Tuesday 31 March 2009

What alchoholics refer to as 'A moment of clarity'

Hi everyone. It's Kaz again.

As promised, here is the Hereford College of Art YouTube page. Have fun and please comment on the videos. My page is posted beneath.



Before I go on, I would like to share with you a realisation I had upon sitting down in the Studio theater of The Courtyard today. And that realisation, silly as it may seem, was that Borderlines Film Festival is, and always will be, an independent film festival...

Maybe this isn't the most difficult of things to realise, but I really had not thought of it that way. I always just thought of it as a small festival, that only ever showed 2 or 3 films I'd heard of. I only ever go to one of its venues, and the tag line for the festival is 'The UK's largest rural film festival,' which hardly conjures images of grandeur. But the festival is shown over 28 cinemas. I'd never even thought of that before.

When I turned up to see The Wrestler yesterday, I was not surprised to see that the theater was half empty. I mean, we're in Hereford. When I went to see The Dark Knight there were only 15 people in the cinema and that was one of the biggest films of 2008. But today it struck me. I walked in to the theater expecting an even quieter experience as I watched the charming and witty film Lemon Tree. Unsurprisingly when I walked in, I was confronted with no mere than a handful of patrons, sat quietly waiting for the film to start. I was shocked enough when a couple seated themselves next to me, but safe in the knowledge I would be able to move to a more open space in the auditorium (I like to use both arm rests), I sat patiently waiting for the lights to go down so that I could embrace another seat without fear of being asked to move. No luck. Within 3 minutes the theater was full. Not one seat was left unoccupied and shear human warmth began to almost illuminate the room. It was at this exact moment I had my moment of clarity. This was an independent film, and this is what people wanted to see. And it made me proud to be there. People had filled a room, not because of a shiny poster, or a big Hollywood actor, or even a 1080i trailer on iTunes (standard definition only I'm sad to say). But they had come here to see a Palestinian independent film because it's not the usual Hollywood throw away that you can see anywhere. The had come to see it because without the Borderlines Film Festival, they would probably never have had the chance. And being an independent film maker myself, I'm proud to know that there is such a festival in my local area, and I'm proud to have had the chance to show my work there.

Aaaaanyway. I feel like I've been talking for far to long. And I haven't even talked about the film I went to see. Which was brilliant by the way. And very, very funny. It's not the most wide spread entertainment in the world but I happen to be a fan of what little Palestinian cinema I have seen and I am also an advocate of Palestinian stand up comedy. So to me it made a perfect coupling. And the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it as well.

The director of the film, Eran Riklis, said, when asked if the film was political, that he 'didn't believe in the term and found it out dated.' and I am inclined to disagree. Yes, everything has a political opinion inside it somewhere but some more than others. I think what he has done with Lemon Tree, and what Borderlines has done by bringing it to Hereford has done more to raise an interest in the Palestine/Israel conflict than most news reports will, because it gives the audience people with stories, not just politics and death tolls, and that is what makes people care.

p.s From the other side of the fence, as it were, (you'll get the joke if you've seen the film, or if you like pseudo-satirical puns about political relations in the middle east) this is an interesting film from student film makers in Israel, called Smile.


Thanks again for reading, and keep watching films at the festival.

Change to Box Office no. for Hay

For reservations for Hunger, screening at Hay on Friday 3 April, call 01497 831690 instead of the telephone number listed in the brochure, on the Venues page of our website or the Screen at Hay website.

Monday 30 March 2009

The Wrestler

Hi Everyone.

I'm Kaz, and I'm a student on The Hereford College of Arts and I have been asked to blog for the Borderlines Film festival.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone there at The Courtyard, and everyone running Borderlines Film Festival for allowing myself and my colleagues to show our work in the form of the Small Stories, Big Ideas showcase. And let me tell you, it sure is weird seeing your work up on a big screen for the first time. Especially when you have to talk about it afterwards in front of a room full of strangers. That aside, I think the whole thing was a success, I hope you enjoyed it if you saw it then I'd love to hear any feedback, just comment below, and if you didn't see it then the college is soon to be setting up a YouTube page where you will be able to view most of the films featured. I'll post the address next blog. Also, if anyone can tell me what blog stands for, please leave a comment.

