London: Day 3

We survived our first day of filming! And not only survived, we triumphed!

First interview up was Tony Garnett. It was a bit nerve wracking to start, I’ll admit. There was still last minute running around to do before Tony arrived, and of course you never actually feel prepared to start something like this. I was in charge of monitoring the sound from the lapel microphone and keeping an eye on the backup camera, so I felt very official sitting there and listening through a headset. (I also feel official because I’m wearing a tie. Half windsor knot today, thank you for asking.)

Tony Garnett was intensely interesting, though I have a feeling I’ll be saying that about everyone we interview, so I’ll just strike that word from my vocabulary now. Tony was incredibly laid back about being our first interview, for which I will thank him forever since we had some kinks that needed to be worked out, like me having no idea how to actually wire someone for sound.

We covered the general questions about the British film industry, but where I found myself most interested was when he discussed the future, and the opportunities presented by the internet–the democratization of film. It’s a topic that really speaks to me personally. Tony very much brought politics into the discussion of art, which I know is not a usual thing, but I could have just listened to him talk for hours about the importance of presenting a wide range of stories, including those belonging to the working class.

And then: “I wish I was twenty again, so I could fail. And then fail better.”

Next up was Iain Smith. I am ashamed to admit that when he arrived, I was so focused on everything else I promptly forgot about The Fifth Element and Children of Men. This might have been for the best, because the level of nerding out I might have hit otherwise probably would have gotten me ejected from the room. But I got to shake his hand. Twice. SO THERE.

One of the parts of Iain’s interview that caught my attention the most was the question of British versus English versus London kind of overtaking the cultural narrative thanks to it being the capital city. And for that reason, English identity might be something that’s still struggling to find its definition, because London is not really representative of the rest of the culture… which is something that can be seen in other capital city versus the rest of the countries throughout Europe. Though of course then America has to be weird, since the cities that dominate our narrative tend to be New York City and Los Angeles, rather than our actual capital.

Food for thought, that.

Third and final interview of the day was Debs Paterson. To me, she was the cherry of amazing on a really great day. I think I fell a little bit in love with her when she mentioned Orlando as an influential movie on her development as an artist. That movie made a huge impression on me when I saw it (and then subsequently read the book) and has sort of been rolling around in my brain since on a subconscious level. Debs spoke very eloquently on coming of age when there was both a female prime minister and a female monarch, which at least rendered the question of if there were things girls could or could not do rather moot. (Think about this the next time someone questions the usefulness of role models.)

And once she’d answered all of the prepared questions, we wandered a bit off topic and onto women in film, particularly the dominance of white male characters on screen and the way in which that encourages everyone but white men to empathize with someone who is unlike themselves. It’s a topic familiar to me (due to recent explosions of debate in the scifi/fantasy writers community) and I was really glad to hear the perspective from a filmmaker.

I think Debs is going to be an amazing role model for the next generation of women filmmakers.

So that was it for the day. I’ve now fed the rest of the crew on some Sainsbury’s take home pizza and squash, and we’ll be off to see Filth in about an hour, to prepare for a later interviews with Irvine Welsh and Jon S Baird. We’ve got two interviews lined up for tomorrow afternoon as well, which is exciting! Interviews are still coming in even now, so I’m never quite sure what each day will bring.

So far, so good!

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer