The Spike Story grabs Fast Forward prize
By A World to Win reporter
A deeply-felt history of a Peckham hostel for the homeless, which was turned into a social and arts centre, took the top prize at the Fast Forward Film festival on Saturday, 4 July. The winning film, The Spike Story, made by Fil Jackson and Sarah Bear, traced how a centre for impoverished and homeless people established by nuns in Victorian times became a vibrant utopian community hub in the 1990s.
Second prize went to an Argentine team of film makers, Rolf Biekofsky and Paula Guastella. Their film, Blank Canvas, featuring mime artist Antonio Blanco, was a poetic exploration of how humans are bombarded by “the things that the capitalist world projects upon us” and the struggle for physical and psychological freedom.
London teenagers Alex Maurice and Maianh Dinh’s 250 Million impressed with its unassuming and direct approach to passers-by and shoppers, interviewed about the use of child labour by the rag trade corporates. The festival provided a platform for their first-ever film. Novice film-maker Dylan Strain’s Sold Out, a personal romp through the comedy and music of the Thatcher years, won the award for the Peoples’ Choice.
Applause greeted all thirteen films selected by the team of judges which included eminent film critic Sukhdev Sandhu and Gareth Evans, editor of Vertigo. The two other judges, Paul Wynter from Londonart and Penny Cole from A World to Win, presented the prizes.
Selecting the winners from the many excellent films submitted by makers from the UK and other countries, including Russia, Japan, Germany and India, had been a challenge according to Penny, due to “a huge diversity of ideas and approaches”. It had been impossible “to compare like with like”. She explained that the winning team would now be invited to make a film for A World to Win with a £5,000 budget.
The audience settled in to watch the screenings at the London College of Communications after AWTW web editor Paul Feldman put forward a 21st century vision of human independence at our first ever film festival.
He said that the principles outlined in the American declaration of independence on 4 July 1776 should be taken forward and put into practice. He updated the historic statement with a new declaration of “independence from the state, the global corporations, the bankers and the financiers in order to establish a real democracy in place of the corrupt and undemocratic political system that denies us any real say in how we are governed and how decisions are made”.
Independent producer-director Ed Harrison said that the films in the festival were part of a big new world of film that had new and ever-growing audiences:
"It’s very important that people continue to use film and video technology to express themselves and spread ideas.
With television production continuing the trend to becoming increasingly dumbed down, it's places like YouTube where audiences can be found. In fact, TV as we know it is dead, and digital libraries – YouTube, i-player – are taking its place. Original film makers, saying non-mainstream things, now have a worldwide distribution network."
Closing the event, A World to Win secretary Corinna Lotz denounced the corporate media system which “spotted talent in order to exploit it” and through “celebrity culture” often destroyed creative human beings, as seen in the death of Michael Jackson.
People worldwide were using digital film technology to bypass censorship and the lies of the state. She quoted Spanish surrealist director Luis Bunuel, who said “the screen is a dangerous and wonderful instrument if a free spirit uses it”. She thanked the makers and all those who had contributed to making the festival a success, including the British Film Institute and the London College of Communications.