I attended the thought provoking and moving inaugural World Cinema Film Festival hosted by Bluebird Pictures in Barking on Saturday.
Saying I'm a lover of movies is an understatement, I adore movies and they have essentially played such an indescribable role in my life. I like many out there do actually suffer from autistic spectrum disorder and in many ways, movies have allowed me to express things I find difficult to express and in fact allowed me to learn many of the social intricacies that "normal" people take for granted. From that perspective, movies are almost like my guide for my social and at times cultural blindness.
About Bluebird Pictures
Bluebird Pictures was formed to create content with representation in mind. This soon expanded to training and events to highlight underrepresented areas in the industry based on Joelle's knowledge of working in TV & film. They passionately believe that no part of the industry should be unobtainable by those from marginalised groups in society. Their outreach focuses on the Barking and Dagenham area because they believe there is a wealth of young talent that already exists within the borough that simply need to be given the opportunities to flourish. 2018 will be their busiest year with workshops and masterclasses every month, an inclusion scheme and world cinema film festival. www.bluebirdpictures.org
The World Cinema Film Festival started off with complimentary wine in the VIP section (I started off with whiskey) there were a number of cultural dishes available with jollof rice, plantain, grilled chicken and fish. Being West Indian most descriptions of events attended will begin with the food and drink available. The Festival screened five international short films from the UK, Poland, Pakistan, Dominica and Ghana from a number of international submissions from as far as Iran and the Philippines. The format was Q and A with industry professionals and then a screening followed by an intermission.
Typically I have always been more of a viewer of movies rather than a person who learnt about the inner workings of the film industry and as such I found the event a treasure trove of new information about the challenges, skill sets, professionalism and for me most importantly the mind set of perseverance and struggle required to make movies.
The Five short movies were:
House Girl provided a provoking account of the life of a house girl in Ghana, a "house girl" as I understand it lives a bleak existence between a type of slavery, servitude and abuse in the homes of the wealthy in Ghana. It delved into the interactions of the house girl with the niece of the home owner who arrived from London and the journey from indifference to compassion with an underlying sense of futility.
I thought this was hilarious, Close Ties gave a view of the relationship and marriage of an elderly Polish couple who were dealing the husbands return into the marital home after a long absence which had apparently been filled with alleged womanising, however, this was not proved or evidenced in the film. The banter between the couple whilst culturally different (Polish was the spoken language) somehow managed to transcend the language barrier and somehow I could relate to the dialogue of this elderly Polish couple. The film's most moving piece had been the husband's reading of a letter in which he apologised to his wife in front of the family at their anniversary dinner. The wife appeared to have been released from a heavy burden by this act and her shoulders heaved because of the acknowledgement. (Bear in mind describing these things is a challenge for someone on the Autistic Spectrum)
This is one of those movies that mess you up, even more so when you find out it is based on true events. The School Bag, illustrates the relationship between a mother and her son in Pakistan. The son (approx 7 years old?) is really after this school bag that he wants his mother to buy for him. Its really strange because in his world, the purchase of this bag means much more than the purchase of the bag. The son appears to have placed the entirety of his relationship with his mother on the school bag, in essence, his mother could not possibly love him in any manner unless she buys him this bag. he remonstrates with his mother, threatening to tell his dad on her to no avail. As the film progresses and this bag does not appear the son disappears and locks himself away coming to terms with this apparent abandonment and complete upheaval of his world. The next day arrives and on his bed, the exact bag that he wanted is there. Overjoyed he he runs to his mother and he is elated as he realises he is loved and he hadn't been abandoned at all. The son then goes to school.
The mother is doing chores in the house whilst listening to the radio when a news bulletin is announced stating that there had been a terrorist attack at the sons school with over 100 killed. This is where this movie evoked so many emotions, like, no, seriously? And whilst the mother starts staggering, the viewer is left with the task of deciding whether to remain hopeful or prepare for the terrible news and the turmoil, was very real. There is a knock on the door and a man in uniform is holding her sons bag.
This movie I find difficult to explain for many reasons. It displays psychological and physical torture and the interactions between the torturer and tortured. Very uncomfortable viewing which I think the movie intends and delivers with effect. I find the movie difficult to describe so will do so conceptually. Its like the ending of the movie where the tortured is apparently outside and with his love only to then display a screen of the tortured killed can be described in different ways. Conceptually I was left wondering, did he really die and the scene with his love was now his true reality in an afterlife or was he conceptually killed and in essence became what he needed to become to be free with his love?
The segment of the movie screened, documents the musician I Am Shakka's pilgrimage to his cultural home of Dominica where he shares his insights and inspirations that helped shape his musical journey. We learn about the impact of the ancestral and cultural roots of Dominican Carnival and how it played a defining role in the artist I Am Shakka was to become.
Bluebird Pictures World Cinema Film Festival was phenomenal and I look forward to attending many more events.
With the exquisite Joelle Mae David - Director of Bluebird Pictures and creator of The World Cinema Film Festival