Industry News

Folkestone screening of 'Stella Erratica'Folkestone screening of 'Stella Erratica'

News release 12/04/2017

Folkestone filmmaker reveals Bowie connection in locally-made film

News release 10/04/2017

Ben Barton, a filmmaker based in Folkestone, will soon premiere his new sci-fi short film, which was funded by the late David Bowie.

On May 4th, the Silver Screen Cinema will preview the film, before Ben takes it to the Cannes Film Festival 2017.

‘Stella Erratica’ is an experimental 10-minute film that charts a cosmonaut’s mission to a distant planet, where he encounters something unexpected in the alien landscape. It was entirely shot in Kent, using locations such as Mermaid Beach in Folkestone, the sound mirrors at Denge Marsh, and St Leonard’s Crypt in Hythe.

Ben says, “This film has been a real labour of love, taking over a year to make. There’s quite a story behind it too – David Bowie and his production team paid for our shoot, and we shared the props from his video. So if you’ve seen ‘Blackstar’, you’re going to recognise the spaceman in my little film too.

“It came about due to a scheduling conflict – Bowie’s team needed an astronaut suit for the ‘Blackstar’ shoot quite urgently. And I had already hired a suit from a specialist company. Well replica suits are quite rare, so I agreed to let them use it first. To say thanks, they funded my little film. My budget was incredibly tight, so I was more than happy with the arrangement. In fact, it wasn’t until a week or so later I was told it was Bowie. I was amazed!”

Like all of Ben’s work, ‘Stella Erratica’ was shot on Kodak super-8 film, and hand edited using analogue methods.

He explains, “It’s quite challenging working on film – you have to be patient. After shooting, the reels are sent off to a photo lab to be processed. So you can’t see the results for weeks.”

Why does he work this way?

“I love the way ‘real’ film looks. It has a unique quality, very vintage. My father made super-8 films, and I guess I’m continuing that family tradition a little bit.”

Since Kodak launched the format in 1965, designed for the home movie market, super-8 has stayed in use thanks to a handful of independent directors and film artists, such as the late Derek Jarman, who famously made films in and around Dungeness in Kent.

Ben’s premiere Cannes screening is at the festival’s Court Métrage in late May. But the special ‘preview’ at the Silver Screen Folkestone is being held on Thursday May 4th – a day for Star Wars and sci-fi events around the world. The doors open at 6pm. No tickets are required – admission is free.

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