Two standout guests at the 10th Screenplay film festival are twice Mercury prize-nominated musician Richard Hawley and BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award-winning director Kim Longinotto.
Their collaborative work on the film Love Is All will be celebrated tonight with a screening of the film, a Q&A session and a live performance from Hawley, who produced the film’s soundtrack.
The film explores the portrayal of love on screen and is composed of archive footage from the British Film Institute and Yorkshire Film Archive.
Tracing the history of courtship on the silver screen Longinotto’s film touches on a number of key moments from prudish beginnings to gay liberation and interracial love.
The soundtrack to the film is provided by Hawley, formerly of Britpop icons Pulp, and features both existing and original tracks.
In Longinotto’s eyes Hawley’s music provides the perfect complement to a film centred around love.
She describes his croon as “very honest in a way that you makes you feel as if somebody is singing just to you.”
For Hawley this honesty is a central part of his art, and he has little time for music that places financial returns over emotional impact.
“With some music you can close your eyes and visualise the notes, other songs I hear and all I can see is pound signs,” he said.
He added: “You can’t pretend that recording music is natural but there has to be a part of the human being there. It’s the transference of person into song.”
When composing original tracks for the film the Sheffield-based singer-songwriter felt that the music and emotion flowed naturally.
“The images that Kim sent to me, it was so obvious what would fit. I could say, ‘that’s going to work there and that will fit there’. It was Kim who had the nightmare task.”
Longinotto humbly denies this, saying that Love Is All was a refreshing break from her standard approach to film-making.
The documentary maker, famed for filming in an unobtrusive cinema vérité style while immersing herself in the world of her subjects, found composing a film from archive footage to be a “fluent” and “genuinely pleasurable” experience.
She said: “Usually I come home from after filming and it’s been so stressful. This wasn’t like that.”
Longinotto’s most recent effort Dreamcatcher also screened at this year’s festival, is a film which placed far more strain on the director.
In many of her films, including the acclaimed Divorce Iranian Style, Longinotto concentrates on inspirational women pushing against oppression and discrimination.
Dreamcatcher explores these themes, concentrating on Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute and addict who founded The Dreamcatcher Foundation to help prostitutes and at risk women in Chicago.
To make the film Longinotto spent weeks on the streets of Chicago, an experience she described as “very raw and quite freaky.”
The director and crew were based in an area of Chicago not far from Barack Obama’s home, but spent most of their shooting time in the more destitute areas of the city.
Longinotto describes the obvious divide between rich and poor in the city as distressing and heartbreaking.
She said: “You feel angry because you realise just how segregated it is. Between rich and poor and between black and white. At times it was quite terrifying.”
Sunday’s screening of Dreamcatcher was followed by a Q&A session with Longinotto and Amnesty International’s Kate Allen.