It was a big night at the 56th BFI London Film Festival on Monday, as the much-anticipated Nintendo Gala took place at Odeon West End in Leicester Square. Hundreds of film critics, movie experts and even games journalists descended upon the renowned movie theatre to attend the premiere of Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires. Nintendo UK invited Nintendo Life to the London venue to rub shoulders with the film’s stars and enjoy an evening of luxury entertainment.
You may recall that we recently told you about Nick Pratt, the winner of Nintendo and BFI’s film-making competition, A Vision in 3D. Monday was also his night to shine, as his own short film, Summer in the City, was given its own special screening before The Sapphires. After winning the competition with his original 3DS short film submission, Nick got the opportunity to create this professionally-produced 3D film with Stuart Warren-Hill (Hexstatic, Holotronica) and Asif Kapadia (Senna).
The film itself focuses on the major events that took place in London this past summer, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. Each event is briefly - but charmingly - reproduced in stop-motion 3D and the whole thing sports a great sense of British humour.
We managed to catch up with Nick and find how he had found the project and his first film premiere. He told us: “I was worried because you never know how these things are going to go down; it’s different when you’re just with four of your mates laughing at your own film”. Nick didn’t have anything to worry about, however, as his creation received a huge round of applause from the audience. “I’m just glad they didn’t show it after The Sapphires,” he admitted. “Everyone left as soon as the credits began to roll!”
Shortly after his film, we were treated to the main attraction of the night. The Sapphires is an Australian drama/comedy and is based on the 2004 stage play of the same name. Directed by Wayne Blair, the film tells the story of four singers from an Aboriginal community during the late 1960s, who after being discovered by an Irish talent scout (Chris O’Dowd), become a soul band that performs for the American troops during the Vietnam War.
The film is packed full of classic soul and rhythm and blues music, with the cast performing hits, such as The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) and Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Much like the music it features, the film’s plot has its own fair share of upbeat and low moments.
The IT Crowd star Chris O’Dowd lends his usual comedic effect to the film, although he’s clearly no stranger to the microphone either. At the Gala after-party that followed, he and The Sapphires were even kind enough to serenade us with a special performance. If you live in the UK and are a fan of soul music or just simply enjoy a nice feel-good film, you should check this out when it releases in cinemas on 7th November, 2012.
All in all, this latest collaboration between Nintendo and the BFI is certainly a step in the right direction. Sure, it might provide the Nintendo Life team with the chance to mingle with film stars while eating fancy snacks, but it’s more about the great exposure that the 3DS receives as a result.
Moreover, it’s proof that dedicated gaming systems can and do have meaningful uses beyond their primary purpose. Nintendo recently announced that it was planning more projects with the BFI and we imagine that the 3DS will be at the heart of these. Who knows? Maybe the Wii U will also get the chance to take centre-stage.
You can view Nick Pratt's winning film below, in 2D, courtesy of Nintendo UK.