Poster For ‘BB’ Written and Directed by Kate Burton. Poster Design by Jen Davies
My daughter Kate has recently attended the London Short Film Festival where her latest film “BB” is showing. The film was also selected by the Glasgow Short Film Festival and the Inverness Film Festival, and was nominated for Channel 4 innovation in storytelling award 2015.
The action starts with a bee buzzing around, the synopsis reads “When Anna discovers an unwelcome intruder in her home she enlists the help of her mild mannered neighbour. Frank enters into Anna’s strange and chaotic world and finds himself well removed from his comfort zone. Amusingly awkward social challenges follow and an unlikely relationship is formed.”
The film was shot in Kate’s previous flat in Glasgow, and in the local area. She was determined to make the film before she left.
I asked Kate to give me the background to the film.
“At the time I wrote the script I was living in a small one bedroom flat in a Victorian townhouse conversion in the west end of Glasgow. The ceilings were high and there was a split level mezzanine where I worked and completed the script.
There was a huge rose garden opposite the flat and in the summer confused bumble bees would fly inside my flat and roll up into fuzzy balls on my window ledge. This and many other elements of my surrounding environment fed into the content of the script.”
“I knew the characters very well after a lengthy development time, but the story for the short came relatively fast and after two months writing, in between filmmaking jobs, I was finally ready to let other people read it.
‘BB’ is a character driven story capturing the awkwardness of first attractions. It takes place mainly in one location. I wanted the cinematography and style to reflect the simplicity of the story and I decided that I wanted to shoot in black and white to give a heightened feel, emphasising the unique lines of the interior space. I was interested in long duration takes and capturing physical and theatrical comedy within the frame. Some of my research references were Woody Allen’s ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Manhattan’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Blake Edwards and ‘Francis Ha’ by Noah Baumbach.”
Kate Burton, writer/director, on set of ‘BB’ 2015.
One of Kate’s earlier films was “The Ice Plant”. I thought that this was a strange title until she told me that it was about ice cubes and that her research led her to Highland Ice Ltd, a factory in Aberdeen which makes ice cubes, which kindly agreed to let her film there. She has a good photo of the film crew standing around in woolly hats and scarves.
Festivals showing “The Ice Plant” were – Edinburgh International, Glasgow International, Clemont Ferrand International, Seattle International Film Festival, preceding a feature presentation at the GFT Glasgow.
Current television period dramas “War and Peace” and “Dickensian”, featuring Tuppence Middleton, have reminded me of a film Kate made in 2010, “Ever Here I Be”, a 16 minute ‘Digicult’ Film, UK Film Council & Scottish Screen. Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Nashville International Film Festival, Palm Springs Short Film Festival , Portabello Film Festival London and Inverness Film Festival Scotland.
Tuppence Middleton, Ever Here I Be, photograph by Janet Johnstone
Ever Here I Be starred Tuppence Middleton and Christopher Simpson and was nominated for the Underwire ‘Best Female Character’ award 2012.
Kate was a talented artist from a very young age and it was a delight to watch her progress.
She went to Allerton Grange High School in Leeds, where Damien Hirst was a former pupil, and then completed a Foundation course in Fine Art at the Leeds College of Art and Design, where she increasingly studied film. Kate then moved to Glasgow in 1999 to study Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art, during which she went on exchange to Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston to study filmmaking.
Kate graduated in 2002 and has written and directed a number of shorts, documentary and promotional films. These include several commissions from Glasgow School of Art to make documentaries and promotional films for them.
Kate has a passion for film education and has taught filmmaking and screenwriting to children and young people for the past 8 years through Into Film, Project Ability Glasgow, Glasgow Film, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Media Access Centre and Visible Fictions theatre Company.
Her website is www.kateburtonfilm.com which highlights all her main films. You can watch many, such as “Mrs Pickering’s Music Cabinet”, 2015, where Helen McCook, Artisan Embroidery & Artist, has been requested to reproduce the lost textile screen to go into an original Rennie Mackintosh cabinet.
Kate is currently working on an outline for her first feature film script.