NFF2012: Interview with Bernard Hill

Over the next two weekends, the Norwich Film Festival is hosting a plethora of short films, showcasing a vast amount of talent. This includes films submitted from all over the world, as well as the BAFTA short films that are touring the country. The new talent has been judged by some very high profile and accomplished players in the industry. Take One had the chance to talk exclusively to one of the judges, Bernard Hill, about his role at the 2012 festival and also about his extraordinary film career.

Hill’s involvement in the festival is two-fold. He is one of the judges, and certainly an advocate of the festival and has been since its early days. ‘It’s been around for a while now – going on sometimes, then fading away’, he says of the festival. ‘But it is in still in its infancy and I’ve been helping with recruiting some of the people who are involved.’ Perhaps he is referring to one or more of the other star judges, including Tim McInnerny, Jim Field Smith and Steve Furst. But he brushes this aside quickly, to add, ‘There are some fantastic filmmakers out there, but there is such a lack of opportunity for a lot of their films to be shown’.


It’s refreshing to hear these words from a man who has appeared in some legendary films; one of just three people to appear in two of the seven films to make over $1 billion worldwide, TITANIC and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. It’s not surprising, then, that he admits that most of the film festivals and events that he is usually invited to are on a much larger scale than the Norwich Film Festival. But despite this, he still projects an air of admiration for the independent film. ‘There is something about working on a lower budget film,’ he says when asked. ‘Despite being in the fortunate position of working with some great people – even in the bigger films like TITANIC, there seemed to be a close working atmosphere among the actors.’

Gergely Wootsch’s THIS IS NOT REAL

But among the filmmakers Hill mentions his experience working with, including Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Richard Attenborough and ‘a good friend of mine, Jim’ (Cameron), he talks just as admirably about the other reason he’s involved in the Norwich Film Festival: a little film called ANALOGUE LOVE, made by UK filmmaker Stuart Drennan and for which Hill provided the voiceover. ‘Unfortunately it didn’t win anything, but it’s a great film, and made by people who are doing what they want to do – all the money they have goes into the films they are making.’


The winners were announced the day before the festival opened. Featuring alongside the usual categories is “One Minute Movie”, an exciting new competition which invites film makers to make their mark in just sixty seconds – no matter what the genre. The winning film, which opened this year’s festival, was CANDY CRIME – we recently caught up with its director, Ben Jacobson.

It is the documentary film that takes Hill’s interest, though. ‘Documentary films seem to be a great way for the new filmmakers to show their talent,’ he says. Sushmit Ghosh’s powerful DILLI, this years “Best Documentary”, is a short film which follows the efforts of a charity foundation who have brought hope to the thousands of homeless evacuees who have been trampled and left in the wake of the unbridled modernisation sweeping over Delhi.

While young, the Norwich Film Festival boasts such a broad spectrum of genres and methods of filmmaking, and the judges themselves, like Bernard Hill, represent many aspects of the industry – bringing together the experienced and the new talent in a fantastic programme over the course of the two weekends.

Look out for our upcoming interview with the film makers featured in the above trailers!

The Norwich Festival will be running over the weekends of 30 – 31 March and April 6 – 7 April 2012. Take One will be covering both weekends. More information, including the winning films, can be found at:

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