LANSDOWN FILM CLUB @ LANSDOWN HALL
Sun 6th COURT A 2014 Indian independent legal drama film, written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane in his directorial debut. Featuring a cast of newcomers, the film examines the Indian legal system through the trial of an ageing folk singer at a Sessions Court in Mumbai.7:30pm £6/£5concs/£2annual membership
Sun 20th CHEVALIER Six competitive men play a series of bizarre games while sailing on a luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea. It was named the Best Film in the Official Competition at the London Film Festival in 2015. 7:30pm £6/£5concs/£2annual membership
Thurs 10th THE BIG LEBOWSKI When Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) – White Russian drinking hippie and avid bowler – is assaulted in a case of mistaken identity, he enlists the help of his bowling buddy Walter (John Goodman) to assist in a one-time job with a big pay-off. If the film itself isn’t enough to tempt you along, the Malthouse Bar and Kitchen's White Russians will be two-for-one, to save you a couple of trips to the bar. Plus, Stroud Bowl is just down the road if you fancy a couple of post-Lebowski games...Opens 7pm Film @ 8pm Free
STROUD FILM SOCIETY @ OPEN HOUSE
Thurs 3rd MUSTANG A 2015 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Turkish-French film director Deniz Gamze Ergüven. The film is set in a remote Turkish village and depicts the lives of five young orphaned sisters and challenges they face growing up as girls in a conservative society. The event that triggers the family backlash against the five sisters at the beginning of the film is based on Ergüven's personal life. Cert 15. 7:30pm £40 for full year membership/£22 from Jan 2017. Contact Beth Cheyne on 01453 823551 for membership details and guest tickets, which cost £6 and must be booked in advance.
Thurs 24th TANGERINES Georgia, 1992. As the war between the Chechens and the Georgians breaks out, Estonian immigrants return to Estonia; but Ivo and Margus stay on to harvest their crops of tangerines and transport them home. When the war arrives, Ivo gives shelter to 2 wounded soldiers, Ahmed, a Chechen and Niko, a Georgian. These two swear to kill each other. Ivo is a peacemaker and this film is a plea for reconciliation and understanding in a belligerent world. Cert 15. 7:30pm (see ticket details in above listing)
NAILSWORTH FILM CLUB @ THE ARKELL CENTRE
Fri 11th DHEEPAN Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Dheepan is a heart rending story of three strangers united by circumstances. Both a thriller and a powerful depiction of the immigrant experience. Cert 15. Bar opens at 7:30pm/film starts at 8pm See website for membership details.
Thurs 10th REVOLUTION - NEW ART FOR A NEW WORLD A bold and exciting feature documentary that encapsulates a momentous period in the history of Russia and the Russian Avant-Garde. Drawing on the collections of major Russian institutions, contributions from contemporary artists, curators, and performers and personal testimony from the descendants of those involved, the film brings the artists of the Russian Avant-Garde to life. 7pm (see website for ticket details)
The fourth instalment in our new series of interview ‘shorts’ with Stroud based artists in their studios filmed and edited by Katie Jane Watson
The third instalment in our new series of interview ‘shorts’ with Stroud based artists in their studios filmed and edited by Katie Jane Watson
The second instalment in our new series of interview ‘shorts’ with Stroud based artists in their studios filmed and edited by Katie Jane Watson
Sun 10th We Are Many A critically acclaimed film by Amir Amirani which tells for the first time the remarkable story of the biggest protest in history, and how it changed the world. Eight years in the making, filmed in seven countries, and including interviews with John Le Carre, Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Danny Glover, Mark Rylance, Richard Branson, Hans Blix and Ken Loach amongst others, it charts the birth and rise of the people power movements that are now sweeping the world, all through the prism of one extraordinary day. On February 15th 2003, over 15 million people marched through the streets of 800 cities on every continent to voice their opposition to the proposed war in Iraq. This unprecedented global march was organised, against all odds, by a patchwork of peace campaigners in many countries, who reveal how they pulled of the historic demonstration, and whose legacy is only now unfolding.7:30 - 10pm £6/£5concs Click here for facebook event page
Sat 16th Horror Night: Nightmare On Elm Street This fundraising night of scares features a screening of cult horror movie A Nightmare On Elm Street, hot food, and then a real ghost hunt with paranormal investigators and a celebrity medium! All of this within the world-famous, gothic haunted house that is Woodchester Mansion...7:30pm - 3am £75 in advance click here for facebook event page
Stroud’s own situationist New Wave band Square Bomb featuring Pav (Pavinyl), Nick (Thee Ones) a drum machine and artist/performance poet Uta on vocals need your help to turn their forthcoming debut album Kitchenette into a beautiful, shiny vinyl...
Click here to visit their kickstarter page to pledge your pesos and pick up issue #16 (out now) for an interview with the band by Sarah Phaedre Watson...
LANSDOWN FILM CLUB
Sat 11th Rams In a secluded valley, estranged brothers Gummi and Kiddi, who haven’t spoken in 40 years, live side by side tending to their prized ancestral sheep. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, all the animals in the area are culled to contain the outbreak, with many farmers abandoning their land. But the brothers don’t give up so easily – and each tries to stave off disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits. As the authorities close in, they will need to come together to save the special breed passed down for generations – and themselves – from extinction. Doors open at 7:30pm, film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/£2members
Sun 26th The New Girlfriend Claire’s closest friend since childhood, Lea, passes away leaving behind a husband, David, and a newborn baby. When Claire visits David’s house unexpectedly she finds him dressed in his dead wife’s clothes and feeding their baby with a bottle. He explains that Lea was well aware of his predilection, and eventually, so relieved that he has someone to share his secret with, David and Claire create a female persona for him named Virginia. As David begins to identify more strongly as Virginia, Claire, faces her own emotional watershed as her feelings for Virginia conflict with those she feels for her husband. Doors open at 7:30pm, film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/£2members
MUSEUM IN THE PARK
Thurs 16th A Great Day In Harlem In keeping with the musical theme of Fred Chance and David Corio’s Keeping Time exhibition, the Museum in the Park will be screening two of the best films ever made about Jazz. A Great Day in Harlem, in the story of a still photograph. Jean Bach made the film in 1958, recording the moment when photographer Art Kane made his iconic image of 57 of the greatest Jazz musicians on a street in Harlem. 8pm £5/£4(concs) to book call the Museum on 01453 763394
Thurs 23rd Jazz On A Summers Day In this film, the connection to still photography is through the director, Bert Stern, one of the great photographers of the 1950's. It was made in the same year as A Great Day in Harlem, during the Newport Jazz Festival. Stern's skill at framing images is apparent throughout. 8pm £5/£4(concs) to book call the Museum on 01453 763394
STROUD BAPTIST CHURCH
Sat 18th Sicko Michael Moore's devastating, convincing, and very entertaining documentary about the state of America's health care system. Screening as part of a fundraising weekend of events celebrating and defending the NHS organised by Stroud Against the Cuts.Visit the facebook event page here and the website below for further info. 7-9pm
Thurs 26th Alasdair Ogilvie: An Evening of Stroud Delights - Local film maker Alasdair Ogilvie shows a selection of his recent films including a film about poet, activist, letterpress printer and one of Stroud's most cherished characters Dennis Gould 7:30pm £5
Sun 29th Mary Trunk: Lost in Living - Behind the domestic curtain of motherhood, where the creative impulse can flourish or languish, are four women determined to make a go of it. Filmed over seven years, Lost in Living, confronts the contradictions inherent in personal ambition and self-sacrifice, female friendship and mental isolation, big projects and dirty dishes. The complex realities of family life unfold in this documentary film about the messy intersection of motherhood and artistic expression 2:30pm £3 (Select Festival)
LANSDOWN FILM CLUB
Sun 1st Song from the Forest - As a young man, American Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that ignited his imagination. He followed its melody into the Central African rainforest to the Bayaka Pygmies, a tribe of hunters and gatherers. He never left. Now after 25 years living with the Bayaka and recording their music Louis is fulfilling an old promise to his pygmy son, Samedi. Together they travel from Africa to the concrete jungle of New York. With a fascinating soundtrack and stunning imagery contrasting rainforest and urban cityscape, Louis’ and Samedi’s stories are interwoven into a touching portrait of an extraordinary man and his son. Doors 7:30pm Film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/£2members
