A fantastic CMP Festival!


We had a wonderful time at the CMP Festival last week for our first ever film-draw event. We had a fantastic audience, who seemed to enjoy the films and drawing sessions equally.

They were welcomed by David Girt, Filmspot‘s favourite pierrot!

David Girt, our pierrot for the evening

He entertained and amused with a combination of origami gifts for members of the audience, slapstick gags and magic tricks…

On arriving at the church, we were amazed to discover that one of the festival volunteers, Marion, had known Lotte Reiniger in the 1950s. She gave a delightful speech at the beginning about meeting Reiniger and her husband, Carl Koch.

…and then the audience settled in for the first of the Reiniger films

Watching Lotte Reiniger fairy tales at St Nicholas Church

Throughout the course of the evening, we watched four charming Reiniger short films: Snow White and Rose Red; The Magic Horse; Thumbelina; and Sleeping Beauty. The films were shown with 15 minute drawing sessions in between, with three different fairytale themes: Little Red Riding Hood; Rumpelstiltskin; and Rapunzel.

Jake Spicer, head tutor for DRAW, talking to the audience during the Little Red Riding Hood drawing session

Rumpelstiltskin drawing session

We were really pleased to see so many people drawing – it would have been great to see if anybody was inspired by the silhouette films!

Jake Spicer, Head tutor at DRAW, with Rachel Hunter and Rob Cunningham, Co-Directors of Filmspot

…so that wraps it up for another CMP Festival! It was a great event, and we’re so grateful to Jake Spicer and DRAW, who put in a wonderful effort, and really added to the fantastical feel of the evening. We hope to revisit drawing and film at a future date, so watch this space (or the Filmspot website) for future announcements.

In the meantime, though – we have a great screening coming up at our home from home, Newhaven FortOn Sunday 26 August, we will present Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (2pm). It promises to be a really memorable afternoon – we will temporarily transform the ‘Romney Hut’ into a magical chocolate factory.

Tickets cost £6 adults/ £4 children and concessions, including entry to the Fort Museum and a special themed snack pack’ – available from Newhaven Fort (01273 517622). More information coming soon!




Less Enfants du Paradis, more Lotte Reiniger!


Unfortunately due to unforeseen licensing issues, we are unable to screen ‘Les Enfants du Paradis‘ at the CMP Festival at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, this Sunday 15 July.

The good news is… we have an even more magical event to take its place!

Filmspot will revisit the fairy tales of animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger with a stunning programme of four short films: Snow White and Rose Red, The Magic Horse, Thumbelina and Sleeping Beauty. All the films were created in 1954, and feature charming music and narration, as well as Reiniger’s exquisitely detailed silhouette puppets.

We are delighted that Jake Spicer and DRAW will be providing three 20 minute theatrically costumed drawing sessions throughout the evening. Drawing is optional, but I think most people will find it hard to resist picking up a pencil in the atmospheric setting of St Nicholas Church.

Just to get you all warmed up, here’s a clip of Jake at TEDx in Brighton, talking about his passion for life drawing:


For further information about DRAW, see their website: http://www.draw-brighton.co.uk/

There will also be delicious galettes and crepes from The French Revolution, as well as a bar.

Doors to the event open at 6pm, with the first short film starting at 6.30pm (we expect the event to finish by approximately 8.30pm).

Tickets may be booked from www.brightonticketshop.com, by telephoning 01273 709709 or be purchased on the door – although we are expecting this to be a really popular event, so we’d recommend advance booking.

This promise to be a fun evening for all ages – we hope to see you all there!

A Successful evening at the CMP Festival – and tennis films!

Team Filmspot are having a day off watching the Wimbledon final after all the excitement of yesterday at the CMP Festival! Last night’s screening of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ at St Nicholas Church was a great success, with many people commenting that they really enjoyed the film.

A Tale of Two Cities at the CMP Festival

The audience settling in to watch A Tale of Two Cities at the CMP Festival

Were already looking forward to our upcoming theatrical drawing session based on characters from ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ next Sunday (15th July). We have worked with Jake Spicer and DRAW: Brighton Life Drawing Sessions.

So, back to our day off – while waiting for the roof to close on centre court, we were chatting about tennis in films, so here, inspired by Wimbledon, are a few tennis related film suggestions:

Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot [1953]

M. Hulot’s Holiday (tennis clip)

Any excuse to feature Jacques Tati on this blog! His unorthodox but highly successful tennis serve would certainly give Federer a run for his money…

Royal Tenenbaums [2001]

Surely inside every great tennis player, there is a Richie Tenenbaum waiting to get out? Luke Wilson’s tennis prodigy is a tortured soul – as is evident from this clip of his on-court meltdown…

School for Scoundrels [1960]

“Oh I say, smashing cricket stroke!”

