Mat Johns Hidden Tales looks at those who have survived homelessness and addiction

Mat Johns is a filmmaker from Manchester, England, and his most recent project has been warming the hearts of viewers across the world.

When asked to step in for a director who had left the project, Mat Johns was given the task of working with Petrus, an organisation who help people get back on their feet after facing challenging experiences and situations.

Focusing on a service user named Martin for this film, Mat Johns showcased the work which he does at a community garden (allotment), run by the organisation.


“Martin is a service user of Petrus, an organisation that helps people dealing with issues around homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction. He wanted us to make a film about the allotment where he volunteers that has contributed to his well-being. I made this film as a moving portrait of Martin and the work he does at Piers Allotment. It was made as part of the Hidden Tales Project in Rochdale, produced by Community Arts Northwest.”

“The Hidden Tales project is an ongoing, 18-month project working with vulnerable adults in Rochdale through the Petrus hub.” Mat Johns told My Good Planet,  “Hidden Tales is a mixed media project consisting of of poetry, animation, filmmaking and music.”

“I was brought in in September to develop film ideas the group had been working on prior to my involvement. There was another filmmaker attached but he had to leave the project, so I had a lot of catching up to do. The idea is to work alongside the service users and use my experience to turn their ideas into content. But we wanted high quality content, so once we’d settled on an idea I took the lead in a creative/technical role on the films and they observed the process. We shot the films at the end of Sept and early Oct.”

The films were screened in Rochdale as part of the Rochdale Literature Festival on October 20th and there was live poetry, music and speeches from users, Councillors and so forth.

I worked on MartinATIMA, Brown and Out, Help the Homeless Rochdale and Carer’s Choir Rochdale films. The other films are no Mean Feat and Love Abused.


Martin and the Incredible Medical Allotment from Mat Johns on Vimeo.

Colin J McCracken
Colin J McCracken

Director and Executive Editor

Colin J McCracken is an Irish editor and writer of both fiction and journalism. Coming from a background in education and film, his passions are split between the environmental and the entertaining. Constantly striving for a more sustainable existence and trying to balance it while simultaneously buying too many books.