It's 11.43 pm and I've just got in from the premiere for the film I produced, A Tale of Two Barnets. When you see the culmination of a years work come together it can be rather stressful. At 4.55pm, I boarded a tube at Mill Hill East to the Phoenix Cinema. I went with a feeling of trepidation. Would anyone turn up? Would they like the film?
On arrival at 5.15, there were already 30 people in the lobby. My fears slightly eased. By 6.10 the auditorium was full. The film had been scheduled to show at 7pm, but we decided to bring the screening time forward and repeat the film for latecomers, as there was sufficient time in the program. We had a short Q&A before the film. As the film started, I felt a sudden wave of panic rising. What if we've let all these people down? What if they don't like it? In no time at all the film had finished. A spontaneous round of applause rung around the Phoenix. As an old school rock and roller, you know when you've kept the audience. We had.
Then onto the Q&A session. It was pretty clear that we'd made an impression. One lady said "I thought I'd come to see a film about the history of Barnet, but I'm glad I came....". Whilst the film is not a historical documentary, it tells a tale and it is perhaps the closest thing you will get to a modern, cinematographic record of Barnet in 2012.
Afterwards, a large group of filmgoers adjourned to the White Lion pub. I just wanted to drink and discuss the impact. We had a large group, who stayed till closing time. The verdict? The film was well received and successful. To pack out the Phoenix on a Monday Night, with a paying audience, is no mean feat. The Phoenix were chuffed as the bar takings were high.
Watching the film on the big screen was a joy. The Phoenix is a lovely cinema. It may interest you to know that the Leader of Barnet Council circulated an email claiming he'd "been ambushed into appearing and that he felt that the film may contain a message not sympathetic to the council policies" earlier today. This was sent with a complete ignorance of the content of the film. As producer, I offered to show the Leader a copy prior to the release, via email.I received no reply. I invited the leader to the premier as my guest. I received no reply. I will be sending the Leader a copy of the film along with the CEO. I trust that this will be the end of any such false information. They may disagree with views expressed by other people, but that is the beauty of free speech. A conservative regime should have no problem with this.
If the people at the top of Barnet Council really believe they were misrepresented, they could always take up the offer of showing the whole interview with Councillor Cornelius and CEO Walkley unedited on the Council website. That would be the end of the arguments. The offer is open.
Personally I'm rather disappointed with the statement and ask for a retraction from the Leader. Barnet is a great place to live and I'm proud to have been involved with the film.