I met Julie Wallman on Twitter a few years ago and it was suggested that Julie follow me by a friend and mentor who is a senior official at Pinewood Studio. Julie was diagnosed on the autism spectrum three years ago.
She was going through a tough time and shared her story with me. I was so impressed with Julie’s tenacity, creativity, and her story.
We had our first meeting and it took place at Bafta in Piccadilly, since Julie is a member.
Julie’s dream was to work in the film industry and many years ago Julie became a runner on a film set where Marlon Brando was filming. At this time Julie was working for free, not her choice but Marlon changed this for her and she eventually received a wage for this job. She never forgot Marlon.
Julie talks about her new film:
‘Genuine Fakes is a story based on a very talented individual called John Myatt. We will be filming in the Staffordshire area at the beginning of the new year and are currently in pre-production. I have a great team of people around me and a great cast that includes Colin Morgan (Merlin/The Fall) and Peter Firth (Spooks) that will bring Johns story to life for me.
‘Producing this film at the start meant I did not tick any boxes. I struggled with online forms; I am capable in many other ways. Funders, particularly the public sector ones, tended to make me feel as if I was expecting “special treatment” when all I was asking for was a necessary adjustment. When I work on online forms I can’t take in all the information at one time – many websites have so many pieces moving! And all the words get in a muddle for me, then I panic! And it physically hurts me. I feel I am kept at the back of the queue when I apply. Which I always do as soon as funds are advertised.
‘Being diagnosed with autism meant I fitted somewhere; I don’t see the world in the same way and I explain things in a different way to other people, I am super sensitive, I always put myself in other people’s shoes – that’s a strength, not a weakness. However, this has held me back such a lot and I don’t want it to hold anyone else up anymore, so that is why GEPA (Green Eye Productions Academy was born). It’s an academy to support everyone, and to train, and nurture our next generation in the creative field. To work alongside highly experienced people that want to work in a new way. Sharing talents and developing new skills, we never stop learning, and that includes me.
‘Green Eye Productions is the bedrock of my life now, and I am so, so proud of the team we have and we will all continue to grow in a fair, green and kind way. Perhaps others will follow our vision; a new business model.’
I am excited to see the film and I am so proud of Julie, she is driven and can see her end goal hence why we are supporting Julie as a charity. She is leading the way for aspiring autistic film producers.