Charlie Swinbourne - Writer of Hands Solo

Charlie Swinbourne wrote Hands Solo,  which went on to be funded by the UK Film Council and released in cinemas across the UK (as part of The Magic Hour) in 2008.

The film, starring Matt Kirby and directed by William Mager, is nominated for best drama at this year’s Deaffest, after winning the Best Short Film award at the World Deaf Cinema Awards last year.

Charlie talks about the creation of the film:

-“I wanted to do something comedic that would present a deaf person in a new way. We rarely see deaf people presented in a sexualised manner, so suddenly this idea came up, of a deaf man who happens to be so good at, ahem, making love, that he’s become an adult movie star. I figured if he was deaf, he might be very very good with his hands. And suddenly the name Hands Solo came up! One night I told William Mager about the idea and he loved it – and we went on to get funding from the UK Film Council.”

Hans Solo played by Matt Kirby

What was the difference between that early script and the final film?

“Some things stayed the same, and some things, over around 20 drafts, changed massively! I was lucky to have a lot of support and ideas from William and we also worked closely with a script editor. Gradually the story was honed down so it became more and more punchy, shorter, and funnier, I think!”

Was Charlie happy with the final film?

“I loved it! William and I went through a big process in making the film, it took up 8 months of our life and William deserves a lot of credit for putting the full humour of the film onto the screen.  I also think that deaf actors Matt Kirby (who played Hands) and Deepa Shastri were outstanding –  comedy is much harder to act than people realise. It’s something we’re all very proud of and winning the award in America last year was a big honour, especially after we worked so hard on it!”

Charlie has written seven films and one play, including the new drama My Song, which will premiere on the first night of Deaffest this year. How has his scriptwriting career progressed since his first short film, Coming Out (directed by Louis Neethling)?

“It’s strange looking back because Coming Out was quite instinctive, it was something that came to me and I just wrote it, then it got made and it did really well. After that the challenge was to think of new ideas, and this is the crucial thing: work out what, as a writer, I wanted to say. Most of my films have some kind of purpose behind them, it might be to make people laugh, or to convey an aspect of deaf culture that hasn’t been seen before.”

Hands Solo and Coming Home have been nominated in Best Drama in the Gala and My Song will be screened on the friday night of the festival.

About Deaffest

UK's Leading Deaf-Led Film and Arts Festival

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