Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Evening at the Electric

Saturday 14th March, 2009

After Unpacked, I caught up with Kieran Evans, the filmmaker behind Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before, before heading down to the Electric Cinema to host a screening of the film and Q&A session together. The cinema was full of Vashti fans and had a really nice, friendly atmosphere. Kieran’s film presented an intimate portrait of the folk singer, Vashti Bunyan, who had a brief dalliance with fame in the 60s. Despite being billed as the new Marianne Faithfull, she never gained the success she hoped for and retreated from society, taking to the road in a horse and cart with her boyfriend, Robert Lewis, and artist friend, John James. Kieran and Vashti re-traced her original steps up to Scotland, just as she was re-emerging into the limelight, championed by musicians such as Devendra Banhart and Adem after a 30 years’ break.

In our Q&A after the film, Kieran explored ideas of myth and memory surrounding the legendary journey and explained how he approached Vashti to make the film (apparently it took lots of tea and cake and a whole two years of cajoling!). We also talked about the filmmaking process – Kieran shot 100 hours’ worth of footage on the journey and he described how he edited such a vast amount of material, starting at the end of the journey and working his way backwards. Interestingly, several people had been pushing for Kieran to make a film about the recording of the album but the producer, Joe Boyd, had no re-collection of the recording whatsoever – I guess it’s true that if you can remember the sixties you weren’t really there! It was great interviewing Kieran and questions from the audience resulted in really interesting discussions about Vashti’s music and relationships portrayed in the film.

After the film, I met up with my editor from Electric Sheep magazine, Virginie, and we caught a Czech animation, One Night in One City, together. This hallucinatory, surrealist film takes in a variety of weird and wonderful characters on a night-time trip through an apartment block: a tree who is neighbours with a chess-playing fish, an accordionist who accidentally sews on the ear of Vincent Van Gogh, a man who incinerates dogs in his apartment and a man who likes to snort ants. Prague must be an interesting place to live!

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