Despite its unlikely setting as a habitat for a film festival, Derby’s QUAD cinema is actually the perfect locale for such an event.
Despite its unlikely setting as a habitat for a film festival,
Derby’s QUAD cinema is actually the perfect locale for such an event. Its
large lobby area backs onto a wonderfully lit cafe whose large open windows allow
the unerring sunlight the opportunity to illuminate the entire complex.
However, despite the fine array of biscuits, sandwiches and other delights on
offer, cinema is the course of the weekend for Gregory James Wakeman who
prepares himself to devour yet another course of celluloid delight with the
local premiere of Strawberry Fields
being the next on his list to enjoy.
Frances Lea‘s melodramatic coming of age tale of sibling
rivalry, lust and romance is another slow-burning British film that looks to
weave a simple narrative around it’s mysterious characters who ultimately
explode with conflict. A question and answer session with Lea after the movie
helped to add context to the film’s production, with funding from the piece
coming from Film London’s Microwave scheme however you couldn’t help but feel
the movie was stagnated by its plethora of influences like Tennesse Williams and The
iD FEST also
celebrated British filmmaking luminaries from the past with a Ken Russell retrospective ending Friday
evening’s festivities. Film historian Paul
Sutton, a close friend of the Tommy
director provided a whole host of unseen footage whilst showcasing a
comprehensive vision of how Russell has influenced a whole generation of
filmmakers. However, his ambition to have a statue erected in his honour might
be a bit of a long-shot.
A screening of The Boyfriend the following morning
allowed those in attendance to purvey their new found knowledge and appreciate
of his work whilst also viewing his piece in a different light. The Boyfriend
maintains Russell’s unique reputation as an artist, with his virtuoso talents
on show throughout as he elegantly mixes a simple narrative with extravagant
filmmaking techniques, both of which blend together seamlessly.
enough to attend iD FEST would have witnessed how jam-packed the schedules were
with premieres, workshops and screenings, each of which came one after the
other like a proverbial string of tardy London buses.
Directing Actors Workshop with Paddy
Considine was one of the most sought after events on the brochure with the
event selling out days in advance. Interviewed by Empire magazine’s news
editor, Chris Hewitt, Considine was candid and honest with his anecdotes about
working in the film industry and his wide variety of clips were able to paint a
vivid picture of his career, influences and hopes for the future, with the
crowd leaving the event visually inspired by the words of their local hero.
Following on from
Considine’s discourse were two local premieres, the first being the documentary
We Are Poets, due to be screened at
Sheffield Doc/Fest in June, and The
Turin Horse, a prize winner at last year’s Venice film festival. Both of
which were two compelling pieces of cinema for entirely contrasting reasons.
We Are Poets told
the tale of a group of Leeds poets who competed in 2011’s Poetry Slam
Competition in Washington DC, an event which pits poets against poets from
around the world. We Are Poets allowed us access to a seldom seen art form and
showed us the medium’s influence on its characters from different backgrounds
and beliefs. It’s impossible not to be inspired by the documentaries narrative
and the film’s directors Daniel Lucchesi
and Alex Ramseyer-Bache ultimately
provide us with a conclusion that is both heart breaking and triumphant.
The Turin Horse on
the other hand is the latest fare from Bela
Tarr which depicts the life of a horse whose whipping in Turin is rumoured
to have caused the mental breakdown of philosopher Fredrich Nietzche. Shot in
black-and-white and comprising of only 30 long takes the film showcases the
repetitive lives of the horse and its owners and unravels into a hypnotising
movie that despite its monotony manages to engage throughout.
uniqueness as a festival is truly apparent when you are able to leave a
screening of The Turin Horse and then have the opportunity to watch John Cusack’s late 90s dark comedy
masterpiece Grosse Point Blank. This
pop-culture classic lights up magnificently on the big screen and Cusack
effortlessly glides through the film as its protagonist/anti-hero Martin Blank.
A real blast from the past that left those in attendance with a perpetual smile
of their faces throughout.
Coming into the
festival’s last day there was still a plethora of workshops and screenings
still to behold, each of which truly evoked the ideas and originality of the
weekend. It kicked off with a BAFTA Production Design Masterclass with Eve Stewarts, which had been
specifically researched and planned in coordination with film students from
around the region and allowed an opportunity to celebrate the work of an unsung
hero in the realm of the British industry. Her work on the Damned United, Topsy Turvy
and The King’s Speech have garnered
her two Oscar nominations as well as a number of awards and she imparted a host
of advice to those in attendance.
concluded with yet another premiere, that of In Love With Alma Cogan, a movie which will probably only appeal to
a certain demographic but that once again emphasises iD FESTS ambition to lull
in movie lovers of any age, and was followed by yet another thought-provoking
masterclass, this time from Sergio Leone
connoisseur, Professor Sir Christopher
Frayling. This hour and ten minute event covered every element of Leone’s
work on Once Upon A Time In The West,
with a screening of the film following the lecture, from it’s conception
through to it’s production and is a must for any vocal advocate of the
Spaghetti Western genre.
