With Summer feeling like it’s about a million years away, it was a real pleasure to get an invite to BAFTA’s screening theatre on Monday night to view the two short films made at last year’s Latitude Fesitval arising from the Me and My Latitude project.
For those not in the know, Latitude bills itself as the ‘UK’s leading arts and music festival’ which basically means the Festival provides a showcase for the UK’s wonderfully diverse arts scene – film, theatre, dance, poetry, fine art, etc – alongside the live music in a family-friendly summertime setting in Southwold, Suffolk.
BAFTA have been partners in scheduling Latitude’s Film & Music Arena for a number of years with organisers Festival Republic, but last year they sent out a call to up-and-coming young British filmmaking talent to make a couple of short documentaries concentrating on two acts from the Festival line-up.
Directors Sameer Patel and Caroline Bridges were eventually chosen to take up the challenge. Their two films give not only a great insight into the acts chosen but are also imbued with the creative energy and idyllic summertime flavour of the Festival itself.
Shot with the quick-cut attitude of a music video, this intimate profile of performance poet Sabrina Mahfouz takes a revealing look at an art form rarely put on film. Mahfouz entertains and challenges with her bold characterisations and edgy prose, while Patel gives her a vivid, colour-saturated showcase worthy of her talent.
Bridges’ portrait of dance theatre company Lost Dog is a very different but equally arresting Festival snapshot – dealing with the trials and tribulations the company faced while putting on their show ‘It Needs Horses’ about a down-at-heel travelling carnival of two. Performance anxiety is the theme here and it becomes particularly sharp when, due to some missing props, the dancers are forced to use a not-all-that-blunt carving knife during a pivotal scene.
If you’re lucky enough to go to Latitude this year, you can catch both films in the Arena. Emerging filmmakers meanwhile may want to sign up for BAFTA’s newsletter and keep their eye out for the chance to apply for this year’s Me & My Latitude initiative.
Summer suddenly doesn’t seem so far away after all…