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Karen , Anna & I with John Graham (winner) and other liars
Santon Bridge 2000

Lies Lies Lies ...

I enjoyed hearing Sue Perkins on Radio 4's 'The Lying Game' at the weekend. If you missed the programme it's worth using 'listen again' just to hear the lovely John Graham's voice ... I've no doubt, as Sue said, she robbed him of the Trophy!

The programme managed to capture the atmosphere of the Santon Bridge pub pretty well ... but I do have to take issue with the claim that this was the first year 3 female contestants have taken part! After the Festival of Lying Karen, Anna and I made the journey to Cumbria for the 2000 competition - the least we could do after the sterling work put into the Festival by 'our liars'.

I can confirm it was a terrifying experience - unlike Sue we certainly didn't win ... we did get a certificate though.

Back to Zlin with a bang ...

We've touched down back in our favourite CZ town and as you can see from the launch fireworks the film festival is a big deal here. We found ourselves almost straight back at the super odd hotel Moskva (where we spent our Bata-ville nights) for the launch party ... pictures of the creepy crooner band to follow as soon as we locate wi fi ! Always nervous as to where our next meal will be coming from, we panic ordered in the 'mexican themed' hotel restuarant only to be greeted at the party by the most impressive array of canapes seen this side of the 70's, apple-slice-swans, whole roast pigs and 'meat-flavour' icing a-go-go ...

Summercamp! showed at the beautiful Paramount
One of Austin's collection of unique cinemas

Summercamp! & Kentwell

We wrapped up our SXSW stay with one of our festival highlights Summercamp! (which sadly I can't track down a website for, as it had a lovely animated credits sequence I was hoping to see on the web). The directors Bradley Beesley & Sarah Price are obviously friends of SXSW, and had apparently run a development session about the film at a previous conference - which sounded interesting.

Anyway they and the film received a warm reception, including the rather goofy intro they did leading the audience in a camp song! The film is really nicely shot, and you feel very close to both nature and the kids portrayed. I won't give the plot away but let's just say of the 100 kids there they picked two of the best to follow - especially the heart breakingly quirky Holy Stevenson.

We were especially interested in the film as it's obviously a 'walled city' doc in the same way as our film about Kentwell will be - or indeed as the Bata-ville bus was. At the final Q&A we were all ears for how they'd dealt with parental consent (97/100 kids parents agreed) working with the camp hosts etc. Anyway an enjoyable film - if it makes it to the UK go along and transport yourself back to cubs/brownies.

Sadly our day went rather down hill once we departed on a delayed flight from Austin, I won't bore you with the details but let's just say American Airlines will not be the future Somewhere airline of choice. We eventually managed to crawl back to London via Chicago & Manchester just in time to unpack our Tudor costumes for the first Kentwell open day.

This is where everyone who wants to attend this years main re-creation event has to go along to Kentwell for the day and queue! For lunch, costume checks, Tudor nicknacks, and the infamous interviews with Patrick - head of the 21st century Kentwell Hall. These interviews dictate both your acceptance and your role - and no one is excused - hence our decision to detour to Manchester rather than miss the event.

So we made it, and it was fun to see everyone we met last year ... Somewhere is still on schedule to shoot the crazy 'Kentwell Summercamp!' that is the Tudor re-creation.

Our Somewhere @ SXSW film festival snaps are now available for the curious in the background section of the site.

Please don't make us sing the Summercamp! song ...

Darkon bling
Can it buy me a movie distribution deal?

'Darkon' bling

Apparently our fave movie to date 'Darkon' won the best documentary feature audience prize last night so big congrats to them. We have met a few of this tenacious team , who hung out with a group of Baltimore fantasy role players for over a year to make the movie. The DoP, unusually, a woman, said hi at the screening and I have to say her work in the film is one of its most memorable aspects..... The Darkon players themselves have a few of their number here at the festival, and though apparently contentious with some of their group, they seem to be taking a huge pride in the film. The 'president' of Darkon gave me this momento - the currency of Darkon - but how many margaritas can it buy?!

..or should I say 'Bannor'?

We've found the thrift stores

Pre-screening yesterday we caught the free (yes even public transport seems to be free in 'easy' Austin) tram down to SOCO (?) and hit the goldmine of thrift and fancy dress stores as well as a mexian brunch ... Animal masks apparently a speciality.

Austin Convention Centre

Helping to keep Austin Weird ...

