Split Focus at the BFI No.5: Bevan Walsh and Jacqueline Wright & Alice Lowe.

Posted July 6th, 2009 by Ben

After the usual irregular gap, I am delighted to once more be bringing a pair of fine filmmakers to your attention and laying out both them and their work for your edification and delight beneath the hallowed roof of the British Film Institute.

For those of you either new to Shooting People (481 of you last month) or just plain inattentive, let me explain. After years of scouring the Shooting People community for films of quality and distinction I realised that many of the films that stayed with me the most were not necessarily the best, but those that just screamed out about the talent behind the camera. I realised that what I really wanted to share with you all was not a great film here and a crowd pleasing one there, but the creative talents behind them.

Split Focus is an hour or so in the company of two directors who have built up a distinctive creative voice and who are on the cusp of great things. It’s a chance to delve through their back catalogue, to watch their style develop, to see how they learnt from their mistakes and capitalised on their unexpected successes. It’s a quick catch up on some of the new talent that you might have missed out on, as well as a happy reminder to us all that most ‘new’ talent has been struggling away at it for years…

It’s also a chance for me to throw together a pair of filmmakers who usually have never met before because we all seem to be hermit crabs who rarely poke our beaks out of the sand.

This time round our split diopter swings round to find directors Bevan Walsh and Jacqueline Wright and Jacqueline’s co-conspirator, actress and muse Alice Lowe (yes geek, off of Garth Marenghi). All of whom are responsible for work that is, for you genre whores “comedy”, but shot comedy through with a disquieting oddness that is as funny as it is sexy as it is wrong.

Bevan’s first film “Mumbo Jumbo” was one of the one’s I raved about to people for ages but could never previously find a programme to fit it in. Now his next film “Love Does Grow On Trees” is picking up so many fans and prizes all over the world you’d be forgiven for thinking it was in the Rolling Stones. With a surreal undertone and a delicious edge of mania, Bevan’s films are oddly touching.

Similarly, Jacqueline and Alice are clearly drawn to the odd, the mad and the very funny. Like Bevan, their films are funny and strange but with a compelling edge of desperation. In shorts it is surprisingly rare to find such a strong collaboration between a director and an actor, which makes it all the more delicious to watch it when it works. I first fell for their work with their short “Out Of Water”, a damply melancholic and bleakly funny love story. They followed this with a pair of the best straight8 films I’ve ever seen, then a TV show “Lifespam” which was a catalogue of lunacy and I think we’ll be showing the previously unseen short film from which this show was commissioned, as well as their latest film “Junglophilia”.

So free your diary for Monday 13th July (next Monday) and come to the BFI Southbank for 7.30pm. We’ll watch films, we’ll talk to Bevan, Jacqueline and Alice and then we’ll just crumble into chatting and drinking and being nice until whenever you want to leave. Sounds nice? It’s FREE. But space is limited so please do RSVP by emailing help@shootingpeople.org with ‘Split Focus’ in the subject header and with a short message saying “I’d like to reserve a spot”.

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