It’s remarkable how much this line of work brings us together with eccentric geniuses. One of these is Austin Vince of the Adventure Travel Film Festival, who brought together an unlikely collection of films that were simply brilliant.
Playing to a full house every time, we treated the audience to ‘Severn Railway Bridge’ (1967), a melancholic newsreel capturing the dismantling of the massive bridge across the Severn Estuary at Sharpness; ‘Century 21 Calling! (1964), a chirpy promo film funded by the Bell telephone corporation showcasing the hoped-for breakthroughs in telecommunications and promising pie in the sky nonsense like ‘pagers’, ‘conference calls’ and ’speed dialling’; ‘The Peak District’ (1954), a delightful celebration of one of Britain’s earliest national parks; and the unexpectedly dazzling film ‘The Shovel’ (1953) – a National Coal Board production revealing the history of this most basic of human tools. It seamlessly morphs into a training film aimed at new recruits to the mining industry. Great store is set by the ability to flick a hefty load of spoil horizontally and with great accuracy. This is known as the ‘Pioneer Throw’. The pupils practice this move by trying to launch their loads through a one foot square aperture in a wooden hoarding. This makes for as surreal a moment as you will ever witness.
Austin brought the films to life with unique, hilarious and insightful personal introductions to them all. We’re already looking forward to the Adventure Travel Film Festival 2012, which will no doubt bring more delights!
Screened at the Adventure Travel Film Festival, Bideford – June 2011