Lonelyleap

R. Enstone

Original

Richard Enstone

Today is the 17th July 1982... I’m going to film myself picking blackcurrents.


The purchase of a junked box of 8 and 16 mm films uncovers an unusual collection of home-recording experiments by an anonymous suburban man.

Lonelyleap’s ‘Undiscovered’ project was focused on bringing forgotten footage to light. Scouring various sources, from car boot sales to eBay for 8 mm and 16 mm reels, the Undiscovered team unearthed incredible footage from all over the world.

Amongst this material was a handmade wooden box. Inside were reels of not just unedited footage, but strange, quick-cut montages reminiscent of avant-garde cinema. A man appeared on film as a self-styled presenter leading the viewer through these weird and wonderful moments. That man was Richard Enstone.

R. Enstone

The more time we spent looking through the almost 90 reels, the more it became apparent there was a fascinating story here. Enstone’s personality, while seemingly placid and reserved, concealed a great depth of emotion that came out in the extensive diary entries he had committed to celluloid.

Soon a portrait emerged of a reclusive man who spent most of his quiet life in a quaint English town living with his mother, but also had a hidden side to his personality which manifested in these sometimes strange, occasionally disturbing and often wonderful films.

Working on this film presented a number of challenges: pragmatic, artistic and ethical. Wanting to find out more about Enstone, we had to play the role of detectives, trying to track down anyone who could tell us more about this man. Unfortunately Enstone and his mother had passed away had and we weren’t able to find many people with memories of him. However, we were able to interview his brother Leonard and sister-in-law Lucy, who were able to shed more light on different sides of Enstone’s personality.

 

Richard Enstone

Today is 7th September. Sorry August...too many people are looking at me.


The film was primarily based on the footage that Enstone himself had shot over the course of about 8 years. Going through all of the disparate material and forging a story out of it was a challenge. Certain moments that seemed innocuous on first viewing became more poignant as we placed them in different contexts.

When the main subject of your film is dead and unable to grant permission or speak for themselves it raises certain ethical issues. We tried to remain as respectful as possible towards Richard Enstone as a human being, whilst still dealing with some difficult and uncomfortable truths. We ultimately wanted to create a portrait of someone that the audience would empathise with and relate to rather than holding him up as an object of curiosity.

The film played in competition at various film festivals, including Leeds International and Full Frame Documentary Festival.

 

Leonard Enstone

I wasn’t actually aware of all the films he had taken until we were clearing the house out.


The Royal Observatory

Astronomy Photographer of the Year


Science Museum

We Engineer