“Keep Austin Weird” apparently the city’s by-line and a damn sight more inspiring than the usual “Cumbernauld – better than you might have expected” style catch-phrase towns in the UK are often lumbered with.
Yesterday we did our bit to live up to the challenge and it certainly paid dividends – if you want to promote your film here make friends and meet people I can’t recommend dressing up in a uniform highly enough!
We began yesterdays tour of town with the fantastic Darkon screening (hopefully more of which with more time) which we managed to squeeze into, sadly having to miss the very end to head out of town for a slightly surreal interview on the Austin Movie Show (hence the outfits).
Then it was back to town via Kinkos (unbelievably we seem to be the only people who could come to SXSW without thinking to bring a poster!) and into the plexi-glass SXSW studio at the convention centre. Here, we were interviewed by the totally delightful Lya who has been somewhat of a champion for our film, her relaxed style and sheer enthusiasm made the interview a breeze.
Thinking we’d pop straight out for a much needed drink then head back to change, we began the nights party trawl. Kindly chaperoned by the charming Michael Saleman (hot off the apparently sell out legal panel!) we then drifted on for the rest of the night from one party to the next ending up at the Austin Chronicle event, bemused and almost hoarse from the amount of shouting we’d been doing in response to an endless stream of what felt like genuine interest into what we’re doing here and why the hell we were still dressed up as “air hostesses”!
What’s amazing to me is that in the massive crowds here it is possible to meet the people who run the festival (I put faces to the whole crew I already knew from email yesterday) but also the people who’ve made the films you really want to see. On the N&K wish list we had Darkon, Summercamp! & Danielson: A Family movie … last night we managed to meet the team/directors of all of them … only Lifelike to go! As a bonus we also had an interesting chat to one of the directors of Cruel and Unusual, like many of the other Directors here about our age she works as part of a collaboration working together in a way that maybe undoes some of the pre-conceptions people might have of the lone auteur/director behind most movies.
Anyway we had a fantastic time last night talking not just about films, but Austin and US/UK culture. If this is Austin Weird … Bata-ville likes you this way.


these are the delgates bags just for the music section!

Rock on Darkon

Well it feels like we're getting into the swing of SXSW and Austin now ... but it is big and somewhat impersonal feeling compared to Edinburgh. Everything related to SXSW seems to be packed (queues for parties etc.) whilst generally the streets of Austin seem to be rather oddly deserted, save for flocks of strange black birds roosting in the trees at night, making some otherworldly noises.
Spent most of yesterday in a glut of docs. related panels, 'influential' doc commissioner spotting!
In the evening we went to check out the Dobie cinema where our screening is tomorrow, then post curry (the staple somewhere meal) we headed for the Darkon party.
Obviously we are pretty interested in Darkon so in an uncharacteristic way (for someone British) Karen just went straight for it and asked the SXSW staff to point the crew out, so we had a really interesting chat with Brad the film's editor (unless he was also a very good role player!) obviously a man of great patience judging by how long the edit apparantly took.
We also got to meet the 'president' of Darkon himself, which made for a really interesting comparitive chat about UK vs US re-enactment scenes.
So all in all a good night ... I just hope we can get in to actually see Darkon today ... we're going to look pretty odd in the queue as we'll be wearing our uniform from Bata-ville ready for our Studio SX session straight afterwards!

The crazy sprawl of Dallas airport

Tired in Texas

Well we're here ... not sure how with it we are, but we're here. Just about to head off into Austin to find the conference centre & event. Post weird self-cook waffle breakfast and of course laying awake since 4.00 am with jet lag! Main concerns to date: leaky hotel iron = bata-ville uniform problems, unexpected humid weather = wardrobe & hair probelms!

We caught a little of Austin last night though and it looks crazy - I felt a bit like we were eating in a Disney 'America' theme park. SXSW is obviously a BIG deal here ... it's on the telly, in the papers, and almost everyone we see has a SXSW badge around their neck - the game is to guess if they're 'interactive', 'film', or 'music' ... black-logo-t-shirts seem to span all three categories.

Film Still

EIFF here we come ...

Next week we are off to the Edinburgh International Film Festival for the world premiere of our feature-length documentary Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future ... and I have to say somewhere are pretty excited!

We both studied at Edinburgh College of Art, and it's particularly thrilling to be heading back to premiere our very first film at the festival. We're looking forward to seeing some old somewhere friends and going to lots of the festival talks and workshops. I am worried though that we don't so far know where any of the parties are?