Mid-October, Twenty-Fifteen: we have passed the halfway mark on our voyage of discovery with Watershed. Myself and the rest of the Late Night Future Producers, or Late Night Crew, as we have come to be known (or “Late Night Lovers”, as I like us to be known, though no-one else seems keen on that particular appellation) have braved the multi-faceted challenges of Amelie, the curious comedy of Punch Drunk Love, and the all-pervading intoxication of Blue is the Warmest Colour. There was a lot of blue paint, blue lighting, and gin. Not blue gin, but the bottles were blue. We used Bombay Sapphire. But there’s no pun I can make in there, so, just, yeah, we had gin-based cocktails, and they were blue.
Putting together an event is tough. It’s tough because you really have to put yourself in the shoes of the audience members and think about their experience as they move through the event that you’ve so lovingly put on and thought through. It’s tough because there are so many tasks to complete, so many elements to consider, and so many things that could go wrong that you just can’t keep track of it all! Then there’s the paradox of being part of a team of Producers: many hands make light work, but too many chefs spoil the broth. So how do you cope with that? Well, you feel your way through, or so we’ve found. But, more importantly, it’s really important to have tasks delegated to people who suit those tasks, and, more importantly, delegated to people who will enjoy that aspect of the work involved, or else they won’t be able to carry it through.
So, a little breakdown. Amelie was a roaring success, with the screen sold out days in advance. As the first film of our season this was a massive relief, as it put all of us in a positive and optimitistc frame of mind. We turned the cafe-bar into our own little slice of Paris, with candlelight and French signange, but perhaps the greatest success was our photobooth. This thing had been giving us a headache for ages, but, once we got it working, everyone loved it. Just by mocking up a tent frame in the Waterside corner of the bar, we managed to get everyone cramming into the tiny space to have their photos taken, in black and white, by fellow Future Producer Ruby, with Amelie-inspired costume and all, before whisking the photos away to Projection, and blowing them up on the big screen as though they were part of a photo album, for the audience to stare at as they filed into the cinema screen. Everyone loved it.
Punch Drunk Love was a joy to watch. But it had it’s problems too. Selling only 40 tickets in advance left us a bit nervous, but in the end we sold over 90; it’s an odd film, and as well as being an Adam Sandler/Paul Thomas Anderson fusion of awkward comedy and highfalutin’ art-house craft, it’s also a bit of a cult classic, and not available on DVD any more. Nor is it readily available on DCP, the digital format used in cinemas: instead we had a 35mm print, the only one in the UK. Which is fantastic, because it means you can show the film in the format it was shot in and with all the depth and visionary artistry you could hope for. Unfortunately, it also means that stray cats can gently paw at the celluloid depicting Adam Sandler’s face, all the way down, leaving train tracks across the screen. We sidestepped this issue by getting up and telling the audience about the “texture”, as Dan Kearns put it, that the film had acquired, and everyone seemed so enthralled by the film’s strange, abstract art and charm that the issue faded into oblivion. Along with a colourful, animated ceiling, provided by Limbic Cinema, the evening was a roaring, albeit slightly more low-key, success.
And lastly, Blue is the Warmest Colour. As the longest of our late-night films (it’s almost three hours), we knew we’d need a little alcoholic refreshment to get us through the night. So we ordered a load of Bombay Sapphire and drank it all. As an afterthought we used the bottles as table-lamps. No. Joking. That was a joke: the lamp idea came first, and we managed to get hold of a load of un-filled bottles, turning the cafe-bar blue, as well as turning Waterside 1 into a painting room, replete with blue paint, a big canvas, and an obligatory Yves Klein film of people painting themselves blue. There was a lot of blue. We also played some blues music. Not a joke. Then we drank some gin and tonic. It was a good night.
Just two screenings to go now: Her, for which we will be trying to make the audience feel lonely in a crowded room, and Let the Right one In, for which we will be trying to make the audience feel scared by 12-year old Swedish children. And jumpers. It is Halloween, after all (or near enough).