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Message for Willy

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:42 am
by Michael Slowe
Having known Willy van der Linden for many years I was fascinated by his piece in the current issue of our magazine as so many of his thoughts and emotions are exactly mine. The tremendous trouble that he went through in making his Hop Around the Weald, over some years, resulted in he being disappointed with the Three Stars he was awarded at BIAFF.

Willy, don't be disappointed, you enjoyed making the film, it has given pleasure to many and these judgements are so subjective. I too had a surprise with a One Star (bet you never had one of those!) for a cut to music piece which a very prominent IAC member and a past year Final Judge, absolutely loved. Judgements vary so widely that Jameela does have a point in what she says about competition.
Both you and I have enjoyed past success with top awards so we must be satisfied with our lot. Things move on, imaginative and innovating film making is required today to catch the attention, we are old fashioned. I too, at a more advanced age than you, am probably near the end of active film making. In my case it's not a physical matter but more emotive. The creative juices tend to dry with old age and the effort required to make a decent film is becoming tiresome. Nevertheless, if either of us stumbles upon our ideal subject you never know! As you so eloquently put it, "What will be will be". I've so enjoyed your films over the years and long may they be remembered. Maybe one day we could jointly put on a show of some of our old favourites for the young ones to laugh at!

Re: Message for Willy

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:16 pm
by Willy
Many thanks for your kind words, Michael. I wrote this story about two years ago. I enjoyed reading it again in FVM. I had forgotten most details. Yes, I went through tremendous trouble in making "Hop around the Weald". And I was very disappointed when reading something like "I am very delighted to tell you that your film has been awarded 3 stars". I was embarrassed to tell my English friends who had helped me quite a lot. But after all we had had a very pleasant time together.

I have been a judge myself many times. Judging films is not simple. We tend to make long films, Michael. "Hop around the Weald" has a length of 23 minutes. I can imagine that the judges had to watch more than one movie that day. Moreover my documentary is an educational film. Not entertaining for everybody. Maybe it is even boring. The judges didn't know what I had gone through and they didn't have to know this. Maybe one judge was having a bad hair day. Who knows? So, indeed, judgements are always subjective. I prefer watching a film at a festival rather than at a competition being a judge.

But in the mean time I also entered my film at the national competition in Belgium. "Hop around the Weald" was runner up! A triumph! I hate standing in the limelight. On the stage I was interviewed by the one of the most prominent professional filmmakers and TV-stars in Belgium. I was dead nervous, but I was also very proud. It encouraged me to make a new film. "His Royal Highland Laddie". 5 stars! I am very happy with it. Some weeks ago I also finished my coronafilm. Because of social distancing I could not be helped by any clubmates. That was my 7th come back. Now I am editing another special film. Length will be 10 to 12 minutes. In FVM I said that I would like to stop making films, Michael, but I have changed my mind.

No epic stories like "Hop around the Weald" anymore. With some regret. I think I am too old now to make such movies. You are right, Michael, the creative impulses tend to dry up with old age and the effort required to make a decent film is becoming tiresome. Not long ago I asked one of my clubmates to do the camera work for me because of my backache. It was a painful decision because camera work is one of my passions. The camera man also started to direct everything. I felt frustrated, but stayed calm. I will finish that movie. That's for sure. But I will also try to find a solution for my problem. I already had an idea for an 8th come back. I think I will draw my last breath just in front of my camera!

I have always enjoyed your films, Michael. Your interviews are always very spontaneous. Nobody can do it better than you can. I remember April 2007 very well. I received the diploma "Master Moviemaker Fellowship" at BIAFF, Royal Tunbridge Wells. I also proposed a toast to the IAC. You filmed it! You filmed one of the most memorable moments in my life. Many thanks, Michael!

Re: Message for Willy

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:40 am
by Dave Watterson
I received the diploma "Master Moviemaker Fellowship" at BIAFF, Royal Tunbridge Wells. I also proposed a toast to the IAC. You filmed it! You filmed one of the most memorable moments in my life. Many thanks, Michael!
I asked Michael to record your speech on that occasion, Willy. I imagined he would simply whisk a camera out of his pocket and shoot from his table ... instead he brought a heavy wooden tripod, a big camera ... and shot not just a simple record of you speaking, but grabbed reaction shots from the audience , which he edited into the finished film. It was a small masterpiece.

Please both keep making fine films for as long as possible!

Re: Message for Willy

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:24 pm
by Willy
And you did even more, Dave! I remember that thanks to you my best English friend Brian Higbee appeared at the Gala Dinner in Royal Tunbridge Wells. That was quite a surprise! I still wonder how you could find his address or telephone number.

I am very worried now. Some weeks ago Brian had a stroke. But he's getting better his wife told me. I am waiting for a telephone call from him. I deeply long to hear his voice again. We have known each other for about 40 years. My email-address starts with 'vanderlindenhig@'. Brian Higbee played a crucial role in my career as amateur filmmaker. He lived in London and in the Weald and now he lives in Devon. He is a folksinger and artist.

He was very successful in Belgium. He sold a few hundred miniature etchings in my town and he gave performances in our local festivity hall. Every time it was "full house". 31st October is his birthday, but also my wife Vera was born on 31st October. He and his wife got married on 23rd December 1967. Vera and I got married on exactly the same day… His son is called William, let's say Willy. We both had a lovely mongrel called Polly, etc...

I made the film "Until You Smile" about Brian. Gold award at BIAFF ('Making Of'-article in google thanks to Dave and Jan Watterson, also somewhere on the IAC-website). And you can see him in some of my documentaries. One of them is ... "Hop around the Weald". He composed and sang the song for my film. The location at the beginning and the end of my story is Boughton Monchelsea, a little village near Maidstone. Brian lived there for about 25 years. My heart would break if something would happen to him!