Back at the beginning of the month we ventured a little further than we had done during March when we started our Postcards from the Road campaign. This time we headed to Sheffield for a particularly special event on a particularly special day.
In a joint venture with Warp Films (celebrating their 10th year of filmmaking), the British Federation of Film Societies (BFFS) had arranged a screening of Shane Meadow’s BAFTA award-winning masterpiece This Is England (2006) at University of Sheffield’s Film Unit Cinema.
After a fun-filled train journey from Leeds to Sheffield, in which one of us fell into a vestibule wall (see our video diary below), we headed to The Street Food Chef for nachos – the Minicine road trip pre-screening meal of choice – before making our way to the Unit.
The Film Unit Cinema itself is located in the University of Sheffield Student Union. Despite being situated on campus, the cinema is open to anyone and everyone, run by a team of committed volunteers and screens over 100 films a year.
The evening began with screenings of two Warp produced shorts; Dog Altogether (2007) directed by Paddy Considine – which would would later be expanded into feature film Tyrannosaur (2011) – and Dr. Easy (2013) the first short from music video and title sequence maestros Shynola.
All three films deal with characters who are social outsiders in need of direction and a sense of worth. Peter Mullen’s Joseph finds solace in Olivia Colman’s caring charity worker (Dog Altogether) and Tom Hollander’s Michael almost finds it in a robot (Dr. Easy).
This Is England‘s Shaun finds it in the acceptance of the local skinheads. The film is a coming-of-age tale set against the back drop of Thatcher’s Britain in a disenfranchised 1983. Young and impressionable, Shaun finds a surrogate father figure in the equally ‘lost’ Combo. Among This Is England‘s who’s who of vivid characters it’s Stephan Graham who proves to be its MVP, his performance mezmerising and undeniably affecting in this seminal piece of modern cinema. The blistering showdown between Combo and Andrew Shim’s Milky is guaranteed to leave viewers physically and emotionally shaken.
After the screening the audience were treated to an enjoyably candid and informative Q&A with two of the stars of This Is England, Thomas Turgoose and Andrew Shim, alongside producer and head of Warp Films Mark Herbert and moderated by BFFS’ Jaq Chell.
The panel discussed their experiences of making the film as well as the subsequent television series This Is England ’86 and This Is England ’88, projects they have been involved with since then and the long awaited, still-in-development This Is England ’90.
Hat’s off to everyone involved, especially the ever-hardworking BFFS team, in putting together such an enjoyable evening. We wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate our birthday any other way and we certainly look forward to the next BFFS/Warp collaboration!
Until next time,
Woody & Abi
P.S. Our next screening takes place this Thursday when we’ll be screening the Congolese street music documentary Benda Bilili – made available through the BFFS’ booking scheme. Tickets are still available and can you can read more about the event here.