It’s just getting bigger and better…
With an initial concept of bringing the latest short films to screen in the East Midlands crafted by a variety of innovative filmmakers, Beeston Film Festival is now in it its fifth year and hosting entries from across the globe.
The festival has earned a title of being the biggest international short film festivals in the Midlands, as its submissions have increased by 68% from over 50 countries across every continent of the globe.
John Currie, the film festival Director, and his team of over 20 local Beestonians and global jury of 18 film industry professionals from the UK, America, France. Belgium, India, South Africa and Taiwan, make up its unique programming team.
As part of the pre-festival warm up, the Berliner will screen a great night of classics on Wednesday 13th of February, showing favourites from previous festivals such as The Stomach and The App.
Returning to Café Roya, where the festival launched five years ago, a second warm up showcases Iranian films on Sunday 24th February. Roya will provide some Persian cuisine and the programme includes B’Oscar winner, 1001 Teardrops.
The festival itself begins on Wednesday 13th of March at its first warm up location, The Berliner, running for a period of five days in its four different venues across Beeston town, making it its biggest and brightest film festival ever.
This year the festival continues to expand and has introduced their newest category, Better Place; inspiring filmmakers to create either Fiction or Non-Fiction Films aiming to drive a change in the world we live in, champion causes, influence prevailing attitudes and moving the world to a better place.
Not only is Beeston Film Festival presenting a new category this year, the iconic B’Oscar will be revamped and is under development from Beeston glass artist Becs Cass.
The renowned international festival has been rated gold as well as being placed in the Top 100 of Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway that showcases over 6000 festivals world-wide.
The reviews are from filmmakers involved and guests of the festival and reflect the welcome from the Beeston community.
One review by Judson Vaughan says this: “Just great! What else can I say, just a breath of fresh air! The organisers are true film/indie film lovers that are fair, impartial and committed to the filmmakers. Great communication, great fun and if you get the chance to meet John, then what a bonus! This is our second film to be screened at Beeston and we’ll be back! Thank You John, James and everyone involved.”
As final entries are being selected, it would be a shame to miss out on celebrating film and filmmakers from across the globe showcasing their creative arts at the Beeston Film Festival this year.
Food scenes in films have always existed to remind the audience that even though the people onscreen are much hotter, richer and more talented than the viewing audience, they still need a decent meal like ordinary folk from time to time.
This month I list my all time favourite food scenes while binge eating a bag of own brand peanuts. Please enjoy.
Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene:
Until I was 4 years old I didn’t really believe in love, I thought it was a dystopian ideal circulated by a corrupt government to get people to pay more taxes, but then I watched 2 dogs kiss by accident while eating Italian food and I knew love was real. I still think Lady could do better, though.
Jurassic Park jelly wobble:
This scene still makes me anxious. We learn that raptors can open doors and it still frightens me as much as when my toddler managed it for the first time and caught me plucking my ‘tash.
What We Do in the Shadows:
Regardless of a hilarious late-night chippie takeaway scene, seek this film out for its sheer hilarity. A bunch of vampires film a mockumentary about the perils of modern life, one of which is not having chips after a mental night out. I definitely could not be a vampire, you couldn’t even have garlic sauce on them.
9 ½ Weeks:
This entire film marked my transition to womanhood and gave me a lifelong interest in top of the range fridge-freezers. Bet theirs was A+ for energy conservation. Not sure about a blindfolded buffet though, I’d prefer toast and Netflix if I’m honest.
Matt Damon becomes a farmer on Mars. Stay with me, he does science stuff too and is funny with some actual jokes, but mainly he’s a space farmer. How many crops have YOU grown on Earth? EXACTLY. Impressive stuff if you like extreme farming. Which I do.
Do yourselves a favour and rewatch The Banana Boat Song scene on Youtube. I’m assuming you know what I mean, and if you don’t then I’m afraid we probably can’t be penpals any more. I once showed this to my daughter and she had nightmares about hands coming out of soup for months. She just really doesn’t like soup.
The room upstairs at the White Lion was packed on Sunday 12th March as the winners of the 3rd Beeston Film Festival were announced to a very excited and eager audience.
Thanks must go to Sergio the landlord of Beeston’s most sociable pub, as it has been the base for the festival, since John Currie and James Hall launched it back in 2015.
After months of planning and preparation, some 90 short length films from across the world have been screened over four days, with the launch taking place at the University of Nottingham’s Sir Clive Granger Building on the Thursday. This first evening saw the inaugural Three Counties Festival Night, which was split into two categories; short films of up to five minutes in length, and long films, which were up to fifteen minutes in duration. Prize money was on offer too, courtesy of the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund. All the other films were shown at the White Lion.
There were a number of categories that a number of the films were shortlisted for. Thirteen judges from around the globe had viewed all the films to find the best in each of the areas, such as horror, comedy, script and cinematography.
