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Faith, Hope & Insanity – the new film about artist Frank McFadden

By on July 29, 2015

A new documentary by up and coming Glasgow filmmaker Antonis Kassiotis is about the life of successful Scottish artist Frank McFadden. writes Ginny Clark. 

Faith, Hope and Insanity is in line to be broadcast by STV Glasgow and has also been shortlisted for the Skinny Short Film Competition 2015.

Kassiotis says: “The film has garnered a lot of attention because of the subject matter which is brilliant because it means more and more people are excited to see it.

“It was a pleasure making a film about such an inspiring individual so wherever people see it, either on television or up on the big screen, I hope they are impacted in some way by Frank’s story.”

In Faith, Hope and Insanity, McFadden tells his own story – of a descent from “party-animal” to homeless heroin addict, and of his redemption. How at last he found the strength to beat his addiction and become a father to his daughter Frankie and how, after a chance meeting with his eventual mentor Peter Howson, he also began to realise his potential as an artist.

People in Glasgow may be familiar with some of this narrative but Kassiotis allows us to see the real man behind the facts, and provides McFadden with the opportunity to tell it his way, as the camera follows the artist around his familiar home patch of Glasgow’s west end.

The engaging McFadden seems a screen natural, yet it’s clear his degree of trust in the filmmaker, a schoolfriend of Frankie’s, is crucial to the depth of his reveal. Honest, direct, and genuinely heart-warming, Faith, Hope and Insanity offers a unique insight into one of Scottish contemporary art’s most intriguing characters.

The energy with which McFadden paints is just as evident in his personality, and the joyful enthusiasm he brings to a tour of his favourite artworks at Kelvingrove is almost childlike.

There is a real sense of the journey made for a man who started out as an apprentice sign writer, eventually studying graphic design, and coming so close to allowing his addiction to destroy not just his talent, but also the family and relationships he held most dear.

This is a compelling film. It’s about one man’s triumph over adversity, but it’s also a portrayal of the transformational power of art.

Here, Kassiotis explains how he came to make Faith, Hope and Insanity.

“I went to primary school with Frank’s daughter and at that time I was too young to understand what Frank was going through. I found out about his story years later when I was reading an article about the Scottish art scene. I recognised the name Frank McFadden and I knew his story deserved to be told.

“I used to see Frank at the end of the school day and he would encourage me to keep drawing. He was always so positive despite everything he was going through. Who knew, years later, we’d be making a film together? It’s crazy how life works.

“From conception to completion, the film took six months to make. I spent quite a bit of time with Frank prior to filming to try to understand his story from his own perspective which was key to making the film honest and authentic.

“Scottish cinema seems to bathe in misery quite a lot of the time, focusing on the problem as opposed to the solution. I wanted to make a film that commented on issues like addiction and the effect it has on lives, but I wanted it to be inspiring and life-affirming. 

“I would hope that people could watch the film and be encouraged to look at their own lives the way Frank does – positively with a touch of humour.”

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