Wednesday 29 February 2012

Over the Hill?


Actress Doreen Mantle (One Foot in the Grave) being interviewed just before the launch of The Rural Media Company's campaign to raise awareness about the challenges of growing older in the countryside.

Guardian piece at

The Votes Are In

My Borderlines experience comprises not only as a festival goer, and festival volunteer but as a Courtyard recruit who runs front of house during the festival.  I see it all!  For those of you who have already indulged in some of the fantastic cinematic offerings on over the next 2 weeks- you would have encountered the new and improved voting stations. The boxes range from 5 stars 'loving it' to one star 'didn't like it'. The beauty of this, and in watching films come in and out, I am first hand to see the audience reactions as they clutch their voting cards and reach for the right amount of stars.  My job is to empty these after each film- and it is clear to see that you all are 'loving' what you see.  

Take 'The Artist' for example.  A film that has generated so much hype for being silent.  It's brilliant to watch a chatty full house bumble in to the auditorium full of expectancy and come out wearing expressions that are completely elated.  I myself, got the chance to watch this on Friday night and was one of many who fell hook line and sinker for its old time charm.  You can quite clearly see how it scooped up billions of awards during the awards season.  (And, quite frankly, if your heart wasn't slightly melted by Uggie the dog- then it's made of stone).  This film has gained such an overwhelming response from the festival- and by the looks of the votes has lived up to its reputation.  It's probably a good job Borderlines have added 2 EXTRA SCREENINGS on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th.  There, of course if no reason to state that I chose 5 stars for this gem.

Whereas thus far in the festival, Daniel Auteil's 'The Well-Digger's Daughter' has received the top happiest response- 'My Week With Marilyn' was also a joy to watch.  I tootled in yesterday, plonked myself in the Main House and waited.  Any I didn't move for the next hour and a half.  Michelle Williams brilliant encapsulates the aura of Monroe.  The beauty, the charm, the 'I can't take my eyes off you' effect.  Supported by a brilliant cast of British talent, the film was incredible.  Redmayne quite proficiently passed off the bumbling young man ready to make his break in showbiz (a character quite connected to any young person starting to climb the career ladder) and Branagh was just an amazing Sir Laurence Olivier.  I just had to put my vote in 'loving it'.

It was yesterday evening that I took myself along with a buddy to see British critically acclaimed gritty drama 'Shame'.  Wow. What a film.  One must say it was quite a steer in the opposite direction of my previous Borderlines experience, but one I was glad I took.  The film was explicit and head on, yet subtle at the same time.  The acting was superior and you got sucked in to the broken lives of the two protagonists. It was only a Shame that more people weren't there.  The film hit a note so hard that once the credits rolled, you could hear a pin drop.  Yet everyone I spoke to agreed that it was just exceptional.  On leaving the cinema I encountered the voting station.  I decided that this film was well worthy of 5 stars- probably for different reasons than the previous two, however a true deservant. I highly recommend watching this- and to make the experience even easier (my job as Courtyard recruit) is to tell you there is a Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer on the tickets.  So please, bring someone and watch it.

The voting in my opinion is the cream on top of the cinema experience.  As a punter it makes me think about how a film makes me feel, how I react and what I will take away with me from the film.  As  an employee I see how it makes other people feel and think.  And with so many people 'loving' what they see, it's a good job we've still got a couple of weeks left, eh?!

L'Artiste completes its incredible journey.

A night at the UK premiere of The Artist, October 2011 at the BFI London Film Festival.

Since that chilly night in a shabby looking, reconstruction paved Leicester Square, the world of film has changed.

Paying the £18 ticket fee was a real pinch, this was my first 'gala' screening at the sold out 800 seater Odeon West End.

I didn't know much about the film, not many people did unless you'd been at Cannes the previous May. It wasn't even getting top billing at the London Film Festival, which was dominated by Shame, We Need to Talk about Kevin and George Clooney's double act The Ides of March and The Descendants.

 I'd heard bits of word of mouth, apparently they'd loved it in France.... all I knew was that it was black and white, and silent, with a group of unknown French actors........

That night my ticket price included the company of those all crowned at the Oscars on Sunday night. But it was the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (  his company Mirimax released Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Shakespere in Love) whose presence and Hollywood power that struck me.

This big, brash load American joked about how ridiculous his company, business partner and brother Bob Weinstein thought he was in fancying buying the distribution rights for The Artist. It was a black and white silent film....... In his words, they thought he'd lost the plot. He was even called to justify his decision to the Board of Directors, claiming he didn't even know his company had a board.  But even back in October, Weinstein was still voicing his hopes of not only landing an Oscar nomination, but winning the Best Film category.