And that was that.
Over the four days there was a cavalcade of cinematic delights with our
reporter even missing out on A Conversation with Brian Blessed, BAFTA short films, Flash Gordon, Out Of Sight
and RoboCop over the 96 hours yet
still feeling almost nauseous with the amount of cinema he consumed.
iD FEST is a true
celebration of not only film but of the community and region that surrounds
QUAD cinema. The festival’s organisers provided a weekend that not only
championed future British filmmaking talent and celebrated an eclectic mix of
genres, movies and directors that deserve recognition, but did it whilst
permeating an aura of togetherness that is often missing from other more
condescending events whilst still enforcing a cineliterate language that
enlightened this in attendance.
A cult festival
that deserves to be more and will be in the near future. And with iD Fest 2013
announced for May 10th-12th next year it’ll be interesting to see how they can
top this year’s brochure of cinematic wonderment.
It’s 6.58 pm and Mike Hodges is expected on stage in approximately two minutes. FilmJuice’s
roving reporter once again curses the Dutch lorry driver in front and attempts
a ridiculous overtaking manoeuvre that, not only endangers his life but that of
the Netherlands native and an elderly gentlemen marauding on a nearby pavement.
It’s like a scene from Hodge’s pulsating debut film Get Carter (Main Picture) only Caine’s titular character was never this close to
tears behind the wheel of his automobile.
Fest has begun and a hot and sweaty Gregory James Wakeman is at Derby’s
glorious QUAD cinema just in time to witness Mike Hodges walk on stage to
rapturous applause. Let’s hope that this is the sweatiest Greg will be all
Hodges is a rather sprightly 80-year-old and his
interviewer, Tony Earnshaw, is clearly well versed in his back catalogue and
cinematic traits. Earnshaw and the Flash
Gordon filmmaker kick off with a traipse through his career, starting with
his work for Granada and Thames Television. It was while working on TV movies, Rumour and Suspect, that Hodges caught the attention of the producer Michael Klinger who offered him the
chance to adapt Ted Lewis’ 1969 novel
Jack’s Return Home, aka Get Carter. Hodges relives tales from the film’s
production, recalling the startling suggestion, by one MGM exec, to cast Yul Brynner as the film’s villain,
Cyril Kinnear, and Joan Collins as a
As Earnshaw and Hodges discuss Carter, it’s
clear that the cinephiles in the audience are engrossed by the director’s
candid and honest remarks. As the duo delve further back into his career, with
recollections on Get Carter sequel, Pulp,
The Terminal Man and, of course, Flash Gordon, Hodges also takes the
chance to offer up some advice to burgeoning directors in the crowd: remain
true to your instincts as a filmmaker and always battle to keep them intact!
And at 80-years-young it’s easy to imagine Hodges causing quite the ruckus either
during pre-production, onset or in the editing suite to keep his vision true.
Hodges’ discussion was followed by a screening
of his seminal 1971 masterpiece, Get Carter. But for those not enamoured with
indie ‘70s cinema QUAD still had plenty on offer including SS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies. The 2006 French comedy from the team
behind last year’s Oscar winning smash hit, The Artist, stars many of the silent movie’s main cast including Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. Director, Michel
Hazanavicius is clearly a rare talent with a cinematic eye for original
takes on established genres and it’s certain that the film’s sequel, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, will have shot
way up on the list of ‘must watch movies’ for many of those in the audience.
Friday morning offered a chance to catch Robert Mulligan’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic piece of American
literature, To Kill A Mockingbird, featuring Gregory Peck’s virtuoso performance as Atticus Finch. Every bit the
movie star, Peck strides on screen with so much magnetism and charisma that it
feels impossible to take your eyes off him. Forty years on, the film still
stands up as the bona fide classic it has long been labelled.
Later in the day came Mike Hodges Directing
Masterclass. This event saw Hodges discuss in intimate detail his work on
1990’s Black Rainbow and 1972’s
Pulp. Through clips and his own retrospection, he analysed these two pieces,
which he had touched upon the night before, and offered those in attendance a
brief insight into his approach as a filmmaker.
Want to hear more? Greg will be at QUADs
blogging station for the next thee days offering his insights and thoughts. So
check this space for all the gen on a whole host of screenings and events –
from a Directing Actors Workshop with
Paddy Considine to a Sergio Leone
Masterclass by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling. Who needs Cannes?