Because we distribute our film Bata-ville (2005) we have a very direct contact
line to the people who buy it. I always drop them a line to see how
they heard about it and sometimes the responses are fascinating, a
couple of weeks ago Carol Williams sent us this message:
I am very moved by your film.
As one of the characters says, there's a mystery there--the
sense of many answers, but we don't yet know the questions. I think
that is a very good way for a film to leave you. The questions rise
up on their own.
The after-effects of Bata is a rich subject to have chosen
(or been chosen by). What a wonderful way to frame a journey in
search of community, creativity, home, mechanization, meaningful
work. To ask: are we afraid of the future? (And how scary was the
past?â€”What were the results 'on the ground' of this ambitious
experiment in living and working and how have people negotiated the
I thought the film beautifully made. And photographed. The
faces will stay with me, as will the views from the bus, and the
people singing. (Your air hostess uniforms were just the right
touch.) The portraits and conversations you filmed go to the heart
of the matter, as does your eloquent filming of the built landscape
in Maryport, East Tilbury, and Zlin.
I saw the film before my own journey to East Tilbury where I
am going in March, in search of the buildings my father,
Bronek Katz, designed there in the 1950s. It makes a wonderful
preparation. I will write again after I have been there.
Thank you again for your careful and inspired work. The film
was an important experience for me, as I am sure it was for others
who don't have Bata histories. Understanding what worked and what
didn't in the past and presenting it with imagination and
compassion is, I think, a good way not to be afraid of the
Best wishes, Carol Williams New York, USA.
Apparently like others Carol 'found' the film at the right time
for her ... which for us is a very nice feeling as the project
continues to feel live. In fact, there's shortly going to be a new
public screening in London at the RIBA as part of
their A place to call home programme. It will be on the
27th of March at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B
1AD at 18.30. Tomorrow night also features a talk there about
East Tilbury - 'A
Place Called Bata-ville'.