Sun 15th Gueros - Ever since the Mexico University strike broke out, Sombra and Santos have been living in angst-ridden limbo. Education-less, motionless, purposeless, and unsure of what the strike will bring, they begin to look for strange ways to kill time. But their idiosyncratic routine is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Tomas, Sombra’s kid brother. Unable to fit in amongst these older slackers, Tomas discovers that unsung Mexican folk-rock hero Epigmenio Cruz has been hospitalized somewhere in the city. Tomas convinces Sombra and Santos they must track him down in order to pay their final respects at his deathbed. But what they thought would be a simple trip to find their childhood idol soon becomes a voyage of self-discovery across Mexico City’s invisible frontiers. Doors 7:30pm Film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/£2members
Sun 29th Dark Horse - An inspirational true story set in the village of Cefn Fforest in one of the poorest mining valleys in Wales. Jan Vokes, a local barmaid, decides to breed a racehorse when she overhears a regular talking about the time he owned a share of a horse. Together with the regular and her husband she buys a £300 thoroughbred mare, pairs her with an aging stallion, then forms a syndicate with 23 friends in the village who each pay £10 a week to raise the foal. Raised on a slagheap allotment, to the astonishment of the racing elite, Dream Alliance grows up to be an unlikely champion, until one day disaster strikes…Doors 7:30pm Film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/£2members
Sat 2nd - Sun 3rd April: Pilgrimage from Scattered Points by Luke Fowler
‘Pilgrimage from Scattered Points’ is a film about the English composer Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981) and The Scratch Orchestra (1968-73). Cornelius Cardew formed the orchestra with Michael Parsons and Howard Skempton in 1968 and published their draft constitution in “The Musical Times” in June 1969. The constitution set out the framework, which would dominate the orchestra’s musical work for the first half of its existence. It proposed a fluid community where students, office workers, amateur musicians and some professional composers would gather together for performance, music making and edification.
A film-maker and musician raised in Glasgow in the eighties, Luke Fowler is recognised as an artist, film-maker and musician who creates new grammar from old forms. A 2012 Turner Prize nominee who won the Jarman Award in 2008, Fowler produces, via sound, text and image, a layered portrait of the real life characters he focuses on, most of whom stem from a counter-cultural background. His structuralist
film essays contain sonic and visual fragments that intriguingly link diverse references, theories, views and notions, proposing more and more portals of viewing and understanding, rather than neat/limited summarisations. His brazen and bold use of archive and 16mm film, text and sound/music makes the media and the message fizz with possibilities. A new kind of portrait artist. Sat 2nd 11am-4pm + 6-8pm/Sun 3rd 11am - 4pm The Goods Shed
Thurs 7th April: All Divided Selves by Luke Fowler
The social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s were spearheaded by the charismatic, guru-like figure of Glasgow born Psychiatrist R.D. Laing. In his now classic text "The Politics of Experience" (1967) Laing argued that normality entailed adjusting ourselves to the mystification of an alienating and depersonalizing world. Thus, those society labels as 'mentally ill' are in fact 'hyper-sane' travelers, conducting an inner voyage through aeonic time. The film concentrates on archival representations of Laing and his colleagues as they struggled to acknowledge the importance of considering social environment and disturbed interaction in institutions as significant factors in the aetiology of human distress and suffering. All Divided Selves reprises the vacillating responses to these radical views and the less forgiving responses to Laing's latter career shift; from eminent psychiatrist to enterprising celebrity. A dense, engaging and lyrical collage- Fowler weaves archival material with his own filmic observations—marrying a dynamic soundtrack of field recordings with recorded music by Éric La Casa, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Alasdair Roberts.
