Well, the Crowdfunder campaign done and dusted, and the brand new Derek Jarman successfully completed, it was all about making sure the project reached an audience. What’s the point in putting so much effort into making a piece of work if it then comes to an end because no-one has had the chance to interact with it? Anyway, ‘The Gospel According to St Derek’ has certainly reached an audience – and very successfully so. It’s a case of so far, bloody brilliant!
On Friday 31st January, it kicked-off a weekend symposium on Derek Jarman and Early Modern Drama at Kings College, on The Strand in London, 5pm. It was screened in the old Anatomy Theatre at Kings. There was a full-house, with some people having to stand on the balcony overlooking the screening (very Early Modern Drama!). The doc got a great reception. I had a well-earned drink or three in the Kings bar afterwards and carried on the chat about the doc, and Derek Jarman, with family and friends.
On Friday 28th February, ‘The Gospel…’ was screened as part of a one-day symposium on Derek Jarman’s films at Exeter University. This time the doc rounded-off events at 6.15pm, in Lecture Theatre 1 of the Queen’s building. Even though it was a very academic audience, they seemed engaged – and to titter in all the right places! It felt like a successful screening, but I couldn’t stick around to find out for sure, as I had to catch the 7.25pm train back to London (and remember this was when the West Country was ravaged by all the winter storms and coming and going between the South-West and London was a nightmare). James Mackay and Don Boyd (both regular producers of Derek Jarman’s films) were at the Exeter symposium, so it was a great chance to hear some wonderful stories of working with Derek. Don said that things got so tight with the budget for ‘War Requiem’, that he and Derek ended up agreeing to a fee of just £10 each. Now that’s dedication to your art!
On April 11th, the documentary was given an online premiere on The Guardian’s website. Yes, The Guardian’s website!! Now that’s not bad going, is it! One of The Guardian’s film critics (Andrew Pulver) supported my Crowdfunder campaign and as a result liked the doc enough to recommend it to his employers. We just never know where contacts, or connnections, are going to take us, do we? Again, I got on to Facebook and Twitter to rustle up interest. But I don’t honestly know what the viewing figures have been so far… The Guardian will be screening the documentary for 8 weeks until something like 6th June.
On April 20th, the documentary is played at the Australian Cinematheque, in Brisbane, as part of a season running throughout the month, entitled ‘The Last of England’ and featuring a retro look-at Derek”s body of film-work. James Mackay recommended the documentary to Jose De Silva at the Australian Cinematheue, so a big “thanks” goes out to him.
On Thursday 28th August, it plays at the Berkeley Art Museum, in Caifornia. Again, this part of a retrospective look at Derek’s films. And, again, James Mackay was kind enough to recommend the doc to Kathy Geritz, so that’s a big, big “thanks” to James.
There was the possibility of a screening at the Dean Clough Gallery, in Halifax, sometime about now, but that never came to fruition. C’est la vie!
All in all, the ‘taking the doc out on the road’ experience has been a superb, and way better than I could have ever hoped for, so long may it continue.