HIGH DRAMA: Directors, actors and fresh-faced filmmakers and playwrights packed into The Royal Institution in London this week for the inaugural two-day Power of Film symposium hosted by Charles Finch’s new magazine A Rabbit’s Foot, with support from Giorgio Armani.
The conversations and masterclasses with creatives from the stage and screen were full of drama. The kick-off dinner at Isabel in Mayfair, with guests including Roberta Armani, Joan Collins, Percy Gibson, Douglas Booth and Charli Howard, added a glamorous edge.
In one of the talks, director Asif Kapadia, director of documentaries including “Diego Maradona,” “Senna” and “Amy,” wondered about the future of indie films and whether smaller cinemas would survive in the wake of the pandemic.
He said certain people “have decided what audiences should be seeing, which is why you get 15 different screens in the center of town showing the same thing. That is killing cinema. It’s a really challenging time right now.”
Kapadia was in conversation with the dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, who argued that going to the cinema or the theater “is the last human ritual we have left. Like visiting a Hindu temple, the experience is meant to awaken the five senses.”
Finch, who launched A Rabbit’s Foot last year, said the symposium’s aim was “to offer a celebration of film in the middle of awards season, where members of the public could hear from the great film artists themselves,” and from “women who have made their mark in the industry.”
Talks touched on a variety of topics.
Theater director Josie Rourke highlighted issues of diversity, equity and inequality in theater and film. Nick Broomfield described his filmmaking processes, and revealed a few behind-the-scenes stories.
He famously faced a number of challenges making the 1998 documentary “Kurt & Courtney,” with Courtney Love attempting to interfere with the making and marketing of the film. “The documentary turned into a bit of a nightmare,” admitted Broomfield.
Sandy Powell, with her signature flaming orange hair, was dressed in a Moschino suit, a nod to her work on “Mary Poppins Returns.”
“I think being a costume designer has made me love clothes. Today, I’m wearing a Moschino suit by Jeremy Scott. I like it because it looks hand-painted and reminds me of the costumes we did for ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ — and it photographs really well,” she said.
Powell offered up details of her work on the award-winning film “The Favourite.” She said she reinterpreted 18th-century costume through a modern lens, dressing members of the court in striking black-and-white outfits — and servants in thrift shop denim.
At the end of each discussion, the floor opened to audience questions. Particularly bold audience members even took the opportunity to pitch their projects to speakers.
The two-day event also marked the release of the fourth issue of A Rabbit’s Foot, which highlights “filmmakers whose work challenges the political and cultural status quo.”
It takes a close look at Oliver Stone, Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Darren Aronofsky and Alice Diop. Dennis Hopper is on the cover, while the essays and interviews follow themes such as Rebels in Film, the Power of Art and Senses in Revolt.
Launched last year, A Rabbit’s Foot comes out three times a year and aims to cater to all film enthusiasts. Finch said the next issue, out in May, will center on the themes of love and passion and include a section focused on books.