With a career spanning film, dance and theatre, Amy Mathieson (BA Drama and English, 1999) has now set her sights on the London 2012 Olympics.
But rather than Amy harbouring dreams of competing, instead it’s the stars of her new feature-length film: BMX BOY – The Dream of 2012 in 3D.
The documentary follows the story of two brothers, Tre, 17 and Daniel, 12; who are members of the Olympic Development Squad at Peckham BMX Club. Tre is also on British Cycling's Olympic Development Squad and has left school to pursue his dream of an Olympic gold and BMX glory but, lacking the funding of his American competitors, his journey becomes a classic tale of an underdog battling against the odds.
‘Peckham is usually associated with crime and gang violence but I wanted to show a positive story that was already happening,’ says Amy. ‘For Tre, his whole life is BMX and he doesn’t really have anything else. Our film shows the release, excitement and purpose that riding gives to kids from difficult backgrounds and the heights that can be reached through cycling. It’s an important story and I hope it shows that it's not where you're from, it's where you're going that counts.’
Amy began her career while she was still studying at Birmingham, directing a stage version of Irvine Welsh’s edgy cult novel Trainspotting at the MAC in Birmingham, and making frequent trips to Stratford-upon-Avon to further her knowledge of Shakespeare and the stage.
‘Directing Trainspotting is where I learnt the business side of running an arts venue, and I still feel it’s important for arts courses to help artists create a business model for their work,’ she says. ‘‘I also used to visit the Barber Institute once a week to look at how artists use light, colour, and texture to tell a story and that's very relevant to producing a 3D movie.’
As well as directing BMX Boy, Amy is the founder of the film’s production company Jet Set Films and is now working to build interest in the US, emphasising parallels between Peckham and the Bronx. She adds: 'The story has particular resonance in light of the recent riots as we are celebrating urban youth.'