Pic credit: Withnail & I © Murray Close www.murrayclose.com
WE do so love it when the one thing that has really been missing from our quality of life kicks into being. Enter the brand new WhereWestBegins
, a film events venture which is going to blow the multiplex viewing experience out of the water. Want to see Withnail & I with gin in hand and hear an actor talking about how it shaped his life afterwards? (Us too). Or sign up your kids for a Bugsey Malone theatre workshop before a screening at Hauser & Wirth? Or take your teens to see Dazed & Confused with a special effects demonstration on how to blow a head up?
This brilliant new concept, funded with a National Lottery grant from the British Film Institute, is the brainchild of Penny Nagle who has a background in the film and music industries.
Her lightbulb moment came when she realised how bored she was of taking her children to watch the latest sub standard blockbuster.
“I was fed up of driving an hour to Cineworld and only being offered blockbusters. No interesting cinema. Nothing to inspire. That was the genesis of the idea.’
As she gathered support for a film arts project aimed at children and teenagers, adults often told her, hang on a minute, there’s nothing interesting for us either.
And so WhereWestBegins was born.
A Community Interest Company, WhereWestBegins has been given funding to create 35 film events across three venues – Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Wincanton Town Hall and Westlands Yeovil. Crucially it also has key partners in Bruton’s Youth Cinema Foundation, Yeovil’s Castaways Theatre Group and Frome Circus Stars, providing workshops and demonstrations geared around each screening.
Half the programme is aimed at children and teenagers with events screened in the afternoon or early evening. Finding something appealing for teenagers was a primary aim, says Penny. Films have been carefully selected (vampires, horror) with workshops likely to appeal to the edgiest of teenagers. The ambition is to provide a safe but interesting venue where teens can hangout with their friends, leaving parents behind.
And now to the imaginative programming. First up Charlie Chaplin’s seminal film Circus screens at Wincanton Town Hall (April 1) and Hauser & Wirth (13 May) with Frome Circus Stars providing a juggling, tightrope and ball working workshop.
The Wave (2008) features a social experiment in fascism at a high school which goes drastically wrong shows at Wincanton Town Hall (May 6) and is supported with a talk by the actor and writer Rashan Stone. Growing up as the only black family in Hampshire, Stone will talk about the experience of feeling like an outsider.
The Producers - Mel Brooke’s satirical comedy about two producers trying to make a Broadway flop - is showing at Westlands Yeovil (25 May) with a talk from producer/writer Anil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, The Office, Citizen Khan). Broadway cocktails will be served.
For teenagers there is Let the Right One In, a Swedish vampire film, with a special effects workshop demonstrating, amongst other things, which fruit makes the best sounding vampire bite. Also Dazed & Confused (though this ageing teenager will signing up as well) the much loved coming of age comedy about a group of teens on their last day of school. The screening at Hauser & Wirth (10 June) will be followed by a talk from Tom Hodgkinson writer and editor of The Idler about teenage philosophy.
Who can afford to miss To Kill a Mockingbird with a talk from actor Olivia Williams, showing at Westlands Yeovil (June 4).
There’s plenty of culture in the South West if you know where to look for it but isn’t it fantastic when someone does all the hard work for you and throws in a cocktail for good measure? Find information about screenings and buy tickets here