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Maybe Turn Around
Maybe Turn AroundCourtesy Amy Gwatkin, Joseph Delaney and Matt King

Exploring an isolated trailer park community on the Thames

Maybe Turn Around is a lo-fi short film that captures 48-hours spent in an isolated trailer park on an island on the River Thames

The Thames is synonymous with London but beyond the capital lies a stretch of hundreds of kilometres of water, reaching to Kemble, Gloucestershire – the source of the river itself.

Past the London Eye and London Bridge is the mystery of the outer city, as well as dozens upon dozens of islands, some which are inhabited and some which aren’t. For Amy Gwatkin, Joseph Delaney and Matt King, they became intrigued by the residents of an isolated trailer park situated on one of the islands.

Turning their focus on the community, they spent 48-hours making the lo-fi short film Maybe Turn Around. For King, it’s familiar territory, having grown up there himself for 18-years. He explains, "It's such a fascinating place and very stuck in the 80s in certain places. I hated it as a teen but have grown to love it since.” For Delaney and Gwatkin, they were taken by the beauty in its isolation.

Tomorrow, they’ll screen the film at Dalston’s Doomed Gallery, alongside the debut of an accompanying zine compiled of film stills and photography. “The zine is kind of because we want people to be able to take it away more than anything,” says Delaney. Ahead of the launch, we got in touch to find out more. They shared as much as they could but warned, “the format of the film relies on some of these things being unclear before you watch”. That’s the beauty of a mystery.

Can you tell us about the island?

Amy Gwatkin: The island was what brought us together – it’s a strange place in the Thames estuary; a very interesting mixture of natural and manmade landscapes, and being in the middle of the river has an end-of-the-world feeling

Joseph Delaney: We'd each come across it in different ways and had completely different experiences of it – It's very much frozen in time, and beautiful in the bleakest possible way.

What drew you to documenting it?

Amy Gwatkin: The film isn't a straight documentary, it's more like an observation. Most documentaries aren't as real as they look, which leaves an interesting place to work in. we put some elements together, and then we just watched.

Where did you take the name Maybe Turn Around from?

Joseph Delaney: It's a piece of dialogue, referring to something that happens in the film.

Amy Gwatkin: It was something the boys said to each other. I like that it sounds like a country and western song, but when we put it against the title image it suddenly took on this sinister meaning.

What did you think was most important thing to capture about their lives?

Joseph Delaney: We were interested in their place in that environment, and how people there reacted to them – something that ended up surprising us at times.

Maybe Turn Around premieres at London’s Doomed Gallery Thursday 22 September, 2016