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Penny Penagi, star of Keith Rodway's film

Trash Cannes community film night

Talk by Lucy Brett of the BBFC
The St Leonards International Film Festival.
Film: We Are For Sale by Frances Viner, Patrick Kealey and Sam Sharples
Film: Becoming Penny by Keith Rodway

Plus: art by Ben Browton and Kara Lines, Katharine Wallinger: images from her Madrugar collection, photographed by Giles Duley.

Monday 29 October: The Stade Hall, Hastings, 7–11pm
Reviewed by Joe Fearn

The Trash Cannes Festival 2012 opened on Monday night at The Stade Hall and featured an eclectic selection of films representing internationally established and acclaimed filmmakers, as well as new works from local artists. Local artist and renowned illustrator Cathy Simpson produced caricatures as part of the entertainment, and people had the opportunity to take away a completely unforgettable memento of the occasion.

First on the bill was a talk with accompanying film clips, given by Lucy Brett of the BBFC. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification and censorship of films within the United Kingdom. It also has a statutory requirement to classify videos and DVDs. The BBFC no longer classifies video games.

The talk was great fun, and educational. Lucy explained how most film audiences imagine censorship to cluster around issues raised by films classified as 18. But most films receive cuts on grounds of harm to minors, harm to animals, unnecessary offensive remarks, either racist or discriminatory, etc. Some Walt Disney films received cuts for having remarks deemed to be offensive to the disabled. Brett also explained how films can eventually be re-classified, such as Hammer vampire films staring Christopher Lee as Dracula, that once had an 18 certificate, but now carry a 15 classification. Plus, the films once labelled video nasties, and banned outright, are now generally available on DVD as a box set!

Next we saw a film of the work of Ben Browton. A Review by Joe Fearn of Browton’s recent exhibition at Martel Colour Print in the old town can be found here.

The TOXIC project (2008–12)
In 2008, Ben Browton returned to making objects on the chance discovery of a set of orange overalls in a charity shop. A set of dialectical themes progressively emerged around the notion of toxicity; both internal and external, positive and negative. In playing with this core subject matter, Ben Browton has gone on to produce an impressive body of work featuring objects, digital collages, a limited edition magazine, music, potential installations, and even the beginnings of a puppet show. His film was a delight, a very casual, laid back insight into what drives this very popular local Hastings artist.

The night also included films from this summer’s St Leonards first International Film Festival (SLIFF) – also covered by HOT, here.

Becoming Penny

Becoming Penny is a 27-minute documentary about the decision of St Leonards resident, trans woman Penny Panagi, to undergo gender reassignment, and the outcomes that follow. It is an intimate portrait of a courageous person who challenges one of society’s most enduring taboos – the question of transsexuality.

Becoming Penny was directed by Keith Rodway and was made originally as the final project for Keith’s MA in Digital Documentary at Sussex University between November 2010 and July 2012. Through interviews with Penny, her friends and family members, we learnt about her apprehensions and expectations for the future following her operation, when she will become, in her own words, ‘the person I always wanted to be.’ To do this, she must resolve her ongoing conflict with a close family member, and come to terms with the remaining traces of her former identity. Local artists Linda King and Ben Browton featured in the film.

Becoming Penny’s world premiere was held in Romania as part of Bucharest’s Gayfest week, organised by LGBT pressure group Accept, in June 2012. It was recently shown as a consciousness-raising exercise to Samaritans volunteers in Brighton, and received a commendation from category judge Simon Fanshawe at the degree show for the School of Music, Media and Film at Sussex, held at Lighthouse in Brighton on September 4th, 2012. Its screening for the Trash Cannes festival at the Stade Hall, as part of the festival’s Community Arts Night, marked its British debut.

Penny Panagi was available for a question and answer session shortly after the film was shown.

We are for sale, film

We are for sale

We are for sale is a filmed record of a stage production of the same name, devised by the company, Sue Jones-Davies, Loren O’ Dair, Aidan Stephenson and Frederick Szkoda, directed by Frances Viner and Patrick Kealey and designed by Ping Ping Cao and Liv Wright. Performed at the De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill in April 2012, the live performances of WE ARE FOR SALE were funded by Arts Council England.

Inspired by the lives of celebrities with connections to East Sussex, Paula Yates, Catherine Cookson, Henry James and Aleister Crowley, this unique performance work explored our obsession with celebrity and the private hells beneath public masks. Created out of small details from famous lives it reveals a common humanity, which has the power to touch us, despite, not because of, money, glamour, notoriety and achievement. The film primarily follows Yates’s story: ‘From the age of five I knew what it was like to long for someone.’ I particularly liked the image of a ponderous train flowing from the black dress of a woman climbing the steps to the top of the De la Warr Pavillion. It reminded me of the plight of the Dickens character Jacob Marley, lugging the karmic chain of his past deeds.

Hallowe’en end of festival party

The festival ends tonight (Hallowe’en) with a closing party from 7pm at the Two Bulls Steakhouse at the bottom of the High Street, Old Town. Duncan Reid, formerly of punk band The Boys, and now global movie financier, will be talking about his adventures in the film and music trades, and previewing two video promos for his album Little Big Head, out now. East End photographer David Apps will talk about his work and sign copies of his book, East End, which documents the rapidly changing cityscapes of London’s most vibrant district, including the development of the Olympic park. The dress theme is Phantom Punks and Princesses, and there will be prizes for the best costumes – judged by a mystery celebrity punk from the ’70s.

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Posted 10:14 Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012 In: Film

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