It just goes to show the amount of talent that there is in the East Midlands. The 2018 festival is going to be bigger and even better.
No cash prizes here, but the winners did receive a wonderfully crafted ceramic award: the B’Oscar, created by Nottingham artist Anna Collette Hunt.
So on to the fifteen winning films and filmmakers:
Best horror film: Woods
Best Animation: Cuerdas
Best Drama: Soldier Bee
Best Documentary: Cecil & Carl
Best Comedy: Braquage Serenade
Best Script: Braquage Serenade
Best Actor: Shauna Macdonald for Soldier Bee
Best Director: Pedro Solis Garcia for Cuerdas
Best Cinematography: Stewart Whelan for Cinephiliac
Best Sound: Cinephiliac
Three Counties Short: Portrait of a Craftsman
Three Counties Long: Cadence
Rising Star: Night Owls
Audience Favourite: The App
Best Film in Festival: Braquage Serenade
A number of Beeston-based shops and companies sponsored the B’Oscar awards. They were:
Art, Culture, Tourism
Pamela Sietos Clothing
Rye Café & Bar
I caught up with a weary but ecstatic John after the ceremony to find out how the four days went. “It’s been the best one so far”, he replied grinning from ear to ear. “It just goes to show the amount of talent that there is in the East Midlands. The 2018 festival is going to be bigger and even better. The support that the festival has received has been phenomenal. All the students from the university that have helped out have been fantastic.”
I also spoke to James, who was busy packing away the IT equipment, and asked for his thoughts. “It’s been great, but much harder work than helping to organise the Oxjam music event.”
Finally, one face that I recognized in the audience was that of local actor, puppeteer and storyteller Melvyn Rawlinson. I asked Melvyn whether he had been involved in any of the productions. Yes he said, I appeared in the film ‘I Am God and Severely Underqualified.’ This tells the story of a writer struggling with the dreaded writer’s block, and how he gets over it.
John and James will shortly be e-mailing a weblink to those that attended the festival, so they will be able to watch their favourite films again, or catch up with any that they missed. For everyone else, you’ve missed out. Some may make it to a cinema release, or might turn up on YouTube. You never know, there may even be plans to create a ‘Beeston Film Festival’ compilation DVD. Now wouldn’t that be exciting!
I love film and films – although not, it should be said, many of the Robin Hood films out there. Most are sadly a bit bland and uninspiring and the only one I find infinitely rewatchable is the classic 1938 Errol Flynn version (the one with the green tights, ‘Robin Hood hat’ and a real sense of cinema and adventure, rather than any ‘dark, gritty reimaging’ – I’m looking at you, Russell Crowe).
Nottingham was lucky enough to have a shared premiere of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, jointly shared with Nottingham and the Cannes film Festival, although who knows why Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett decided to go to the sunny south of France rather than the Cornerhouse in Nottingham? Sal and I got to go to the Nottingham premiere in their place though, which was actually more fun than the film itself.
As noted elsewhere in this issue, Nottingham and Beeston have a great cinematic history and it’s something we can all be proud of – whilst we wait to see if we’re going to get a ‘proper’ cinema in the vast wasteland next to the tram station we have several independent cinema clubs, not least those run by our previous editor Matt at the White Lion and Café Roya. Matt was also a driving force behind Beestonia: The Movie which was a fabulous celebration of all things local and I even got to have a cameo in it, which
was great fun.
In fact over the past few years I’ve done quite a bit of filming, mainly promotional videos for Nottingham in my guise as Robin but also, strangely enough, for a couple of ‘proper’ films…
We were actually on the red carpet alongside Daniel Craig, which really was astoundingly fun
Being a bloke of a certain age I love James Bond films (well, most of them anyway, I could live without Never Say Never Again and A View To A Kill and for my money On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Casino Royale are the best). Anyway, via an internet Bond fan group I became friends with a group in Chicago in the US who buy, restore and look after loads of the vehicles used in previous films and I’ve travelled over there a couple of times to visit both the vehicles and my American friends – it’s great fun to sit inside amongst other vehicles the huge red Mustang from Diamonds Are Forever, the Aston Martin from The Living Daylights or some of the boats from Live and Let Die. In fact speaking of premieres it was via this group that Sal and I got to attend the Royal Premiere of Skyfall at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where we were actually on the red carpet alongside Daniel Craig, which really was astoundingly fun.
One of the friends I met in the US (some of whom are now such good friends they’re travelling over for Sal and my wedding later this year) is a film-maker specialising in low-budget horror films. He thought it would be fun to have an English actor ‘introduce’ the films and so he asked me to create a character named ‘Lord Victor Fleming’, supposedly a ‘master of the macabre and historian of the occult’. This meant I had to smarten myself up, put on my DJ and try to generate some gravitas as I intoned dire warnings about the terrible story and horrific scenes contained in the film. With Sal as
my camerawoman we decorated our front room to look like an Edwardian-period drawing room and set to filming. We even did some location shooting at Wollaton Hall, carefully cutting scenes to look like the interior scenes we’d shot were actually done inside the Hall. So you can say both Batman and Robin have now filmed there!
