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A still from "Speak and Spell", photographed whilst screening in Cannes

International Film Festival shows St Leonards as it has never been seen before

Last month, St Leonards lit up the silver screen in Cannes, at the Straight 8 film festival. Not only was this the film’s premiere, it was the first time that the directors, Mauricio Vincenzi and Darren Morris, had seen their work. On Saturday 14 July, we can all see their film at the inaugural St Leonards International Film Festival. HOT’s Erica Smith tracked the directors down to find out more…

‘Speak and Spell in St Leonards’ was shot on one cartridge of Super 8 film without second takes, outside-camera editing or post-production. When Mauricio and Darren found out their film had been selected for a premiere at Cannes, they flew over and sat on the edge of their seats with anticipation as to what their film would be like. They were so pleased with the movie that they have arranged a UK premiere at Hastings Museum’s Durbar Hall.

Super 8 film is a bit like raku pottery, you are able to plan the shape of your film, but you have no idea what the final product will look like when it comes out of the can. I asked Mauricio his reaction to seeing ‘Speak and Spell…’ at the Cannes screening, he said, “It wasn’t quite how we expected, the sound didn’t quite sync. with the footage, but that just adds to the psychedelic and surreal atmosphere. We filmed over two weeks earlier this summer, when the weather was very good. The Super 8 film gives a wonderful, technicolour saturation.”

The iconic views of St Leonards make a great background to the quirky character of the film which documents local people interacting with a Speak and Spell machine – a toy which Mauricio describes as ‘a pre-cursor of the i-Pad’. Whilst the locations were carefully chosen, the people who are filmed just happened to be there. “We do know all the people in the film, but they weren’t chosen. We just happened to bump into them and asked if they would be happy to be filmed.” Local residents will certainly recognise a few of the faces too!

The St Leonards International Film Festival has been organised by Endwell Productions and The St Leonards Film Society. The programme is an exciting mix of work from local and international film-makers, plus archive footage.

Highlights of the night include a tribute to ground-breaking avant-garde film-maker Jeff Keen, and a live performance by renowned improvisational musician Hugh Metcalf who will improvise the soundtrack to his ‘Ted and Ted Cabbage Head on Holiday’ film, accompanied by locally-based musician and film-maker Darren Morris on the museum’s grand piano.

St Leonards International Film Festival is on Saturday 14 July at the Durbar Hall, Hastings Museum – doors at 7.15pm, first film at 8pm. It is recommended to buy your ticket in advance, but some may be available on the door. Tickets are available at Plenty Provisions, Grande Parade and Love Cafe in Norman Road, St Leonards, and Pomegranate, George Street, Hastings Old Town or online.

You can find out more about the festival from the Facebook page.

Posted 13:06 Friday, Jul 6, 2012 In: Film

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