At the time I just loved the ambition and perceived impossibility of such a thought.

As late as Christmas most people had no clue of the Artist and it's impending release date (December 30th). Yet through a rampant marketing campaign that even hit Hereford's railway station Weinstein's dreams materialised with the film receiving 3 of the major Academy Awards (Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor)

With Borderlines already in its first week, many of you will have seen the film and I hope you've left the film delighted. Having been released 2 months ago with a whirlwind of press coverage and hyperbole followed by a resurrection of  hype following its Oscar success I hope audiences haven't felt let down.

Regardless of its merits like it's Oscar rival Hugo, The Artist is a wonderful homage to the early days of film. I have spent all week basking in slight smugness having 'felt' a part of this journey since October. Of course I had nothing to do with it's success other than rattling on about some kooky French film no one wanted to hear about. But the success of The Artist with its celebration of Hollywood, stardom and cinema has been a wonderful thing to witness. 

What is funny is that despite my romantic tribute, it's highly likely no one would have seen or heard of the Artist had it not been for that smug, tubby American man Harvey Weinstein. A man who had no creative impact what so ever. He just liked it and he fancied winning some Oscars. So he did.

Monday 27 February 2012

First impressions

The 2012  Borderlines experience began for me on Friday 24th February with The Well-Digger's Daughter starring and directed by Daniel Auteuil. The lush setting of fields, streams and the tree lined country roads of the South of France forms the background to a familiar story of young love awakened, thwarted and finally reconciled.  The most convincing relationship, however, is not that between the lovers, but between father and daughter with some light relief provided by family friend, Felipe.  Small town prejudices are explored while the start of the First World War forms a wider backdrop, made evident by the mobilisation of the local men.

The studio at the Courtyard theatre was packed out for the first afternoon of the Festival while the bar area was too crowded to walk through!  Also filled to the rafters, was our second film Resistance which was being shown in Moccas Village Hall where numbers meant that cars had to be parked in a field and doors were shut at 7.30 regardless of anybody waiting outside.  The Village Hall bar was busy too and after showing a film about Arts Alive and Flicks in the Sticks and four very impressive short films made by "Same but Different" there was an interval to allow people to refill their glasses and to buy ice creams.
Resistance was of particular interest to a rural Herefordshire audience who could recognise pubs and cottages where the scenes were filmed - not to mention the familiar countryside of the Olchon Valley and Llantony.   Those who had not read the Owen Sheers novel may have found the plot difficult to follow, but the visual impact was striking and the slow pace gave the film an almost hypnotic, poetic quality.  The "what if" story of a German invasion of Britain in 1944 was intriguing and was illustrated by numerous flash-backs of, for example, the Russian Front. The characters of the women left to work the farms while their men joined the Resistance were very well drawn, while the central love story and the ending were left ambiguous - which some of the audience found disappointing.  A neighbour told me that he found the film unconvincing because the Germans were too nice while others mentioned that they found the pace of the film too slow.
Both of these films were set in rural areas where the scenery acted almost as one of the main protagonists.  My next Borderlines experience will be My week with Marilyn which should provide an interesting contrast!


Saturday 4 February 2012

Borderlines: The First 10 Years

The pinnacle of Borderlines? North Face, shown 2009
There's a special event within the 10th anniversary of Borderlines Film Festival that looks back over the past ten glorious years of film viewing in the Marches - snappily titled Borderlines: The First 10 Years.  With retiring Festival Director David Gillam at the helm, this looks both back at the highs and lows* of previous festivals and forward to the future. It's also a bit of a fund-raiser and includes a reception to follow.

*when proof-reading the brochure copy, this had to be corrected from 'high (singular) and lows (plural)'

We've had some initial feedback from e-news subscribers about their own best moments: Julie Mackinnon, for example, picks out, "Northface at Hereford Arts Centre (2009) ..not even interested  in mountaineering....but on the edge of my seat...and so was everyone else in that studio."

We'd love more feedback. You can either comment here, via Facebook or e-mail us your thoughts.

To assist, we've mustered considerable resources to compile a list of every single film that has played at Borderlines since 2003 -  all 557 of them - with links, where available, to the relevant website. Actually we've just copied, pasted and sorted. A few may be missing.

Happy browsing!
127 Hours (15)
16 Years of Alcohol
36 (15)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, & Two Days (15)
44 Inch Chest (18)
9 (12A)
A Bunch of Amateurs (15)
A Cock & Bull Story (15)
A Crude Awakening (PG)
A Garden Miscellany (U)
A Good Woman (PG)
A Man Escaped (U)
A Matter of Life and Death (U)
A Monster in Paris (U)
A Prairie Home Companion (PG)
A Prophet (18)
A Screaming Man (PG)
A Separation (PG)
A Useful Life (PG)
A View from the Past
A Way of Life
Abel (15)
Africa United (12A)
Alamar (U)
Alice (PG)
All About Eve (U)
Almost Adult (15)
American Splendour
Amigo (15)
An American in Paris (U)
An Education (12A)
An Inconvenient Truth (U)
And When Did You Last See Your Father? (12A)
AnDa Union: From the Steppes to the City (PG)
Angel on the Right
Animal Kingdom (15)
Another Year (12A)
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (15)
Arrietty (U)
Astro Boy (PG)
Asylum (15)
Atonement (15)
Azur & Asmar - The Princes' Quest (U)
Babel (15)
Bad Timing (18)
Badlands (15)
Ballets Russes (PG)
Beautiful Lies (12A)
Beauty in Trouble (15)
Before Midnight - A Portrait of India on Film, 1899 - 1947 (PG
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (15)
Behind The Sun/Mike Brearley
Being Julia (12)
Belle de Jour (18)
Benda Bilili! (15)
Best of FLIP Animation Festival
Better Things (15)
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (U)
Bhavantaran (U)
Bhutan: The Height of Happiness? (12A)
Big Pictures, Bigger Ideas (HCA Showcase)
Birdwatchers (15)
Biutiful (15)
Black Cat, White Cat (15)
Black Swan (15)
Blood of a Poet (PG) with live score by Steven Severin
Blue Valentine (15)
Bombon El Perro (12A)
Bonnie and Clyde (15)
Bowling for Columbine
Breakfast on Pluto (15)
Breaking The Waves (18)
Breathing (15)
Breathless (À bout de souffle) (15)
Brick Lane (15)
Bright Star (PG)
Brokeback Mountain (15)
Broken Embraces (15)
Bull Magic (15)
Bullet Boy
Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country (12A)
Burn After Reading (15)
Bustin' Down the Door (15)
Capturing the Friedmans
Caramel (PG)
Carnage (15)
Carry Greenham Home (PG)
Catch A Fire (12A)
Caught in the Act (15)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (U)
Celine And Julie Go Boating (12A)
Charlotte's Web (U)
Che Part 2 (15)
Chico And Rita (15)
Children of Men (15)
China Blue (PG)
Chinatown (15)
Christy Malry’s Own Double Entry
Circo (PG)
City of God/Cidade de Deus
City of Men (15)
Classic Cartoons (U)
Close To Home (PG)
Close-up and Personal
Coco Before Chanel (12A)
Cold Mountain
Comrades in Dreams (PG)
Confetti (15)
Control (15)
Costa Del Marches (U)
Crafta Webb (PG)
Creation (PG)
Crossing The Bridge(PG)
Czech Dream
Dear Frankie
Departures (12A)
Derek Jarman: Life As Art
Desire (15)
Despicable Me (U)
Die Another Day
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (PG)
Dirty Pretty Things
Distant Voices Still Lives (15)
Doing Time, Doing Vipassana
Dorian Gray (15)
Dr. Strangelove (PG)
Earth & Ashes (15)
El Baño del Papa (The Pope's Toilet) (15)
El Nido Vacío (The Empty Nest) (15)
Enchanted (PG)
Enduring Love
Enigma Express (U)
Eragon (PG)
Every Good Marriage Begins with Tears
Everything (18)
Exit Through the Gift Shop (15)
Extras (12A)
Factotum (15)
Fear Eats the Soul (15)
Festival (18)
Festival of Britain - David (U)
Fezeka’s Voice (PG)
Fish Tank (15)
Flushed Away (U)
Food & Farming in South Herefordshire
Four Days Inside Guantánamo (PG)
Four Lions (15)
Frozen River (15)
Gabrielle (15)
Gaia: all things are connected
Gajo Dilo (15)
Garage (18)
Garden State
Gasland (PG)
Genius Within: The Inner Life Of Glenn Gould (U)
Ghosts (15)
Girl With A Pearl Earring
Gone To Earth (PG)
Gonzo (15)
Greyfriars Bobby (PG)
Grizzly Man (15)
Gypo (15)
Habana Blues (15)
Havana Suite (PG)
Heavy Load (12A)
Here & There
Herefordshire Archive Films
Herefordshire Bytes
Hidden (15)
Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (PG)
Hoover Street Revival
How I Ended This Summer (15)
Howl (15)
Howl's Moving Castle (U)
Hunger (15)
Hunky Dory (15)
I'm Not There (15)
In Search of Beethoven (U)
In The Course of Time/Kings of the Road (18)
