THE FITTING ROOM project began filming at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in May 2012, with Nicola Lane working with OTSO Film cinematographer Joni Juutilainen and Assistant Director Marga Doek. Here is a selection of images documenting THE FITTING ROOM journey:

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Setting up in the old orchard on the RNOH site, for 'the girl in the tree' scene: memories of bare legs in the summer, the complex reality of replacing lost limbs. Photograph by Beatrice Plunkett.

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 Screengrab from THE FITTING ROOM.

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Filming the route of Nicola Lane's 'test walk' from the PRU to the fishing lake after delivery of a new prosthesis. Sadly this lovely landscape did not make the final edit!

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Joni Juutilainen and Xan Marquez setting up in the Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit fitting room.

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Fitting Room Friends relax between takes in the fitting room.

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Stylishly testing a new prosthesis...

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Assistant Director Marga Doek and sound recordist Xan Marquez filming outside the PRU. Photograph by Beatrice Plunkett. 

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Layers of history within the RNOH site were revealed during filming THE FITTING ROOM. On the old gates to the RNOH main entrance are two plaques made circa 1930 by the Arts & Crafts jeweller and maker Alwyn Carr, quoting lines from the last verse of William Blake's poem 'The Divine Image':

"Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too."

Photograph by Marga Doek.

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A member of the group tries out her new 'water activity limb' on holiday for the first time...Swimming is an important issue for the Fitting Room Friends and it was important that it was represented. PegLeg Productions was thrilled to be able to use the location of the Aspire Centre's beautiful and accessible swimming pool. 

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Screengrabs from THE FITTING ROOM: brilliant 'Synchronised Swimming' by the Fitting Room Friends!

On July 3rd 2013 a preview of THE FITTING ROOM  screened to a packed audience at  the Herbert Seddon Teaching Centre on the RNOH site.  The women who participated in the film were seeing it for the first time and so were the clinicians who had agreed to be filmed. It's a challenging moment. But the Fitting Room Friends were dressed up, relaxed and professional...meeting and greeting, organising the feedback forms and seating, and radiating confidence.

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To accompany THE FITTING ROOM screening Fitting Room Friends Jane MacLaren and Sandra Staffiero wrote the following piece:

“One meets the most inspirational women in the Ladies Fitting Room, here in the Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit at Stanmore’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The Fitting Room is not a hospital clinic: it is a highly exclusive club. A club that one would not choose to join but if due to unforeseen circumstances you do become a member you are one for life.

“Fitting Room Friends’ began as a closed, invitation-only Facebook group because we needed a way to keep in contact with the inspirational women that we meet in the Ladies Fitting Room. We have a collective bond, an inner understanding where words are not necessary. Through the project we can share experiences, genuine understanding and give collective support.

“The group is steadily growing and through making this film we have been able to express how amputation has changed all parts of our lives. Amputation is not something that we will ever ‘get over’; it is - as many have said - the startof a second, but different life.

“As amputees we all have challenges that non-amputees will never truly be able to comprehend. But the fitting room is not full of doom and gloom, it is full of women who against all odds will fight the challenges before them and in unity inspire each other. The fitting room is full of strength, laughter and hope.

“Through our support, inspiration and encouragement for each other we have become stronger and have formed bonds that will never be broken. We are all equal whatever our backgrounds or circumstances and we are here for each other.We have enjoyed making this film and we all hope that it will give you a brief insight into our exclusive and challenging world.”

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Nicola Lane writes: "Here we get ready for the Q&A after the screening...'Show, don't tell'  is an important principle of filmmaking. I think our faces after the film finished tells all. The audience laughed, listened, gasped, and applauded long and loud. We had succeeded in communicating something of our personal experience of prosthetics." 

A member of the audience from another Prosthetics Rehabilitation Centre wrote:

"Having spent many hours in fitting rooms over the last 26 years I felt a deep connection to the ladies in the film. From the isolation and worry of not knowing the procedures involved in getting a new leg as a new amputee to the feeling that being part of a limb centre is where you feel at ‘home’. So many issues were covered in the film that it is hard to remember them all. The roll of your prosthetist was touched on, not just as someone who makes your limbs but as an ongoing relationship, getting a good fitting socket is paramount to how you will be able to live your life and how you are able to live your life impacts not just on you but the people around you. 

"I felt this particularly with the lady who felt she had to keep her leg on even when she was exhausted as her family preferred to see her as ‘normal’. It is sometimes easy to overlook the impact that an amputation has on close family and friends, that they too have to come to terms with the huge changes amputation can bring, not only body image but what is physically achievable. "

"Body image I believe is a massive topic. With only positive images shown in the media it is easy to think that an amputations has little impact on the lives of the people who have suffered the trauma. Heather Mills skates and dances and has an array of legs for the gym, for going out with heels, with flat feet for the casual days etc. etc. This is the exception rather than the rule and I think this film showed the realistic truth for most of us..."

"What I liked most about The Fitting Room was the progress in self-confidence you ladies had made by talking to one another, the non-judgmental attitude and most of all the unwavering support, understanding and humour. An inspiring, moving, engaging film."

Watch THE FITTING ROOM trailer here:

https://vimeo.com/67802654

Check out a great piece about the film on the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-27794128

See page 7 of 'Empower Magazine' for an article about THE FITTING ROOM screening at a prosthetics company's 'Ladies Day':


Check out Nicola Lane's July 2014 article about THE FITTING ROOM for the BMJ here:

http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2014/07/03/nicola-lane-from-facebook-to-film-the-journey-of-the-fitting-room-friends/