Young stars of 1234 dispel myths of film industry
Glasgow Film Festival blog
Wednesday 24 Feb 2010
It seems to be a pre-requisite of my typical film festival experience that I will inevitably end up in a conversation about the value (or not) of film criticism with a filmmaker who clearly isn’t a fan of critics. Such was the case yesterday, as myself and my much more tactful fellow reviewer Paul Greenwood were taken to task by a very accomplished Glasgow filmmaker. I love getting into discussions like that – I can’t lie, I like a good argument – and they remind me of the funny relationship that exists between writers like me and the people who make the movies: on the one hand I love movies, and all I want to do is be enthusiastic about them, and there’s nothing better than being able to wholeheartedly praise the people responsible for a great film. But when a movie comes along that really stinks, I have to say so (see my review of Leap Year on this very website for more details) but strangely enough, the people who work on the films don’t quite see it that way. A context like GFF offers a great opportunity to see the very different perspectives that different parties bring to movies, and it can lead to some prickly discussions. It’s great fun though, especially if, like me, you enjoy speaking your mind.
Shortly after that conversational grilling I was introduced to two of the stars of Giles Borg’s 1234, Ian Bonar and Kieran Bew, and in talking to these young and relatively unknown actors I discovered another fascinating insider perspective on the industry. I was interested to know what it’s like for a young actor working in the UK today, and they were both quick to say how different it is compared to the public perception; they weren’t in any way moaning, or looking for pity about their ‘hard work’, but more saying that the reality for most actors in Britain is a lot of auditioning, waiting, doing other non-film related jobs, finally getting some film work but then having to turn down other great opportunities as a result of it. In short, Kieran said, “you soon learn if you really love it enough to want to keep doing it”. Halfway through our conversation my jaw hit the floor as Ian added, almost as an afterthought, that he recently played a small part in Spielberg’s forthcoming Tintin movie – I love Tintin! I think I may have slightly lost my previously well-held journalistic cool at this point of the evening - but even that, from his perspective, was in no way a guarantee of being in a more secure career position: “you’ve just moved from one pool to another, and it’s like ‘oh, so now I’m auditioning with all these guys’”.
It was really clear from talking to them that they absolutely love the work; it’s just getting it that’s the challenge, which struck me as being not a million miles from my own experience. Their film, 1234, is a great little teeny-budget gem, telling the story of three guys and a girl who form a band, record a demo and attempt to get some gigs and live the dream. It’s short and sweet, and anyone who’s ever had that experience will agree that it very accurately recreates the trials, dramas and heartaches that being in a local band brings. It’s released on DVD in May, and I would recommend seeking it out.
And in Cary Grant news, I finally made up for missing any of the retrospective so far by taking in a double-bill of Notorious followed by North by Northwest. Cinema heaven, as far as I’m concerned, and it was brilliant to see how many people were braving the snow to have the same experience. It’s cold outside, but it’s warm in here, and there’s always room for one more!