Bath Spa alumnus hopes to inspire change with Meaningful Films
It all started with Grandma.
Bath Spa alumnus Luke Taylor realised he wanted to be a filmmaker during his final year studying BA Creative Media, when he made a short film about the relationship between a grandma and grandson called Nan. After it went on to win a Royal Television Society award, he knew he was on to something.
“Sharing the film online and seeing it reach such a diverse audience made me realise I wanted to create films that could influence and inspire change,” Luke said. “I’ll never forget one comment I saw from someone in America who had watched the film, and said it made them pick up the phone and call their grandma for the first time in six months.”
After graduating in 2014 with a first class BA (Hons) degree, Luke moved to London and was quickly offered what he thought was his dream job in TV production, but soon realised it wasn’t for him. “I remember thinking, why work behind the scenes when I could be out there making films myself?” Luke said. So he returned to Bath and started his own production company, Lt Film.
He then went on to team up with his friend and colleague of nine years, Joanna Crosse, who he met whilst doing an internship as part of his studies at Bath Spa. Together they formed Meaningful Films, a platform for producing and sharing thought-provoking and compassionate work.
Their latest film, commissioned by the St John’s Foundation, is called A Roof Over My Head, and tackles the issue of homelessness in Bath and Northeast Somerset, as well as highlighting the various local services that offer help to those who are homeless, or are facing the threat of becoming homeless. It premiered at Komedia in Bath on 13 November.
Luke said that putting a spotlight on homelessness was really important as it’s a growing problem in the UK, and while many people might perceive Bath to be a wealthy city, there’s a lot more going on that the public may not realise. The film includes beautiful, sunlit images of Bath and the surrounding area, juxtaposed with the stark realities of rough sleepers bundled up in doorways. It is not always easy to watch, but each person is portrayed with kindness and humanity, and the film ultimately ends on an uplifting note.
“We wanted to change perceptions [around homelessness], but also bring a sense of hope to the subject,” Luke explained. “I’m inspired by real stories. With the world the way it is at the moment, I believe people like to see films they can truly relate to, and I love being able to tell people's stories and spark positive action through my work.”
That work is also informed by the skills and knowledge Luke gained whilst studying at Bath Spa, and has directly influenced his success. “The best thing about the course was that it was practical. It allowed me to develop and grow my creative skillset across the three years,” he said. “It prepared me for the real world and certainly inspired me to start my own business.”
Life as a filmmaker running two production companies means that every day is different. One week may see Luke hosting a screening, running workshops with colleagues and filming across the country. During “quieter” weeks he catches up on emails and social media promotion, and he also does volunteer work for a local non-profit organisation, BA1 Radio. Next on the horizon is a new series of short pieces about people’s experiences of homelessness called No Place Like Home, which will launch in the new year.
Luke’s advice for other aspiring filmmakers is as real as his films: “Work hard, take every opportunity that presents itself, and if you believe in something, make it happen - you never know where it can take you.”
And don’t forget to thank your Nan.