August’s Youth Page.

Cardboard Cruises.

It sits between East and West the water, a murky, sunken Berlin wall to separate the town in two. Jet skis cut the current to ribbons and fish bask deep below the surface. To those who cross its lonely tide every day, it can be all too easy to take for granted. The river Torridge sits there in the background, but last month it took centre stage.

The Rotary club excelled themselves with a new addition to Bideford Water festival. Citizens took on the river in a cardboard boat regatta. In less time than it took Tom Hanks to cobble together a raft, we had an origami flotilla of everything from one man punts, kayaks and even a Viking long boat.

Almost thirty teams showed up to grapple with Poseidon; some emerged victorious, others were dragged kicking and screaming into the froth. ( Many through no fault of their own. The ‘Three little pigs’ forgot for a moment their torrid history and went to rescue ‘the Big Bad wolf’ from the mire. He huffed and he puffed and he pulled their boat down.)

For once, the weather held out, and a dunk in the river seemed like more of a prize than a punishment: a chance to rinse the sweat away and cool off – albeit at a price, as your boat melted to paper-mache before your eyes.

We can all take solace from the fact that if we are ever shipwrecked, as long as we have a bargain bucket, a shoe box, and some mathematical know-how, we can take to the sea. For a few metres at least.

The Wicker Man.

When you read those words, some will gasp and remember Christopher Lee’s most eerie role since Dracula, others will glaze over, and a significant proportion will gasp and weep and pull little straw legs off their miniature Nick Cage voodoo doll, lamenting a movie reboot that sullied the reputation of a classic. Just last year, it celebrated its tenth anniversary; it’s now available to scar a new generation all over again on Netflix.

Forget the encroaching terror of the original, we do not fear for the protagonist’s life, we just wish Nick Cage would stop being so culturally insensitive and leave the poor pagan people alone. Your daughter’s not there, Nick, give up, now stop waving that charred effigy around and put it back where you found it; you’re scaring the children. Director Neil LaBute turned Sergeant Howie from troubled cop into bumbling oaf, but it’s worth seeing for the crass belly laughs.

Never fear, creative kids of Bideford will never make Neil LaBute’s mistakes. We don’t know what they taught him in Kansas, but over here we train our movie makers well!

Community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) will be running two film making summer schools for children and teenagers this coming August, to make sure we know the ins and outs of cinema.

Creative Director of NDMI, Amanda McCormack says, “There will be two week-long workshops in Instow, one for ages 11 to 15 from 7-11 August 2017, and the other for 6 to 11 year olds from 14-18 August. The younger group will be creating a fun Creature Comforts style stop motion film and the older group will be given a surprise “prop box” to inspire the story for their short film.”

Millie Sutherland O’ Gara.

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