Anyways. This being a film festival blog and all, I figure that I should be talking about the films. So that's what I'll do. Today, I saw my first film of the festival, The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. Ever since first seeing the trailers for this film, I've been Intrigued, with a healthy dose of scepticism. The film truly looked to be an personal, gritty, and heart breaking account of one mans struggle against the real world, coupled with blissfully epic nostalgia and a lust for professional American wrestling action, without being as bad as Home Boy... and I was not disappointed. The Wrestler, exquisitely directed by Darren Aronofsky, must surely be one of the highlights of the festival. I don't want to speak to soon, but I genuinely cant see many films topping it. And don't let the title trick you. This isn't just some action flick for fans of WWF's heyday. This film gives one of the most human performances i have seen committed to celluloid (and I watched Last Resort twice, if you haven't seen it, check it out, its directed by Pawel Pawlikowski) and really explores the ideas of what people really want to a new level. Even so far as to start exploring what they need.

Discard your doubts about enjoying a wrestling flick, and especially discard your doubts about not being able to take it seriously. This is a film anyone can love, from the elderly couple sat to my left, right through to the business bankers sat behind me, not one person in the room failed to laugh, and cry, in the right places. And I can guarantee you won't either.

Thanks again everyone, and hopefully I'll post more soon.

Kaz Szostak

Feeling the festival vibe

Adieu, my name is Jolene Archer, first year film maker over at Hereford College of Arts, fresh back from my first day of soaking up the Borderlines vibe like some strange blogging sponge. Since I've spent most of today rocketting back and forth between screenings I thought I'd post a little about the festival itself.

The atmosphere at Borderlines is surreal, in the best possible way. Mooching about the lobby of The Courtyard theatre, one feels a slight pang of resonance for the great wildlife film makers, who after patiently waiting for weeks on end finally get thier money shot - when one recognises the eager look of a fellow film buff, the anxious twist of ticket in hand, the awkward avoidance of eye contact when one realises they've entered the wrong screen - these moments are the snow leopards of Attenborough films, although thankfully, film goers are not near extinction, and have only rarely been known to maul.

I'm an early bird, so it is in my nature to arrive at a screening with enough time to politely hassle the staff as to the time doors will be opened. This habit of mine meant that I was one of the first to enter the screening of Badlands this afternoon. As I settle myself into my seat, more people start to enter and watching my fellow movie-goers arrive is something to behold. Once the doors are opened a flood of people emerge, presumably from some portal or pre-film panic room, as it is impossible for me to recall seeing half of them in my twenty minute wait in the lobby before hand. Yet, here they are all tentatively creeping into the screen, peering around the corners of doors with an air of apprehension which I suspect to be aided by the ominous red glow of the pre-film screen.

Once we are seated, the variety of the audience is interesting to note. Couples, singles, and families, young and old, all of us united by a love of cinema, and the universal need to tread on at least one other person's feet before we reach our designated seat - the polite mutterings of 'ever so sorry!' the well known cry of the rarely spotted Hereford Cinephile. For a few moments all of us are engaged in our own pre-film entertainment, magazines of all kinds are drawn out of handbags, backpacks, briefcases and flicked through with idle impatients - the diversity of the crowd reflected in their choice of reading material, of pre-trailer snacks.

From my lofty perch I spy what appears to be a copy of Sight and Sound magazine in the hands of a young woman, whilst further down somebody else is diligently scanning a text book (I commend your work ethic, whomever you were!). From werthers originals to walkers crisps, everyone's bought their own rations to keep them going - I begin to notice something which smells suspiciously like mint chocolate, but before I can investigate further the lights dim and the crowd is quite. Curtain up, roll film.


Hi there

Finally had some semblance of time today to make it to The Courtyard to support the work of my students. Thanks again to the folks at the festival for providing us here at Media Arts at Hereford College of Arts with a window to show some of our work.

The screening of work by our Film and Video students seemed to be well received and I was reminded of the the diversity of styles, tones and subject matter that my students had produced.

The students are currently immersed in their latest studio projects, which will be both drama and documentary. It would be good to get this work seen publically soon too. Getting the work out there is always exciting.


Franny Armstrong addresses Borderlines Age of Stupid viewers

Watch the personal message that The Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong has sent through to Borderlines audiences.

The Not Stupid campaign was due to launch on April 1 but this has been deferrred. We'll keep you posted.

