Chris Parton directs ‘Hot Air’.
Captured through a series of intimate portraits to the backdrop of COP26, local Glaswegians express how they feel about the future of our planet and the climate crisis we’re facing – away from media headlines and political agendas.
Filmed in Glasgow, Scotland.
Words from Chris Parton below.
Could you share an insight into the research and casting process?
CP: Well, I leaned heavily (very heavily) on the side of my family who live in Glasgow. They all pitched in with suggestions and ideas of people that would have something to say in different communities. With some persuasion, I even managed to convince some of them to feature in the film. My 89-year-old Gran had some great things to say and it made the project very personal to me to be able to involve her. We also reached out to groups involved in sustainability projects and were lucky enough to gain access to a couple of students at the Glasgow School of Art.
I knew the type of people that I wanted to speak to so it was a matter of reaching out and making contact and then trying to squeeze them all into a tight schedule. We actually went into some of the setups completely blind and sometimes didn’t really know what to expect. And we were still casting and scheduling whilst shooting so there was was a lot of moving parts for a crew of 4 but things just seemed to fall into place in a way that they never seem to do on set. I think that reinstated the fact we were making something worthy as everything was working in our favour.
If you want to get stung by bees, ask an urban gardener to show you their hive.
What advice would you give to filmmakers shaping a portrait of a community?
CP: I was lucky enough to already be pretty embedded in some of the communities thanks to my Glasgee family and friends, so it definitely helps to start a project with a good base in the area you want to portrait. But otherwise, my advice would be to talk to people who are heavily involved in community projects. Someone who runs a local walking group will likely know a lot about other people in the area. If you want to get stung by bees, ask an urban gardener to show you their hive. Or better yet speak to them about people in the area that are contributing to growing things locally and sustainably. We are also lucky (and unlucky) enough to live in an age where social media means that you can target groups of people faster and much easier, we definitely made use of that.
It also really helps to speak passionately and honestly about the project. The more somebody knows about what you’re trying to make, the better they can help. But just open yourself up to as many conversations as possible and give yourself the time to listen, even if it’s got nothing to do with the initial idea of your project you can find new stories and angles to take.
It also really helps to speak passionately and honestly about the project. The more somebody knows about what you’re trying to make, the better they can help.
Did your production take measures to ensure a green/carbon neutral shoot?
CP: Luckily our Producer, Tom was well versed in all things green on set. Being a team of four meant we could break down the kit and all squeeze tightly into one car. Shout out to the roomie 2009 Subaru Outback. We also made sure to schedule things to involve as little travel as possible. We shot with only natural light, apart from one set up (out of 15) where we used a low voltage LED panel. Everyone brought their own water bottles and we avoided using single-use plastic and made sustainable conscious decisions about how we consumed as we went. In post-production, we remoted in where possible to avoid unnecessary travel.
Were any of your own views on the climate crisis changed in the process of making the film?
CP: I think a lot of the views I had going into this were reinforced. The reason I wanted to speak to the people of Glasgow was that in my experience their views tend to be more compassionate and caring. We found that there was great emphasis on the importance of looking out for one another and making changes on a community level that can hopefully inspire greater change. Everyone seemed very in tune with the way the world works and it was really inspiring to hear how they were still motivated to change things no matter how big or small.
Change is going to come from a cultural shift and a different approach to how we all live on a day-to-day basis.
Change is going to come from a cultural shift and a different approach to how we all live on a day-to-day basis. Hearing our contributors’ views and stories really gave me hope that there are people who are trying to make a difference. People know that we need more honest and open conversations that are tangible and engaging to everyone on the street so that it’s not just news headlines and political agendas that make you switch off from despair. Everyone agreed that change is unlikely to come from the top and so it’s important to rally together and take action in communities and to educate and help each other understand the situation better, so we can all make better choices.
What are you reading at the moment?
CP: I’m reading ‘How To Change Your Mind, The New Science of Psychedelics’ but we maybe won’t get into that.
- Chris Parton
- Tom Precey
- Daniel Purse
- Director of Photography
- Owen O'Sullivan
- Peter Oppersdorff
- Lewis Gregory
- TEEPEE Films
- Production Company