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Time Travel Boyfriends
Photo: Elmer Clifton/
Los Angeles County Museum
of Natural History

A concept, a book and now an award-winning film.

Time Travel Boyfriends, by Josephine Halbert, is a fantasy love-letter to a collection of well-known men from diverse worlds including the young Orson Welles, the cricketer Charles B Fry, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Marlon Brando. All these men share a love of adventure and a creative or worldly courage. They are also all hopelessly unavailable. They are all dead. The writer describes this idea as ‘a daydream, an indulgence and exploration of herself’. Each of these romanticised historical male figures appeals to different sides of her own self and the work is an invitation to inspire anyone else to dream of their own time travelling romantic adventures.

The idea, which turned into a book and then an exhibition, went on to have solo shows in London at Beverley Knowles Fine Art, Tenderpixel Gallery and The Chelsea Festival. An adaptation of the book to film followed resulting in a 35mm short ten minute film featuring one actor playing eight of the book’s twelve love interests. The film has already won four awards at international film festivals.

"The work is an exploration of the concept of love and loss and the lure of the unattainable...but especially the freedom of fantasy."

Elmer Clifton - the inspiration

"Elmer Clifton started it. He jumped out of a book I was reading in the British Film Institute Library and I just knew him at once. There was something familiar about this zany character from the world of silent films striking a theatrical pose with his firestarter look and I realised, if I'd been around when he had, he was JUST the type of guy I would go and get involved with.

"This triggered thoughts about other 'men' from the past. So I followed my bliss and started my own Time Travel Dating Agency....

Elmer Clifton - born 1890, star of stage and the silent movie era and director
"Discovered by the great director of the silent movie era, D W Griffith, he could be described as the first method actor because of his emotional range on screen and evident heroic masculine presence in roles, although this went entirely unnoticed by critics of the time. Clifton's appeal to me is that he was an outsider figure who dared. Also, I like to romanticise his 'ahead of his time' reputation. He found himself in the right place at the right time after being discovered and then followed his dream of directing his own epics, sometimes with success, making his own way among established Hollywood. He even took his last breath in the director's chair."
Josephine Halbert

Watch the trailer

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The film is based on the book of the same name by Josephine Halbert
Buy 'Time Travel Boyfriends' the book
Buy 'Time Travel Boyfriends' the book