Luke Fowler a filmmaker and musician based in Glasgow was a 2012 Turner Prize nominee and won the Jarman Award in 2008 8pm £4adv/£5otd 4 John Street
Sat 9th - Sun 10th April: Klipperty Klopp by Andrew Kotting
Shot by Leila McMillan, (ongoing collaborator and lover) with 8 rolls of Super 8 mfa, the film is perhaps my first. A post punk piece of pagan sensibility, complete with bestiality, buggery and boundless energy, the film combines frenetic performance in a field with a monotonous one take recital and tune full songs. Perhaps inspired by Beckett and as a reaction to some of the preciousness of the Land Art tradition as
exemplified by Richard Long and Hamish Fulton.Joseph Beuys meets Carry On in a Running-jumping-standing-still film. A post-punk piece of pagan sensibility, complete with bestiality, buggery and boundless energy, the work combines frenetic performance and Beckettian other-worldly rantings. An artefact, dug up and re-presented in the great-out-of-doors 11am-4pm Free The Goods Shed
Weds 13th April: By Our Selves by Andrew Kotting
By Our Selves documents a four-day walk made by the English Poet John Clare from an asylum in the Epping Forest up into Northamptonshire. Toby Jones, Iain Sinclair and a Straw Bear follow in his footsteps exactly 150 years after his death. En route they bump into Highland musician and poet MacGillivray, and graphic novelist Alan Moore. Captured in black & white photography, they discover the only truth of the road: whatever our hopes and delusions, we are always By Our Selves 7.30pm £4adv/£5otd 4 John Street
Sat 16th - Sun 17th April: Remembering Jelly by Joe Magee
Newly developed films using jelly as a medium to explore memory, identity and the contemporary human mind. This screening is in connection with Joe Magee’s exhibition for the Site Festival in the Line Gallery at SVA, John St, Stroud, GL5 2HA. Joe Magee is an award winning artist filmmaker living in Stroud 11am-4pm Free The Goods Shed
Weds 27th April: MOULD - The Short Show
The Short Show is a cinematic experience of exciting young film makers work showcased as an fantastic evening of film and sound as part of this years Site festival! MOULD, in conjunction with SVA, is a youth arts collective dedicated to bringing contemporary arts to a younger generation. The group is led by local
young people between the ages of 15 and 21, whose ambition for MOULD is to raise the profile of young aspiring artists by providing them with the means to develop ideas, and give them a platform to show their works to others 7:30pm Free The Goods Shed
Sat 30th April INDEX Presents 3 artists films
(5-8pm, The Baptist Hall, Union St)
Portrait of Ga by Margaret Tait (1952)
"A Haiku from one of cinemas true poets.” Tilda Swinton. An intimate and abstract portrait of the flm maker's mother ‘walking and skipping’ through the Orkney landscape.
Buoyed By The Irrelevance Of Their Own Insignifcance by Andrew Kötting (2014)
Buoyed By The Irrelevance Of Their Own Insignifcance’ sees Andrew Kotting wearing a cow's head whilst foundering around in the waves of the English Channel .‘A ridiculous attempt to re-enact moments from my past’ says Andrew Kotting of his flm which was inspired by the glimpse of a giraffe and an ostrich through the shop window of Get Stuffed a taxidermist shop on the Essex road - 'Animals all-
atsea; a cow’s head struggling to make for shore'.
The Green Ray by Tacita Dean (2001)
A beautiful flm in pursuit of the green ray of the setting sun, a phenomena that often eludes the naked eye and remains uncaptured by digital pixellation . Here it is revealed by the light of the transparent images of 16 mm film.
Pick up issue #13 April 2016 (out now!) for our feature on this year's SITE Festival and visit our event page here for a series of film screenings and live soundtracks brought to you by Good On Paper and the SVA. The free official festival programme is available in various venues through out Stroud and as a download via www.sitefestival.org.uk
1 - Benda Bilili (Open House, Thurs 17th)
2 - Twenty Feet From Stardom (SVA Goods Shed, Fri 4th)
3 - Love and Mercy (VUE, Tues 8th)
4 - Amy(VUE, Tues 8th)
5 - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (The Prince Albert, Weds 16th)
6 - Imagine: John Lennon (Subscription Rooms, Thurs 10th)
7 - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (The Prince Albert, Sat 19th)
8 - The Decline of Western Civilization (SVA, Fri 11th)
9 - The Salt of the Earth (Sun 20th, Lansdown Hall)
10 - Watermark (Sun 13th, Lansdown Hall)
11 - Good Things Await (Fri 11th, Atelier)
12 - Macbeth (Sun 6th, Lansdown Hall)
13 - Casablanca (Subscription Rooms, Thurs 10th)
14 - Night at the Museum (Subscription Rooms, Sun 13th)
For further information including screening times, tickets and full program visit www.stroudfilmfestival.org
Pick up issue #12 Mar 2016 (out now) for our festival preview!
LANSDOWN FILM CLUB
Sun 7th Innocence of Memories British film-maker Grant Gee and Turkey’s Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk produce a mesmerising, meditation on love and the city of Istanbul 7:30pm film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/Annual Membership £2
Sun 21st Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain Shows the most exciting and uncompromising British band in years sticking two fingers up to the zeitgeist and articulating the rage and desperation of those without a voice in austerity Britain. The film follows Sleaford Modson a tour of the UK in the run up to the 2015 General Election, visiting the neglected, broken down and boarded up parts of the country that many would prefer to ignore. Part band doc, part look at the state of the nation, the documentary features individuals and communities attempting to find hope among the ruins, against a blistering soundtrack by Sleaford Mods 7:30pm film starts at 8pm £6/£5concs/Annual Membership £2
Weds 10th Pudding and Film Night: Sleepless in Seattle A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan 7pm films starts at 7:30pm £5 for ticket + pudding & coffee/£3 ticket only
Weds 24th 2001: A Space Odyssey The 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer Hal after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution. The film deals with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life…7pm films starts at 7:30pm £5 for ticket + pudding & coffee/£3 ticket only
Thurs 18th Merchants of Doubt @ Lansdown Hall Lifting the lid on the ‘professional deceivers’ manipulating US debate on climate change, this feature-length documentary profiles twelve of the charming deceivers who work for the tobacco, chemical, pharmaceutical, and fossil fuel industries.The event consists of a 96 minute film plus brief updates from Transition Stroud and 45 minutes of discussion for those interested 6:45pm screening starts at 7pm
Stroud Community TV wants your nominations for best films of 2015!
No red carpet or tuxedos await winners at the Stroud Community TV Awards evening on 9th March in the Crown and Sceptre. Nevertheless if last year is anything to go by, the Awards evening looks set to be a wonderful celebration of the rich diversity and creativity of the Five Valleys.
Stroud Community TV has been going four years and we have over 2,200 videos with a Stroud connection added to our site. Quality varies from the wonderfully professional-looking films to those enthusiastic film makers who point their camcorder to capture a local gig or project. Our Awards are a chance to recognise some of the best films from last year and help them reach a wider audience. Previous winners have included a moving film about disability, love and friendship, a film about the inspiring Nailsworth Community Workshop, the Climate March in Stroud and an emotionally powerful minute-long film Love is a Gift.
