Big Banana Feet, a feature length documentary made in 1975 was screened on Sunday at Glasgow Film Theatre. Shot handheld in available light by push-processing slow 16mm film stock it follows a very young Billy Connolly on his tour of Dublin and Belfast at the height of the Troubles. Connolly was emphatically warned not to go…3 members of a showband had died in an attack very recently…but he went anyway…and he came back in one triumphant piece. A small film crew followed him shooting just about everything he did, including his stage shows for about 48 hrs non-stop.
Murray Grigor (Director), David Peat (DoP) and Paddy Higson (Producer) were all at the screening along with other elder statespersons from the period. There were many escaping eyebrows, knowing stoical looks and tired legs but no flared trousers. There was also alot of laughter. To my bemusement the extremely youthful camera assistant was there too….that was Yours Truly !
I saw this movie recently at Glasgow Film Festival and its delightful. A script by Sally Phillips produced by Ecosse Films and directed by Sheree Folkson, its witty, gorgeous-looking and heart-warming without being cheesy. I did some work on it more than 2 years ago when it was shooting in Scotland and I’m pleased to say almost all my footage has made it to the screen! I remember when I arrived on set being told it was a very “girly” film. I was seen lowering my viewfinder when exploring shots for the opening scene and immediately pulled up by the director. It seems low angles are not for lassies! I’d never really thought much about gender-specific camera angles before but I suppose if you think about Rocky 2 or Rambo 19………anyway being somewhat bendy I loved this girly film…most particularly because its a funny film. There are superb lead performances by David Tennant, Alice Eve and especially Kelly Macdonald. She plays the local island girl who inadvertently becomes a “decoy bride” to distract the paps from the wedding of the century. David plays a blocked writer and (naturally) a twit and Alice plays (naturally) the world’s most beautiful film star to whom he is incomprehensibly betrothed. Its all set in the sheeting rain and soggy bogs of the Scottish West Coast …and its all good…..
Well, like the valiant Andy Murray we didn’t win. Not only that our Idiot Abroad 2 clip, lovingly crafted by Richard Yee our Series Producer fell victim to the only visible technical cock-up at this spectacular show-biz event. None of the other Nominees in this category got their clips shown either! On the plus side we got a fantastic cheer when the programme was announced, there was plenty of champagne, some fancy little tarts described by staff as “Haggis” and we all had a superbly condensed education in popular British television. It was also a rare opportunity for me to wear a skirt….prompting the staff to offer me whisky at every opportunity.
Every important TV face was there. The men in their suits and the women poured into impossible dresses with the help of other attentive behind-the-camera folk. I enjoyed it all. Karl Pilkington would have hated it.
Ricky, Steve and Karl can’t make it to the ceremony so I’m going instead along with the directors. Its a Black Tie event and Jan. 25th is also Burns Night (that’s Robert Burns, renowned Scottish poet, lefty, and ladies’man) so I think I shall air my knees and wear my dress kilt.The Awards ceremony is being broadcast live on ITV1, hosted by Dermot O’Leary.
An Idiot Abroad 2 starts its North American airing at 10pm on The Science Channel, 21st January. Its been screened in UK already with record ratings and has been nominated for a number of awards.
Its a very funny comedy travel series in which Karl Pilkington is sent round the world by his two friends Ricky and Stephen in order to broaden his mind.This series is “The Bucket List” or “Things to do before you Die”. As cinematographer I and the team followed Karl to Alaska, Route 66 (starting in Santa Monica), Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, South Africa, Uganda, Russia and China. Many adventures were had and Karl’s take on them is off the wall and hilarious. You will occasionally see the camera shaking uncontrollably!
Director Robin Hardy’s long-awaited follow-up to his original cult classic “The Wicker Man” opens in USA on 27th January. Its a black comedy, as well as a horror movie and a film “fantastique”, explores many of the themes of the earlier film and features Sir Christopher Lee as well as an excellent younger cast. It received a standing ovation at its premiere in Montreal last year. I was Cinematographer. Heres the Trailer: