Montage for the film:
Living in the present

Head On

-tsunami 2004

Heart Of Yew

One Thousand
 Million BC



The Forest Way

The Dove

In his accident in 1987, William Fairbank received a very serious head injury. He, like so many people featured on this film, has channelled his new brain state into creativity.
People with Head Injuries invariably live within the constraints of short term memory loss. "Head On" features an abstract drama communicating how these people see themselves and the world in a completely different way.
Over 100 extracts from 15 interviews focus on Memory, Frustration, Violence, Sleep, Emotions, Epilepsy, Relationships, Suicide, Sex, Faith, Acceptance and Positive Advice.
Cover design by Selina Watson

Montage for the film; Living in the Present

William Fairbank, 76 Whitegate, Bridgham, Norfolk NR16 2AB
01953 718114

I have just completed a montage for my proposed new film called, ‘Living in the Present’. It is 18 minutes long and I am offering to send this montage film out to you free of charge. See the endorsements below.

I received my severe head injury in a RTA in 1987. On every film or radio program that I have seen or been on, centred on brain injury, I have been left with the question as to whether or not the makers really had any idea what it was like to actually live within a brain bashed state like I have.

At art college the base teaching was on how one saw things. One was taught to question the root fundamentals and then interpret them in such a way as they could be communicated out in a painting or sculpture or film. For the last 20 years I have been applying these techniques to myself and working out a structure to this new language that I have had to learn. This is at the root of the proposed new film, ‘Living in the Present’. It will be a teaching film.

The ‘Living in the Present’ film will be a sequel to successful Head On film, which has been shown on the Community Channel TV station over many years during ‘Brain Injury Week’.

If you want to see the montage for this film, then please send me your name and address, with 5 first class stamps to cover P&P. In anticipation, thank you very much indeed.

William Fairbank November 2007


"It will give us a significant resource to move the understanding of the unaware."
Mhairi Collins
I find that trying to tell someone about the battles you go through with a brain injury is a complicated matter but it is also daunting when they can't "see" what you mean. This is an excellent example of one of the many invisible limitations a brain injured individual struggles with on a daily basis. Our injuries are hidden but through producing this film, it will make them visible and give greater impact. It will give us a significant resource to move the unaware towards a better understanding of the diversity and the complexity of what living with the consequences of a brain injury entails.

Mhairi Collins
, featured on the Head On film

Your Montage film is very well constructed. - I think you need to explain what “living in the present” means in words of one syllable right at the beginning..... Also I think you should clarify what the movie is for – I think it would be best if it is a practical guide for patients which has a secondary effect of teaching lawyers, doctors etc. I think we should be able to dish this out to people as they leave hospital for the first time.
Jeremy Fairbank MA MB BChir MD FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
and Professor of Spinal Surgery
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of Oxford

"The film will help bridge the gap in understanding that exists between two quite different worlds." Dr Casten Soborg

'Living in the Present' will be the sequel to 'Head On' a film already directed and produced by William Fairbank. The films provide a unique and brilliant insight into the understanding of head injury and short term memory loss. There is a great deal to be learnt watching these films, by both those with head injury or short term memory problems and those around them, in both medical and non-medical contexts. An increased awareness on both sides can help bridge the gap in understanding that exists between two quite different worlds. As a practicing GP I feel both 'Head On ' and its proposed sequel are a must see for anybody likely to encounter anyone with short term memory or brain injury related problems.
Dr Carsten Soborg MBBS/FRCA.

"I have spent most of my adult life coming to terms with memories just fading away." Noelle Gunton

As someone who has suffered with Grand Mal Epilepsy for the last 31 years. I watched with interest the montage for the film, Living in the Present, that William Fairbank will make about how people live with short term memory loss. My own experience of dealing with memory loss due to the epilepsy has been a learnt process. I never was warned about this side effect of my condition, I have spent most of my adult life coming to terms with memories just fading away... the feeling of only just holding onto reality when trying to deal with an episode, taking an inordinate amount of will power and energy to control.

I feel on a personal level that had the experts who dealt with my condition, my Consultant, GP, and even my family, had some sort of understanding of the difficulties that may lie ahead, I or my family, could have had planned for strategies to deal with the issues that arose.

Noelle Gunton Romney, Kent. UK

"William is part of the vanguard of those who are finding ways to describe this condition in ways that are meaningful to the rest of us."  Dr Mary Butler
There have been many words written about brain injury, but the vital missing component is the voice of people with brain injury themselves. We have no chance of ever really understanding brain injury until this voice is heard. William is part of the vanguard of those who are finding ways to describe this condition in ways that are meaningful to the rest of us. He has already done wonderful work and I look forward to the next film.

Dr Mary Butler,
Occupational Therapy Dept,
Dunedin University, New Zealand


Head On

Head On is an investigative piece of journalism about life after head injury. It is an informative educational type documentary to raise awareness of this condition. In his accident in 1987 William received a very serious head injury. After the accident he has had to come to terms with seeing himself and the world in a completely different way. Communicating out how life is for him, and the other head injured people on the film, is the inspiration for making HEAD ON.

In winter 2000, William went to New Zealand and carried out a series of fifteen interviews with head injured people. Before their accidents many of these people had interesting, demanding and skilful jobs and while they may retain some of these skills, it is a common feature that they cannot handle the levels of life pressure that are expected in our society today. These interviews focus on how head injured people manage their disability and highlight the challenges that life with head injury presents. While the film features many people talking about their own unique experiences, it also includes a piece of abstract drama, highlighting the problems of making choices when living within the restraints of limited short term memory. This seven minute piece has been filmed and edited by  The film is primarily aimed at people who have received head injuries but it will be of great interest to their friends family and carers. This illuminating work will certainly be of great relevance to those interested in different brain states. 

