Last week I attended my first Bright Young Things Film Club event, courtesy of a press pass with my friend Mitra, to see the short film The Phone Call and the full length documentary Art and Craft. I hadn’t heard of BYT Film Club before Mitra told me about them, but I’m really glad she did because the night was an absolute treat!
Bright Young Things Film Club was founded in 2013 by film enthusiasts Bridget Arsenault and Fatima Martinez-Moxon, with the aim of hosting glamorous evenings with the feeling of a Hollywood red carpet premiere that also supported and featured the works of young and up-and-coming actors and filmmakers.
Each event is hosted at The May Fair Hotel, where last week we were greeted with glow sticks, cocktails and a plethora of tasty treats from a variety of the night’s sponsors. We had about an hour before it was time to enter the cinema, so we were able to snack and catch up before it was time to switch our phones off.
For this event, BYT Film Club was showing a bit of a double feature. First up there was a screening of the 2015 Oscar-winning short film The Phone Call (20 minutes), followed by the full length documentary Art and Craft (89 minutes).
The Phone Call follows a phone call to a support centre, where a volunteer stays on the line and talks with a very unhappy man while he opens up to her about his life and current situation. I found this film to be incredibly harrowing, if not a bit traumatic. Mitra and I held hands and sobbed throughout. If you get a chance to watch it I highly recommend it – it’s not every day that a piece of film can be so beautifully moving.
On the flip side, Art and Craft was much more light-hearted and a welcome change of pace for an evening of entertainment. It tells the story of Mark Landis, who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in US history. Through series of interviews and following Mark on his day-to-day we’re exposed to his impressive body of forged art work (including 15th Century Icons, Picasso, and even Walt Disney), how he gifts these pieces to universities and museums and how these curators respond when they realise they’ve been gifted fakes. Funnily enough, Landis hasn’t actually committed any crimes so he’s not been prosecuted. Landis takes on multiple personas and identifies as a philanthropist, and it’s hard not to fall in love with his sense of humour. Again, if you get the chance to watch Art & Craft I highly recommend it – it does a fantastic job of telling the story, finding moments of pain and happiness to share and feels more like a fantasticly scripted feature film than a documentary featuring real life conversations and moments.
Following the screenings we were treated to a discussion with the film makers: Academy Award-winning writer/producer/director Mat Kirkby (The Phone Call) and Art and Craft co-director Jennifer Grausman. It was during this discussion we learned how even though Kirkby was able to secure Jim Broadbent as the voice of the man on the phone, he never wanted to point the camera at him so that viewers stayed with the experience of the call centre volunteer who answered the phone. Art and Craft‘s Grausman was able to update us on Landis: he is no longer gifting forgeries to museums, but instead is creating original fakes of photographs for customers on his website.
All in all it was a great evening, and the films were really inspiring. I’d love to go again, and will be keeping an eye out for their next event! Will I see you there?
Please note: while the event tickets marked with a star (*) in this blog post were gifts, the views expressed are my own. If you’re interested in the BYT Film Club, check out their site for more details: http://www.tbytfilmclub.com/about-the-film-club/