Leeds-born director Adam Wells will be bringing his debut short film, Shemira to MAZCC in June.
Adam Wells, originally from Alwoodley but now based in London is returning to Leeds for a special private screening of his first ever short film, Shemira. Two screenings will be taking place on 18th June (2.30pm and 7.30pm) for free at the MAZCC.
Filmed last summer, Shemira stars acting legend John Rhys Davis, known from the Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings series, as Myer, an elderly Holocaust survivor. After 65 years married to his beloved wife Leah, death has separated them. It is set in one location and the story takes place across one night. The film has been nominated for a handful of awards at film festivals across the globe, including the Chicago Jewish Festival, Near Nazareth Festival in Israel and the British Independent Film Festival.
Adam, the short’s writer and director, is an established director and creative in advertising. Born and raised in Leeds, Adam studied Art and Design at Jacob Kramer College, before moving to Sheffield to study Design and Animation. After two years as a junior designer at Yorkshire Television, Adam moved to London to work for Sky, initially working as a broadcast designer, before most recently following his ambition to direct.
Once John Rhys Davies was secured to star, things moved quickly and the film was shot in just a day and a half in a carefully chosen location in East London. “Once John Rhys Davies agreed to take part it suddenly became very real and the whole process was really intense.”
Having never working in this medium, it was a daunting task for the first time director and writer, but buoyed by the encouragement of friends in the industry and inspired by the childhood journey of the late broadcaster, interfaith leader and rabbi, Hugo Gryn through his parents, he decided to give it a go: “I’d never done anything drama based before,” Adam told JLife. “But the experiences of Hugo Gryn really stuck with me and I thought it would be great to write a story about a child survivor. It then changed to being about the survivors living today who are keeping the story alive.” Adam also spoke to other survivors such as Arek Hersh, who lives in Harewood, to get a little more guidance and some personal insight into their experience and reported they were all so positive about his first short film venture.
The experienced team that came on board for the shoot was also invaluable: “My director of photography and friend, Gary Shaw, helped me incredibly by giving not only his time for free, but in securing equipment and the help of his crew. It really was a real coming together of people I’ve worked with for years and, without the experience of working for Sky and my company gotgotneed, I wouldn’t have established the relationships or been able to call upon such a talented bunch which made one heck of a difference.”
The free screening at the MAZCC was partly instigated by his mother, Barbara, who worked at the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board for many years: “It just seemed like a great opportunity to share this story with the Leeds Jewish community in my hometown,” revealed Adam.
For the evening screening, book your free ticket for via Eventbrite.co.uk/e/shemira-short-film-screening-qa-tickets-45594857446 or contact Adam Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the afternoon screening, contact Hagit at email@example.com or 0113 218 5846.