Short film: My beautiful balloon

30 Oct

“We decided we wouldn’t work on Mondays. Nobody likes working on Mondays.” Meet Chris and John, the men who do exactly what they enjoy: mending hot-air balloons. Here directors Ian Clark and Diego Vivanco explain how their film, Baskets and Burners, came to be made

WHO doesn’t like hot-air balloons? Not only are they aesthetically pleasing – giant globes of colourful fabric, still capable of inducing a childlike point to the sky when one floats into view – but they are also, well, a bit bizarre.

Beautiful and bizarre: the perfect subject for a short film, we thought.

Research led us to Chris and John, best friends of 25 years and considered to be two of the best balloon repairmen in the business. We believed there could be something quite soothing and yet fascinating about this unusual profession.

Then we discovered that Chris and John worked in a barn in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. What could be better?

We contacted Chris and John at the beginning of the year, paid them a visit in February, and they were happy to be filmed in the summer.

During pre-production we came up with a few objectives. Stylistically, we wanted to honour British Romanticism (and Spanish Costumbrismo) by filming a series of still live images, so that every shot somehow resembles a painting and will hopefully reward repeat viewings.

It was also clear in our minds that we wanted to create a piece on friendship, with the two protagonists talking to each other about their relationship.

Over two days filming with Chris and John we got a great sense of the simple joy and satisfaction they got from working together on a job they love. We also saw their interaction with the balloon enthusiasts who visited their workshop on a daily basis.

We hope that those who view the resulting short film “Baskets & Burners” take from it what we initially set out to do, which is to praise simple, calm living; that it is possible to be happy in your work and that despite society’s pressures, you can take a stance and live a life which fulfills you.

Baskets & Burners is our tenth project. Like the nine short films before it, it’s a simple story about positivity and passion. Both are qualities we always try to bring to our films.

We love documentary filmmaking, and like Chris and John, one day we would love to make a living making these films and telling the stories we are passionate about.

See Ian Clark and Diego Vivanco’s website at