Why did you decide to be part of the ATT project?
I love the idea of making use of the amazing historical archive of super 8 and 16mm films made by passionate non-professional filmmakers, unrestricted by rules or others' expectations. The films are inspiring and totally original.
What came first the archive or the story?
In Permanently Yours, the archive came first. I loved the film of Rosalie's Hair Salon, made by the hairdresser himself, Ken Paine, so I decided to try and find him, and was very lucky to discover that after 60 years of hairdressing he was still doing his wife's hair once a week.
What were you looking for in the archive?
I was looking for warmth and humour, something with a personal touch that was made with passion.
What appealed to you about the particular footage you have chosen?
I was drawn to Ken's archive by the classic seventies film colour and the inherent sense of love and affection in the material. I was touched when I realized that the film was made in the year of my birth, 1976, a stone's throw away from where my mum was living at the time in Folkestone. And my mum was always one for a curly perm, so she may well have been a customer.
Did the archive footage change the way you shot the film? How?
I tried to stay with the feel of the archive, to give my footage the same jovial mood. I worked alone with a small camera, just as Ken would have. But that's what I normally do.
What's the film about, for you?
Permanently Yours is about enduring love and compromise, a couple in their eighties who have been together since they were teenagers. They met through hairdressing and have lived all their married life in hairdressing. The twist is that while Ken loves and obsesses over hair and in particular, the permanent wave, June actually doesn't share his passion. Her enduring love is for her husband, and her tolerance for his weekly styling session is impressive.
What rights issues did you encounter with the archive?
The only problem I had was with Ken's original choice of music. He was a huge Victor Silvester Ballroom fan, but I couldn't afford to clear it, so had to search for a cheaper alternative in the same style.
How did you find your participants?
I began by looking up Rosalie's Hair Salon. I discovered on the internet that Ken had been involved in making another film about the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. I rang the Deputy Manager there (always nicer than the Manager!) and asked if he knew Ken and June. He agreed to pass on a letter from me. I think a handwritten letter is hard to beat as a first impression. Ken wrote back within days, delighted that his film would get an airing.
What is the exact location of your film?
The archive was shot in Rosalie's Hair Salon in Folkestone in 1976. The new footage was shot in Ken and June's retirement flat on Folkestone seafront in the Autumn of 2009.