Strangers on a Train [1951]

Strangers on a Train (tennis clip)

Amateur tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) plays a match ‘with murder’. A film about the danger of humouring people, one of the most unsettling scenes is this one – the crowd all watching the ball travelling backwards and forward on the court, but Robert Walker’s eyes do not leave Granger…

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead [1990]

The best game of tennis ever played, even if there are no racquets or balls involved…

So there you have it for another year… in the time it’s taken for me to finish this blog Federer has beaten Murray, and is World No. 1! Well done Roger!

Dickens on film

Earlier this year, you couldn’t escape Charles Dickens. 2012 marks the bicentenary of his birth, and to celebrate, Filmspot will be presenting ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘ at the CMP Festival on 7th July (information at the end of this post). In preparation of this, we thought we’d have a look at some attempts to bring one of the cinematic of writers to the silver screen.

1. Great Expectations (David Lean) [1946]

David Lean created two Dickens adaptations – this, his first, and Oliver Twist. Immediately grabbing the viewer through this wholly disturbing encounter with Magwitch, Lean captures the atmosphere of the novel better than any other director. Lean was not a slave to his source material – he cut characters and sections of the text he classed as ‘marginal’, saying “Don’t keep every character, just take a sniff of each one.” This approach really pays off, and the film works as a materpiece in its own right, rather than merely a retelling of Dicken’s book on screen.

2. Scrooge (Brian Desmond Hurst) [1951]

There have been many attempts to convey Dicken’s classic Christmas morality tale on film – from the Muppets and Mickey Mouse to Blackadder and Bill Murray in ‘Scrooged’, but this is easily the best loved version. Alastair Sim is probably the most recognisable Dickens character ever committed to screen. The audience really do feel for Scrooge as he transforms from cold, heartless money-obsessed miser to a figure to be pitied and finally to reformed man, giddy with the love of humanity. The whole treatment of the film is outstanding, however – the cast is a real ‘whos who’ of British stage and screen of the time, the sets are beautiful and the music eerie. Note perfect for a ‘ghost story for Christmas…’

3. The Signalman (Lawrence Gordon Clarke) [1976]

…and while we’re on the subject of ‘ghost stories for Christmas’ – this slightly less well known Dickens adaptation is real gem. Not for the faint hearted, it was created by the BBC as part of their series of spooky short films screened at Christmas. It is based on Dickens’s 1866 short story, which was inspired by his own involvement in the 1865 Staplehurst Rail Crash. Denholm Elliot is fantastic as the titular character, who recounts tales of being visited by a ghostly presence just prior to a tragedy occuring on the railway, which in both cases he has been powerless to prevent. He is agitated because he has recently seen the apparition and is terrified that there will be a terrible accident… You can watch the film in its entirity on YouTube (in I think four parts), and I would recommend it, although it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!

4. Oliver Twist (Roman Polanski) [2005]

There are of course many versions of Oliver Twist (for example, David Lean’s, as mentioned above, Carol Reed’s iconic and well-loved musical version), but I have chosen to highlight Polanski’s sumptuous adaptation here. Jamie Foreman is masterly as the evil Bill Sykes, and Ben Kingsley is very well cast as Fagin – costumes, art direction and music are all spot-on. The only disappointment here is that it’s a very straightforward adaptation; perhaps audiences expect something a little more biting than this from Roman Polanski.

5. A Tale of Two Cities (Jack Conway) [1935]

There are two post-silent era versions of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ worthy of note – one is the 1958 version, which we will screen this Saturday at St Nicholas Church in Brighton (details below), the other is this film from 1935 featuring Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton. Colman classed this as his favourite performance of his entire career, and it’s easy to see why – he has really thrown himself into the role. Produced by David O. Selznick, best known for his work on ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Rebecca’, A Tale of Two Cities has his fingerprints all over it – a really good example of a big budget Hollywood adaptation.

A Tale of Two Cities [1958] will screen this Saturday 7th July (doors 6.00pm, film at 6.30pm) at St. Nicholas Church, Brighton. For more information, visit http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/category_id__72.aspx. Tickets £7 (£5 concessions), from Dome Box Office (01273 709709), www.brightonticketshop.com or on the door.

This event is part of the CMP Festival’s ‘DICKENS OF A DAY’, a day-long celebration of bicentenary of the famous author. On 7th July there will be other literary events, details of which can be found here http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/category_id__74_path__0p72p.aspx. In-keeping with the French theme of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, crepes, galettes, French wine and cider will be available to purchase from The French Revolution before the film.

If you still have an appetite for Dickens  after Saturday, Rose Collis will be launching her Dickens-themed walking tour on Sunday 8 July. Full details are available here: http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/page_id__281_path__0p72p75p.aspx

Don’t forget, the Filmspot team have a second outing at the CMP Festival this year – on Sunday 15 July, we will present Les Enfants du Paradiswith theatrically costumed drawing sessions (drawing optional!) from Jake Spicer and DRAW: Brighton Life Drawing Sessions. More information will follow in our next blog post, but tickets are available from Dome Box Office (01273 709709), www.brightonticketshop.com or on the door.

We hope to see you soon!