Hard to believe but true, the final day of FPTS has dawned. The committee, including Francine (her first experience of an actual real life FPTS meeting), assemble feeling “sunday morning-ish” as Nic puts it (horribly hungover) for early morning podcasting. Kendyl Bryant has been with us all week, recording the events and grabbing our speakers for brief discussions for her podcast Adaptation. Kendyl has been a great addition to the team and we’re all very excited about the fantastic archive she has amassed (and well done to her for keeping a lid on her excitement when Simon Beaufoy announced he will be writing the script for the second Hunger Games!). We discuss the aims and ideas of the festival, as well as looking back over our own highlights from the week… Small Back Room seems to have been a surprise hit for many of us…
Then, it’s on to the day – Rashomon, followed by the Film Buffs Brunch and a babble of film chat over the Denhay Bacon Rolls. Very welcome too.
A bevvy of film makers are arriving in the BAC in advance of the Flash Film event at which the winner will be announced. We have three of the film makers here, as well as one of the original story writers, the author of Filament, John Paris-Kent. Nic reads the stories, followed by a screening of all the shortlisted entries. Then Polly leads a discussion about the motivations and considerations of the film makers in their approach to the competition. It’s really brilliant to have this element at FPTS - it really brings the whole process of adaptation to life to hear amateur film makers discuss what may be their first attempt at adaptation, as well as on this occasion to hear the author’s reactions to seeing his story brought to the screen in all these very different interpretations. “It’s amazing” he says “all I could think to do if I was making this film would be go out and buy a kettle…”. Then the moment of truth! Francine awards the prize – to Ian Robins for Filament and Esmerelda Voegele-Downing in the youth category. Here they both are and very many congratulations to them!
A brief pause before Resistance at 4, after which Owen Sheers is on stage in discussion with Nic Jeune. We had hoped to have director Amit Gupta here too for the elusive screenwriter/author/director combo after which we quest - sadly Amit is tied up with making his new movie and can’t make it – but Owen more than holds the floor, discussing the writing and making of Resistance as well as fielding questions on his artist in residence position at the Welsh Rugby Union. “I think it may turn into a book of poems about rugby” he says “a sentence I never thought I would utter”.
After Resistance, it really is time for Francine to make her bid for freedom. Nic, Polly and I gather about her in the foyer of the BAC as she tries to make a dignified exit, but our tired and emotional levels prolong our thanks and goodbyes to a slightly ridiculous point. Apologies for that. It feels like the end of the holidays – or the end of term – whichever is worse – but eventually we have to let Francine go with our pleas for her speedy return reverberating around the BAC.
Then it’s our final event, and one I have been really looking to – Andrew Dickson’s live and improvised accompaniment to the 1922 version of Oliver Twist. The Palace is transformed into a smokey cinema nook with cosy sofas and tassled lamps in the front. It’s an amazing experience to see the band (piano, cello and percussion) improvise to the action on the screen – this is definitely one of my highlights of the festival.
Then we head, as always, to the bar for drinks and thanks to the surprise appearance of a new honorary committee member, one Alexia Tucker, a party springs from nowhere. Wherever she goes, mayhem (and enormous boxes of olives) follows. My last memory is of Polly Gifford shouting across a crowded bar at 3 in the morning “From Page to Screen – to Nic’s house for the after party!” Never before has the festival ended in such a blaze of… glory.
The swan that is FPTS 2012, as described by Francine (gliding gracefully along the surface, while underneath there is feverish paddling) is plucked, roasted and in the oven. There will be plenty of time for further post-mortem in the future (the blog does not end here) but let me say again what an absolute honour it has been – I have loved working as part of a brilliant team, from committee, to stewards, to guests, to friends, supporters and helpers. Thanks to everyone for pulling together to make this such a fun week, full of hilarity and brilliance. I truly have laughed and cried. And – of course, most importantly - seen some incredible films that will stick with me for a long time.
And thanks to all of you! Did you enjoy it too?