01 December 09
BAFTA / Philip TullIt’s all over. Thank you BAFTA for an Awards night that was as terrifying as it was terrific!
Despite some seismic wobbles inside me - chased down by a swift whisky sour - Sue, Pam and I beat the rain (Thanks Tim) and found ourselves in what resembled to all intents and purposes a giant chandelier showroom on Park Lane - seriously, I’ve never seen so much lighting bling - where I caught up with Team Astley Baker Davis (who had a brilliant evening!) and a few familiar faces amongst the twinkling throng.
The immediate tension of anticipation was broken by the ahem, dancing girls, who opened the show with inimitable hosts Dick & Dom… but my distracted calm faded fast as I realised Animation would be way down the running order. My nerves jangled back into perfect pitch. I caught sight of some of my fellow nominees and recognized the same tortured expression reflected back at me. The evening continued without mercy. Our shared moment only intensified as Johnny Vegas toyed with the envelope, testing our composure as he expertly twisted the knife of tension through our hearts… My but that man is cruel!
In a sudden stopped heartbeat - it was our night - and I was proudly sharing the stage with Sue Goffe my amazing producer, business partner and friend. Then it was over and we were being photographed and interviewed backstage by Barney Harwood who did a remarkable job of actually knowing who everyone was. Mr. Vegas was thereafter a perfect gent – but my favourite moment? Phoning my family with the news.
BAFTA / Brian RitchieNo one really likes to give or receive commiserations, so I think I‘d rather congratulate my fellow nominees on their achievements and their brilliant work. CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS makes my son laugh like a drain; HORRID HENRY has given my daughter far too many naughty ideas and the ART SPARKS? Well they might actually entertain some art appreciation into them yet. The generosity and kindness Lucinda, Ben, Myles and Greg (and co-nominees) all showed us on Sunday evening was as magnanimous as it’s possible to be. Brothers Greg and Miles even had the utter decency to send us a bottle of champagne – which I shamefully neglected to thank them for.
Blinded by the lights, I was now able to enjoy the rest of the night and if I pick out only one more moment it would be David Tenant’s summation of Bernard Cribbins as ‘the voice of my childhood’; which was just spot on. I was also very moved by what Bernard himself said about ‘staring down the camera and imagining reading a story to one child, any child, out there’ - a sentiment so often lost in the eager noise of entertainment without borders. He knows a thing or two does Mr. Cribbins.
The reception of LOST AND FOUND has been overwhelming this year and this caps us at a humbling 20 awards in six months… My only regret is that Author Oliver Jeffers - my touchstone throughout - was in New York and not at our table. I’m sending him my chocolate BAFTA as a memento. But I realise that I also neglected to steal more of them for Sue Buswell, Oliver’s smart and savvy book editor and Paul Moreton, Oliver’s hugely supportive Agent… I’d better go hide...
I count myself a very fortunate person indeed to have directed the crew at AKA that made it happen. But my secret weapon throughout was my understanding wife Cristina who put up with all the late nights and penguins with such good grace, and my two kids Anna and Noah, for providing all the inspiration for the films two main characters – they made all the difference. My proudest moment this week was waking up them up on Monday morning by waving a big shiny BAFTA in their faces. Anna immediately chimed up: ‘you owe me 50p!’ (The result of a bet between us) whilst Noah just complained: ‘But I’ve seen it already…’ (er...I think he’d been dreaming about giant BAFTA's chasing his Dad… bless.)
Before I forget. Someone who does not get acknowledged enough in her quiet exec. producer role at AKA is Pam Dennis. Pam gave us such tremendous support throughout the film’s progress and has also kept tabs on the more than 150 festivals that AKA has been screening films in this year… that’s a LOT of entry forms and logistical meticulousness to get us to the audiences we want to be in front of. And what is a film without an audience? Thanks Pam.
And finally, thanks again BAFTA for allowing me to ‘wibble on’ (the phrase of the night) these past weeks – and to all those of you who’ve been kind enough to tune in. Come visit us over at www.studioaka.co.uk anytime.
And I bow out.