A rising star of British cinema, Shane Meadows is an English film director, screenwriter and occasional actor from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England.
Meadows dropped out of school before he reached his GCSEs because he was more interested in stealing with his friends than getting an education. He started off in Uttoxeter making short films with his friends and family, but without any film festivals in the area, they remained largely unseen. However, after one short was given a run in the local cinema, it soon became popular throughout the town.
Meadows enrolled on a Performing Arts course at Burton College, where he first met friend and future collaborator Paddy Considine. Amongst other things, they formed the band She Talks To Angels (inspired by a Black Crowes song of the same name), with Meadows as vocalist and Considine as drummer. Lead guitarist in She Talks To Angels was Nick Hemming, who was also a member of The Telescopes and now fronts The Leisure Society.
Meadows began to garner attention when a film scout took him on as an amateur film director. The vast majority of his films have been set in the Midlands area, recalling the kitchen sink realism of filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, with a post-modern twist. He has a relaxed directing style, encouraging the actors to ad lib in order to create a better sense of reality.
Much of the content of his films are semi-autobiographical and based on his experiences in Uttoxeter. 'Twenty Four Seven' (1997) was inspired by his youth, both at a boxing club and playing in a local football club. Despite some huge losses, the club's coach never lost faith in them.
'A Room for Romeo Brass' (1999) was also inspired by his youth. After his best friend, neighbour (and later writing partner) Paul Fraser had a very bad accident and was bound to his bed for two years, Meadows instead hung around with some of the town's more undesirable characters.
'Dead Man's Shoes' (2004) is based on the more unpleasant side of his youth in Uttoxeter. It was inspired by a close friend who had been bullied, developed a drug problem and then committed suicide. Meadows said "I couldn't believe that, going back ten years later, he had been totally forgotten in the town - it was as if he had never existed. I was filled with anger against the people who had bullied and pushed the drugs on him, and with despair at what drugs had done to that small community".
Five of Meadows' films were shown at the 2007 Flourish Festival, held annually in Uttoxeter to mark the release of his widely acclaimed 'This is England' (2006).
Shane then released 'Somers Town' (2008), a short film at only 75 minutes in which Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) has run away to London from a lonely, difficult life in the Midlands. Through a chance encounter he meets Marek (Piotr Jagiello), a Polish immigrant living with his father in Somers Town, central London.
Unknown to his father, Marek begins hiding Tomo in his flat and the two boys go on little adventures, stealing clothes from a launderette and earning money from an eccentric neighbour, Graham (Perry Benson) while sharing a growing obsession for Maria, the French waitress at their local café. Adrift in an adult world, the two develop a mutual trust and acceptance through their unlikely friendship.
From BAFTA award-winning Shane Meadows and his writing partner Paul Fraser, 'Somers Town' has already won its two young leads the Best Actor prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Michael Powell Award for Best Film at Edinburgh.
He has released two films since: 'Le-Donk & Scor-zay-zee' (2009) and 'The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone' (2013).
With plenty more talent and inspiration to burn, Shane’s no budget productions will continue to both entertain and also inspire viewers.