Private Project

2025: The Long Hot Winter

Brian Eno narrates this fictional documentary set in the year 2025, interviewing Londoners about their first Christmas heatwave. A playful but terrifying missive from the near future.

  • Jake Lancaster
    A Small Good Thing (2019), Wifi In The Glen (2019), Roast Beef (2017)
  • Jake Lancaster
    Wifi In The Glen (2019)
  • Thomas Benski
    Executive Producer
    Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019), Midsommar (2019), XY Chelsea (2019), Skate Kitchen (2018), Kingdom of Us (2017), American Honey (2016), All These Sleepless Nights (2016), The Possibilities Are Endless (2014), 20,000 Days on Earth (2014), Who Is Dayani Cristal? (2013), Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012), No Distance Left to Run (2010)
  • Alastair Hope-Morley
    What In The World (2019), Mad About You (2014)
  • Brian Eno
    Key Cast
  • Nicola Wright
    Key Cast
  • Sarah Leigh
    Key Cast
  • Barney White
    Key Cast
  • Ray Bull
    Key Cast
  • Alastair Hope-Morley
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Aesthetica Short Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 4, 2020
    Official Selection
  • New Renaissance Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    September 10, 2020
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Jake Lancaster

From Manchester, England, Jake worked in secondary school exclusion units teaching English before moving into filmmaking. He got his break working for the director Danny Boyle on Trainspotting 2 and for Alex Garland on Annihilation.

Jake’s first short was a commission in 2019 from the British Film Council and The Barbican to make a film set in the remote communities of the Scottish Highlands. The film, Wifi in The Glen, exhibited at The Barbican for a year and trailed major feature films in their cinemas. Jake followed this with his second short: the climate mockumentary 2025: The Long Hot Winter. The film is narrated by legendary musician Brian Eno and Executive Produced by Thomas Benski (American Honey, Midsommar, XY Chelsea).

Jake was selected by the BFI and Doc Society as one of nine filmmakers for the UK Climate Lab in March 2020. The Long Hot Winter is currently being developed into a feature film with the BFI Story Consultant Marilyn Milgrom. Jake wants to use indie cinema to shed an imaginative and original light on the climate problems of our time.

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Director Statement

This year in the UK, we had a blistering heatwave in February, summer temperatures in the depths of winter. To see flowers blooming in February, the sun beaming overhead felt very wrong indeed. Nature is knocked out of rhythm and I couldn’t help thinking about what the cultural implications of this will be. England's a green and pleasant land of rain and mud, it is ingrained in our national psyche. Yet the years since 2016 have been the four hottest on record. I began dreaming of a white hot Christmas...

I wanted to make a cinematic, playful short film, while delivering a powerful message about climate change. A fictional, lovingly photographed vision from the near-future that will showcase urban dwellers of all backgrounds that we recognise and love, but will reveal many of them to be as much in denial as we are now.

In life, it feels like the lines between reality and fiction are increasingly blurring. Things that were beyond our wildest imaginings only a few years ago, are now a reality. We wanted to try and achieve a storytelling form that reflects this, in blurring the lines between fiction and documentary. As old orthodoxies are challenged and thrown out, it seems like an exciting time to reach for unusual modes of storytelling.

While there was a script as a base, we were making a multi-protagonist film about community and wanted the process to truly be collaborative and organic. We developed a method where we worked with streetcast non-actors to improvise and co-write their scenes around a base story. Giving it the spontaneous feel of documentary, while guiding them enough to deliver the emotional beats. We wanted to ensure authenticity: for the younger cast, we went to Youth Centres, for the old women, to an old people’s home in Earls Court. We wanted to get away from the singular control of a formal script or a director into something more genuinely communal in its creation.

Child actors were central to the energy of this film. We cast them from London youth clubs and theatre groups like the legendary Chickenshed Theatre in West London. I am still working with those young actors on other projects. We have developed an impact campaign for the film with a specifically youth focus, supported by BFI/Doc Society and developed with Cosmic Cat (I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You, Nae Pasaran!) We have developed an event to screen 2025 to school kids, followed by a celebrity-moderated Q&A streamed to schools across the UK. We have letters of intent from over a dozen schools who wish to take part and have worked with teachers to develop a lesson plan for both Biology and English/Drama, using the film as a starter. Once we have a UK festival premiere confirmed we will put this plan, supported by BFI/Doc Soc, in motion.