There are two things of note today that are not in the video blog from yesterday. First off, at the panel and seminar sessions, actor Dan Butler gave his key note speech. Dan is most known for his role of Bulldog in the TV show ‘Frasier’, but he had his own movie at the festival too. He spoke at some length about what he called ‘joy’, and how one needs to find it in everything, and keep hold of it when you find it.
Later, after the panel on raising finance, I was approached by Mary Hanley, a photographer from the festival who was so impacted by what I had said about Gone Fishing, she asked if she could contribute $100!
She wrote me a cheque and handed it over. No strings attached at all. For me this proves again, that if you choose to reach an audience with a message that you feel will connect powerfully with them, money for the production kind of finds you. It’s just that most of the time in the UK, we spend too much energy chasing the dangling carrot of Film Council money or other ‘free’ money, and neglect the whole point of what we do, specifically telling stories that really move audiences. So often, in the pursuit of this ‘free’ money, audience connection takes second place over things like social comment, ethnic diversity, cultural film making …
After taking Mary’s cheque, I explained that to cash her cheque, it would cost nearly as much as she was contributing, and would it be OK if I just framed it as a reminder to us all of what is possible? She was insistent though, so I suggested she give the cash to a charity that meant something to her. She then explained that her father was in a bad way with cancer, and that ‘Gone Fishing’ had resonated with her and helped her through her day. Goodness me. So I have a cheque to prove a concept, and cancer research now has a contribution of $100 cash that it did not have before she saw the film. That’s a result.
But isn’t this the reason why we make movies? To tell stories that positively reflect the human condition in such a way as to help make sense of the madness we all endure each and every day? Give us all a release or escape for short time, so we can find relief and hope? Life is hard as it is.
I wish more British Film Makers could positively reach audiences. Maybe then we would have a thriving industry.
So thank you Mary for reminding us all to tell stories that matter…
Right… The closing night screening approaches!
Onwards and upwards!