Late 2013 I was sat, shoulders positively nestled between an impressive array of celebrated film makers, documenters and directors in a Leicester Square cinema, attending the London Digital Film Festival. I’d entered a short film for this competition, though as the lights went down and the reels started to play, it started to sink in just how special the talent pool from which the top ten films would be drawn actually was.
I’ve heard it mooted, I think by my school rugby coach decades ago, that there’s no such place but first, in terms of competition. Of course he’d never made a film, or so I assume, and as I laid prostrate on Mr.Bennett’s rugby field aged 16 with my face firmly pushed into the mud following another collapsed scrum, I’m sure I may have mused that silver and bronze still required me to play on in gladiatorial fashion hours after the rest of the field had departed to enjoy hot showers and telly in front of a warm fire at home.
And so for me silver and bronze, well they certainly existed, and I still have a calf scar to prove it.
I’ve digressed slightly, but the relevance is that as I sat in the warmth of a cinema in London’s celebrated cinema quarter, and the final top three places were announced for winning festival films, being bronze certainly seemed an accolade worth achieving. And of course it was a lot more comfortable than being flattened for your sport by a dirty great prop.
I’m immensely proud of this film, but not just for the medallion; for the gentle nature of it’s story telling. I like to film alone when it comes to stories such as this, probably due to my background in radio, which was a very solitary occupation. If I can handle light, sound and concept, well, interviewees seem far more relaxed. They’re not required to play to a crowd.
Meet Johannes von Stumm, a sculptor whose work I am surrounded by living near Newbury, as one of his largest pieces adorns the centre of a main arterial roundabout to the town.