Friday 4 April 2014

The perspective of an outside helper

James Holden from Bedford, currently volunteering for the Reel Film Festival in Islington and spending a bit of time with his grandmother in Wellington, kindly offered his services to us just a few days before the start of Borderlines 2014. We were delighted to take him up and he spent about a week with us at The Courtyard on the Festival Desk. Here is how he described the experience.
Festival Desk from above
It was a real pleasure volunteering at the Borderlines festival. Herefordshire boasts fantastic countryside and the location of the festival offers opportunities to view award worthy international feature gems that may otherwise go unnoticed. I had attended the film festival 3 years ago with my Grandmother and was impressed with the festival's diverse programme and relaxed atmosphere. Buying the festival pass would make an educated film buff out of anyone who isn't already.  Naomi, the Festival Director was lovely to be around, as was Jo the festival's Marketing Manager. Alongside Joe, my fellow volunteer, I helped out at the front desk, promoting the festival and the funding campaign, setting up screenings and responding to enquiries. It was all rather relaxed and enjoyable. The festival's board members were a great bunch of film enthusiasts. Lunch at the Courtyard was catered for and of a high standard. The festival was very well attended and we received a lot of positive feedback. One of the perks was that I was allowed to watch the films at the festival for free, my personal highlight was the old French film Le Jour se Lève. I would certainly like to be involved again in the future and would recommend volunteering at the festival to anyone who shares a real passion for film.
Joe helping a customer  on the Festival Desk
Look forward to seeing you again James!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

A Festival Diary - Thursday 13 March 2014

Thursday 13 March 2014
The Passing of the Year / Winter Nomads / Ilo Ilo

Abbbots Bromley hobby horse ©Simon Garbutt
Another free event: Barrie Gavin presents a documentary (The Passing of the Year) he made for Omnibus in 1973. Working with folklorist A. L. Lloyd (or Bert as he knew him) Gavin made six films for the BBC, recording British folk traditions and World Music before it was categorised thus. It was a fascinating and touching forty-five minutes. Most of these traditions continue but they have been relabelled as quaint, co-opted by the tourist trade or, in the case of the trade union movement’s May Day marches, ignored by today’s chroniclers. It’s usual to mourn for lost times at this point. It is not the haircuts or clothing that have changed. It’s the effort people used to put in: an hour practising madly complicated dances every week every year.

Winter Nomads
Winter Nomads is a soothing documentary about two shepherds leading 800 sheep, four donkeys and three dogs across Switzerland. It’s not the first film about shepherds that Borderlines has shown. Its tone – people who are happy in their work because it’s tough – reminded me of Être et Avoir, another award-winner. The subject of that documentary did not like the end result. I wonder what Miss Pastoral Chic and the Philosopher King made of this. It’s as unbelievable as Man of Arran – I can’t believe the worst a sheep suffered was a nip from their dog. Animals wandering in the wrong direction always raised a chuckle. Forgot the sudden, random appearances of snipers and suicides, in terms of audience reaction, the moment the donkey slipped over registered the highest level of concern during the whole festival. There are plenty of films with donkeys in them.

My back was feeling the pace during Ilo Ilo. This is why film critics are crotchety. Alfred Hitchcock said that a film’s length is related to the size of the human bladder. When a critic reappraises a film it means he had trapped wind the first time he saw it. Ilo Ilo is notable for having two unappealing characters. The boy is a brat and his mother distrusts most of the people around her. To her, one ‘rightly’ justifies a thousand slights. The story provides a snapshot of Singapore during its late-1990s economic crash. A family and their Filipino maid adapt to changing circumstances. A family of three hire a maid; it becomes a family of four that can’t afford one. The boy’s behaviour is troubled: self-mutilation in the expectation of framing a teacher is not normal. (The lack of pupil care in Singapore schools was not good.) The maid is the only person with the time to work with him but has to deal with his received prejudice first. Racism is another strand through this festival’s line-up: horrific in 12 Years a Slave and The Golden Dream.

Ilo Ilo
The boy is incapable of expressing his fears with words but shows his displeasure through actions. Unfortunately, his parents have problems enough. His mother puts her faith in a motivational speaker. His slogan is 'Hope is Within Yourself' and he picks her, a pregnant woman, out from the crowd. He’s a professional. The father is not the kind of person who can exploit a recession. It ends: the maid returns home to her son; the parents have a new child to raise; the boy, at least, has had feelings for someone other than himself. Some films feel like the director needed to put something on the record.

