yesterday’s exodus of cloud-cover made for both an extremely chilly experience last night and a bright and warm day today – sunburn and ground frost are not two things that often share the same 24hrs, but in many ways greenbelt_ is very much about the sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes truly inspiring things that issue from the marriage of queer bed fellows (a metaphor to cheer the hearts of Anglican Mainstream if ever there was one.)
it’s also a metaphor that speaks rather well to the realm of cinema and in particular the discussion and criticism of films, a phenomenon that was well represented at the races today with Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode interviewing (hello to) David Morrissey and Emma Wee about their work with creative arts charity CAST, a screening of Jeremy Hardy Vs The Israeli Army followed by a discussion of the film led by Jeremy and the co-founder of Open Jerusalem, Maxim Sansour, and then Gareth Higgins, Nev Pierce and Luke Walton debating the best films of the last greenbelt_ year.
Jeremy Hardy is an extremely funny man. Jeremy Hardy Vs The Israeli Army is not a very funny film. it is a film that you should see, however. it shines eye-opening light on the remarkable work being done by international volunteers who choose to go to the occupied territories to put themselves in the line (quite literally) of Israeli tanks and bullets in order to protect and help the lives of Palestinians who just want to eat and sleep and go to school safely, but cannot. if you care about the abuse of humans by humans and haven’t seen it, then try to.
after lunch i shuffled gingerly towards where the Mayo/Kermode wittertainment machine would be doing their thing, expecting to be confronted by a large queue and the minor pang of guilt that comes from using a media pass to cut to the front, but was surprised that the turn-out was on the modest side.
those that had come along were treated to the premier of the short film that David Morrissey has put together to promote the work of the Creative Arts Schools Trust, a charity that seeks to use creative arts as a teaching tool in places where they are considered a luxury, and luxuries are extremely scarce. The film beautifully documents a project based around a week of workshops with school children from the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. it shows, in a sensitive, but striking way the power of the arts to connect with and change the lives of marginalised children who are rapidly learning that unless they are conventionally smart then there is even less of a chance of them escaping the frighteningly limited confines within which their community exists.
Morrissey (David that is, not the grumpy, ageing singer) spoke from personal experience about the abilities of drama to give a voice and bring inspiration to struggling children, and CAST’s chief executive Emma Wee spoke passionately about the impact of the work in Beirut and the scope of their future plans.
there was also some time for the more familiar banter that we expect from the two Drs and even an impromptu song from The Dodge Brothers who joined Dr K on stage at Dr M’s request and gave us a sample of the skiffle goodness that awaits us this evening. once more first and third beat clapping broken out that was nothing short of awful – this really must be addressed at GB, seriously, by John Bell or someone that everybody here listens to.
a quick march over to the Film venue saw me in plenty of time for the much anticipated greenbelt_ film revue. Gareth Higgins (whose work i have already waxed lyrical about) worked his way through his favs, worsties and nearlys of the year (to occasional spates of half-hearted cheering a booing) and then discussed the nominations and winners of the Second Annual Greenbelt Oscars.
while the critics singled out and spoke in depth about all sorts of interesting movies from Inception to The Philosopher Kings for praise, mirroring the fundamental weakness of democracy, when it came to the awards it was the opinion of the people that counted.
the list of winners looked something like this:
Best Baddie: Lotso from Toy Story 3
Best Children’s Film that adults enjoy: Up
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan
Best Uplifting Moment: The house lifts off in Up
Best Actor: Leonardo Di Caprio
Best Film: Toy Story 3
right i’m off to sharpen my quiff and get my jive on to The Dodge Brothers