There are still a few chances to catch The Age of Stupid if you haven't already seen it:
Mon 30 11.15am / Tue 31 4.15pm (followed at 5.45pm by discussion hosted by Transition Hereford) / Wed 1 April 11.30am - The Courtyard Hereford
Tue 31 March 7.30pm (SOLD OUT) / Wed 1 April 7.30pm - Ludlow Assembly Rooms
Thur 2 April 7.30pm (with discussion hosted by Transition Presteigne to follow) - Presteigne Assembly Rooms

Love Letters and Passion - exclusive podcasts

Poster for NightmailGraeme Hobbs of MovieMail has put together two podcasts specially for our website.

The first is on the wonderfully inventive GPO films of the 193
0s, Love Letters and Live Wires, screening at The Courtyard on TODAY at 4.15pm.

The programme includes the classic Nightmail with poetry by W.H. Auden and music by Benjamin Britten as well many other gems.

To get
a taste, you can preview one of them, Norman Mclaren's surrealistic animation Love on the Wing - suppressed by the Postmaster-General of the time as "too Freudian" - on our website, courtesy of the BFI's excellent YouTube channel.

Graeme's other podcast is on Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, one of the acclaimed masterpieces of silent cinema. It screens at 8.45pm this Wednesday 1 April with an introduction and specially composed piano accompaniment by the very talented Paul Shallcross. You won't get the chance to experience an event like this again!

Listen to Graeme to discover why.
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Saturday 28 March 2009

Of Time and the City: Review

Greetings to all. My name is Nick, and I’m a film student at Hereford College of Arts. Along with a few of my fellow students, I’ve been asked to review some of the films you can see for yourselves at this year’s festival. I’ll be submitting these on an irregular basis, so be sure check the website every now and then to read our thoughts on both the latest releases and cinematic classics.

To say that Of Time and the City is crammed with nostalgia is to do it a disservice, and an understatement. It’s absolutely teeming with nostalgia, and this is partly where the charm of the film lies.

The film, directed by Terence Davies, consists of a montage of film clips of Liverpool in various stages of life in the 20th century, from 1950 onwards. While a lot of effort has gone into finding the best footages the various archives have to offer, this would normally not be enough to carry such a film.

Which is where the music comes in. Giant, soaring classical pieces from the likes of Mahler and Handel accompany the snippets of video, taking the emotional effect to a higher plane and underlining certain sections looking at the issue of the class system and the huge housing blocks that came to dominate the city skyline. And this is helped immeasurably by Davies himself, providing narration reminiscing about his youth in the city.

And what a narrator he is. Like Watchmen’s Rorschach, albeit in a much better mood and with a poetical manner, Davies’ voice growls and booms and from the speakers like the word of God he refers to so often during the film, taking on a sense of the ethereal. His charm and wit certainly don’t hinder things, his anecdotes endearing himself to those in the audience (which, seeing I as was the only person under 50 attending this particular screening made for a cosy atmosphere!).

What this all adds up to is, as mentioned previously, nostalgia. What’s incredible is how it makes me, personally, feel nostalgia for a city I’ve never been to, and for a time I haven’t lived in. Of Time and the City is not simply a film about Liverpool, or Terence Davies. It is a film about childhood: mine, yours, and ours. It is a film about the cities and towns we grew up in, whatever and wherever they were. It is a film about that most important of human experiences: life.

I’d recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a change from the normal cinematic experience, regardless of age.

Next on my list of films to see is Robert Bresson’s POW drama A Man Escaped. Be seeing you!

Maldives set to become carbon neutral within ten years

Watch the President of the Maldives pledge to make his the first carbon neutral country in the world in a message relayed at The Age of Stupid premiere on March 15.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Extra speaker for Borderlines Debate

Joining our Climate Change and Sustainability day line-up on Friday 27 March is Jon Hallé, Project Manager of sharenergy and West Midlands Development Manager for Energy4All. Energy4All is a not-for-profit organisation that enables communities across the countryto set up renewable energy co-ops.

Along with Richard Priestley (solar power) and Alice Goldstone (hydropower) Jon will be taking part in the Alternative sources of energy session at 2pm.

Mark Lynas will be introducing The Age of Stupid in the morning with a short Q&A to follow but is unable to stay for the afternoon.

This event is now SOLD OUT.

