Wednesday 27 July 2011

Scouting for locations

The Film4 Summer Screen season at Somerset House launches tonight with the UK Premiere of Almodovar's The Skin I Live In. This and every single subsequent performance has already sold out. Judging by Time Out's extensive round-up of summer screenings in London outdoor cinema has definitely hit the big time in the UK. Fingers crossed that the Gulf Stream won't do its usual trick of dipping south for high summer, bringing in Atlantic rains when they're least welcome.

For us at Borderlines, 2012 will be the year we take off  and seek out new and adventurous locations in which to bring films to audiences. Not, you will be pleased to hear, in the depths of winter (early start Friday 24 February: good news for those implicated in lambing!) but in the balmy, late spring evenings of May. Thanks to funding from the Herefordshire Leader programme we can offer a double dollop of film festival to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

We've already set ourselves the arduous task of scouting for suitable locations and are able to share with you the results of our findings. Though costs and practicalities dictate that we will not be able to set up screenings at all of these venues, we had a glorious time of it and came away marvelling at the magnificent potential of the places we visited. Warm thanks to all who showed us around!

First up, the warm red sandstone courtyard of Berrington Hall, National Trust property near Leominster: Last of the Mohicans and naval connections, elegant Henry Holland interior and Capability Brown vistas, WW1 artifacts you can touch, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, WW2 evacuees and billeted American soldiers, promise of May apple blossom.

The WW2 hangar at Shobdon Airfield where glider pilots were trained, complete with Nissan hut cafe and bar where members of Herefordshire Aero Club hang out.

The Woodland Barn, a secret place in the hills up above Wigmore Castle, owned and built by Abbots Lodge BandB.

Oliver's Cider: cider, perry, bands, no need to say more.

Hellens in Much Marcle: a magical place with Anne Boleyn and Bloody Mary associations, haunted by the ghost of a girl locked up in perpetuity by her mother for eloping with a stable hand. Many fabulous spaces, both interior and exterior, around which we were shown in exuberant fashion by six people, a baby and three dogs.

Eastnor Castle, nr Ledbury, home of The Big Chill: battlements, terraced lawns, a field with scope for a drive-in, several decades as a prime location for TV including some Hollywood (or even Las Vegas) connections.

How Caple Court, nr Ross which boasts a dilapidated but still superb Arts and Crafts Italianate garden as well as a stage decorated in Tudor style by recovering WW1 soldiers.

The imposing Norman ruins of Goodrich Castle perched high above the River Wye, home of the legendary William Marshal who rose from child hostage to knight supreme and scene of a desperate Civil War siege.

The brand new state-of-the-art auditorium at the Steiner Academy Hereford at Much Dewchurch.

The romantic ruins of Llanwarne Priory destroyed by flooding (suggested by Mel Davies of Flicks in the Sticks).

And finally the eccentric opulence of Great Brampton House, purchased a year ago by entrepreneur, artist and gin distiller, Martin Miller. Incorporating the white cube space of the new Down Stairs Gallery.

There are other options to explore too: some River Wye locations and Haugh Woods nr Mordiford, suggested by Ben Proctor.

A difficult choice may lie ahead but roll on May 2012!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Motovun Film Festival: gypsy bands, shoe-waving, corruption trials, prison cinemas

Everybody shoes up @MotovunFF opening to denounce corruption in Croatia ©@esubira
Two members of our team - Festival Director, David Gillam, and Executive Director, Naomi Vera-Sanso - are currently attending Motovun Film Festival in Croatia, following an Independent Cinema Office course on 'Developing Your Film Festival." It sounds as though they may come back with strange and wonderful ideas. Here are some of the short reports they have sent back so far:

Motovun is like a Croatian film Glastonbury. Thousands of young people come from all over to camp, watch films and party. The whole film fest infrastructure is built from scratch each year - toilets and all. A little medieval hill-top town transformed - amazing!

A test of endurance so not for everybody but if you can stay the course Bella Tarr's The Turin Horse is a film experience like no other. One that changes the way you see the natural world and our relationship to it. The final work from an uncompromising genius.

Opening ceremony: A gypsy band performed a specially written song to 'The Ragged and the Barefoot' and the audience were encouraged to take their shoes off and clap along - I did. The festival was officially opened by the two lawyers who are defending the assistant prime minister who is in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges. They have become Croatian celebs and it links to an 'In Prison' sidebar at the fest where you have to pay to get out of the screening. All very wild and mad.

Friday 1 July 2011

Behind the Seams

For the past few years, Borderlines has held a lavish and glitzy ball to celebrate the Film Festival in the company of sponsors and guests.

The brainchild of Borderlines board member, Peter Williamson, the Ball takes place in the opulent Victorian splendour of Hereford Town Hall. This year was special. The highlight of the Ball was a fabulous film-themed fashion show featuring students and staff of Hereford Sixth Form College, masterminded by Diane Evans, in order to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

It was a triumph of teamwork, talent and panache as demonstrated in this short documentary by Roxanne Prophet, Shoot Out Trainee at The Rural Media Company, who directed and mentored the team of 13-19 year olds camera operators.

The film affords a few poignant glimpses of Peter who died a few weeks later but who was bubbling over with enthusiasm for the show, anticipating the sheer pleasure it would afford the Festival's guests.

Behind the Seams Documentary from Roxanne Prophet on Vimeo.