As in previous years, members of the public have been invited to nominate their best films from the films that have been added to Stroud Community TV in 2015. Already nominations are being made in the seven film categories; closing date for nominations is the 18th January. The films with the most nominations will then go to our team of experienced local judges. In previous years this has included a local Oscar short listed and Bafta nominated film-maker, BBC film-makers, Stroud Film Festival Organisers and members of the public with an interest in film. Indeed this year we still have a couple of vacancies for our People’s Judges so if you enjoy film and could help judge one of the categories please do get in touch.
Do also join us for the Awards evening in the Crown and Sceptre - the event will be part of the second Stroud Film Festival this March. You can also follow us on Twitter, our Facebook page or sign up on our website to our monthly e-newsletter which highlights the best of films each month.
For details on how to nominate your favourite SCTV films and the Awards evening in March visit www.stroudcommunity.tv/awards-2015
Philip Booth is the Director of Stroud Community TV, a not-for-profit independent channel for videos recording and celebrating the Five Valleys. Follow them on facebook and twitter for further news and updates
There are some films that just hit you, you know, like, right in the core, never quite leaving your mind. Hector – the story of a homeless man returning to London and his past for Christmas – is one of those films.
At a special showing of Hector at a packed Lansdown Hall on the 22nd December - all laid on by the amazing Emily Barker who wrote the film’s beautiful score - we were pulled into the world of Hector and homelessness. Performing a small set of soundtrack songs to the audience before the movie, BAFTA award winning songwriter Emily opened with the subtly emotional title song ‘Anywhere Away’, and boy was it stunning. Emily’s soul searching voice was haunting and, mixed with other, hair-standing-on-end tracks from the film, it set what was to be quite an emotional tone for the film itself when it came on the screen later that evening.
Directed by newbie director/writer Jake Gavin and produced by accomplished pro Stephen Malit, Hector is a British movie which manages to pull off something clever: it works. The photographic backdrop is stark, powerful, and beginning in Scotland, the cinematography reflects the bleak outlook for Hector, the grey, steel blue loss of hope. With Emily’s intro songs complete and movie time beginning, I hunkered down, expecting a film about a homeless man who met people on his journey who reflected the bleak photography: awful, mean, horrible characters. But that didn’t happen, because, of course, real life isn’t like that. There are good people in the world, and what was delightful about the movie was that we saw them, we saw these kind folk help Hector and his homeless friends – a cup of tea for free here, an extra coat there - and it was effortlessly done, subtle.
The only trouble with this was that after a while following Hector on his journey, I did find myself feeling it was a bit slow, found myself wanting something more dramatic to happen – it would have benefited from a bit of oomph. And the ending was a bit flat, rushed maybe, unfinished. But, on chatting to friends about it on the way home, we realised that perhaps that was the joy of Hector as a film – the fact that it was one, very real laid-bare story. No Hollywood drama, no made up grit, but just life, raw, exposed and emotional as we see it. And Peter Mullan in the lead role is sublime, carrying the film even in those achingly quite parts, those moments where you sit and watch the homeless hostel at Christmas, the desperateness mixed in with a singe thread of hope, and you realise you really should do more to help people.
And that, really is the essence of Hector, the feeling it leaves you with when you go – that feeling that we should do more, but also that, people, us lot, us folk out here – we are inherently good. And that, like director Jake Gavin has done in writing this subtle gem of a film, if we simply open our eyes and look at everyday life, we will see it.
