“We’re at a crossroads in European history. In five years’ time we will either see an increase in the forces of hatred and division in society, including ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, or we will be able to fight this horrific tendency.” Emine Bozkurt, a Dutch MEP who heads the anti-racism lobby at the European parliament. The story is about an outsider trying to adapt and nd a sense of belonging. It’s themes are of tolerance and acceptance. This works on many different levels and re ects in Ben’s journey of trying to move on from a long-term relationship. His rebirth is coupled with his (and his friends) own acceptance of where their lives are heading. Many students regardless of nationality, go through the same rituals and it’s this shared experience that makes them bond together, giving them valuable experiences, memories and friendships that last forever. They come out of the experience with a better understanding of other cultures and religions. Europe is going through a crisis at the moment. From the Syrian refuge crisis, EU immigration constraints, UK referendum on leaving Europe and the rise of both terrorism and the Far Right makes this story of acceptance and tolerance an important story to tell.

The storybook kingdom of Granada is one of the oldest most complex, magical and beautiful places in Spain. Granada is tucked against the Sierra Nevada mountains of Andalusia in Southern Spain. A city in a country that gave us the Spanish Inquisition and anarchy. Christianity and Islam traded places, shared space and the effects and influences of all those things are evident. Granada also has approx 80,000 students which contributes to a large proportion of the living population. Every year 10,000 foreign students flock here to study. There are also many forms of foreigners; from Moroccan migrants, British expats, gypsy cave dwellers to holidaymakers. It’s own rich history and architecture illustrates conflict between different cultures which makes this city and important character in the story an will be reflected in the aesthetics of the film. Each location reflects Ben’s journey and becomes a character in it’s own right. The script was written at the actual locations, which adds a sense of authenticity and realism to the film. This allowed me to storyboard and shot plan the film at a very early stage.

Hmmm…well, I mean, isn’t everything autobiographical? I mean, we all see the world through our own tiny keyhole, right? I always think of Thomas Wolfe, you know, have you ever seen that little one page note to reader in the front of “Look Homeward, Angel,” right, you know what I’m talking about? Anyway, he says that we are the sum of all the moments of our lives, and that anybody who sits down to write is gonna use the clay of their own life, that you can’t avoid that. So when I look at my own life, you know, I have to admit, right…that I’ve never been around a bunch of guns, or violence. You know, not really. No political intrigue or, helicopter crash, right? But my life, from my own point of view, has been full of drama. And so I thought that if I could write a book that…that could capture what it’s like to really meet somebody. I mean one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me is to really meet somebody, make that connection, and if I could…make that valuable, to capture that, that would be the attempt or…Did I answer your question? Best answered by Jessie (Before Sunset)  

It dawned on me on the train home from work that I’m too focused on one aspect of the script: one persons journey through a breakup and their pursuit of happiness. Although this is the core idea of the script, I must not forget that it is usually the environment and the people around you, that are a great influence on the grieving process. After studying the behaviour of someone who has had their heart ripped out and is trying to get back on the road to recovery and trying to take his/her first steps in the single world and thus discovering oneself blah blah blah.. I discovered its what other people have experienced and what they project onto you. How much are we influenced about other peoples experiences.

And so it starts, an idea, a memory, a picture in my head. Two years ago I left my job, my flat, my comforts and my inhibitions in London and went looking for adventure or to just get lost is a place unknown. I wanted to disappear from the world and be surrounded by the unfamiliar. That’s what took me to Granada and from the very first few hours of landing, things changed. Two years later its the end of another crappy summer and I’ve been back to Granada at least 6 times since my first trip. In the last couple of months I have met up with many of my mates from Spain. Sitting around talking about the highs and what made that time special. Maybe it was the place, the people, friends or the combination of chupitos, girls and many bottles of vodka. Whatever it was, it was a moment – a moment where time stood still and we had no worries. Some people say you can’t capture it, that it can’t be done and so why do it? Why.. because I have a story to tell, a film to show and a moment to capture.