We bet you never thought you could use Lego to tell our club’s amazing story.
Dons supporter Charlie Strank has done just that for the big screen with his stop-go animation called ‘The History of Wimbledon Football Club – As Told in Lego’.
Charlie is a Dons man through and through. His parents were brought up in the borough, and nowadays Charlie lives here too. He’s been attending Wimbledon games for as long as he can remember and follows the Dons all over the country. He works at the family business, Paul Strank Roofing, just down the road from Plough Lane. They are valued sponsors to the Club and Charlie attends every game with his father Paul Strank MBE.
AFC Wimbledon were really supportive of Charlie’s ambitions. He told us: “After all these years being a Dons fan, I am so proud of being able to produce an animation that will be watched by fellow Wombles, and I hope to create even more videos in the future. With the great support of both Joe Palmer and Ivor Heller, I was able to produce a film that can inspire both young and old Dons fans. It aims to remind them of the amazing memories our club has given us over the years, and with the new stadium on the horizon, a fantastic future to come!”
Ivor Heller said: “I have always admired Charlie’s work. He is an incredibly talented young man. I was really flattered when he asked me to provide the voice-over. It was so exciting to do and it is one of the best projects I have ever been involved with. In my opinion this will go massively viral. Every Wimbledon fan young and old will enjoy this production. Congratulations Charlie!”
Mitcham Festival: come and join in
Charlie won the commission from the Film Merton project, backed by Merton Council and the Mayor of London. The project has screened nearly 100 films across the borough in all sorts of unusual venues, and it has commissioned four new films including Charlie’s. You can see all the new commissions at Mitcham VR Festival in early March. Visit the Merton VR Festival Twitter page for a taster of Charlie's film. Access the website for more information about the Mitcham Festival.
Alongside the new films, the festival will give you the chance to see interactive with virtual reality and 360-degree films. We know you like the beautiful game, but whether you also like sci-fi thrillers or romantic dramas, documentary investigations or comedy flicks, there’ll be a new experience to try out. So before the Bolton game, get yourself down to the General Giles Club in central Mitcham on Saturday 7 March to have a go.
The winning pitch
When he pitched for the opportunity to make the film, Charlie was 22, and he’s only just turned 24. He wanted to be one of the young Merton filmmakers promoted by Film Merton. Charlie told the panel: “I’ve been making my animations since a very young age after discovering the world of stop-motion through YouTube in around 2006. I began using anything I could find from plastic toy soldiers to Star Wars figurines I was bought as a child. Also a keen Lego fan, I decided to animate with bricks and mini-figures. I realised the possibilities were endless, and 14 years later I am still doing so at a more professional level.”
The panel saw Charlie’s talents and backed him to the hilt. The commission was awarded to Charlie and the others in early 2019 and he started work back in February. He received a small grant and support from the British Film Institute and the programme’s delivery team as well as his family and the Club.
Charlie said: “It was a fantastic honour being selected as a young winner for the Film Merton project. The funding has enabled me to create a short animation for something that is a key part of my life - my local football club, AFC Wimbledon.”
Culture, Merton and Film
The Film Merton programme is steered by the Borough’s Cultural Advisory Group, a partnership between creative people, local businesses and the Council. The co-chairs are Somayeh Agniah, founder of software company Geeks, and Greg Vincent of Morrison’s Law. They’ve been strong supporters of the filmmakers and of promoting Mitcham in particular as a place where extraordinary things happen. They’ve welcomed the festival and the commissioned films as new ways of telling stories, to grow audiences and support the creative community and economy.
Councillor Cooper-Marbiah, who leads on culture for Merton Council, added: “The Council has been proud to support the innovative work showcasing the great opportunities in our area. I hope that our residents enjoy the chance to see exciting new work.”
Here at AFC Wimbledon, we’ve been enthusiastic supporters of cultural activities from the start of the programme in 2017. It’s fantastic that Film Merton has included our life as a club. We hear that there are more plans in the pipeline. Next up: a day-long radio broadcast in the summer and a detailed study of the needs of creative businesses in the borough. Watch out for the details nearer the time. We wish the Group, local businesses, and all creative artists in the borough the very best of luck for the future.