Ten films from eight countries. I look forward to next year, by which time the organisers will have sifted through a few thousand more titles. We get to watch the best ones.

Robin Clarke (Festival Volunteer)

Sunday 16 March 2014

A Festival Diary - Wednesday 12 March 2014

Wednesday 12 March 2014
Nobody Knows / Dallas Buyers Club / Exhibition

Nobody Knows
Last week I watched a lot of films about doomed people and sudden death but nothing is more terrifying than watching children left to fend for themselves. I was keen to find out why David Sin had programmed a brief Kore-eda Hirokazu season during Borderlines. In Tokyo a mother, flaky in any culture, makes her 12-year old son the head of the household in Nobody Knows. At this point memories emerged of The Cement Garden, Lord of the Flies and an Italian movie about abandoned children I saw during the early 1990s. Thankfully, the director has his own film to make. He maps out their slide extremely well. We know they can look after themselves because we’re shown they can. That’s not the issue. They cannot keep it up without money.

The soundtrack contains sweet tunes by Gontiti, cello and guitars, very similar to the music the Nottingham band Tindersticks supply for Clare Denis films. It heralds the scenes where children can behave like children and the audience are allowed to relax for a few moments. It’s a director’s pact: nothing bad is going to happen whilst they’re playing. The clutter includes the Othello board game, an indigenous game renamed and imported back to Japan. The film was based on a true story. It demonstrates that when we catch a glimpse of children doing the work of their parents it is simple for us to assume that they’re pretending. Following Le Jour se Lève, it was a bad Borderlines week for teddy bears.

Dallas Buyers Club
Since I booked my ticket for Dallas Buyers Club it’s won a brace of Oscars. Sadly, I told everyone that The Act of Killing was a dead cert for Best Documentary, instead. DBC was a very good film at the time I was watching it. Like “Capote it faded the following day. There are elements of Lorenzo’s Oil [finding a cure] and Erin Brockovich [battling bureaucracy], any number of odd couple movies [the relationship between the Best Actors, leading and supporting, provides more laughs than most comedies], any number of movies where the actors’ bodies are a special effect, a few 1970s Jack Nicholson blue-collar classics [Matthew McConaughey plays an electrician, rodeo rider and hustler] and Kiss of the Spider Woman [Jared Leto rocks that look]. Leto, whose acting has been limited to pop videos for his band 30 Seconds to Mars (Goth/rock) for the past 6 years, like everyone else, does great. Thankfully, despite it being set in the late 1980s, theme park set dressing is at a minimum. There’s one huge mobile phone. Ron Woodruff was diagnosed with HIV and it developed into business.

After five consecutive films regarding some form of death sentence I was more than ready for Exhibition, an art film about a North London couple and their lovely house. During a rare excursion the female lead walks past the Richard Young Gallery in Kensington Church Street. This world is as alien to me as all of the others I’ve seen today. Viv Albertine, guitarist in the all-female power-trio The Slits three decades ago, plays a performance artist. As the old joke has it, you will see several new sides to her in this movie. Liam Gillick plays her partner (I doubt they’re married) and the architect who designed their modernist dwelling. The house – the architect was James Melvin; it was built in 1969 – is the third member of the cast. I watched Elena at Borderlines last year: another film starring husband, wife and the fate of their big, expensive apartment.
Viv Albertine in Exhibition
He wants to sell it – it must be worth well over a million pounds – in order to build a new home / fund his next project. She likes it there. They negotiate matters in a manner only long-established couples can: curious dysfunctional sex and gentle bickering. Given that North London, art and wealth provide ample material for several long-running cartoon strips in Private Eye the director Joanna Hogg does well to keep to her own humour. This film expands after viewing. There’s a good piece about it at

Some viewers found the characters’ level of capital impossible to get past. Do they have the same problem with costume dramas? Isn’t it bogus when a film conjures up a nice reason for their characters to be able to afford the nice interiors? We’re asked to accept that they are near the peak of their professions. I can go with that. It’s at the heart of one of their small arguments. Why would a performance artist, or anyone at Dr. or Prof. level in their work, want to bounce ideas off someone with a Sunday supplement grasp of it? Not even when they’ve lived together for a couple of decades.

There’s a sense that the house is a surrogate child. The building is not perfect: it demands regular attention. They work in separate offices (with intercoms) and can hear every sound the other makes. Given her fears about the streets outside their home is a castle too. A lot of these films have a grim ending and this is no exception. A family with three small children move in. They’ve left their shoes on and one of the boys is kicking a football about indoors.

Robin Clarke (Festival volunteer)

The achievment of 2014

Audiences at The Courtyard © Christopher Preece 2014
With enthusiastic audiences, talk of “the best festival yet” and still another weekend to go, I had to ask, does this mark a highlight in contemporary cinema, or is Herefordshire becoming increasingly affectionate about this springtime film marathon?

The answer is not so simple and cannot be resolved with certainty here, but that shouldn’t stop one trying.

The crucial point that drives cinema sales across the country and has dramatically benefited Borderlines in recent years has been the awards season and the fanfare and interest that is created around a handful of films.

Before this year, the best example of a film which combined a successful awards season with a triumphant appearance in Hereford was The Artist in 2012 (winning  five Oscars). Up to now this is the best performing film in the 12 year history of Borderlines. However 12 Years a Slave is coming ever closer!
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Eljiofor in 12 Years a Slave

Looking at the film release schedule for January and February 2014 it reads like a film of the year list.  In the space of 3 weeks from mid January to early February, the heavyweights - 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street (not playing at Borderlines) battled it out garnering 19 Oscar nominations between them and sharing four of the key six awards; Best Film (12 Years a Slave) Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey - Dallas) Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto - Dallas) and Best Supporting Actress ( Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years.)
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey  in Dallas Buyers Club

Bookmarking these three were American Hustle, the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis and Her with Joaquin Phoenix. It has been a phenomenal period for cinema with film playing a much greater role in cultural life, interjecting daily conversations and a massively expanded media coverage. Of course this is a seasonal, industry-led distribution cycle that we see every year and Borderlines is perfectly poised to reap the benefits.

In terms of box office the main benefactors of the Oscar attention were 12 Years and Dallas, although this is somewhat stating the obvious as both won awards, yet it is inevitable a summer or autumn release would have been seriously detrimental to their performance? The awards fanfare was less critical for Llewyn Davis and Wolf of Wall Street due to the reputation and historical success of their respective directors, the Coen brothers and Martin Scorsese.

National UK Box Office
1.    The Wolf of Wall Street - £21,970,632
2.    12 Years a Slave - £18,921,943
3.    Dallas Buyers Club - £4,490,052
4.    Inside Llewyn Davis - £2,411,016
5.    August: Osage County - £1,890,549
6.    Nebraska - £995,000

And how does this national popularity compare to the taste at Borderlines? As of Tuesday 11 March film sales compared to audience rating at Borderlines (at the Courtyard Hereford only, many of these films were also shown at other venues)read like this:
Clearly 12 Years is the outright winner for audience reaction and ticket sales. The gem that is Nebraska was neglected by UK audiences but fared better at Borderlines. The melancholic and mopey Llewyn Davis did not warm to Hereford despite selling a good share of tickets
Had Wolf of Wall Street been in the program would it have fared better than 12 Years? Highly unlikely and perhaps its performance would have been closer to Nebraska in 5th place, in contrast to its national box office domination.

My conclusion, yes, 2014 has seen an incredible plethora of film, however the success of Borderlines is not limited to a group of glossy American films.

As anyone reading this must be thinking, to bang on about numbers, box office and to pay such attention to the Oscars is to completely miss the point about Borderlines. Strong audiences crossing French classics (La Belle et la Bête), independent UK features (Kiss the Water) and Hereford’s own offerings (Chewing the Cud and Rural Media/BFI Film Academy) illustrate the point. Spanning 2,000 square miles of Herefordshire and Shropshire rural bliss, projecting Jean Luc Godard, Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett across venues from Oswestry and Ledbury to Wem Town Hall is part of the magic.

Finally I take nothing but sheer delight from the fact that the Harry Dean Stanton documentary, depicting the fragile soul of Paris Texas, Alien and Twin Peaks is currently winning the audience award.
Harry Dean Stanton in Paris Texas

Incredible Borderlines!

Luke Doran (Borderlines board member)

Saturday 15 March 2014

A Festival Diary - Wednesday 5 March 2014

Wednesday 5 March 2014
BFI Film Academy / Le Jour se Lève / The Patience Stone / The Golden Dream

Rural Media/BFI Film Academy
It’s the first highpoint of the year: I award myself a day’s leave, drive to Hereford and watch a few films. The first event is free. The Rural Media Company (based five minutes’ walk away) had recruited local, teenage film-makers; the BFI Film Academy provided additional expertise from the very top-drawer. Their work, three shorts, was screened and then a panel of Tony Lawson, Richard Greatrex and Naomi Vera-Sanso supplied constructive criticism, advice and guidance. You can look up Tony and Richard on IMDb and be amazed. Naomi, of course, has been the Producer, then Director of the Borderlines Film Festival since day one.

