Carol Moore's BAFTA Dream
Click Play Video for the The Farther, The Dearer trailer, and 'Play Audio' to hear Moore on her BAFTA adventure
When BAFTA launched the Orange BAFTA '60 Seconds of Fame' short film competition in 2007, many fimmakers bemoaned the effort as superfluous. Why should we limit ourselves to a measly 60 seconds, some asked, when YouTube is just an upload away?
As one of 15 regional winners talented enough to secure a place in the grand final, staged at Covent Garden on the day of the BAFTA awards ceremony, Belfast filmmaker Carol Moore proffers any number of reasons why the competition was worth the effort.
The exposure that her film, History Unfinished, received during the public voting stage of the competition on BBC News 24 and Newsline is a pretty good reason in itself. An all expenses paid trip to the awards ceremony, a complimentary hamper of beauty products, champagne, chocolate fountains and the lavish attention of Grosvenor Hotel washing room attendants is quite another.
Actor Andy Serkis and film critic Mark Kermode may have crowned east Midlands finalist Cheryl Marshall the overall winner of the competition for her film Unite(d Polar Dance), yet Moore is not the jealous type.
She sees the competition for what it is: an invaluable opportunity for British filmmakers to gain recognition in an industry where such opportunities are few and far between.
‘For me, it wasn’t about the winning,’ says Moore. ‘I got to go to the BAFTAs, which was quite an experience in itself. To see the show live, and walk the red carpet with the great and the good of the British film industry - it was just fantastic.’
History Unfinished takes BAFTAs theme ‘unite’ and applies it to a newly multicultural Belfast city.
‘For the past three years I’ve been making documentaries on cultural diversity in Belfast, and over those years I had collated a lot of material,' says Moore. 'Considering the 60 second time limit, obviously I had no room for interviews, so I decided to use imagery to tell my story.
‘In the finished film, shots of Republican and Loyalist mural iconography are followed by new, inclusive murals in the Ardoyne and Falls Road areas, and the film finishes at the Indian Mela festival in Botanic Gardens, which was amazing – 7,000 people of all races coming together. The soundtrack to the film, by African musician Wilson Magwere, adds to the theme.’
The BAFTA experience will no doubt benefit Moore in the future, but for the moment her hands are full. The Farther/The Dearer, her fifty-minute documentary about a Lithuanian migrant worker in Ireland, is set for the Belfast Film Festival in April, and a number of other projects are in the offing. To watch Moore's winning BAFTA entry, visit the Orange BAFTA '60 Seconds of Fame' website.
In the meantine, here's a blow-by-blow diary account of Moore's BAFTA adventure.
12.45am Just got into The Cavendish hotel for hair and makeup (and free Lancome beauty products), now its off to Covent Garden. The backs of the lovely shoes just won't stay up, so I hobble from venue to venue pretending to be oh so comfortable and clinging onto Kevin (my editor) for dear life.
They secure a section of Covent Garden so only invitees with wristbands can enter. All of the 15 regional winners get an opportunity to introduce themselves and their films before the winner, United Polar Dance, is announced. Kevin and myself take the requisite photos and then we head off to a bar for drinks.
5.45pm Invites only through the barriers and onto the red carpet that lines the entrance to the Royal Opera House, packed with people (none of them shouting for me). I don't even get mistakenly identified for Julie Walters!
Pass Keira Knightly and James McAvoy being interviewed. Being small can be a huge disadvantage. I really don't think GMTV realised I was already past. 'I'm not having this,' I whisper to Kevin, and immediately we whip out our identical Tesco cameras and flash at each other - a brief and memorable moment for the adoring crowd.
Eventually we arrive at the Opera House reception (the best of champagne my darlings) and I'm pinned to the wall. Standing amid all that glamour is completely overwhelming for 5ft me. Finally into the Gods, as my heel sticks in the bottom of my dress for the hundredth time and its potentially 'a wrap' for the North's representative. Then it's Jonathan Ross and glamour and Ricky Gervais and glamour and GLAMOUR, GLAMOUR, GLAMOUR. A young rapper representing one of the regions, having stuffed his pockets with various healthy beverages, looses the will to live and takes a nap. Keira, bless, is disappointed not to win Best Actress, but I'm thrilled that This is England gets Best British Film.
9.40pm ... and it's all over. Buses to take us to The Grosvenor Hotel. We begin with a marsh harbour shrimp and avocado tian, caviar and lemon kumquat dressing. Then disaster - its fillet steak, so I plump for the pasta, even though the mash and red cabbage looks yummy. It wouldn't fill a hole in your tooth, so I have to ask for the bread back to line my stomach for the next 5 hours.
12am We hot foot it downstairs through the ivy-leafed hallway into the party. More wine, champagne, a range of cocktails and shots, a white and milk chocolate fountain and a range of foliage borrowed from the Eden Project. They play all sorts of music. It's hilarious watching fat, balding men giving it some welly.
Every time one goes to the ladies, one gets one’s makeup touched up by the Lancôme girls - now that is what I call style. The other regional winners are lovely and a real mix of people, mostly in their twenties, but we won't talk about that.
Then someone says they saw Julie Christie looking beautiful when they went out for a smoke - and I now realise I'll never make it in the movie business as I'm not in my twenties, I don't smoke and I detest cool music. Eventually a chair overlooking the floor becomes available and Kevin, being a gentlemen, gets me another cocktail from the bar as I watch the old, trendy and downright ridiculous in bits of frocks the size of hankies all getting to grips with that cool bass beat.
2am I think my feet have had enough. Kevin escorts me to the back door where a car is ordered. Not a taxi but a car. Just for me! You know I could get used to this ... It's been a fantastic day and I’ve loved every minute of it. So thanks to everyone that voted - even a man called Dave who hated the film and commented on it in the comments page - and also to the outraged who spoke out on my behalf, even from Poland!
The Farther, The Dearer will be showing at the Queen's Film Theatre as part of the Belfast Film Festival on Friday, April 11 at 6.30pm.