Traditionally the club chooses mid June to do some outdoor filming, and in recent years this has involved some short dramas in groups. However this year we realized that our planned meeting fell on 21st June – the longest day of the year. And we discovered that the Jersey Arts Centre had decided to mark this Solstice with a Beach Festival to be held at Grève de Leech, which would include music, fire juggling, dance, the construction of a huge sand castle – and the burning of a giant wicker effigy. The whole affair was to represent the pagan rituals of the summer solstice celebrations (but would not include ritualistic pagan sacrifice).
This seemed like too good an opportunity to miss and accordingly it was suggested that all members who wish to be involved turn up at the beach equipped with camcorders etc. Alan English was the prime mover in the arrangements and so he would direct members toward the various points of interest, to make sure we didn’t have too much duplicated material and miss out on some of the events. Once we had examined our footage we would hope to edit it into a group film.
It all sounded well and good until the evening arrived and we found that heavy rain had set in. However five of us turned up – Alan of course, Annette, Carol, Avril and Charlie. Those of us who were found sheltering in the café wondering if the event would really take place turned rather shamefaced when we discovered Alan had already been filming for 30 minutes, taking establishing shots and interviewing several key players in the event. One of the main ones was basket maker Richard Henwood, who had masterminded the creation of the actual 20’ tall wicker man.
Suffice it to say that waterproofs were donned for people and camcorders, a good turnout of sturdy Jersey folk turned up to watch, and the event proceeded more or less as planned. We were all highly relieved to get through the evening with our camcorders still functioning, as the rain was quite heavy at times, but there was no celebration party as we were too anxious to get our wet and weary bodies home to a cup of hot chocolate. English summer, eh! I bet it wasn’t like that in pagan times.
The film has finally been edited coming in at the sensible length of just under 9 minutes. It has been presented to Richard Henwood as a birthday present, as well as copies being given to the Arts Centre and the rest of the team
We were delighted when our President Wally Rowe agreed to come along and show us the latest of his vintage films that he had been busy transferring to DVD. Many more years ago than he would like to remember, Wally was an enthusiastic and imaginative creator of cine films and now we certainly wouldn’t want to find that any of these films had been lost to view due to the demise of his projectors.
The two which Wally brought along this evening were A Different Contract and Homage to a Hermit. The first showed Wally’s contract as a carpenter to construct the basic shape for a Battle of Flowers Float – which happened to involve creating a giant wooden snail ready to be covered in flowers. Wally showed all the work as it progressed, and then continued to film as the float took shape, and finally joined the parade. As well as being an extremely well crafted short film, this was also fascinating as an historical archive and we all tried to remember or guess exactly which year it was.
The other film showed the annual pilgrimage to St. Helier’s retreat at Elizabeth Castle. The queries this time were ‘who did you have to help you in getting all those shots from different angles?’ But Wally told us he was much fitter then and ran up and down the procession. Following the procession, the film showed us all round Elizabeth Castle with a most informative commentary on its history. The audience was amazed to be told that the narrator was a lady relative of Wally’s who had seen the raw material then researched the history herself and written her own voiceover. We all wished we had friends and relatives like that!
Hopefully we shall be seeing more of Wally’s filming skills in some future club productions as we still respect his advice and need his helpful suggestions.