Eben Skilleter with an E-type 3.8 beautifully restored by Dase Engineering of Hampshire
Having found this feature in Xclusively Jaguar News, the chances are that if you are reading this, you are a keen Jaguar enthusiast. In which case, you will probably recognise the name Skilleter, but you won’t associate it with the name Eben! There is, however, a very close association!
Still in the New Forest, at Barton-on-Sea, Eben is an award-winning maker of narrative short films. Educated at Brentwood School and then Reading University, he works primarily for his father’s publishing company PJ Publishing Ltd, which readers of Xclusively Jaguar News will know publishes specialist motoring books, mainly involving Jaguars. PJ Publishing and Paul Skilleter Books being sponsors of Xclusively Jaguar.
Despite the Jaguar background, Eben’s main ambition was always to become a screenwriter.After a few years he decided to create his own material, hence the move into filmmaking. At the moment, this is not something he does professionally, although that is the goal!
All of the short films Eben has directed have been self-funded. It isn’t cheap, and requires real dedication. All of his six short films have been accepted at film festivals – 18 to date.
Eben’s next short involves an E-type restoration. It will be much more ambitious than any of his previous projects, and his major attempt at creating a short film with real production value.
When asked why he chose to make a film about restoring an E-type, Eben’s reply was “Being the son of a Jaguar expert, I’ve been around Jags all my life! It seems only natural to make a short film that features them. My father’s expertise and love for them knows no bounds, and if I can convey the passion people have for their cars in my film then I’ll have done my job.”
Eben goes on to explain that “Archie’s Last Drive” is a fictional drama about the estranged son of an elderly former racing driver who discovers his father’s Jaguar E-type thought lost fifty years ago. He attempts to heal their fractured relationship by having it restored for him. But Archie’s stubborn nature and declining health make rebuilding anything all but impossible…‘
The film, he says,”opens with Archie’s son Martin making a barn-find discovery of his father’s E-type, and he sees this as a chance to reconnect with him. Restore the car; restore the relationship. Needless to say, there are bumps in the road. I should add that I get along with my old man just fine!”
“Rebuilding their strained relationship is the story’s central metaphor. It seemed like a natural, moving and original take on the subject.”
|It is not by chance that the film features an E-type. Being both iconic and very photogenic, it was the ideal candidate.Some preliminary footage was shot at Eagle E-types last year, but most of the filming will be done in 2019. For this, Eben is looking for a Series 1 4.2, preferably, although he is keeping his options open at the moment.|
As it would take too long between filming to wait for the restoration of one car, Eben will be cleverly flicking between several cars at different stages of restoration. As Eben points out “Once the paint’s stripped off a Series I E-type, it’ll look the same as any other. Where it gets difficult is the final fitting-up stage. We might have to be creative and “shoot around” this problem – we do enjoy a challenge!”
|Eben chose to film at Eagle E-types because his father, Paul Skilleter, has known both owner Henry Pearman and managing director Paul Brace for many years, so it seemed natural to approach them first. “The other reason” Eben says “is that Eagle have the highest standards imaginable and have many E-types being restored at any one time. They are being incredibly helpful and supportive.”|
There is still a lot of preparation to be done before filming begins in earnest, which includes finding suitable locations, and this may take months. Eben is hoping to do most of the filming within easy reach of the M25, as many people in the film industry live in London. Eben has worked with many excellent professionals in the past and hopes to work with some of them again on ‘Archie’s Last Drive’.
I’m sure I will not be the only Jaguar enthusiast looking forward to this forth-coming short film, as Eben has suggested it is possible that his father Paul Skilleter may have a cameo role as a ……….. well, let’s wait and see, shall we?
Eben might need to call upon the Jaguar community to obtain a Series I E-type for filming. If you would like your E-type to be considered for the starring role in ‘Archie’s Last Drive’, you can contact Eben via Xclusively Jaguar. The requirement would be for an E-type in showroom condition, and he may also need to film an E-type in barn-find or poor condition.
Also, if anyone knows of a barn that Eben could use for a day, within easy reach of the M25, he’d love to hear from you!
So this could be a very rare chance to have your E-type immortalized on the big screen.
Teaser: Archie’s Last Drive
Anyone with queries about the short film can e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org