures the Unique side of working-class Britain. But as well as this surreal animations like Don Hertzfeldts ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ or Adam Elliot's ‘Mary & Max’ are both great examples of animation that covers serious topics. My greatest inspiration would have to be Idle Work Factory though. I remember being 16 or maybe 17 years old and sitting in an office in Leeds and Jordon Scott Kennedy had shown me a film the day before and then the next day the actor had walked in and it blew my mind. Seeing someone perform on screen to then meeting them in person just fascinated me. So as far as filmmakers go, that inspires me, Jordon Scott Kennedy, every single day. I’d love to also mention the amazingly talented producer Casey Shaw who continues to go from strength to strength and a brilliant up-and-coming film-maker in Ethan Duckworth who’s talents are endless. 


What does Blood From A Stone say about you as a filmmaker and the stories you want to tell in the future?


Blood From A Stone captures who I am as a filmmaker perfectly. I pride myself on telling narratives surrounding my own experiences, a lot of which fall under the umbrella of working-class stories and cover topics of mental health. The stories I want to tell in the future fall under these categories also. Creating animation in a D.I.Y. way to give not just a voice but a microphone to topics I hold close to my heart. 


What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken away from making Blood From A Stone, and is there anything you would have done differently in this film?


Blood from a Stone was my first time creating an animation within professional standards, having the excellent Casey Shaw and Jordon Scott Kennedy producing the film was invaluable and something that helped the project excel. Idle Work Factory ensured the ethos and alignments of the project stayed if not grew from strength to strength. The main thing I would do differently would be to follow a more structured animation process. Working with the fantastically talented sound designer Rob Maddison, he brought so much to the project and to make his life easier I would do a sketched version of the animation first, but to be honest I wouldn't change a second of it. It’s an experience I loved and cherished.

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer anyone wanting to get into filmmaking and what has been the best advice you’ve been given as you started your filmmaking journey?


I think most importantly that it is for them, growing up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. I never really felt like filmmaking was for people like me. I struggled a lot in college and it wasn’t until meeting Jordon Scott Kennedy through my careers teacher that I first even held a camera. He was the first person to believe in my ability to be creative and taught me so much. So for anyone starting out I’d say know that it is for you and for those in positions of creative success; it’s important to pay it forward and to help bring up the next generation of creatives. Each one Teach one.

And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from Blood From A Stone?


I would love for the audience to take away the importance of not struggling in silence, especially when it comes to mental health within topics such as body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It’s an issue I struggled with for years on my own and creating this animation allowed me to talk openly about the issues I faced. The animation aims to create a platform for people to realise and discuss the different forms dysmorphia and eating disorders can occur in. If I was to see something like blood from a stone when I was at a point where I felt no one would understand what was going on I would've maybe understood I wasn't alone, which is what I would love people to take away from this film. 

bottom of page