Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

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Howard-Smith
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Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Howard-Smith »

John Astin was for several years a first round judge at BIAFF. He was also a great documentary filmmaker and I remember very much enjoying his films particularly the ones about steam railways. He was a lovely man and great company. I last spoke to him on the phone about a month ago and he seemed in fine spirits. Then suddenly about two weeks ago a mutual acquaintance Andrew Tweed told me that he had been rushed into hospital for an emergency operation. This evening Andrew informed me that John died today in hospital from pancreatic cancer. I’m sure that everyone who knew John will be very much saddened by this news. He was a real gentleman.
Rest in peace John. You will be very much missed.
Ken Wilson
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Ken Wilson »

This is very sad news! We knew John quite well and chatted with him at many BIAFF festivals. We often joked and I pulled his leg telling him his voice on commentaries made him sound like Baldrick from Black Adder which he always laughed at. He made some great documentaries over the years which were always well researched and carefully made. He liked our films too and judged a few of them. He was always thoughtful and kind and we enjoyed meeting him each year at the festivals. On a couple of occasions he turned up with his dad which I thought was really nice. It is so sad to hear of yet another loss to the IAC.
Jill Lampert
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Jill Lampert »

I'm very sad to hear this. John was a lovely person and a brilliant documentary maker.
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TimStannard
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by TimStannard »

A repost of what I have said elsewhere:

This is very sad news indeed. I knew John and admired his films since I first attended an NTRIAC in or around 2011. We often talked about the merits of different films we saw at such events. His documentaries are always instantly recognisable, well researched, just the right amount of narration pitched at a level that the layman could easily understand. Even when he got others to read the actual words the commentary still had John's "voice". He was also very innovative in his blending of filmed footage with archive photos and/or drawings and diagrams where it helped illustrate a point. RIP John.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Willy
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Willy »

What a year! Reg, Jean, ... now John Astin! John was an amateur filmmaker "pur sang"... He was always very modest, ... undramatic. His documentaries were uncomplicated, without any pretention. And he used his own voice. Actually it created some charm. I always looked forward to listening to his voice. Strange, is't it? But each time it was a part of BIAFF. That was my feeling. And I was always impressed by John's research. It made his films so interesting. I enjoyed the John Astin style. He also had a surprise "for me" very often. Example: I didn't know that a tunnel was ever built beneath the River Thames. Anoher one: All Hallows-by-the Tower of London, a little church. It's known for its Knollys Rose Ceremony. John made a documentary about it. After having seen it at BIAFF I called my friend Brian who lives in Devon. Brian lived in All Hallows at the time when his father was verger of that church.

I will always remember the chat I had with John Astin at the bar of La Vilette Hotel in Guernsey. His Dad was sitting next to him.
Willy Van der Linden
Michael Slowe
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Michael Slowe »

Only just logged on after a gap and so shocked to read about John Astin. I've known him for years as his club activities were close to our area and I saw him quite often, also of course at BIAFF every year. His films carried a characteristic hallmark, notably his voice! The minute the film started you knew instantly who had made it. As others have said, his research was impeccable, well, you'd expect that from a former Head Master! Did anyone know that he had cancer, did he know?

Losing someone so young and seemingly in good health is indeed very sad and shocking.
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Howard-Smith
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Howard-Smith »

Here’s an interview with John from 2019 that Alistair Biggar passed onto me.

https://www.biaff.org.uk/2019-john-asti ... UwrcIJtsNc

John was rushed into hospital for an emergency operation just over 2 weeks ago and then transferred to another hospital a day or two before he died. It’s likely that he was told he had pancreatic cancer.

So terribly sad. If I hear any more news from our mutual acquaintance Andrew Tweed I will post it on here.
tom hardwick
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by tom hardwick »

Such sad news and so completely unexpected. A great filmmaker, so it was really good to see the 2019 BIAFF interview with him again. Does anyone know if he had relatives who might be keeping his archive of prize-winning films safe?
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Howard-Smith
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Re: Sad news: RIP JOHN ASTIN

Post by Howard-Smith »

Tom, I was in touch with John by email as recently as February 13th, when he appeared to be in fine spirits. He told me he'd had his Covid jab 3 weeks previously, which was "very efficient... nothing to worry about... just a little soreness around the injection point." In that same email he asked me if I'd like to be judge for the forthcoming Potters Bar Film Festival. He put me in touch with fellow Potters Bar Club member Andrew Tweed, and it is through Andrew that I've been receiving all the recent news.
John's funeral is taking place on March 31st at 1.00 pm and will be available for anyone to watch online via www.obitus.com, the login details for which are:
guji4457
172297
If will also be available to watch from a few days later via the same log-in details
Andrew has told me that John was 76, coming up to 77 this summer. He had no known living relatives apart perhaps from a cousin.
The Potters Bar Club are putting on a tribute evening on Thursday 15th April and Andrew will be sending me the link in due course. If anyone else would like to register for this event, I'm sure that Andrew won't mind if I give out his email address as follows:
andrew.tweed@icloud.com
Probably Andrew is the best person to answer your question as to whether John's films can and will be preserved somehow for posterity. Let's hope this happens.
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