ENABLE Scotland issupporting the uplifting documentary feature film Mission to Lars, which is about Tom Spicer, who has a learning disability. The film follows Tom sets off with his siblings on a transatlantic quest to find his much obsessed over hero, Lars Ulrich of Metallica.
Tom has Fragile X Syndrome. All he's ever wanted is to meet Lars. After 20 years and 10,000 times of asking his journalist sister, Kate Spicer, when he was going to meet Lars, she finally cracked. This is a film that looks beyond disability, and uncovers the soul of a very cool guy.
The film premiered in London this week. After London, Scotland is top of the list – Mission to Lars will be shown at the Belmont Picture House in Aberdeen on 13 June, supported by Cornerstone, and will hit central Scotland the next day with a screening at Glasgow’s Grosvenor Theatre, supported by ENABLE Scotland, on 14June. After the Glasgow screening there will be a panel discussion with Kate Spicer, the directors and long term supporter of ENABLE Scotland Muriel Gray.
Hazel Mcilwrath, ENABLE Scotland’s Assistant Director of Fundraising said: “Mission to Lars is already achieving its three goals which are to entertain, raise awareness and raise funds for charity. It can sometimes be difficult to get the messages about the issues that affect people who have a learning disability out there and I feel this film and they hype that surrounds it will reach a diverse audience. ENABLE Scotland is absolutely delighted to be involved in Scotland’s first cinema screenings of Mission to Lars.”
‘Mission to Lars’ is already garnering admiration, The Financial Times’ Antonia Quirke had this to say “I loved this film. More of a classic quest film than a documentary. It's so touching and open-hearted, and has so many magical moments. It feels really epic.” At a fingernail destroying screening last summer (the night before Metallica headlined Sonisphere Festival), the Spicer family showed their film to Ulrich. The Mission to Lars production team squirmed with anticipation: would he like it? Yes, he liked it.
Mission of Lars will be shown at the Belmont Picturehouse in Aberdeen, supported by Scottish care charity Cornerstone,
Tom leaves his care home in Exmouth behind and with sister Kate and filmmaker brother, William, they hit the road, from Bristol, to Heathrow, to LA, to Las Vegas and beyond. ‘Mission to Lars’ was made by William Spicer and James Moore. Whilst both are experienced TV directors this is their first feature film. “We had this fantasy of hitting the road with Tom and recreating some of the magic of our teenage years cruising around in £100 cars, eating Burger King and listening to heavy metal on the tape deck,” says Kate. “We thought it would be fun, bonding. We wanted to do something good for our brother. We were also sick of him endlessly asking.” It doesn't take long before the hoped for dream becomes a nightmare as Tom’s disabilities, the dysfunctional family, and Metallica’s labyrinthine backstage world thwart the Mission at every turn.
The film has three goals: entertainment, awareness raising and fund raising. All profits go to Mencap, and the film has charity status. In raising money for the film, the producers also raised over £25,000 for Mencap. Money will be raised for ENABLE Scotland at the Glasgow and Edinburgh screenings of the show. The film’s cinema release is being used as an outreach opportunity with talks and events following every screening. Many people, from colour graders, sound mixers, Bob Dylan, screening rooms and the production assistant have given their talent and/or time for free. Kasabian donated stuff for them to sell to raise money, Huey from Fun Loving Criminals put them in touch with some text book tour managers to try out their blagging skills on, although the scary looking dudes backstage at Metallica’s show turn out to be loving pussy cats.
‘Mission To Lars’ has a small theatrical release through Picturehouse cinemas in the UK in June, but profits will continue to be paid to Mencap for as long as the film has a life, DVD, international sales, etc.
Mike Lindsay from Tunng scores, and the soundtrack includes Bob Dylan, Devendra Banhart and Blur. The film is giving all profits to charity and everyone has donated time and music for free.
MUSIC HAS A BIG HEART ‘Mission to Lars’ goes on cinema release in June.
Watch a trailer here http://vimeo.com/38366274
ENABLE Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for children and adults who have a learning disability and their families and carers.
Cornerstone’s Chief Executive Edel Harris has a son, Ross, who has Fragile X Syndrome.
She said: “Cornerstone is pleased to be supporting the Scottish premiere of the film Mission to Lars. People with a learning disability are very rarely portrayed positively in popular films and so this production will do so much to raise awareness of learning disability and Fragile X Syndrome in particular, Fragile X syndrome being the most common inherited form of learning disability.
“My son Ross has Fragile X syndrome and like Tom, who stars in the film, Ross has a learning disability, high anxiety levels and sometimes exhibits challenging behaviours. However Ross's disability hasn't prevented him from living a full and valued life. As a carrier of the condition myself I understand the challenges faced by Tom's family in making this film and so admire the way in which they have supported their brother to live his dream.”
ENABLE Scotland, Charity No SC009024 and company limited by guarantee Reg No 278976 Scotland (full details of associated companies and branches can be supplied on request)