Archive for the ‘NFTS’ Tag

Coincidences No. 401 & 402 – time & place

I leave Mint Digital’s offices in Farringdon to walk to the launch of Sheffield DocFest near Russell Square. I walk past a plaque marking the birth of “Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield“. This spot is 26 miles from Beaconsfield. I was working in Beaconsfield the day before at the National Film & Television School.

18193044_10155074839690867_4979884499563393200_o I’ve been working in Finland recently and kept getting confused by the two-hour time difference – my phone was on one time, my laptop on another. So I decided to dig out an old watch I’d had for years – an art deco style one with two faces so you can operate in two time zones. I got a new pair of batteries put in at Stockmann’s last week, the big Helsinki department store. I’ve been wearing it since. I bought it a long time ago in a small shop in Bedfordbury, Covent Garden – long since gone. It was called Simon Carter (after the maker of the watch).

As I turn off Theobalds Road (where the brown LCC Disraeli plaque is) into Lamb’s Conduit Street I walk past the current iteration of Simon Carter‘s shop. (One of the producers I work with has her office and home in its basement).

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Mr Mojo Risin’ (Phase 2: Week 8)

I’m firing on all cylinders again. A really productive week’s writing. Was on a real roll tonight writing about Joan Littlewood and improvisation – her openness to the moment and to others’ ideas, from the renowned actors to the fella that swept the stage.

Yesterday had an illuminating chat with the Chief Exec of Channel4, David Abraham, about the nature of collaboration, in connection with When Sparks Fly. He was talking at one point about artists and creatives who are so gifted that they need not collaborate and who can afford to be difficult, rude or whatever. It drew my attention to the fact that I need to be very clear about what I mean by the collaboration which stems from openness and generosity. I’m not really focusing on collaboration in the narrow sense of A and B make a thing together. It’s more about circles of creatives who inspire, support and catalyse one another’s work. Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac – all responsible for at least one work of genius, all arguably good enough to be contrary fuckers, two out of three largely were – but this didn’t prevent a highly productive collaboration giving rise to a movement with influence across the decades. Tony Wilson, Joy Division/Ian Curtis, Peter Saville et al. What I’m mainly exploring is how peers nurture and champion one another to the advantage of all. As Ginsberg recognised, better a movement than a few disparate successes.

Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs (1944)

Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs (1944)

On other matters, had an inspiring evening at Google HQ in St Giles’s last night. It was a National Film & Television School event showcasing their Film Clinic initiative with Google. Producer Simon Chinn, of Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man fame, who I last chatted with on a roof top in Tel Aviv at the CoPro documentary festival, explained the genesis of Sugar Man and how he helped get it to happen on a grand scale. Between him and me was sitting former NFTS head honcho Dick Fontaine who was great fun. I was introduced to the founder of the Film School, Colin Young, by John Newbigin – Colin had great anecdotes about its early days. Alcohol seems to have played a key part. And to complete the set of NFTS grand fromages, enjoyed chatting again with Nik Powell, the current head. Seemingly he turned down Billy Elliot twice. The same can’t be said for my esteemed colleague Tessa Ross who execed it, and who yesterday announced her departure from Film4 after 11 years at the helm, culminating in this year’s Best picture Oscar with 12 Years a Slave. She has been very encouraging about When Sparks Fly and was tickled by the premise.

I’m due to go out to NFTS in Beaconsfield in a couple of weeks to do my annual lecture there to the TV students about Multiplatform.

Simon Chinn interviewed by Dick Fontaine at Google HQ London

Simon Chinn interviewed by Dick Fontaine at Google HQ London

 

 

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