I waded through a lot of home-made shorts fifteen years ago for a film society doing its bit. The acting was usually good (of the central casting variety), the editing acceptable and the scripts so-so to pretty poor. There were a lot of genre pieces and traditional jokes: the audience is there and they’re easier to make. The big advance is in presentation: today’s low-budget films look far better. If you’re thinking of making one: give the actors more to do and get them to do less. Film-making is far cheaper and swifter than in the Super-8 era. Would it be prohibitive to have a first draft?

The next film was hand-picked by Francine Stock (of Radio 4’s The Film Programme, repeated at 11pm, Sundays) for Borderlines. What fun to see the Institut Français name-checked alongside various local government bodies. Le Jour se Lève is French, black and white, made in 1939, established the dissolve as film language for reminiscence, scripted by a poet, populated with adults and features the iconic film-star representations of their respective genders: Jean Gabin and Arletty. Borderlines screened an Arletty film, Les Enfants du Paradis, last year – another film with a character who believed he could talk his way into or out of everything.  I hope there’s more from Gabin and Arletty next year.
Jean Gabin and Arletty in Le Jour se Lève
I like to book my tickets early, remember nothing but the date and time, then discover more about the film whilst watching it. As the opening credits of The Patience Stone shared the screen with sun-bleached curtains I thought it could be a documentary until ‘based on a novel’ came up. Like the previous feature most of the film takes place in one room – because it’s too dangerous to leave it. And the lead, practically a one-woman-show from Golshifteh Farahani, talks about the events that led to this point. You’d think that festival programmers organised these coincidences deliberately. Having seen Osama (Afghanistan, 2003) last year, at an Amnesty International do, I can report the Afghan woman’s daily life make the adventures of your favourite all-action hero look silly. Mass-production means I can scan the shelves of a bombed-out building in the Middle East and spot a lemon-squeezer just like one my grandmother had. The Patience Stone contains two-and-a-half sex scenes and one joke – a bit like “The Boat That Rocked”.
The Patience Stone
After spending hours watching noble people getting shot at in claustrophobic circumstances The Golden Dream was almost a relief. Think of The Incredible Journey or Stand By Me but with Guatemalan teenagers making their way through Central America, either using Shanks’s pony or riding the deck, to ‘the golden dream’ of a migrant labourer’s position in Los Angeles. The Spanish title, “La jaula de oro”, translates as “the golden cage”. Caged birds turn up a lot in movies: a female resident, with pet, making her retreat in Le Jour se Lève – it’s no place for a budgie; the fighting quails in The Patience Stone that pinpoint a girl’s place in a patriarchal pecking order. You could fill a festival with caged bird movies.
The Golden Dream
The lives of the immigrants in The Golden Dream are valued even lower than Taliban girls. Loose ends are not resolved but it’s probable they will end terminally. The film is the debut feature of Diego Quemada-Diaz, camera assistant to Ken Loach. A couple of days later I attended a lecture by Barrie Trinder, an authority on the Industrial Revolution in the Midlands, about bargemen on the Severn. They worked, stole and gave street performances, no different to the travellers in this film.

Robin Clarke (Festival Volunteer)

Friday 14 March 2014

Chewing the Cud

Hard decisions, taken by Reg Dudman in 1978
What a fantastic film Chewing the Cud, which premiered at the Courtyard on Tuesday evening, is.

We Herefordians are a unique breed (like our cattle) and it is wonderful to see a locally made film which captures this so sensitively and beautifully in a joyful (and sometimes tearful) celebration of our cattle market heritage.

And the story will go on as people begin to gather together online to share more of their memories and preserve precious stories and images for posterity.

Who knows, there may be a sequel or even a prequel feature one day but meanwhile everyone involved should be very proud of what they have created and everyone not involved - see it for yourself at one of the county-wide screenings coming up soon.

Deborah Summerfield

Monday 10 March 2014

Papusza - a history lesson?

 I was really looking forward to seeing this film as I'd had good reports from colleagues and because it's about Gypsies and their history.  I ran the Travellers' Times project at The Rural Media Company for 12 years and got very close to the rich mix of Gypsy culture, politics and battles with the UK's planning system, designed to prevent Travellers from traveling in the UK.   So the prospect of an authentic recreation of a vanished nomadic way of life, with a cast made up mainly of Roma non-actors, speaking in the Romani language - a recreation of Gypsy history to put the record straight - was much anticipated by me.

