Matt Houghton

Dear Araucaria


Dear Araucaria

Winner: Sheffield Doc/Fest Audience Award
Nominated: LSFF Best Documentary
Nominated: Kinsale Sharks Best Documentary
Official Selection: HotDocs
Official Selection: AFI Docs
Official Selection: IDFA
Official Selection: Aesthetica Short Film Festival
Official Selection: ZagrebDox
Official Selection: ReFrame Film Festival
Official Selection: Latitude Festival
Official Selection: One Screen Film Festival

A short documentary made in partnership with the Guardian and Pulse Films exploring the life of revered crossword setter John Graham.

Better known by his pseudonym Araucaria, John set the Guardian cryptic crossword for 55 years. In December 2012, crossword number 25,842 appeared in the paper with a series of clues that once solved, revealed a personal message from Araucaria to his puzzle-solving followers.

A puzzle in itself, this short film unpicks crossword number 25,842 to journey into John’s world of clue-making. Shifting between imagination and reality, Dear Araucaria meets the man who has given his life to crosswords and is only now coming to understand the dramatic impact he has had on a community of solvers.

Voice: John Graham
Middle-aged John: Philip Ridout
Young John: Alexander Slater
Young Mary: Eveline Chapman
Crossword Solvers: Claudio Rodriguez, Hamish Symington, Huston Gilmore, Uncle Geoff and Aunty Gill, Oskar Pimlott

Directed by Matt Houghton
Producers: Francesca Boyce, Alistair Payne-James, Nicole Jackson
Executive Producers: Graham Hodge, Julia Nottingham, Merope Mills
Director of Photography: John Craine
Production Designer: Damien Creagh
Sound Designer: Chris Barnett
Music by James Spinney
Steadicam Operator: Tom Wilkinson
1st Assistant Camera: James Hills, Richard Jones
2nd Assistant Camera: Georgia Quillam
Key Grip: Steve Gilbert
Gaffer: Howard Davidson
Sparks: Amy Rixon, Josh Green, Callum Ross
Sound Recordist: George McMillan, Robert Newman, Charlie Weissfeld
Make Up Artist: Lu Hinton, Niki Henry, Jen Knipp, Hannah Maestranzi
Costume Designer: Natalie Willis, Rae Hinder
Art Director: Annalisa Andriani
Art Department Assistant: Carla Fernandez
Production Manager: Lauran Clark, James Greenall
Production Coordinator: Amy Rattray
Production Assistant: Oskar Pimlott
Offline Editor: Matt Houghton
Additional Editing: Rachael Spann
Motion Graphics: Hettie Griffiths
Colourist: Vic Parker
Music Mix: Sam Miller
Archive Consultant: Joanna Grossenbacher
Camera and Lighting: Filmscape Media, Panalux, Movietech
Archive: Cambridge News Series, The Guardian, ITN

Thanks: Thomas Benski, Sam Bunis, Cheam Library, Marisa Clifford, Sue Crisswell, Cindy Fownes, Martin and Mary Graham, The Grossenbacher Family, The Houghton Family, James Hopkins, London Print Studio, David McKie, Peter Middleton, Anna Morley, Lucas Ochoa, Melissa Read, Uncle Geoff and Aunty Gill, Raised By Wolves, Can Salahi, Jo Score, Skywalker Sound, Somersham Bowls Green, James Sorton, James Spinney, St. John the Baptist Church, Superfish Restaurant, Laura Turner, Alistair Vlok, Work Editorial

Special thanks to the People of Somersham

A Fee Fie Foe and Pulse Films production.