Lou Macnamara

Documentary

In a bedroom filled with daylight, Kyla, a mixed heritage woman in her 30s, sits on a raised bed and looks intently through a digital video camera. She films Lou, a white woman in her 20s who sits in Kyla’s power chair for the first time. Lou is focused as she tries to reverse.

It’s Personal: Episode One (2021) a documentary / reality tv hybrid with Kyla Harris commissioned by Film Video Umbrella.

Kyla requires 24-hour personal assistance with everything from having a wee to making her artwork. In a hybrid-documentary/reality TV challenge, Kyla and Lou explore what it means to be a ‘key worker’. Setting themselves an ambitious task, Lou attempts to learn all of Kyla’s care in one week and if she reaches a level of competency, will replace Kyla’s personal assistant and they will spend 24-hours alone for the first time. This is testing for them both – Lou has previously prioritised work over taking care of herself, and Kyla often feels her autonomy is compromised when a friend is ‘helping her out’ instead of her usual paid personal assistants. Furthermore, although friends for years, Lou has never seen, let alone assisted Kyla with her necessities.

The division between friendship and work blurs as the two navigate new levels of intimacy and negotiate time together as employer and employee. The film responds to the embedded impossibility of social distancing for the people who need it most – because of Kyla’s requirements, intimacy and proximity are integral to her survival. Together they reveal the challenges of the ‘new normal’, and delve into relationship models for a communally supportive dynamic in the future. In one week, will Lou learn to integrate care into her own life? Can Kyla trust that her friend will support her personal care needs? The politics and intimacies of care are exposed through honesty, humour, and ingenuity, all of which are required when disability is involved. The pair offer relatable, humorous and awkward access to their evolving relationship and a personal perspective on the care crisis in one of the most unusual moments in contemporary history.

Poster with orange background and an illustration of a grenade in a wine glass. Main text reads: 'KEENIE MEENIE: BRITAIN'S PRIVATE ARMY' a quote at the top says: "IMPORTANT DANGEROUS AND MUST BE SCREENED" KEN LOACH at the bottom are three festival laurels and credits.

Keenie Meenie: Britain’s Private Army (2020) an investigative documentary co-directed with Phil Miller, released on Declassified UK 8 October 2020. Available online now.

Keenie Meenie Services – the most powerful mercenary company you’ve never heard of – was involved in war crimes in Sri Lanka for which its shadowy directors have never been held accountable.

Now an explosive new film exposes the extent of these war crimes. Following investigative journalist Phil Miller as he uncovers secret diplomatic cables, and meets insiders who reveal the British government’s support for Keenie Meenie and the continuing cover-up.

Keenie Meenie provides long overdue evidence on the crimes of the people who make a killing from killing.


Norway Tamil Film Festival 2020 – Best documentary
Toronto Tamil Film Festival 2020 – Official selection
Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 2020 – Official selection