Sat 9th Seven Songs for A Long Life
This poignant new documentary about six people in a hospice finding their true voices provides a unique opportunity to change our experience of end of life. The film addresses the mismatch between our increasing scientific and medical capacity to maintain life after a terminal diagnosis, our rapidly snowballing average lifespan, and our anxiety around end of life. It also has cracking songs, and a touching sense of humour. Organised by Hawthorn Press. 7-9pm £7.50 available from Star Anise Arts Café or online at www.trybooking.co.uk/KQ www.lansdownhall.org
Weds 13th Pudding and Film Night: The Wickerman
Cult 1973 British Horror film starring Christopher Lee, which centres on the visit of Police Sergeant Neil Howie to the isolated island of Summerisle in search of a missing girl. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island have abandoned Christianity and now practise a form of Celtic paganism…Cert 15 7pm/film starts at 7:30pm £5 for ticket + pudding & coffee/£3 ticket only
Weds 27th Pudding and Film Night: The Sleeper
A 1973 futuristic comic science fiction film, written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, and directed by Allen. The plot involves the adventures of the owner (played by Woody Allen) of a health food store who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200 years later in an ineptly-led police state.Cert 15 7pm/film starts at 7:30pm £5 for ticket + pudding & coffee/£3 ticket only
From singing in a band down the Prince Albert to treading the glittering lights of the UK’s film industry, Stroud based singer Emily Barker is riding high right now. Her latest venture? Writing and performing the sound track to the new and very touching film Hector (out UK-wide now).
From famed producer Stephen Malit and debut writer-director Jake Gavin, Hector is the uplifting story of a homeless man (played by BAFTA award winning actor Pete Mullan) embarking on his annual journey from Scotland to a London shelter. But, aware this might be his last trip, Hector opts to reconnect with his past and reunite with those he left behind. Cue a cross-country odyssey that brings chance encounters, companions old and new who need his support as much as he needs theirs.
With a special screening of Hector including Emily performing songs from the film due to take place in Stroud on Tuesday 22nd December, we caught up with the RTS award-winning singer-songwriter to ask how she came to get involved in Hector and just what it all means to her…
Firstly, congratulations on a hauntingly beautiful song for the film. How did the involvement with writing the soundtrack for Hector come about?
Thank you.I was doing a session on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show and we were talking about my song, Nostalgia, being used in Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Wallander’ and another song of mine, Pause, being used in ‘The Shadow Line’. He asked me if writing for film and television would be something I’d like to do more of, and I answered, yes. A couple of days after that, I got an email out of the blue from director, Jake Gavin, saying he’d written a script and would love me to read it and consider doing the music for the film. I loved the story and immediately wrote a song called, Anywhere Away, which became the theme tune for the film.
Your music is a blend of roots influences from country to English folk via 60s pop – how did you your musical roots influence you in writing the film soundtrack? Had you viewed the film before composing the songs?
Having never done a film score before, I wasn’t really sure how to approach writing one and the idea was initially quite overwhelming, so I decided to start with something I know more about, which is songwriting. Before I’d seen anything at all, I wrote three songs: Anywhere Away, Wheels and White Lines and Roll Me In Your Arms. I tried to vary these songs in tempo, atmosphere, arrangement, etc. so that I could then pull motifs from them and experiment with different instrumentation, keys and feel.
Jake was already familiar with my style of music and really wanted those aspects you mentioned (English folk and country) to come through. Given it is set in Britain, it was fitting to have a folk feel but we also wanted to get some country sounds in there due to the road movie nature of the film and also the fact that country music is so big in Scotland!
You’ve won an RTS award for the haunting theme to Nordic-origin drama, Wallander, plus other award winning soundtrack collaborations – how different was it writing songs for film compared to television?
Well to be honest, I’ve not actually written any songs for television. Nostalgia and Pause were written prior to them being used in Wallander and The Shadow Line. So I guess the difference with this was that I wrote the song specifically for the film and it wouldn’t exist unless I’d read the script. I really enjoyed having a brief and trying to understand Hector’s character and say, or imply some of his inner thoughts and emotions through the music.
How different is it writing a song(s) for a film/TV as opposed to a general song?
When I write songs, I can write about anything I feel like, so it was cool to have some parameters actually and then work within those. I enjoyed trying to really get inside Hector’s mind and see life from his perspective.
You have a small role in the movie - what was it like being in the film?