Romani people have not travelled since 2nd World War in Poland, like most East European nations.  The Nazi genocide and forced settlement by post war Communist regimes put a stop to their traditional way of life, and this has not been commemorated or reflected in Poland's national heritage.  So the Austrian filmmaking husband and wife team were forced to build the wagons from scratch, to recreate every detail of the Romani way of life from black and white photographs.  In fact they have done everything to try and stay true to the history and to Romani poet, Papusza's story,  one which co-director, Joanna Kos Krauze, first learned about at school and had been wanting to film ever since.   And they have made a  strikingly beautiful and intriguing film, certainly worth seeing. 

But ultimately, for me, it is unsatisfying.  The filmmakers'  personal integrity - their wish to honour Gypsy history, to accurately retell its myths -  is both the making and the breaking of the film.  The shimmering monochrome wide shots of Gypsy wagons and camps fires cannot make up for the lack of emotional detail and personal experience of the Gypsy characters.   Papusza's own feelings are hidden away and we never get beyond the surface of the usual Gypsy mythology.  And thus the film reinforces and perpetuates that mythology - the wandering, the music, the despair, the harsh edicts of the elders.  The film keeps us in the position of  outsiders to Gypsy life, gazing in at a mysterious and alien community.   We don't understand what it means for Gypsies themselves and we need to hear their voices, to expose the myth that Gypsies are still forbidden from communicating with us, from writing their own history, from making their own films.  The reason they don't is rather a matter of lack of access to education, resources and opportunity than of ancient cultural edict.  Meanwhile prejudice and discrimination in Europe today continue to grow.   

Watch the interview with co-director, Joanna Kos-Krauze about the development of her film Papusza

Thursday 6 March 2014

All is Lost - or is it???

 I’ve always thought that simply messing about in boats is foolish in the extreme. Even boarding a ferry is portentous with the possibility of disaster, and discomfort is guaranteed. What Robert Redford is doing 1700 miles from nowhere in the Indian Ocean I don’t know – and in fact we don’t know as All is Lost resists the easy option of a back story to provide context and heighten emotions. It’s just one man in a boat; an incredibly crumpled Redford (at 77 doing all his own stunts) fighting for his survival. So no human interaction and little dialogue (except for a short voice-over at the start there is only one bellowed expletive). It’s a brave, spare and intense film and a terrific performance by man and boat.

Interesting to compare with other ‘one man’s fight for survival’ films such as Touching the Void or 127 Hours. There is one crucial difference; both of these films are recreations of real events – they did actually happen and audiences are constantly aware of this. All is Lost has to carry the additional burden of being ‘only’ a story and therefore the perception of realism is of even more importance. Members of the boating fraternity have apparently found twelve different ‘mistakes’ in the film. I and other landlubbers are blissfully unaware of course, and some of these errors are no doubt justifiable in terms of dramatic effect. But it is an irritating aspect of film and TV that if you are reasonably knowledgeable about a subject you constantly groan at the pointless gaffes (I swear that there was a woman in high heels perched on the north face of the Eiger in North Face).

So was he a bad yachtsman, or just plain unlucky, or both? It’s true that he seems ill prepared for emergencies – there is moment when he unpacks a brand new sextant and struggles to find the right way up. But he is dogged, determined and systematic and always finds a way to keep afloat and alive. This I suppose is the core of the film; keep on trying, overcome every obstacle. The process, the journey, the struggle is more important than the goal (safety / life). I can appreciate this in terms of my own brand of foolishness – walking alone through remote mountains. Getting to the summit is less important than what happens, plotting and plodding, on the way.

The ending is satisfyingly enigmatic – is all lost or did he survive? I wasn’t sure, so I asked two senior members of the Borderlines’ staff, people of immense filmy knowledge and wisdom. ‘Did he survive?’ ‘Of course!’ said one. ‘Durrr - of course not!’ said the other. At an early screening the director J C Chandor asked the audience the same question. It was 50 / 50, with no help from Chandor or Redford. Take your pick. Optimist – he made it. Pessimist – he died. For fans of the afterlife, the white light of the rescue boat could be the start of the final journey. Either way, you won’t find me on a boat any time soon.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Kiss the Water

Why do salmon snap at flies? This is, arguably, the abiding mystery of salmon fishing, because returning salmon starve themselves on their journey to their breeding grounds, living only on the fat of their sea years.

