Thursday, 2 June 2011

Hay Festival 2011

I'm at the Hay Festival in Wales and it is absolutely fantastic. It has helped, of course, to have been doing a couple of talks but whether a punter or performer, this festival is certainly one of the best. For me as a film-maker, it is without doubt more useful than any film festival. I think I learnt more about a certain area of South America yesterday a one-hour talk by an author than in any number of documentary films. Indeed, it makes you wonder (once again) what are documentary films best at? So many these days are slight, poorly crafted and without depth or thesis. Radio and books are where its at...and that is so well reflected at Hay. There are dozens of tents, there must be 2000 performers over the 9 or 10 days and the setting (especially in the sun) is outstanding. We went up to Capel-y-ffin (near Hay) and a more beautiful drive is hard to imagine. My son and I chatted to a shepherd who was rounding up (with his 5 Border Collies) 800 sheep. He was working in a tradition that was centuties old and it was as fascinating to watch as any movie. Back at the Festival, I shared the Green Room with Jo Brand, Paul Merton, Arthur Smith and Dara O'Briain and couldn't help but wonder who was the funniest! Michael Morpurgo was here too and did two wonderful readings...I said hi and gave him the latest film on Mir (he based his recent book Shadow a bit on Mir). Michael and his wife are wonderful folk. Naturally we bought a stack more books and made all sorts of plans to do way more events at literary festivals and far less as film festivals...we'll see. But we'll certainly come back to Hay next year!

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