The Cobbler's Tale [2002 and 2007, UK, dv, 38 mins]

The Cobbler’s Tale is the first in a trilogy of films made between 2002 and 2006 about traditional dying trades.

I had heard that there was a good shoe repair place up on Coatsworth Rd Gateshead. I took my shoes up there and first met Bill Pasola. After a few repairs I knew he was a master of his trade. I also knew I wanted to make a film with him. Visiting his shop and seeing the work space was a sort of history lesson. I had seen the Viking shoe benches at the Jorvik Museum in York, and Bill’s bench looked so similar, many of the tools he used were much the same. But besides his craft there was a quality in the man, the way in which he carried himself and related to people. I felt he had the shoulders to carry a film. He agreed to the documentary and I have to say it was a privilege to work with him. He was always considerate and thoughtful though I knew from Bill that times were hard in the trade. The film was shot in 2002 and taken up again and finished in 2007 when faced with fewer and fewer customers, Bill closed the business.