Eric Steel’s mesmerizing and quietly enthralling documentary explores this conundrum by focusing the life of the bespoke, and now legendary, fly-tier Megan Boyd. Boyd lived and worked all her life in Brora, in a remote cottage without electricity or running water, surrounded by feathers from swans and parrots, bits of fur, gold and silver and turquoise thread, where, by the light of a hurricane lamp, she tied thousands upon thousands of exquisite salmon flies, accompanied only by her dog. Over the years a steady stream of “toffs,” including the Prince of Wales, made their way up the A9, the road that winds from Edinburgh to John O’Groats, to beat a path to Megan’s door.
Using a combination of interviews, animation and translucent images of the Highlands, Eric Steel attempts to capture the essence of this most elusive lady. He has very little to go on, and there is a “sub plot” to the documentary that seeks to equate Princess Diana with a salmon fly, not entirely successfully, but it is the only glitch in this otherwise fascinating and wholly original documentary.

Kiss the Water is being shown in cinemas all the way from Caernarfon to Aberfeldy. It screens at Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Thursday 6 March at 2pm and 7.30pm and at The Courtyard Hereford on Friday 14 March at 6.15pm when producer Kate Swan will be present to introduce the film and answer questions.

Be sure to catch it in a cinema near you.



Saturday 1 March 2014

First Night 2014

1st screening at Borderlines 2014 - 12 Years a Slave
The sun shines on snowy Hay Bluff in the distance and Borderlines kicks off with a record 9000 advance bookings.  My first film is 12 Years A Slave and the 230 strong audience watch in utter silence, transfixed by the story, which is beautifully told period drama, without the gush and clamour of a Hollywood soundtrack.  Then Like Father, Like Son - family drama in contemporary urban Japan, and The Golden Dream - young people leaving South America, driven by the dream of a new life in the USA - a stunning film, of trains and landscapes.  Windows on very different worlds - Borderlines trademark.  BBC Midlands Today gives the festival a great plug in the evening - bringing the best of film culture to the rural areas, some of it made here in Herefordshire too.  And Emma Watkins, half of our great film programming team from the Independent Cinema Office, arrives to introduce films and soak up the buzz at the Courtyard.  Another 16 days to go and many more worlds to visit.
The Golden Dream

Monday 24 February 2014

Does BAFTA matter?

Steve McQueen with the Best Film BAFTA for 12 Years a Slave
So, a week after the ceremony at The Royal Opera House in London, why does BAFTA matter? In 2001, the date of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards shifted from April to a February slot in order to hoick up its global significance as a pointer for the Oscars in March.

With the BBC1 broadcast lagging at least and hour and a half behind live activity, the ceremony itself possesses all the excitement of a deflated balloon. The buzz is all on Twitter. BAFTA itself coyly circumvented the spoiler issue by tweeting a link to its Tumblr account ('expand at your own peril')
while floating in a spume of winner revelations. Watching BAFTA on TV is all about seating plans, frocks and the professionally masked facial tics of elation and disappointment.

The plaudits however, an endorsement by vote from around 6,500 individuals in the industry based in the UK and US,  do count for something. Gravity, with its Mexican director and American stars Bullock and Clooney, won the most awards (7 in total), and had to hassle like some loose-limbed young colonial athlete for British status. The fact that it was shot at Shepperton Studios employing the incredible special effects expertise of British company Framestore seemed rub off into the announcement early this week that Pinewood is to open major new studios in Cardiff.

Similarly Steve McQueen's statement that there are "21 million people living in slavery as we sit here now” in his acceptance speech for the Best Film BAFTA for 12 Years a Slave was matched topically the next day by a news report on child trafficking as  the Modern Slavery Bill that is currently going through Parliament.

For us as a film festival, and one that falls almost exactly between the two major sets of film industry awards, the BAFTAs and Oscars matter. They're a badge that lifts a movie; its public profile rises and wafts into word of mouth. It's a selling point.

The Great Beauty
So here, shamelessly partisan but all in one place, are the films we're showing that won:
Best Film - 12 Years a Slave
Film Not in the English Language - The Great Beauty
Adapted Screenplay - Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope for Philomena
Leading Actor - Chiwetel Eljiofor for 12 Years a Slave
Leading Actress - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Supporting Actor - Barkhad Abdi  for Captain Phillips
Editing - Dan Hanley, Mike Hill for Rush