But there's more opportunity to have your say next Tuesday 31 March, following the 4.15pm screening of The Age of Stupid when Transition Hereford will be hosting a debate at The Courtyard. The additional event is free but ticketed as places are limited. Contact The Courtyard Box Office on 01432 340555.

Festival opens at The Courtyard today

Screenings commence at The Courtyard in Hereford today with local filmmaker John Bulmer presenting one of his recent ethnographic documentaries Beehives and Runaway Wives at 2pm.

The magical adventure Inkheart (with Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent)
and Terence Davies's lyrical portrait of Liverpool through archive sound and film Of Time and the City follow.

Franny Armstrong climbing the infamous ladders Mer de GlaceMeanwhile this evening at Gorsley (near Ross) and Pudleston (near Leominster) Village Halls there's a personal message from director Franny Armstrong to open the first Borderlines screenings of The Age of Stupid. Transition Town Newent will be holding a discussion after the film at Gorsley. Call 01989 720617 for Gorsley bookings, 01568 750349 for Pudleston.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Calling all Hereford students

Still from GonzoKeen on cinema but can't afford the ticket prices? Sign up for The Courtyard's Student Advantage scheme. All you need to do is take a valid student ID, e-mail address and mobile phone no. to the Box Office to register and you can get in to see any films throughout the year for the knock-down price of £3. More information...

On offer at Borderlines, some great rockumentaries Anvil! The Story of Anvil (15) and Patti Smith: Dream of Life (15) plus (right) the daddy of chemically-fuelled excess, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr Hunter S. Thompson (15)

Win a British Cinema DVD collection

BFI 75th Anniversary Box Set: A Centenary of British FilmThanks to our sponsor MovieMail, we have a prize of the limited edition BFI 75th Anniversary Box Set: A Centenary of British Film to offer. The collection includes some wonderful treasures including pre-sound versions of Dickens, highlights from the perennially-popular British Transport films, Jules Dassin's atmospheric London film noir Night and the City, Derek Jarman's Caravaggio, Peter Greenaway's early films, through to the 1997 drama Under the Skin, starring Samantha Norton. More information...

To enter, email us the answer to the following question:

Name one 2009 Oscar-winning film screening at Borderlines this year.

Use BFI 75 DVD as your subject line. Please include your name, address, post code and telephone number so we can be sure of contacting you should you win. Entries to be received by Saturday 28 March 2009. Winning entries will be drawn on Sunday and announced next week.

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Tuesday 24 March 2009

Visceral thrills - North Face and The Wrestler

Seeing films one up against the other is one of the great pleasures of a festival. It's a random process which can throw up some interesting juxtapositions.

Living near Ludlow, I've seen North Face followed by The Wrestler in the space of a couple of days. They're both in their very different ways about extreme physical exertion - competitiveness pushed to the limits - about display and technique. I know nothing about mountain-climbing but the sequence in North Face in which the German climbing team accomplishes the traverse is truly breath-taking.

Achievement is measured by physical marks. In North Face it's a case of making marks on the mountain, hammering in pitons for the ropes in order to claw a few feet higher. And the climbers are dwarfed by it. As one of the wise old guides points out, it's not called Eiger (Ogre) for nothing. It looms above the hotel where the spectators wait, cruelly and randomly transformed by weather conditions and light.

Turning to the The Wrestler it's the fighters themselves - and Mickey Rourke's Randy 'The Ram' in particular - who provide the presence. He is colossal with his gleaming, steroid-pumped body and flowing mane and its his scars, carefully displayed and catalogued to young fans, that bear witness to a life in the ring.

As we see, many of the cuts are self-inflicted, the stunts theatrical, just as the young climbers choose to subject themselves to indescribable hardship in order to attain their goal; it doesn't diminish the pain or reduce the spectacle. Gripping stuff.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Small Stories, Big Ideas

A huge hello to all, my name is David Jones, I am a second year student of FdA Film at Hereford College of Arts.

Firstly I would like to thank everyone at the Borderlines Film Festival for the generous opportunity of showcasing our student short films. This event marks an important milestone for us as student filmmakers - it's one thing to make a film, but actually exhibiting it is really the point at which that film's life begins.

