Looking forward to…Frontline Screening + Q&A: Stolen

Part of the Frontline Club’s Liberation Season. Promising hard-hitting journalism & a rollicking good story…

Filmmakers Ayala and Fallshaw follow Fetim Sellami, a Saharawi refugee, to North Africa for a reunion with her mother. Mother and child were separated when Sellami was a toddler. But the UN-sponsored reunion reveals a secret which spirals the film into a dark world the filmmakers could never have imagined. The Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject…Their enslavement.

The filmmakers recount moments of terror when their lives were in danger as well as the extreme hardships in getting the footage across borders. Perhaps most disturbingly, it becomes difficult to distinguish who are the good guys, as the ‘good guys’ turn bad and the ‘bad guys’ appear to do good.

Protestors have demonstrated against the accuracy of the film. The Polisario, the movement running the camp flew Sellami to the Sydney Film Festival to deny being a slave and that slavery exists in the camps.

Stolen is a compelling, modern-day, real-life cloak-and-dagger thriller.

Frontline Club – Events: Liberation Season: Screening – Stolen.

8th Oct, Frontline Club @ 7pm

Mosaic Films calling for short doc proposals

Mosaic Films calling for proposals for short (6-10min) documentaries for BBC Storyville on the theme of ‘Why Poverty?’ – about poverty in the UK.  Further info

Mosaic Films has partnered with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, BBC Storyville, STEPS International and Sheffield Doc/Fest to produce three short (6-10 minute) films exploring issues surrounding poverty in the UK. We are launching an open call for proposals from documentary directors with a proven track record in delivering films to a broadcast standard. A shortlist of six filmmakers will be invited to pitch their films during Sheffield Doc/Fest 2010 (3rd – 7th November).

Definitely giving it a go.

DEADLINE:  Mon 5th Oct 2010

Been watching… This is England 1986

Have yet to watch last night’s episode, but I will (the joys of catch-up TV) – not because it’s great, but because I keep hoping it will be.  It should be.  This is England was so spectacular (and so real that it’s used in teaching social workers possible effects of exposure to violent extremism on children) but it’s sequel is…fragmented…aimless.

I realise that’s the point – everyone has grown up, struggling with reality, demands of adulthood…but the genius of the original was the tension, the stomach sickening uncertainty over what would happen (and when), made all the more devastating because of the earlier euphoria/ joy.  A love triangle doesn’t match up to a 13 year old’s involvement with the National Front.

My hope rests on Combo – please don’t let him just be saved simply for an explosive climax, returning in a cliff-hanger ending of the penultimate episode.

Saying that… I’m still prepared for (i.e. willing) it to be a piece of shattering genius that I just missed to start off with.

Next episode: Tues 28th Sept, Channel 4 @ 10pm

BAFTA & BFI Screenwriter Lecture series

Sir David Hare,Ronald Harwood, Peter Morgan, Simon Beaufoy, Aline Brosh McKenna and Christopher Hampton.  Series all about the auteur – the beginning being: screenwriters are much maligned, to what extent should they be considered a film’s true auteur?

Peter Morgan (20th Sept) was sold out virtually immediately (will have to rely on the podcasts) – but I did attend the Simon Beaufoy one on 17th Sept (I know how to enjoy a Friday night).  There was nothing revelatory: good screenwriting the foundation, a good director takes it further, need to be adaptable – but that in itself was pleasant.

Most interesting aspect was probably his history as a documentary-maker: the “do you want truth or a great story?” dilemma, the Rosa Parks incident as a media-choreographed affair, his insistence that the stories he writes are other peoples.

He came across eminently likeable: apologetically hippyish comments about truth and spirit and soul, credit to director, understanding and satisfaction in his role as writer – though sounds as if he is more writer/producer.  Isn’t that the perfect role?

Pod casts don’t seem to be available yet but should turn up here eventually.

Been watching…The Great British Bake Off

Loving The Great British Bake Off.  A happy programme full of happy food: biscuits, cakes, pastry, puddings…

Simple, yes – but so refreshing to have a formatted programme that ignores the most mind-numbing conventions of the reality TV competition.  In place of the ubiquitous family sob story, contributors’ characters come out (seemingly) naturally in the course of the competition. This thereby frees up time for VTs on the world’s most expensive biscuit and the ritual properties of cake in the Stone Age.  Much better to sit in a stone circle with a long-haired archaeologist than hear about how Granny got cancer.

As far as I can work out, the prize is nothing more than being named ‘Britain’s Best Home Baker’.  Which is fine. There is no need to pretend the competition is going to change anyone’s life – it is just to salivate over delicious-looking food & be welcomed into the wonderful world of food historians.

Final next week (Tues 21st, BBC Two).