Bridport Arts Newsletter

A Night of South West Screen Talent

On Nov 1 at Bridport Arts Centre there is a special evening of screenings to showcase recent South West cinematic talent and fundraise for the next generation of local filmmakers.


The main feature is ‘Bait’, the story of struggling Cornish fisherman Martin Ward, whose brother has taken their father’s boat for tourists’ day trips and allowed their childhood home to be used as a holiday rental.

When Martin tries to restore his family’s traditional place in their picturesque fishing village he heightens the friction with locals and incomers alike, while a personal tragedy transforms his own world.

Bait is the 2018 breakthrough full-length film by acclaimed Cornish writer-director Mark Jenkin.  Shot in hand-processed black and white with the sound added subsequently, the film creates a unique combination of the atmosphere of a piece of archive with some very 21st Century concerns to unforgettable effect.

Outstanding reviews for ‘Bait’ include Mark Kermode in The Guardian calling it; ‘One of the defining films of the decade’, and Kevin Maher in The Times describing it as; ‘One of the most extraordinary movie experiences of the year…the keen-eyed might be forgiven for thinking they were witnessing an newly unearthed print of a 1920s nature documentary….Soon a bag of Waitrose shopping looms into view, however and the plot kicks off with a tale of snooty London tourists clashing with resentful cash-strapped locals.’

The evening will open with a wide-ranging collection of locally filmed shorts including films for music like ‘A Picture is Drawn / Going to the Fayre’ by renowned folk musicians Jack Harrison, Aidan Simpson and Matt Benjamin as well as ‘Surrender’, a live performance in the Carrifran Wildwood in Southern Scotland of a new song by Bryony Moores O’Sullivan who is part of Bridport-based ‘Chasing Cow’ Productions.

Bryony also takes the lead role in Chasing Cow’s 2019 black comedy ‘Brink By Brink’ as a young woman turning to ancient rituals to reverse the pain of unrequited love.

Director and cinematographer Fred Warren explains how the short was made and inspired by ‘Bait’;

“This was our group’s first official project after coming together as Chasing Cow. We had no real budget and all the main creative roles on both sides of the camera were filled by just four of us, but these limitations also gave us freedom to adapt and improvise as we filmed, and we soon became completely absorbed in this world of folk practices jarring against modern life.

We didn’t record any sound on set, instead scoring it all with a post production soundscape of folk music composed by Grace Crabtree and Bryony Moores O’Sullivan and sounds recorded by Tom Beed. This was influenced by the similar method adopted by Mark Jenkin in his film Bait.

It definitely helped us craft a sense of this strange parallel world of folk practices and rituals in which the main character exists.

Due to the pandemic, we had to premiere the film online so it’s a real pleasure to be able to show some of it on the big screen in Bridport.”

Other local screen acting talent is captured by ‘Sudden Light’, filmed by Sophie Littman around Abbotsbury with a central performance by teenager Millie Ashford that secured her a role in the upcoming Ridley Scott film ‘Napoleon’.

Like ‘Sudden Light’, another West Dorset made film ‘Kitchen Remedies’ was also selected for inclusion in the Cannes Film Festival where it received a nomination for this year’s Best Indie Short.  ‘Kitchen Remedies’  was produced by a group of young creatives all from the Bridport area.  The tale of a teenage boy grappling with loss and betrayal within the confines of a small town was written and directed by actor-filmmaker Howie Blow, a member of The National Youth Theatre who is about start actor training at Drama Studio London.  The cinematography is by Elliot Millson who started out making stop-frame animations in his early teens (including prize-winner ‘The Lost Diamond’) before switching to live action and gaining a role as in-house filmmaker for OffPiste Theatre.  The lead actor is George Earwicker who recently graduated with a first in film from Falmouth and is the new facilitator for the BACStage drama group at the Arts Centre, as well as looking forward to new filmmaking opportunities, he says;

‘It was a pleasure getting to work with so many talented creatives on ‘Kitchen Remedies’ and the process of making the film allowed me to make strong friendships and creative partnerships. Currently, as part of my work for BACSTAGE, I am seeing a great group of young people excited to explore filmmaking for the first time and look forward to what they will bring to the medium. Working with BACSTAGE has made me even more excited and hopeful for what it is to come with BACSCREEN and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such enthusiastic and creative people to help energise a local film scene’

As well as celebrating a wealth of South West filmmaking excellence the evening will launch an initiative to develop ‘BACScreen’, a new Bridport Arts Centre scheme to teach and facilitate more young people interested in creating their own films.

Event coordinator Chris Pike, BAC Trustee and Chair of Bridport Film Society, says;

‘We are delighted to bring the cinematic brilliance of ‘Bait’ to Bridport plus a collection of fantastic local short films in a an event that will be the start of a fundraising drive to create an ongoing project ‘BACScreen’ to support and encourage the next generation of filmmaking talent in the way that ‘BACStage’ has nurtured youth drama for over a decade. We want to celebrate the best of South West cinema and put Bridport and West Dorset on the map as a filmmaking centre of excellence.’

Celebrating South West Filmmakers’ is at 7pm on Tuesday November 1st.  Tickets cost £6 and can be brought from Bridport TIC or online.

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