‘Dressers’ dir. Will Robson-Scott

Banned from every football ground in the UK for nearly 20 years Dressers follows Deacon, one of the Soul Crew’s key members.

Director: Will Robson-Scott
Editor: Lucy Campanale
2nd Camera: James Bowthorpe
Music: Podington Bear & Chris Zabriskie

C8: We last spoke to you shortly after you published your film John & George. What have you been up to since then?

WRS: I’ve done some great travelling, I went to Malawi and shot a piece for Fairtrade which was very humbling and eye opening. It was a great experience and great production from HLA. I also did a short on a basketball team from the Bronx called Wings they have a very inspiring coach named Billy Turnage and some great players. A few months back I’m very happy to have released a book with Victory who produced the Wings story. It’s a culmination of years of work with my good friend and fellow photographer Ollie Grove, the name of the book is In Dogs We Trust. It’s an in-depth look at modern day dog ownership.

C8:When did you first come across the Cardiff City Soul Crew and at what point did you decide to make a documentary about them?

WRS: I actually lived in Newport and Cardiff for a few years. I went to Ninian Park (the old Cardiff ground) and the atmosphere stayed etched in my mind. It’s was a very intense place to go, even if you weren’t in their stand. I read the Soul Crew book so also had this pre conceived idea of these characters. Then at the beginning of the year I started working the “The Rig Out”, they were in touch with “Weekend Offender” a brand that are from Wales and have close ties to the Soul Crew and it was a perfect match. We then went up to Cardiff and started to introduce ourselves

C8: What obstacles did you face during the shoot and how did you overcome them?

WRS: Deacon, who is the main point of focus of the piece, has a banning order, so whenever there’s a game in Cardiff he can’t go within a specific area or faces arrest. Same if Cardiff or Wales have games out of country, he can’t travel with them. This was an issue as we had very limited time to shoot and the culmination of the piece of the game in Cardiff. Our plan was to watch the game on the edge of the city center with his son, so not putting him danger of arrest but getting a bit of the atmosphere. There were a series of mishaps that day. I arranged to meet him outside his son’s school and then we’d head into town. His son’s school was evacuated early due to someone getting stabbed close by so I missed this and we then arranged to meet at a specific place. I waited, nothing, he and his son had been turned around by the police who knew him. We then went and watched the game at his house, which actually ended up being one of my favourite parts of the film, so alas well that ends well.

C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning behind this choice?

WRS: I was unsure what would work best as it was a lot of running about. I recently shot something on multiple formats and was going to go down that path but ended up shooting on DSLRs. This turned out to be the right choice as I needed to be mobile and a small unit. The setup was me shooting, apart from footage at the game which was James Bowthorpe from Rig Out, and he also helped monitor sound at points, but was an extremely small team.

C8: What do you think is the biggest misconception about the Cardiff City fans?

WRS: Historically Cardiff fans have had a bad reputation. They’ve had a controversial chairman, some pretty violent clashes with other firms, but everyone I met was amazingly open. When it comes to football firms having a meet (fight) its portrayed as this monstorous thing but to me if your the sort of person who enjoys fighting surely its better to organise it with like minded people then lashing out. It’s a bit barbaric but at the same time it also speaks about humans as a whole. There is a distinction between the “Soul Crew” and the “normal” fans, but its still one big dysfuntional family

C8: Did Deacon open up to you quite naturally or did it take some time?

WRS: At first there was slight trepidation from everyone, but I think once we met there was a level of trust built. I also shot a short called Jela and few years back on an old I.C.F member (West Ham’s firm). Most people involved had seen that and understood I wasn’t trying to exploit anyone. There have been a lot of films on football firms and a lot have been from a more tabloid approach. I wanted to try and shot the human side.