Portyč Cinema was bursting in seams during the afternoon hours. Some guests even had to sit on the stairs. And it’s no wonder, Saturday was packed with great films. The audience of competition block D could see unorthodox drama about a witch Babaga, sci-fi from the near future Paraiso Beach or a cute animated film The Present.

Have you been to Czech Republic before?

No, I haven’t. It’s unbelievable how Prague is beautiful. For me to really sink in to the local culture, I’d need a month. But we, as filmmakers, don’t have that kind of time so I grabbed the opportunity to be a judge here.

What do you think about our country so far?

I think we have a lot in common, especially in culture. In Britain, we love several things: football, film, music, fashion... and all that is here too. I really like your rich film history. Even the hotel where we’re staying is in an old cinema. My idea of a paradise is to watch films day after day – and that’s exactly what I get here.

What’s your opinion on the festival in Písek?

It’s really good. I feel really bad that I can’t talk to the students more, because only judging films is not fun. So if I’ll have the opportunity to come back, I will.

What do you think of the town?

It’s interesting. Small, has its own identity. There are no McDonald’s and other brand shops. In many ways, Písek is similar to Liverpool, that also has its own identity. So it’s a beautiful town and I’m really not surprised that many tourists visit it.

What’s the atmosphere here on the festival?

Very good. It’s interesting that the jury is made up of people from all around the world. And that’s amazing because good film is simply good film. It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from because you’ll see a good film. And it’s great that you’re trying to create this film family here, where culture isn’t an issue.

What do you think about this year’s film picks?

There are good, bad and mediocre. But you’re all students, you’re learning. It’s definitely interesting to see films from Kazakhstan and so on. All these films represent their culture and that’s interesting to watch.

Last question. What would you like to tell young filmmakers?

I’d tell them to get up and shoot under any circumstances, the sooner, the better. Learn to shoot and if you’re not at a film school, just do it yourself.

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