The film I am exhibiting is called A New Chance, it's my second student short film to date and has certainly also been the most challenging experience of my life to date.Seven months ago, I was sitting in, what we call, our "club-house" (or our edit suite), with a seven page script that exploded onto the page after spending two years in my head. I spent one month calling and emailing people, saying "hey lets make a film, it'll be fun!", and now, seven months later - all of my cast and crew have been physically and emotionally challenged - yet somehow we remain as close, if not closer as we all were at the beginning of the production.

And our showcase at Borderlines is the payoff, so much hard work and love poured into the production and now a showing on big screen - a fitting ending to a long journey.

So again, thanks so much to all at Borderlines for making this happen.

There's so many films to look forward to at Borderlines this year, each year the programme goes from strength to strength. Personally, I'm excited to see films such as The Wrestler, Of Time and the City, Man on Wire... the list goes on! The Local Filmmakers showcase looks to be an interesting one, so that's one not to miss.

Ok, so that's all for now apart for one last plug...

Small Stories, Big Ideas
Monday 30 March, 11.00 am, The Courtyard, Hereford
FREE but ticketed

Please do feel free to ask us all questions.

We're greatly excited to meet everyone!

Best wishes to all

Call for Israeli boycott at Ross screening

Controversy at Ross last night following a capacity screening of Lemon Tree, the film about a disputed lemon grove on the Israeli Palestine border.

Dr Jill Donnelly and Kyrle from the Herefordshire Palestine Solidarity Group made the plea for a boycott on Israeli goods during a question and answer session about the film. One audience member condemned the hypocrisy of watching a movie which, he pointed out, was partly made by Israeli filmmakers, but promoter William Hazelton, who chose the film after reading reviews, defended the screening. "A film like this brings the heart of the problem right into our small town."

Colleague Dr John Davies added this was precisely one of Borderlines' strengths, "It’s an excellent Festival because we see films we do not usually get to see." Borderlines serves a rural area roughly the size of London which supports only two full-time cinemas.

Our press officer, Bill Laws, described the film as "sharply observed". It's based on a real incident involving an elderly Palestinian woman who refused to have her olive grove destroyed to protect the security of the then Israeli Minister of Defence and took the issue to the Supreme Court. Director Eran Riklis describes Israeli directors working today as mavericks; it's a profession that increasingly does not allow for apolitical views. "We cannot live in a bubble," he says, "It's a difficult place, a difficult country, difficult relationships with the surrounding countries and we hve to deal with it. I think it's our duty in a way." Listen to the Guardian Film Weekly podcast that features him talking about Lemon Tree and his previous work, his commitment to painting a story in "lots of colours" instead of just black and white.

There are two chances to catch Lemon Tree at The Courtyard in Hereford on Tuesday 31 March, 8.30pm and Thursday 2 April at 6.15pm.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Sell-out screenings

The following screenings have SOLD OUT:
The Reader Thursday 26 March 8.30pm & Friday 27 8.30pm at The Courtyard, Hereford
Food and Farming in South Herefordshire Tuesday 31 March 1.30pm at The Courtyard, Hereford
The Age of Stupid introduced by Pete Postlethwaite Tuesday 31 March 7.30pm at Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Tickets are selling fast for The Age of Stupid on Thursday 26 March 7.30pm at Gorsley Village Hall. Please ring 01989 720617 to book if you're planning to go. The film will be followed by a Q&A hosted by Transition Town Newent.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Festival opens today!

The fog's lifted... for the launch of Borderlines 2009 with three comedy screenings this evening in three village halls across South Herefordshire.

Remember The Station Agent? The Visitor, showing at Gorsley Village Hall, is director Tom McCarthy's latest film and stars Richard Jenkins (another one of this year's nominees for Best Actor Oscar) as a professor who keeps himself to himself until he's forced, by a pair of unexpected lodgers, to dip his toe in new waters.

Burn After Reading at Garway Village Hall (where I'm heading) is sheer unalderated fun wih Clooney, Pitt, McDormand, Swinton and Malkovitch revelling in the opportunity to play for laughs. That's the joy of caricature, you don't have to worry about LIKING any of the characters. Quite liberating!

Meanwhile in Dorstone, Justin Edgar's Special People - with its ensemble cast of disabled teenagers - pokes fun at the preconceptions - from people in general and filmmakers in particular - surrounding special needs.

The first week of the festival takes place in Flicks in the Sticks venues all over Herefordshire and Shopshire as well as at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. The sheer variety is part of what makes the event a unique experience - 'different films in different places' says it all. So give it a try if you haven't already and let us know what you think.

