Planes, trains and automobiles: Making the ‘What Matters to You’ films
by Anna Lodge
Stgilesmedical is currently making two films to encourage ‘what matters to you?’ conversations. In the UK, we’re not good at sharing our hopes, fears, or goals. This sharing can be particularly important towards the end of life, and, as the current pandemic has shown, opportunities are often missed.
The films have been commissioned by multiple stakeholders, including the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing, Marie Curie, Macmillan, Compassionate Communities, and various other UK organisations. Our aim was to hear 20 diverse stories or opinions that, together, would change the debate. These voices were to come from all four countries of the UK. With nine days booked in the diary for filming, and local COVID-19 restrictions looming, this was going to be a challenge — even with the help of Zoom.
After reaching out to potential interviewees, we planned our route. We were initially concerned that we wouldn’t have enough material, but, as the days went on, more people showed interest. To our delight, the list of interviewees grew to over 50. The logistical task of fitting them all into such a short period proved taxing!
Filming involved journeys by ‘train, plane and automobile’ to Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol, Dorset, London, Newcastle, and Scotland. We visited hospitals, hospices, a mosque, universities, a remote farmhouse with a stream at the end of the garden, the beautiful countryside north of Edinburgh, and a few pubs. The team was exhausted afterwards!
Along the way, we spoke to dying patients, bereaved relatives, palliative care consultants, specialist nurses, GPs, faith leaders, academics, a commissioner, a well-known politician, and a famous actor — all with inspiring stories to tell. As diverse as the voices were, however, they shared a clear message: it’s important to talk more and often with friends, family, and healthcare professionals about what matters to you now and in the future.