You may well have passed by this anonymous shop-front in Camden without realising that it actually — secretly — contains a magical miniature toyshop. The place is run by 80 year old Kristin Baybars, an amazing woman who made her first doll's house when she was 15 and went on to set up the first toy department in Heal's on Tottenham Court Road in 1954.
Director Alex Osman snuck inside and made this lovely docudrama about a girl who stumbles into a wonderland with only as many rules as each customer needs.
Osman told Londonist: "The shop has been there for more than 30 years but I first heard of it when my mother and daughter returned one day with loads of miniature objects that they wanted to turn into jewellery. I popped in for a look around and got chatting with Kristin and her assistant Janet who told me all these fantastic stories about the shop and its customers over the years."
"One in particular stuck in mind about a young boy who'd got lost in the area and stumbled across the shop by mistake. Curious as to what was inside, he knocked and went in, and over time became a regular visitor and close friend of Kristin. He made a lot of the tableaux shown in the film and now as an adult is a miniature model maker himself."
"I thought the story would make a lovely way to discover the shop and hear Kristin's anecdotes so decided to put the two together. It was really tricky to make as the shop is full to the brim with toys and miniatures making it hard for even our small crew to move around and get the angles and shots that we wanted."
This totally delightful film was directed by Osman, produced and co-directed by Justin Allder with cinematography by Adrian O'Toole. The actress who plays the girl is Lily Osman (Alex's daughter). It was screened recently at the London Short Film Festival.
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