In the Loop (15)
Inkheart (PG)
International Shorts Programme (15)
Into Eternity (PG)
Into The West (PG)
Iron Giant (PG)
It's Winter (12A)
I've Loved You So Long (12A)
Jack Goes Boating (15)
Jar City (15)
Jindabyne (15)
John Bulmer Presents
John Bulmer presents
Juno (12A)
Just Do It (12A)
Katalin Varga (15)
Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (PG)
Ken Wardrop Shorts
Killing Bono (15)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (U)
Kirikou & The Sorceress (U)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)
L’Atalante (U)
Lady Chatterley (18)
Lake Tahoe (15)
Las Acacias (12A)
Latcho Drom (PG)
Le Grand Voyage (PG)
Le Million (U)
Lemon Tree (PG)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)
Les Enfants du Paradis (PG)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (U)
Little Miss Sunshine (15)
London to Brighton (18)
Looking Back: River of Life (PG)
Louise-Michel (15)
Lourdes (U)
Love Letters & Live Wires (U)
Lust, Caution (18)
Luxury Car (15)
Machan (15)
Machuca (15)
Made in Birmingham (PG)
Madrigal (15)
Man on Wire (12A)
Man with a Movie Camera
Margot at The Wedding (15)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (15)
Mascarades (PG)
Me & Orson Welles (12A)
Me We Anti-racism event (PG)
Megamind (PG)
Memories of Underdevelopment (15)
Mercano The Martian
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Metropolis (PG)
Migrant Stories (PG)
Milk (15)
MirrorMask (PG)
Miss Bala (15)
Miss Potter (PG)
Moja Moja (PG)
Monster House (PG)
Moon (15)
Mother and Child (15)
Mountain Patrol (15)
Mr Nice (18)
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (U)
Mrs Henderson Presents (12A)
Mughal-e-Azam (U)
Mulholland Drive
Murderball (15)
My Afternoons with Margueritte (15)
My Dog Tulip (12A)
My Kid Could Paint That (12A)
My Week With Marilyn (15)
Mysteries of Lisbon (PG)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (PG)
NEDS (18)
Never Let Me Go (12A)
Night & Day (15)
No Country For Old Men (15)
Noi Albinoi
Norteado (15)
North Country (15)
North Face (Nordwand) (12A)
Notes On A Scandal (15)
Nowhere Boy (15)
Of Gods and Men (15)
Of Time and The City (12A)
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
O'Horten (PG)
Old Dog (PG)
On The Black Hill (PG)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (15)
One Day (12A)
Our Daily Bread (12A)
Our Father/Abouna
Over the Hill?
Pan's Labyrinth (15)
Patagonia (15)
Pather Panchali (U)
Patience (After Sebald) (12A)
Patti Smith: Dream of Life (15)
Pavee Lackeen (15)
Peace One Day
Penelope (U)
Pina (U)
Poetry (12A)
Ponyo (U)
Precious (15)
Priceless (15)
Protektor (15)
Rabbit Hole (12A)
Rachel Getting Married (15)
Racing Stripes
Rang De Basanti (15)
Rashomon (12A)
Regency House Party
Resistance (PG)
Revanche (15)
Revenger’s Tragedy
Revolutionary Road (15)
REWIND Archive Screenings
Riding Giants
River of Life
River Of Life (PG)
River of Life archive event
River Tales (U)
Rivers & Tides
Robinson in Ruins (U)
Rough Aunties (15)
Ruby Blue (15)
Rumba (PG)
Running With Scissors (15)
Rural Archive Screenings (15)
Same But Different
Samson and Delilah (15)
Saturday Screen
Screaming Masterpiece (PG)
Screen WM - Digital Shorts
Separado! (12)
Seraphine (PG)
Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (15)
Sex With Love (18)
Shame (18)
Shell Shock (15)
Sherlock Junior & The General
Sherlock Junior + One Week (U)
Shine A Light (12A)
Showcase: Local Filmmakers
Silent Comedy Classics
Silent Gems with Paul Shallcross
Silent Light (15)
Sisters in Law (PG)
Sites and Rights
Sixty Six (12A)
Sleep Furiously (U)
Small Stories, Big Ideas
Some Like It Hot (U)
Son of Rambow (12A)
Soul Searcher
SoulBoy (15)
Sparkle (15)
Special People (PG)
Starsuckers (12A)
Stella Days (12A)
Still Life
Still Life (15)
Still Walking (U)
Stormbreaker (PG)
Student Showcase
Submarine (15)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (U)
Surprise Silent Film Programme
Surviving Life (15)
Sweet Sixteen
Take Care of My Cat
Take Shelter (15)
Taking Liberties (15)
Tales from the Golden Age (12A)
Tales of the Night (PG)
Talk To Her
