Because we distribute our film Bata-ville (2005) we have a very direct contact line to the people who buy it. I always drop them a line to see how they heard about it and sometimes the responses are fascinating, a couple of weeks ago Carol Williams sent us this message:
I am very moved by your film.
As one of the characters says, there's a mystery there--the sense of many answers, but we don't yet know the questions. I think that is a very good way for a film to leave you. The questions rise up on their own.
The after-effects of Bata is a rich subject to have chosen (or been chosen by). What a wonderful way to frame a journey in search of community, creativity, home, mechanization, meaningful work. To ask: are we afraid of the future? (And how scary was the past?—What were the results 'on the ground' of this ambitious experiment in living and working and how have people negotiated the inevitable paradoxes?).
I thought the film beautifully made. And photographed. The faces will stay with me, as will the views from the bus, and the people singing. (Your air hostess uniforms were just the right touch.) The portraits and conversations you filmed go to the heart of the matter, as does your eloquent filming of the built landscape in Maryport, East Tilbury, and Zlin.
I saw the film before my own journey to East Tilbury where I am going in March, in search of the buildings my father, Bronek Katz, designed there in the 1950s. It makes a wonderful preparation. I will write again after I have been there.
Thank you again for your careful and inspired work. The film was an important experience for me, as I am sure it was for others who don't have Bata histories. Understanding what worked and what didn't in the past and presenting it with imagination and compassion is, I think, a good way not to be afraid of the future.
Best wishes, Carol Williams New York, USA.
Apparently like others Carol 'found' the film at the right time for her ... which for us is a very nice feeling as the project continues to feel live. In fact, there's shortly going to be a new public screening in London at the RIBA as part of their A place to call home programme. It will be on the 27th of March at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD at 18.30. Tomorrow night also features a talk there about East Tilbury - 'A Place Called Bata-ville'.