Mark Jenkin, Associate Lecturer at Falmouth, is making waves with his latest feature film, BAIT. It has been selected as the only British screening in the Forum section of the Berlin International Film Festival and is being premiered this Saturday (9 February 2019).
Produced by Bristol-based Early Day Films in association with Falmouth University’s School of Film & Television, the film was shot on location in Charlestown and across the dramatic coastline of West Penwith. Staff, students and graduates crewed on the production, as part of the University’s commitment to providing real industry experience.
Starring local comedian and actor Ed Rowe (a.k.a. Kernow King), BAIT is a film about a struggling Cornish fisherman. The story explores issues of culture, community and the challenges that often accompany change.
Shot on 16mm, black and white film and processed by hand, it has a grainy quality, but the narrative is current and politically charged.
Writer and director Mark explained, “It’s about all the hurdles that are now in place for anybody who wants to do anything that’s a traditional industry, in a world of leisure and gentrification – and the rise of the ‘pretty committee’ – especially in places like Cornwall, where it’s all about aesthetics and lifestyle, rather than people being able to live in the way they have for thousands of years. It’s about people seeking out a living – there are people seeking out a living all over the world – and about the fishing community, but it’s also about class war.”
In a time of uncertainty, post-modernisation and automation, Mark’s film has struck a chord on an international level. To be recognised and selected by the Berlinale is an enormous accomplishment, one that is testament to his craft, story-telling skills and political message.
The Berlinale is a place and an event that many film-makers dream of. An annual film festival held in Berlin, Germany, it was founded in 1951 and has been held every February since 1978. It’s one of the “Big Three” alongside the Venice Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. After twenty years of working on BAIT, it’s a surreal moment for Mark.
He started writing the screenplay for BAIT in 1999, when he moved from Cornwall to work in London. It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that filming took place, after which Mark hand-processed the film in his Newlyn studio, physically cutting over three miles of footage.
BAIT is a feat of craftmanship, with a powerful message. It also exemplifies the power of collaboration. Not only have staff, students and graduates from Falmouth worked on the production throughout the process, but Mark has worked closely with people throughout the Cornish fishing community, capturing their history and the challenges of modern working life.
A behind-the-scenes film has also been made by students, focussing on how the University has supported the project and how many student opportunities the project presented. It was made entirely by the students, shooting with Super 8 cameras to reflect the aesthetic of the main film, working with Associate Lecturer Rachael Jones.