Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ups and Downs

A mixed couple of days - first of all, got rejected by an agent, in the very nicest way. He's someone I know, and gave me a page of comments along with the "no thanks". Still, a bit disheartening no matter how nicely the letter is written.

Then Laurence from Hull Short Film Festival rang to invite me to the opening night reception and screenings tomorrow, and also asked whether I'd be on a panel on Sunday - I'd been planning on going, to hear about film funding, and now I'm actually going to be one of the speakers. So, that brightened things up a bit, whilst also being a somewhat alarming prospect. Also on the panel will be Tony Dixon from Screen Yorkshire, well known film-maker Simon Ellis, and Clare Perry, writer of "King Ponce", so if you want to know about funding short films, come to Hull Screen on Sunday afternoon.

This afternoon, I went to the AGM of Yorkshire Art Circus, who are doing fabulous work as a grass roots community arts organisation, working with local communities around Castleford and Wakefield, as well as supporting writers and literary work of all kinds across the whole of Yorkshire. And they do all this despite having had their Arts Council grant taken away, and their funding being reduced by 50% in the last year. Which is utterly, utterly stupid. An organisation set up to regenerate an area decimated by the virtual ending of the coal industry, they are successful in every respect - their writers (including me) are being published, performing poetry, working in schools, teaching, making films; art work produced by their groups can be found as way-marking posts in local woods and on the walls of local hospitals; people from coalfield communities have been engaged in oral history projects and have produced stories, poems and art work. And yet their grants are taken away from them.

Meanwhile, Lee Hall's latest play, "The Pitman Painters", about a group of north-east miners in the 1930s who decided to take art appreciation lessons and began painting themselves, is getting rave reviews. So, we can enjoy a story about the value of art in working communities in the past, while watching it wither away in the present.

Coincidentally, I (and many others) got a response from the government this week to the petition to stop Lottery money being stolen from arts, heritage, community and voluntary projects to support the increasingly bloated Olympics 2012 development. Pretty inadequate, IMO. I'm not anti-sport - I am anti money being taken away from community development to promote something that will benefit a tiny proportion of the population and also probably end up in no small way boosting the bank balances of people who are quite rich enough already.


Blogger potdoll said...

Have fun on the panel Sal! I love Simon Ellis' films.

6:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck on the panel Sal! You'll be great. Sorry to hear you've had a set back - but hey even the Beatles were rejected! Best wishes - Nen

4:03 pm  

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