The Pride series takes an intimate look at former Chelsea FC Academy players who are now playing in the Premier League as part of the first team.
The fifth player to feature in the series is Billy Gilmour. A 19-year-old talented Chelsea Football club and Scotland national team player. In just over two years, he’s gone from playing in the Academy to playing in the Premier League - a journey that can take four years, making his debut at 18.
Billy’s football story doesn’t start at Stamford Bridge. Instead, you have to drive over 7 hours north to a small town in West Scotland called Ardrossan. There, in the sleepy town, Billy is not just the most well-known player. He is a friend, a son, a neighbour, and a young boy who had dreams of being a football player and making it to the Premier League.
As filmmakers, we understood that Billy’s story was not just his own. There were many people important to Billy who were involved in helping him reach his dream. For this reason, our creative direction ensured the film production also explored his roots. When we visited Billy’s hometown and met the locals, their pride in Billy was immediately felt. At Stanley Primary School, some of the young pupils we spoke to said that they too were going to be football players much like Billy. It was clear that his success gave hope to others. In the film, Billy senior highlights that many people in the town talk of "could've, should've, and didn't" when it comes to chasing their dreams. The candid and personal memories from Billy’s parents were brought out by how comfortable the crew from Create Studios made them feel. Our extensive experience in interviewing helps us ask the right questions at the right moments that offer up emotive and touching insights. One of these insights was the parents’ perspective on supporting a child's dream as they gain new opportunities and have to leave home at a young age.
Filming started in December 2020, interviewing Billy at the Chelsea FC stadium, taking a tour of the locker room, the pitch and the surrounding areas. Our initial plans were to complete the filming in his home town the following month, but then the third national lockdown was announced. We were finally able to film the next part at the end of April 2021. The film director and camera operators used a variety of filming techniques and cameras. The 16mm film camera achieved a vintage look which created a close resemblance to the archive footage we received from Billy’s parents and the RED digital camera delivered the cinematic effect.
During the filming gap between December 2020 and April 2021, things changed for Billy. After recovering from a season-ending knee injury, the young player was fighting for his place in the team. At the same time, there was a change of management of the football team, which raised some uncertainty for his future club appearances. In the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester City on the 29th of May 2021, Billy was part of the winning squad and raised the trophy. The taste of victory will be one of many to come in his promising football future. Billy comes from a family of football lovers. His father played junior football for Ardrossan Winton Rovers and now
A theme continues to emerge from The Pride series, with each player we spotlight. There seems to be a recipe for what is required for success. One that includes: determination, ambition, sacrifice, and the constant effort needed to progress and maintain momentum. It takes a village to support these players. It’s a sport with many unsung heroes who have nurtured the passion of these young players. Our film shines a light on these individuals alongside the promising talent that is Billy Gilmour.
Director - Gurch Singh
1st AC - Thom Hobbs
1st AD - Tom Arthur
Director of Photography - Tim Fok
Producer (Chelsea Football Club) - Tee Singh
Camera Assistant - Henry Meredith
Sound - Marcin Knyzac
Producer (Create Studios) - Marilyn Fitzgerald Assistant Producer - Kiara Wakeley
Gaffer - Bertil Mulvad
Chelsea Senior Production Manager - Glenda Jensen
Mr Billy Gilmour & Mrs Carrie Gilmour, Jim Hughes, Craig Hamilton, James Grady.
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