Bristol itself takes a starring role in Flying Blind, a passionate love story of an older woman and a young Muslim man, opening at Watershed on Fri 12 April. Filmed last year in the city centre, Harbourside, Clifton, the Downs, Easton and Stokes Croft, you will recognise some iconic Bristol locations. Helen McCrory (Hugo, Skyfall, Harry Potter) takes the lead role as Frankie, a high-flying aerospace engineer whose carefully controlled existence is thrillingly undone by a love affair.
Flying Blind is the hotly anticipated feature debut of young Polish director Kasia Klimkiewicz (part time Bristol resident for the past two years) who first came to Bristol via Watershed with her short Hanoi-Warsaw. First shown at Encounters International Short Film & Animation Festival in 2010 Hanoi-Warsaw went on to win the European Film Academy’s Best European Short. Made under Creative England's iFeatures micro budget banner Flying Blind originally previewed right here last summer, so we are delighted to welcome her first feature film back for its first run.
We caught up with Kasia and asked her to explain just why Bristol is such a great city to shoot in, and how she got involved with Flying Blind:
‘My short film Hanoi-Warsaw was screening at Encounters Short Film festival right here at Watershed. We had only just finished making it and it was the first festival outing for the film – and I came to Bristol to be at the screening. And I got word from the festival organisers that a local producer wanted to meet me. Alison Sterling had seen my short and liked it a lot, so she pitched the idea of the film to me. I really liked her and I really liked the idea, but I didn’t believe it was serious: to have a producer come to you with a brilliant idea and ask you if you want to direct your first feature was just like a dream come true. I said yes – of course!’
So, what does Kasia make of Bristol?
‘Coming from Warsaw, which was completely flattened in the second World War, I was amazed to see Bristol’s rows of beautiful Georgian houses with the sense of continuity going back centuries. It is a city full of contrast: cliffs and valleys, very dramatic views which look great on camera. There is also the contrast between the grand vistas of Clifton, with its sense of light and air and wealth, and the claustrophobic, scruffy, graffiti-covered area under the motorway of Easton where we filmed Kahil’s world.’
‘Bristol has a particularly anarchic artistic energy, which is really being allowed to flourish at the moment. I have lived in Bristol on and off now for two years and I have really grown to love and appreciate it.’
Bristol-based Producer Alison Sterling will be here at Watershed to introduce the Sat 13 April at 18:00 screening, and the film’s composer Jon Wygens will host a Q&A after the Sun 14 April 15:10 screening.
Is your favourite Bristol location included? Watch the film to find out: Flying Blind opens on Fri 12 Aril and continues for at least one week.
See more now over on DShed - where director Kasia Klimkiewicz and producer Alison Sterling discuss the significance of making the film in Bristol, and answer audience questions. You can also hear our Head of Programme Mark Cosgrove talk about the genesis of the film in April's Podcast.