Films and DVD available from the Shop

Comments on the film, HEAD ON
Tony Adams, former journalist/broadcaster ITV
Dr Andy Tyerman, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist.
Emma Stevens Acquired Brain Injury Community Support Worker.
Mrs Margaret Mitchell, mother of head injured policeman.

You can view Press Clippings about Head On by clicking here.

The film Head On is available from the Shop



New DVD: Tour of the Forest Stations at 
Lincoln Cathedral 2006 



"Your warmth, humour and enthusiasm come across so well."
            - The Dean of Lincoln 1998 - 2006, The Very Rev Dr Alec Knight


"It's an exact example of the way in which art can actually bring the gap between the intellect and the emotions - between the head and the heart. It breaks the barriers between one reality (the reality of our ordinary, everyday perceptions) and the reality of our feelings and our spirituality."
            - The Dean of Lincoln 1998 - 2006, The Very Rev Dr Alec Knight

...more on the Forest Stations



Appeal film for the 
TRAGEDIC- tsunami 2004 
Running time 10mins
The Community Channel 
Wednesday 26th January 2005 08:15 09:50 11:54 13:10 15:50 17:15 20:25 23:45 
Sunday 30th January 2005 15:50
Very beautifully filmed by William Fairbank, UK’s top wood sculptor 

This copyright-free film has been made with great compassion and finishes by highlighting the balance we feel within ourselves between the thousands that have been killed and the need for funds to rebuild the coastal village life. 

The film shows the great importance of fishing to the small coastal communities of Tamil Nadu, INDIA and exactly how these fishermen’s livelihoods have been decimated by the tsunami waves.

William Fairbank, his Reporter/Carer (modern linguist), and Camera Person (who did much of the work on Tragedic 2004) are all ready to go to make two or three films about the life of the fishermen after the tsunami waves. We would show life beyond the news bulletins. The films would be copyright free and end with the tsunami appeal number 0870 60 60 900
If you would like to talk about ‘expenses only’ sponsorship please ring William Fairbank 01953 718114

The Community Channel is a not-for-profit digital television channel which is an initiative of The Media Trust. It's dedicated to inspiring people to do more with their lives. The Community Channel is funded by the Volunteering and Charitable Giving Unit of the Home Office. It broadcasts 24 hours a day on Sky 585 and Telewest 233, on NTL 14 from 10am -4pm and on Freeview from 6am-9am.

Visit for more information


Marjory van Mackelenbergh
Head of Programming, Community Channel
3-7 Euston Centre, Regent's Place 
London NW1 3JG , wrote on 24/01/05…….

Your work has been of great importance to the Community Channel. What makes your films standout from most other filmmakers is the fact that you approach the subjects from a personal point of view. I feel that the fact that you have been through a major tragedy and the subsequent road to recovery, has made you see many subjects in a different light. This point of view makes your work fascinating and compulsive viewing. The openness in which you approach the subject matter and the openness with which you interview people, makes their reactions more intimate and emotional. This is a rare trade to find. 

I sincerely hope that you will continue your film making for a long time and that you will keep the Community Channel in mind as a platform for your art.



Heart of Yew

Heart of Yew is a 10 min video film of the building of this sculpture. Most of the shots are speeded up and the only talking on the film are two short clips of Dr Geoffrey Farrer-Brown, one when he is holding the yew wood in early days and the other when he sees the completed sculpture for the first time. Not only is there footage of how 900 fibre optic lights were set in but there is some remarkable shots of Metal spinning. his film is available in the shop. The remarkable music for this film was especially composed by Jo. A video is available in the Shop.


One Thousand Million BC

One Thousand Million BC  was one of the Turner 2000 Prize entries. Every clip on this film has been speeded up so that one can see the whole sculpture being built in 7 mins. There is great footage of this unique way of setting in the 450 fibre optic lights and how the pine wood is burnt black without destroying the thin glass fibres. Available as a lecture.



AD0BC was also one of the Turner 2000 Prize entries. This is another speeded up film (10 mins) and shows how the 8 thicknesses of ash were laminated together, the five black thornes were built and then joined to the crown, and great footage of Felix Russell laying the gold leaf around the crown jewels. Available as a lecture.



2000AD was also one of the Turner 2000 Prize entries. Wood is the only material that could be used to build this 2m structure, housing 950 fibre optic lights and exactly how this was acheived may be seen on this fast moving 10 min film. Available as a lecture.


The Forest Way is a 30 minute video, scripted by William Fairbank, and filmed by 

The film starts with William in his workshop saying how he came to be making the Forest Stations. There follows a beautifully filmed tour down  THE FOREST WAY, moving along each of the Forest Stations looking at the spiritual, environmental and technical issues raised during the seven years creating this work. Through film one can see close up the extraordinary fine detail of each of these wood sculptures.

The music to this film comes from Songs of the Forgotten People by Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer.

The film is available from the shop


The Dove

This 1/2 hour film was shot throughout the project. William discusses ideas, selects the timber at the woodyard, designs the sculture, explains the technical side and we see June seeing the completed sculpure for the first time.

This film is only available as part of a lecture presented by William Fairbank.