So if you ever get the chance to watch the masterful cinematic classics that are James Baack’s Dracula’s Orgy of the Damned or the equally terrifying (for any number of reasons) sequel Werewolf Massacre at Hell’s Gate (both available on DVD from Amazon US) then you’ll know that at least part of them were shot in our own home town of Beeston – which makes it even weirder than a number of online reviewers commented on my ‘phony English accent’. It seems that as with Robin Hood films, there’s just no pleasing some people…
Nottingham’s Official Robin Hood
A couple of months ago, Beeston Film Club had a special screening of ‘I Believe in Miracles’, a superb documentary about the astounding success of the Forest side of the late 70s/early 80s. Taking in place in the upstairs room of The White Lion, a great night was had by all.
The film is very accessible to fans of Forest and those of other clubs (and even people not that into footy), mixing archive footage of games and interviews, together with plenty of commentary of the stars of that time. An added bonus at the showing was the presence of one of the key men, striker Garry Birtles. He very generously gave up his time after a long trip down from covering a match at Sunderland (he now works as a pundit/co-commentator for Sky), in order to come.
Garry is a local lad, having lived in the Long Eaton and Chilwell areas for the majority of his life. Definitely had no trouble navigating his way to a pub in the middle of Beeston! Forest signed him from lowly Long Eaton United as a young man (you just have to say ‘young man’ in a Cloughie voice!), and after a few years he had won a bagful of medals, including two European Cups. He was also capped by England on three occasions.
I am slightly too young to remember Garry in his pomp as part of that amazing Forest side at the time. I was also brought up elsewhere in the country supporting a different team. They happen to be the side where Cloughie cut his managerial teeth though, so I like to think that without the gritty experience of managing Hartlepool United, he never would have enjoyed the success he did. Therefore, I Believe in Miracles filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about the astonishing rise of a middling, unfashionable second tier side who went on to become the best side in Europe within a couple of years.
After the film finished, the questions and answers began. Garry was an absolute star, pulling no punches with the answers to a variety of questions. I managed to rile him unintentionally by asking how he would compare the exploits of Leicester City to what Forest achieved. He quite rightly pointed out that people in the media now tend to have fairly short memories, and that football definitely existed before the birth of the Premier League in the early 1990s. Perhaps if Leicester win the European Champions League next year they can start to see if they might measure up.
I often thought that I might have affected his game, but now I realise that I maybe just ruined his marriage and made him sell his house.
Perhaps the funniest moment of the night came when a member of the audience didn’t ask a question, but instead issued an apology. Ace local carpenter Peter Urbacz confessed to being the little scrote who used to ride his skateboard down Garry’s drive at various antisocial times! I asked Peter about this afterwards, and he explained in full.
“In my teenage mind, Blenheim Drive in Chilwell was like one of those wide Californian streets. The banked concrete driveways with a channel of steps were steep enough to skate and a perfect obstacle to do a backside kickflip. Every morning and often very late at night I would pass his house. I would skate down there and do a Frontside Ollie over his channel of steps.
I must point out that the trend then was to have very hard and small wheels, so it would have been proper loud. I often thought that I might have affected his game, but now I realise that I maybe just ruined his marriage and made him sell his house.”
I managed to catch up with Garry whilst he was covering the Euros in France. Over the phone I hasten to add – I did fancy a trip over there to see him in person, but it would have been a bit dearer than the cost of a day ticket on the tram and a couple of pints.
He very kindly spared some of his time during a hectic schedule, chatting about the success and popularity of the film, what a great time he had as a player, and how there is no comparison to be made between NG9 and France. Also how badly run Forest are at present, in sharp contrast to his time there, when Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor were thoroughly trusted to do what they thought best.
He also talked about his time at Manchester United, when he wasn’t able to buy a house in the north west due to difficulties in selling his home in Long Eaton. This really struck me as indicative of the vast wealth players of today enjoy. When explaining to my wife who Garry is and what he achieved, it made me think of what he would have been worth these days.
A bang average Premiership player these days is more or less guaranteed to be a millionaire if they have a career in the top flight lasting 5 or so years. The monetary rewards are now astonishing for those winning a sackful of trophies and playing for England.
Garry lived in a modest house, drank in his local – ‘The Cadland used to be a truly great pub’ – and is still an incredibly down-to-earth and approachable bloke. I for one am really glad that the film has shone a spotlight on the achievements of Garry and the rest of that Forest side, and together with the success of Leicester City, proves that the beautiful game doesn’t have to be all about the biggest clubs with the most money.