Watershed celebrates its 30th birthday

7 06 2012

From a documentary about a Bristol barbers made in 1989, to a special preview screening of 8 Minutes Idle, an as-yet unreleased feature film set in a Bristol call centre, the Watershed is celebrating its 30th birthday in style all day today and long past your bedtime on a schoolnight.

As well as dozens of free screenings, there will also be music, art, food, cake, even magic from inside a traditional gypsy caravan which formed part of the recent Magna Mysteria, made with the help of the Pervasive Media Studio, now based at the Watershed.

“It’s been such a voyage of discovery putting this together,” says Watershed’s head of programme Mark Cosgrove, responsible for many of the visual wonders shown here.

“There were constant exclamations of ‘I didn’t realise that had been Made in Bristol!’

“We hope you share our sense of wonder, joy, and more than a little pride when watching it all – from Michael Moore to Morph, David Attenborough to the Bristol Sound – it’s all here for your viewing pleasure.”

The Watershed means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me, it’s the place where I first felt that Bristol was definitely the city for me, when I was a fresh-faced, wet-behind-the-ears university student from a small town where the only cinema choice was the local multiplex.

Since then, it has become a home from home, whether by continuing to see some of the best films currently being released but shown in few other places (and some of the worst too, take a bow The Human Centipede); a remote office; a place to meet for a coffee, beer or lunch; Q&As, conferences, festivals, parties, quizzes; chasing after my baby daughter; or just reading the paper while catching the sun on their balcony.

I have even explained to a Spaniard in the Watershed what a curly fry is.

Opening their monthly newsletter and seeing all the upcoming films and assorted events for the month ahead always elicits excitement; long may it continue to be in paper form.

The Watershed opened in 1982 as “Britain’s first media centre”, before the internet, mobile phones or the digital technology that today we all take for granted.

Since then, it has been endlessly ambitious, revolutionary and collaborative, under what on a visit to the Watershed last week, BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill called the “maverick leadership” of Dick Penny.

Let the birthday celebrations begin. Who knows what mischief the Watershed will be making during its next 30 years.




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