Saturday, 23 June 2012

Covering a Film Screening

I was covering a screening of Dreams of a Life at the new N21 Film Festival. It was very exciting!

Not only was this a new film festival set up by John Stewart, Ellie Phillips and Chris Irish but it was a local film festival, well local to those in N21, North London. As my day would say 'local film festival for local people'. But that's exactly what it was.

I enjoyed myself immensly! Firstly I got to use my dictaphone, that was exciting on its own and secondly I love new festivals, especially unconventional ones. Had a drink at the pop up bar, chose my seat carefully (only for it be ruined by a very loud moany elderly couple who came and sat right next to me when the hall was frakin empty) and then settled down to watch the film.

There was also a Q & A after the film but it was so epic that I'm still transcribing it.

Below is the jist of what I wrote for another website ( I know, traitor! but I thought I can't be a traitor to myself, then it gets ridiculous).

N21 Film Festival – Day 4: Dreams of a Life

As I walked up the red carpet and was directed into the church hall behind United Reformed Church in Winchmore Hill, I knew this was going to be unlike any other film festival.

The atmosphere of the festival was that it was all about the community. Everyone seemed to know someone and even though I was technically an outsider I felt part of the festival. The setting was very unconventional right down to the seating; ordinary church hall chairs transformed into festival seating with a cushion. Fitting in with the sense of community, the local pub, The Queen’s Head provided a pop up bar serving drinks and Mediterranean artisan foods was provided by Palmavera Fine Foods.

The film being screening that evening was the documentary, ‘Dreams of a Life’ directed by Carol Morely. It was the story about a woman, Joyce Vincent, who had was found dead after three years in her bedsit in North London in 2003. The producer, Cairo Cannon introduced the film and stayed for the Q &A afterwards. Shortly before the main event, a short film about the impending closure of the Gun, Fishing Tackle and Motorcycle shop in Enfield Town, directed by Michael Taylor, who also worked on ‘Dreams of a Life’ in the art department.

The film, a combination of interviews and reconstruction was fascinating and at the same time, haunting.

When Filmmaker Carol Morely saw the headline ‘Woman dead in flat for 3 years’ she did extensive research into the life of Joyce Carol Vincent who died in her bedsit above a busy shopping centre in 2000 but wasn’t discovered until 2003. She was surrounded by Christmas presents she had been wrapping with the television still on. The interviews with people from past are conflicting at time but always heartbreaking as the talk about the woman they used to know. None of them could understand how she ended up dying alone. The reconstruction used to mirror what the interviewees are talking about was very effective. The brilliant actress, Zawe Ashton portrays Joyce in these scenes and was so close in likeness that people who knew Joyce felt like she was almost alive again.

I can see why this heartbreaking and intriguing story was chosen to be screened at this festival. Communities now aren’t like what they were and because of Joyce things have changed and hopefully for the better.

‘Dreams of a Life’ was a brilliant film and I suggest that you all go see it, buy it, rent it, somehow. It is truly an amazing documentary, despite what that moany old couple were saying, ruining my dictaphone recording.

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