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Michael J Ferns Captures Christmas Connections for Modern 'Fairytale of New York'

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Cameron Barnes and Blythe Duff team up as a mother and son for the heartfelt retelling of the classic Christmas song

Michael J Ferns Captures Christmas Connections for Modern 'Fairytale of New York'

Cameron Barnes and Blythe Duff had yet to record their version of Fairytale of New York when Blythe contacted the BAFTA winning director Michael J Ferns.

When we listen to the original track, the image of Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl sparring with each other on the Top of the Pops set is hard to escape. With this in mind Blythe and Cameron decided they would need a video to allow the song to land as a mother/son relationship.

Thankfully Blythe and Michael had the obligatory zoom call. Their connection was immediate.

Perhaps their history played a small part. Michael, as a 12 year old, had watched Blythe film Taggart in his grandparents’ house and thankfully in that moment, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in film making.

It didn’t take too much persuading for him to come on board, asking Blythe to come up with a potential story board. She hastily fashioned something which two days later would prove an helpful starting point when laying down the track. Scott Wood and Mhairi Marwick would take this loose narrative and use it to weave the music to it’s lyrical conclusion.

On hearing the first mix, the talented singer/performer, Lawrence Smith and Michael came up with a clear narrative breathing fresh life in to this 33 years old classic.

Sometimes when time is of the essence and budget is non-existent, choices have to be made. Choose the right people for the job and it will always pay off. A tiny crew assembled under strict Covid compliance and filmed the video released today.

Director Michael J Ferns said: “You would be hard pushed to find someone who owes more to Blythe and Taggart as a professional inciting incident. It would have been an unforgivable betrayal of my 12 year old self had I not jumped at the chance!

It’s not really obvious to me precisely what we’ve made, it’s part music video, part short film I suppose. Positive mother-son relationships are portrayed so rarely in music. There’s something uniquely evocative and relatable about exploring truly unconditional love - none of the jealousy of romance and exclusivity of sex. It’s human and complex, sure, but it’s wholesome and uplifting in exactly the way we all need most right now.”


Story of the film

Single mum Christina Chalmers or Chrissy (as she was known in her heyday) is living her life vicariously through her multi-talented musician son Guy. She’s encouraged him to leave Glasgow and follow in her footsteps to seek his fortune in New York City.

It hasn’t worked.

A global pandemic has sapped his creative energy, but more importantly the money has run out. His online betting hasn’t helped.

He’s had to come home.

How can he break the news that both their dreams have failed?


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Director: Michael J Ferns

Writer: Lawrence Smith

Cinematographer: David Liddell

Colourist: Jessica Vile

Editor: Beth Roberts

Genres: Dialogue, Storytelling, People

Categories: Music video, Short Films and Music Videos

Johnny Foreigner, Tue, 15 Dec 2020 16:44:01 GMT