Documentary chronicles Holbeck drifter at Leeds International Film Festival

Christopher Ellis -My Island
Christopher Ellis

A lifelong drifter who originally came from Holbeck has made his home on a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

For six years Christopher Ellis has lived in virtual isolation, being the only inhabitant of the island and rarely returning to the mainland. Every winter Christopher journeys on foot to Holbeck to earn a month’s wage as a pot washer in an Italian restaurant – enough for him to live off for the next year.

Now a documentary about Christopher, My Island, will premiere at Leeds International Film  Festival tomorrow, 12th November. Full details here.

My Island is a portrait about one man’s lifelong pursuit for independence. A proud, self defined tramp, Christopher Ellis challenges modern expectations about settling down, instead finding a simple pleasure in living hand-to-mouth in reflective isolation.

MY ISLAND – Clip from Matthew Huston on Vimeo.

The filmmaker who made this documentary, Matthew Huston, is the grandson of classic Hollywood director John Huston.

His short films, documentaries and music videos have been exhibited worldwide at festivals and on various media platforms.

Mr Huston said:

“I met Chris many years before making this film. A friend suggested that I should accompany her up to the remote Scottish island to meet him. I thought this would be a relatively simple journey but after almost two days of travel, on all forms of land and sea based transport, I was starting to appreciate just how unique this island was and what a challenging environment it would be to live on, both physically and mentally.

“It was some years later that my thoughts turned once again to Chris and his relationship with the island. I had always had a romantic vision of being in total isolation, being able to concentrate on artistic pursuits without distraction. What I took away with me from my meeting with Chris was his contentment with just being free without the need to project his desires beyond the landscape he inhabits. He was not trying to use the landscape or his life as a great artistic form of inspiration, he was just existing.

“I admire Chris greatly for his strong conviction in the way that he has been able to manage his life and lived it, yet this quest for independence has undoubtedly meant many sacrifices along the way.”

The film is distributed by Minor Hour Films.