Monday 16 March 2009

The Age of Stupid screening in Ludlow sells out

Watch Pete Postlethwaite pledge to return his OBE if the government fails to act radically in favour of reducing carbon emissions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. The event took place in a solar-powered tent at The Age of Stupid premiere in Leicester Square on Sunday evening and marked the launch of the Not Stupid Campaign which seeks to transform cinema-goers into climate activists with a fighting chance of seriously effecting change.

Both People's Premieres of The Age of Stupid in Wales (in Cardiff and Milford) sold out as did the Friday night shows with Director Franny Armstrong in Cardiff and Producer Lizzie Gillett in Aberystwyth. Closer to home, the Ludlow screening on Tuesday 31 March introduced by Pete Postlethwaite is now fully booked!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Energy: Borderlines Debate speakers have their say

Two of the speakers in the forthcoming Climate Change and Sustainability Debate talked to our Press Officer, Bill Laws, last week. Their views diverge. Mark Lynas and fellow panelists including Joss Garman, founder of Plane Stupid, the group responsible for the ‘green custard’ protest against Lord Mandelson on March 6, can expect to field some difficult questions: there has been vociferous opposition locally to a planned wind farm (for and against) in North Herefordshire and an anaerobic digester (for and against) in South Shropshire.

Oxford-based Lynas recently angered other ‘greens’ by declaring in favour of nuclear power (“The environmental community needs to move on on this,” he insists). Mark is expected to remind his rural audiences that their carbon footprint is too high. “There’s nothing green about country life,” says Lynas. “Country people have a higher carbon footprint, mostly because of the transport, than those in towns.”

The Age of Stupid is a wake-up call. “The film,” says Lynas, “is absolutely right for being shown both at the Festival’s village halls and London’s multiplexes. This is not a film for the ‘eco-hippy circuit: it’s a worst case scenario and a film that everyone will want to watch.”

Environmental issues have been temporarily sidelined by the economic recession, says Lynas, “but the planet keeps reminding us that things aren’t right.

“The recent Australian bush fires, for example, have a chilling resonance in The Age of Stupid where the opening images show fires raging around the Sidney Opera House.

“Unless we wake up to the environmental damage we’re causing, those hills will one day burn with peat fires and be home to the prickly pear cactus.”

Former Hereford sixth-former Joss Garman who now works with Greenpeace is a founder of Plane Stupid, the environmental lobby group which recently doused Lord Mandelson with green custard in a protest over Heathrow’s third runway.

Direct action, he says, has always been central to bringing about change. “You only have to look at the women’s movement, the anti apartheid movement in South Africa, and the anti roads movement in the 1990s.”

Climate change is the issue that defines today’s young generation, says the 23-year-old who was brought up in Presteigne. “We are facing the environmental catastrophe of all time. And in such a short time frame: it’s not an exaggeration to be talking about the potential collapse of the biosphere.”

Nuclear power, he insists, is not the answer.“Ten new nuclear power stations would bring down carbon emissions by less than 4 per cent and not until the 2020s. The answer lies with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Last week, for example, Spain, produced more than 40% of itselectricity from renewables.”

Garman is optimistic about what he calls the emerging Carbon Movement. But time is running out: “The effort of millions of people to reduce their carbon footprint is being undermined by major construction projects like new runways, nuclear power stations and coal stations like Kingsnorth. People need to concentrate their energies on these issues.”

Thursday 12 March 2009

New Eyes

Hi there

Just a quick note to introduce myself. My name is James Clarke and I am the Course Co-ordinator for the Foundation Degree Film and Video course here at Hereford College of Arts.

First a note to thank Borderlines for giving my students the very useful opportunity for their films to be screened during the festival (Small Stories, Big Ideas). I hope the experience proves useful and productive all 'round. The course that we are running is still very new but is beginning to take ever greater strides. Our second year students are all homegrown and our first year students have come from further afield. The work the students have so far produced during this academic year has been eclectic and imaginative and as I type this they are all working away on their

Just yesterday I was remembering the first year that Borderlines ran and attending what was perhaps the very first screening of a film at a venue in Ross on Wye. How far the event has come.