I really enjoyed being on set and seeing what goes on when making a film. It was my first experience of this and it was really interesting. Regarding being filmed, it wasn’t the most difficult of roles given I just had to play myself! But next time, I’m hoping to step things up and maybe say a line or two ;)
Have you had any experience, direct or indirect, with homelessness? How does that affect your song writing and what lasting impression has it left?
When I moved from Bridgetown to Perth (Western Australia), I did volunteer work at an overnight shelter for homeless children. I did the night shift from time to time. I also used to serve dinners in the park in Perth. When I moved to London, I volunteered for a short while at Core Arts in Homerton, helping out with the music programme. During the making of the music for the film, I was reminded again of the issue of homelessness and it activated me to get more involved. I think Hector, inspires compassion.
Best/funniest thing that happened on set?
Having my make-up done at the same time as Peter Mullan! We had a great chat about music and all sorts. He’s such a lovely man!
Are there other film/TV soundtrack projects are in the pipeline?
There’s one I’m working on getting but nothing confirmed at this point. I hope that the film will bring me some more work in this field.
Finally, Hector is about a journey, about people and hope and who we meet – on your travels over the years and around the world, what were your loneliest moments and how were you lifted up out of them?
I could really relate to the travel aspect of this film. I spend so much of my time on various forms of transport, on “the path in-between”. It can get lonely sometimes for sure. I think having a connection with people is what can lift you from loneliness.
The screening of Hector with a live performance from Emily Barker takes place at the Lansdown Hall in Stroud on Tues 22nd December at 7pm. Tickets cost just £8 and are available in advance from Trading Post with all the proceeds being donated to a local homeless charity. Visit the facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/1672693373002911 for further info.
Preparation and planning is well under way for the second Stroud Film Festival in March 2016, which those involved with are hoping will be as successful as the 2015 one. Lansdown Film Club put on five events around the town for the 2015 festival, and subsequently we were shortlisted for the ‘Best Film Programming’ award at the Cinema For All community cinema awards. In early October Jo B and I went to Sheffield, with one member of the club, to attend the awards ceremony and meet other volunteers from cinema clubs around Britain.
Cinema’s death knell has been sounded many times, with the advent of television, videos, dvds and now movie streaming, yet film clubs are thriving around Britain – up for awards were small cinemas run by various groups, including women, students and pensioners, all bringing people in their communities together to watch films on the big screen. Something about that experience still beats watching movies at home, whether it’s the quality of the screen and sound, the shared experience with others, or just the fact of going out making it a more special night than being in front of the telly. The ‘Best Film Programming’ award was the most contested, with 14 cinema clubs listed. Lansdown received a commendation for their programming.
Lansdown Film Club has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, with quality, reliable equipment and a dedicated group of volunteers getting involved at every stage. One of the most enjoyable and interesting parts for a volunteer is choosing which films we are going to screen in a season. We have to be very discriminating as we only show approximately 18 films in a year, to be selected from all the films released in a year, from anywhere in the world, plus the options of brilliant films from almost 100 years of cinema history. We do not screen anything that has already been on at the local Vue, and programme films from a variety of countries and with a variety of moods: uplifting, gritty, romantic etc. After those considerations, we also particularly look out for movies that the citizens of Stroud might appreciate, for example films with an environmental concern. Any films made with a Buddhist theme always generate some interest too!
The Cinema For All commendation has inspired us to continue to try and improve our programming and the experience of our audience. We have a great shortlist of films to choose from for next year’s festival, with a guiding theme of ‘music and the arts’. Many music documentaries are made every year, but there are always other interesting films out about other branches of the arts – of course, cinema is an art to begin with. Lansdown Film Club will be programming a family movie for the festival, as well as our normal two evening films and perhaps more. Look out across the festival programme for special events, music to accompany movies and interesting new venues. There’ll be something for anyone with even a passing interest in film – and a glut for those of us who love cinema…