Spoon Fed – doing justice to MS on film

How do you do justice to MS on film? Nellie McQuinn knew it would be difficult when she started producing her short film Spoon Fed – but she was up for the challenge. She tells us about working with Lesley Sharp, understanding MS and how excited she is for the MS Life premiere.

I didn’t know a lot about MS before I started producing Spoon Fed. When my writer and director, Nick, brought me his script, I thought it was slightly overdramatic. Surely all of these symptoms couldn’t happen to one person? I set about researching MS and soon realised I was wrong. 

Spoon Fed follows the story of Ellie, a woman in her 50s recently diagnosed with MS. We see Ellie, played by Lesley Sharp from Scott and Bailey, as she deals with her diagnosis, the breakdown of her marriage and living with MS.

We were very fortunate to work with Lesley. She was extremely committed to making her performance accurate and doing the role justice.

When asked about why she chose to come on board, she said: “It was great when this script came along. I thought this was a really good crack at telling a really complicated and uplifting tale of a woman who has to come to terms with something that completely changes her life.”

A winning script

During the development process, we were fortunate enough to connect with both the MS Society and MS blogger Barbara A. Stensland. She said the script was like reading about herself. It was then that we knew we had a winning script.

Spoon Fed is a subtle portrayal of life with MS and we really hope it will resonate within the MS community. The film is about the triumph of the human spirit – and we hope that’s what the audience takes away at the end.

MS is a lifelong condition, but it’s not a life sentence.

An emotional journey

To really bring the script to life, we needed a strong cast too – and that’s exactly what we got.

Watching Lesley and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) film their scenes together was magical. There was a sense of sorrow and empathy, mixed with bitter resentment and hope – it was a real emotional journey.

The chemistry was magnetic and Nick would often forget to call cut as he was so engrossed in the story.

Pre-production and beyond

Lesley and Joseph’s schedules were hectic, so finding a gap for the shoot was a challenge.

With three weeks’ notice, a window of availability appeared and we decided to go for it. We completed pre-production in record time and luckily the shoot went off without a hitch.

Due to the quick turnaround, we made the decision to self-finance – without raising the money needed for post-production. This means that the film is now sat on a hard drive waiting to be edited.

Finishing the film

To help us complete the project and raise the final funds, we’ve now started a crowd-funding page. Please do visit our page to learn more about Spoon Fed and donate if you can.

We have a time limit for completion though, as we will be holding the world premiere at MS Life in September. It’s such an exciting opportunity and we can’t wait to see it on the big screen.

We’re looking forward to showing you the finished product and to seeing you all there!

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