Looking through the programme for this year I hope to catch some of the new and the old. Certainly the chance to see The Passion of Joan of Arc on the big screen is a major pull for me. I am also hoping to check in with North Face and Better Things. The film Fieldwork also fascinates. Finally, it's also really a thrill to see some former colleagues of mine showing their work also as part of the Local Filmmakers' Showcase.

Well, I'll sign off for now.
More soon.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Change of time for Anvil! screening

On Sunday 5 April the screening of Anvil! The Story of Anvil will start at 6.35pm instead of 6.15. Listings on our website have been altered.

This rockumentary has had fantastic reviews and was featured in a Front Row item on Radio 4 last week.

Over a thousand people congregated in Shepherds Bush one evening in February not knowing what they were about to experience. They'd signed up for a new phenomenon called Secret Cinema. You're told to turn up at a given time and place, with an odd hint or two about the forthcoming event, and sworn to secrecy.

What the last lot of secret cinema-goers got was a screening of Anvil! at the Shepherds Bush Empire, only to have the group themselves step live on stage immediately afterwards. The crowd went wild (re-live the event via slideshow). It appears that rock stardom has arrived at last for the ageing, but ever-resilient band!

Sunday 8 March 2009

Controversy, controversy - nuclear power and green custard

First Mark Lynas (forthcoming Borderlines Debate speaker) comes out in favour of nuclear energy, along with three other leading figures from the environmental lobby. Then on Friday morning the green gunk attack on Peter Mandelson was perpetrated by Plane Stupid activist Leila Deen who has since given herself up for arrrest. Joss Garman of Greenpeace, co-founder of Plane Stupid, ex-Hereford Sixth Form college student and one of The Guardian's 50 people most likely to save the planet, who is also due to take part in our Climate Change and Sustainability Day - aptly enough in the How Far Do We Go? session - writes fluently and persuasively about his generation's stand on global warming in today's Observer.

There is much debate in the press as to whether Plane Stupid's methods are juvenile and justifiable but it seems that the pressing nature of global warming agenda is on the top of everyone's agenda from leading environmentalists like Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace, to Prince Charles - who is to make a keynote speech on climate change in Rio on Thursday - to the Sun - which has launched a Go Green week. And The Age of Stupid's go-for-broke PR campaign to mark the film's launch next week carries similar urgency. The message is loud and clear: Do something now before it is absolutely too late.

Further links: Plane Stupid's flickr photostream
Play Leila Deen - Custard Queen

Saturday 7 March 2009

The Age of Stupid opens WOW Festival in Aberystwyth

A memorable and inspiring night for the first screening in Wales of The Age of Stupid at the opening of WOW Wales One World Film Festival in Aberystwyth. A full house, we could have sold twice as many tickets and we had to turn a lot of disappointed people away – indeed somebody must have sneaked in as one of the ushers was left without a seat! Just shows how keen people are to see the film.

No wonder as it certainly inspired the audience - around 100 people stayed for an hour long Q&A with Lizzie Gillett, the producer of The Age of Stupid and Paul Allen, director of Centre for Alternative Technology and author of Zero Carbon Britain.

The discussion was surprisingly positive with a real sense that now was the time to make the changes we have to make and to hold the politicians to account to do the things they know they should. When Lizzie revealed that The Sun was using the film as a chance to educate their readers about climate change there was a sense that the film could reach those people who still need persuading how pressing the issue is.

Paul was quietly optimistic about the benefits of transition, the opportunity that the credit crunch provides for people to readjust their priorities and to envision a different future than the apocalyptic nightmare the film imagines.

It was touching to see Lizzie so excited at seeing the poster for her ‘little’ film up alongside those for ‘proper’ films like Che and Revolutionary Road. Her energy and enthusiasm were certainly infectious and the stories she told of the obstacles that she and director Franny Armstrong had overcome and the sense that now they were now harnessing an immense tide of good will and support for their film. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when The Age of Stupid hits the cinemas and with Pete Postlethwaite launching the Not Stupid campaign at the People’s Premiere on Sunday 15 March. (From David Gillam, Festival Director)

View The Making of The Age of Stupid video (50 mins) on Guardian Environment

Monday 2 March 2009

Brochures out and about!

Our brochures containing the full Borderlines 2009 programme are ready.

Download a PDF version from our Press page if you can't wait for the hard copy.

Brochures are being distributed far and wide across the region but sign up for our e-newsletter updates if you'd like to receive a brochure through the post.