Tangled (PG)
Ten Canoes (15)
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (PG)
The African Queen (U)
The Age of Stupid (12A)
The Artist (PG)
The Ballad of Mott The Hoople (15)
The Band's Visit (12A)
The Barley Mow (U)
The Beat That My Heart Skipped (15)
The Big Lebowski (18)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (12A)
The Bride of Silence (PG)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (U)
The Cameraman (U)
The Cameraman (U)
The Cave of the Yellow Dog (PG)
The Chronicles of Narnia (PG)
The City of the Sun (15)
The Close in Living Memory (ii)
The Cloud-capped Star (U)
The Coconut Revolution (15)
The Collector (15)
The Consequences of Love (15)
The Counterfeiters (15)
The Cove (12A)
The Dancer Upstairs
The Debt (15)
The Descendants (15)
The Diving-Bell and The Butterfly (12A)
The Eagle Hunter’s Son (PG)
The Edge of the World (U)
The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (PG)
The Fox & the Child (U)
The Future of Food
The General (U)
The Gospel According to St Matthew (PG)
The Great White Silence (U)
The Grocer's Son (12A)
The Guard (15)
The Holy Girl
The Hours
The Hurt Locker (15)
The Illusionist (U)
The Iron Lady (12A)
The Italian (12A)
The Karamazovs (15)
The Lady (12A)
The Last of England
The Last Train
The Last Waltz (U)
The Limits of Control (15)
The Lives of Others (15)
The Magdalene Sisters
The Magic Hour (15)
The Magic Roundabout
The Maid (15)
The Man in the White Suit (U)
The Man Without A Past
The Marches: Fearless Librarian Saves the Day
The Marches: Man in a Wheelbarrow
The Match Factory Girl (15)
The Murmuring Coast (15)
The Music Lovers (15)
The Night of the Hunter (12)
The Other Final
The Outsiders
The Page Turner (15)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (PG)
The Pianist
The Railroad All Stars (15)
The Reader (15)
The Refugee All Stars (PG)
The River (PG)
The Road (15)
The Rum Diary (15)
The Search for Shangri-la (PG)
The Secret in Their Eyes (18)
The Secret of Kells (PG)
The Secret of Moonacre (U)
The Seventh Seal (PG)
The Shop Around the Corner (U)
The Singing Ringing Tree (U)
The Skin I Live In (15)
The Son’s Room
The Sound of Brazil
The Station Agent
The Stonemason’s Tale (U)
The Straight Story (U)
The Tale of Despereaux (U)
The Time That Remains (15)
The U.S. vs. John Lennon (12A)
The Visitor (15)
The Well-Digger’s Daughter (PG)
The White Ribbon (15)
The Wind Journeys (15)
The Wrestler (15)
The Yes Men Fix the World (12A)
Things We Lost in The Fire (15)
Think Global, Act Rural (PG)
This Filthy Earth
This Is England (15)
This Is Not A Love Song
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (PG)
Time of the Gypsies (15)
Time to Die (PG)
Times and Winds (15)
Titón from Havana to Guantanemera (PG)
Tocar y Lucher (To Play and to Fight) (U)
Tomboy (U)
Travellers & Magicians
Travellers Remember
Treeless Mountain (PG )
Tricks (12A)
True Grit (15)
Tulpan (PG)
Tune for the Blood (PG)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (12A)
Up in the Air (15)
Up! (U)
Vanishing of the Bees (U)
Vera Drake
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (12A)
Viva Cuba (PG)
Volver (15)
W.E. (15)
Wah-Wah (15)
Waiting for Happiness
Walkabout (12A)
War Horse (12A)
Wartime Secrets
Waste Land (PG)
We Are Together (12A)
We Have a Pope (PG)
We Live in Public (15)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (15)
We Shall Overcome (12A)
Wedding Crashers (15)
Welcome (15)
West is West (15)
What Just Happened (15)
What Makes Movies Work?
Whatever Works (12A)
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (PG)
When The Road Bends... Tales of a Gypsy Caravan (PG)
Where The Truth Lies (18)
Whisky Galore! (PG)
White Stripes: Under Blackpool Lights
Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself)
Winstanley (PG)
Winter’s Bone (15)
With Gilbert and George (15)
Woman of the Dunes (15)
Women of the Yellow Earth
Women on The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown (12)
Wondrous Oblivion
You, the Living (15)
Young at Heart (PG)
Young Farmers
Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love (PG)