80. In New York with Film-Maker Will Francome; US Prisons, Kenyan Orphanages, Arctic Ice Caves and Norwegian Poo - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 80
November 7 , 2019

80. In New York with Film-Maker Will Francome; US Prisons, Kenyan Orphanages, Arctic Ice Caves and Norwegian Poo

We’re in Brooklyn with documentary maker Will Francome talking about filming on location worldwide and everything from capital punishment, the American criminal justice system, the people who get let off death row, orphanages in Kenya, standing knee deep in sh*t for hours in Norway, ice caves in the Arctic, Thai Kick Boxing, racism, cocaine, pizza, rats carrying slices of pizza and the town in Nebraska with a population of one person. A wonderfully enjoyable insight into the world of a documentary maker with Will Francome.


On this episode we cover:


Pledging allegiance to the US at 6 days old

Living between the US and the UK

Growing up English and American

Being the unaccompanied minor on the plane

Feeling both an outsider and an insider

Working at a homeless charity leading to documentary making

Colin Firth and Livia Firth getting involved

Documentaries about the death penalty

The American criminal justice system and capital punishment

Anti-death penalty activist Clive Stafford-Smith on The Big Travel Podcast

Travelling to death row in Pennsylvania

Driving across America in an RV to interview people who had been let off death row for One For Ten

His new film The Penalty on Amazon

Finding how the same things; racism, bad forensics, corrupt police…playing into every single case of mistaken convictions on death row

How the US is great…except for capital punishment, guns, healthcare and racism

People in prison for non-violent drug offences

The US being the most likely country in the world to imprison

‘A massive rush to over-incarcerate’

13th documentary on Netflix

100 times more prison time for crack cocaine than powder cocaine

the racialising of the US criminal justice system

Built in racism in the US criminal justice system

Monowi in Nebraska with a population of one person (!)

The beauty and contrasting US landscape

Working for BBC travel, BBC2, Crimebusters

Working from everywhere from New York to the Arctic

Having to turn down a gig in Chile to standing in sh*t for hours in Norway

The unusual story of Svalbard in the Arctic

The Svalbard Treaty sharing between 80 countries

Touring ice caves with his Arctic explorer mate

The moonscape light in the Alaskan mountains in the middle of winter

Recent filming in Kenya, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria…

Feeling happiest in South East Asia

Visiting Thai Kick Boxing gyms all over Thailand

Being so happy to be beaten up in the ring

Absolutely loving Africa

Making a film about the pitfalls of orphanages in Kenya

How tourists paying to visit orphanages can be traumatic to the children

Travelling around with armed guards

Many children in orphanages having a living parent

The pressures of documentary makers to being impartial and portray truth

Living in Brooklyn; noise, honking cars, museums, bars and pizza

The food being the best thing

Apartments being too small to cook in

How months of snow can drive you crazy

NYC being a visual feast for film-makers

The spectacular feeling of arriving in Manhattan from Long Island

New York in the 1980s being a more dangerous place

Manhattan losing its crown to areas like Brooklyn

The pros and cons of gentrification

New York having become a shockingly expensive city

Being shocked by more homogenous areas in American
Flushing in Queens having more nationalities than anywhere else on earth

Being able to eat a different type of restaurant every night of the year

Avoiding the bin rats

Loving going to the Mets with his brother, taking the ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan and having the best pizza in the world

Being happiest with a slice of pizza and a dive bar

Lisa loving coming up with New York Songs (Living for the City, Across 110th Street, Nights on Broadway)

How Manu Chao captures the international travelling spirit