Side By Side At Borderlines
Today was a beautiful, if a little chilly, day to have off from work and spend it in Hereford. I took the journey over to visit the Borderlines Film Festival, which is running its 11th year from 1st to 17th March. With nearly 90 films in over 100 venues throughout Herefordshire and Shropshire, Borderlines has to be one of the largest and interesting rural film festivals in the country.
I’ve been wanting to visit Borderlines and I’m so pleased I did. I went to the Hereford Courtyard and watching the screening of Side By Side, a documentary discussing the change in the film-making medium from film to digital. It’s presented By Keanu Reeves and he interviews the likes of Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Lars Von Trier, Joel Schumacher, David Lynch and many more and many unheard voices of cinematographers (directors of photography) like John Mathieson. He also explains the processes of capturing an image on film and digital and how those images are collected, developed, edited, colour graded and ultimately presented on the cinema screen. It’s interesting because you hear Nolan say film cannot be replaced and you believe him because he’s Nolan and then you hear George Lucas say the opposite and you believe him because it’s Lucas. I’m not a big fan of Keanu as an actor but he has cleverly captured the history and heritage of film and carefully presented the struggle as digital begins to replace film. It’s a well balanced documentary and what is really evident is how much the film-makers care about their craft and showing it in the best possible light. They talk about specific cameras and talk about how colour grading has evolved, fascinating stuff.
Watching the film at the Courtyard as a part of Borderlines was good too. The venue is really the central hub of activity for the film festival, where many people come to meet and watch and participate, according to Jo Comino, who is the marketing / press officer and who kindly met up with me afterwards. She said that they present films in lots of village halls and enjoy good attendance, even with foreign language films. This year, they are trying out capturing comments from audiences written out and tweeting them, called Analogue Tweets, which is a terrific idea for those who aren’t bothered with social networking.
Borderlines Film Programme
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Bruce Robinson in Conversation @ Borderlines
Worcestershire has a lot in common with Herefordshire including shared radio stations but for the last ten years Herefordshire has had one thing Worcestershire hasn’t had - a film festival – of course that will change this year.
For those of you who may not have been, Borderlines is a yearly festival of film held around Hereford and the rural lands surrounding it. This year it has hosted a number of excellent film screenings including multiple Oscar winning ‘The Artist’, locally shot film ‘Resistance’ and recently restored 1945 French classic “Les Enfants du Paradis”
Last years Borderline Festival also hosted a Masterclass with Gareth Jones the director of ‘Desire’. I still treasure the memory of him telling a young student “If you want to do something then do it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”
This year, however is the turn of well respected writer/director/actor Bruce Robinson who has worked with the likes of Johnny Depp. As a film maker myself I was very excited to hear what he has to say.
The one thing I always find remarkable when listening to successful film makers talk is just how down-to-earth they are. This case was no exception.
Bruce walked in with the type of attire you would associate with a rockstar such as McJagger. Shades, scarf and leather jacket. He seemed to radiate cool. He takes a seat opposite veteran broadcaster and novelist Francine Stock in the town hall of the rural village of Moccas.
He starts openly talking about his life pre-film warts and all. Bruce had a fairly unsuccessful academic career after failing his 11+, failing to get into a grammar school and ending up in a Secondary Modern where he was taught next to nothing.
He was a shy boy who latter took to experimenting with drugs when he really came out of his shell. It was difficult to picture such a upbringing for someone who latter became a well-respected and successful film maker.
Bruce talked about his first film job in Italy where he fell victim of the lustful desires of the local homosexuals which provided plenty of laughs for the audience. Bruce moved onto the job itself where he felt incredibly nervous and fluffed his lines up on the first day shooting. He latter tried to explain his nervousness to the director at a bar in the evening to which the director replied “WE’RE ALL F****ing NERVOUS” and stormed off. This provided a refreshing insight into the world of film production. A lesson learn. Don’t worry if you’re nervous cos we all are.
He then moved on to his writing career. I was quite surprised when he said many of the films he wrote for he then never watched. He feared the bastardization of his work and told a cautionary tale to the audience of the importance of not selling out. He also spoke of his hit film “How to get ahead of advertising” and revealed he wished he’d done the ending differently with more entertainment and less sentiment.
Not wanting to give too much away Bruce revealed he is still writing and would like to direct more in the future.
Overall the night was great and I look forward to diving into Bruce’s work next chance I have.