Why I Love... Acton

Director Sue Bourne shares her positive views on W3






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Over the past ten years, Acton based director, Sue Bourne, has developed her own highly personal style of documentaries. The fifteen+ films she has made bring out the “extraordinary in the apparently ordinary.”

'Fabulous Fashionistas' met six incredible women with the average age of 80, 'Mum and Me' followed Sue's own journey with her mother's Alzheimer's and 'My Street' for Channel 4 which won Broadcast Awards best documentary in 2009 was all about Sue's neighbours.

My Street

Below she explains why she loves this part of London.

When and why did you move to Acton?  

I think we moved to the house I now live in the early nineties. We were already living in Acton in a smaller house so we had been in Acton since the late 80's. I live in Goldsmith Avenue. 

What did you discover when you made your documentary about your neighbours?

 I made the film after I had been living there for 15 years. Like many people in London I had kept myself to myself so while I was on nodding acquaintance with one or two people in the street I did not really know anyone properly.
I set off and knocked on all 115 doors and got to know the people who lived there. It was a fascinating thing to do.. my basic premise was that I guessed everyone would have a story .. and they did. The film though became an exploration about community and neighbourhood, about isolation and loneliness. About what lies behind closed doors. 

What do you love about Acton?

I love the fact that it is a mixed community .. in terms of the film I made about the street I lived on (which by the way was never named or identified in the film or any publicity for the film to protect the identity of the street) I think Acton offered a rather unique variety on that one street.

I would not for instance have been able to make the film if I had lived in Chiswick, which is far too homogenous. So that is one of the things I like most about Acton… 

Where are your favourite restaurants/shops?

I love Londis at the bottom of the road, they are all really friendly and they cater for the needs of the people who live in the area. Lavelli's has made a big change here - its fantastic to be able to get good fresh bread and coffee and the almond croissants are to die for.  I like Angela Malik's too. I go a lot to Pro Hands and Ellie and her family. There are all sorts of other shops I go to regularly - the electricians and the butchers on Churchfield Road.  The Health shop .. I like walking down to the Swan with the dog and eating there.. and I walk a lot down to Turnham Green and Chiswick for all sorts of different things. 

What don't you like about Acton?

 Can't think of anything really that I don't like. 

What can be improved?

The overground is so so much better than it used to be and that has I think been the main thing that has transformed the place.

The one thing that does annoy me is that when the bin men come round our street - or actually any of the local streets - they leave it looking filthy.. like the third world. So because the bin men patently dont give a stuff about our rubbish and leave it strewn everywhere I don't think it encourages anyone else to care about keeping the streets clean .. it such a shame. I also don't like the traffic wardens - it seems its not about keeping the street clear or about traffic control .. its all about revenue. I hate the fact there is not enough parking in Churchfield road so you are discouraged from using local shops. 

Will you ever move?

Who knows.. I did try living back up in Glassow for a while to see if I preferred it up there. But I concluded that I really liked London best so am back down here full time again. 

What are you working on now?

A new film for BBC 2.. should be out in September. My last film Fabulous Fashionistas seems to have caused a huge fuss so it's having a bit of a life of its own with screenings and  Q&A's all over the place. Women of all ages seem to have loved it and found it, they say, inspirational so that's been a bit of a surprise but also very exciting. 

Sue's films are available to buy online here or if you contact her you can pop round to her house and get one direct.



If you want to be featured in 'Why I Love.. Acton' please contact editor@actonw3.com



13th February 2014