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It was September, golden light some days, grey and rainy on others.
I was not prepared for the intensity of the experience to come and the sense of enormous responsibility that went with it. Looking out at the group of young filmmakers, with their eager hungry faces, their hopes and fears so palpably evident, I realised I needed to try and meet their unspoken needs with as much force and clarity as I could muster. And as I listened with them to some of the guest speakers, for the most part obsessed by their own work, seemingly blind to the students in front of them, I began to feel the quiet despair of those starting out on the road. How to make a splash, find a voice, find some money? In the white noise of the worship of false gods…fame, money, awards etc…how to remember what really matters?
A fierce protectiveness began to rise in my breast. Protective of the spirit of the artist, protective of the impulse to work in this confusing and confused sphere in a culture which is deeply discouraging about the very nature of the endeavour and in which success is mostly measured in purely commercial terms.
A few days later I found myself standing in the lobby of my hotel, my scripts under my arm, feeling as if I had a begging bowl in my hands. I might as well be starting out myself. Each film is like climbing a mountain. Each one begins at base camp in the ravine, looking up. And sometimes it feels like climbing backwards, wearing high heels, laughing and crying.
As relief from the meetings, the noise, the restless eyes all around me, I visited some gardens. In one of them the gardener said to me: this flower is so ugly, I am going to pull it up. I have pondered this ever since. Can any flower really be ugly?
Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated