By Showbiz Correspondent Thaddeus Gobot
The nominations for the Darlington Film Awards have recently been announced, and it’s caused quite a stir, with some critics citing a blatant lack of diversity. The Film Awards – known locally as the Darling FilAwa – are held annually and are presented in a modest sized sports hall, presented by the Darling FilAwa president, 64-year old Dirk Face. I interviewed Mr. Face in light of this controversy, during some rare downtime for him while he was stood outside his bathroom, waiting for his wife to get ready.
TDJJ: “Mr. Face, I know you’ve been running the film awards for over 25 years, but it feels like only recently that the awards are starting to get criticism based on diversity. What do you think are the reasons for this?”
DF: “To be honest, I reckon some people are sore losers. Take last year, when the slasher film Unicycle Bludgeon III: Morituri Te Salutant beat the more dramatic, better-produced Red Warmth In Leaves. The votes were counted twice, still the same winner. This year, there’s a lot of strong competition in the acting category, with Josephine Marvography once again a big contender for her portrayal of Unicycle Gang Member #3 in Unicycle Bludgeon IV: Mors Omnibus.”
TDJJ: “What’s your reaction to local primary school teacher Miss Waxjacket, who’s publicly spoken out in the press about you, saying that you’re biased against the children in her class?”
DF: “Listen, I watched the tapes of all the nativities from the various schools. It’s not ageist, it’s just me and my fellow judges thought that the performances were lacking in some way. There was one kid, as one of the three wise men, he weren’t too bad. I was gonna include him, but he soiled himself near the end and started crying, breaking character. It’s just not something you do, it’s unprofessional, so he was out.”
TDJJ: “Are you aware that Miss Waxjacket has set up a Facebook group about this? It’s gained a lot of traction. A lot of the comments are badly written, which is odd considering that the members are all teachers, but there’s a lot of hostility towards this lack of children. There’s talk of boycotting of the awards ceremony.”
DF: “No, I wasn’t aware of any Facebook group. I don’t do any of the computer stuff, Beryl deals with all that. Look, I struggled to hear a lot of the kids talking in the plays, a lot of mumblers, some didn’t know their dialogue. I was too aware of the acting. Stuff like that pulls me out of the production. If they don’t want to come, fine, it just means there’s gonna be more tripe pies for everyone else.”
TDJJ: “Given all this controversy, is there anything that you’d consider changing for future nominations?”
DF: “I don’t think so. We at Darling FilAwa pride ourselves on our integrity, people should be able to trust us when it comes to picking out the best aspects of local film productions. If we started giving an award for, I don’t know, Best Kid Who Swore The Least As Baby Jesus, it’d be seen as political correctness gone mad. I’m not a fan of how the world is shaping up nowadays, everyone wants to be a winner, just because. There’s just too many other, better films and acting out there. Show me a kid who doesn’t need a prompt every two lines or a story about one going full Method when portraying a sheep, then we’ll talk.”
TDJJ: “So, despite all this going on, do you still feel the awards ceremony will be a success?”
DF: “Yeah, students are still gonna be there. A lot of the films are student-made, usually about someone with a hangover or nonsensical black and white ones where people in long black coats talk in metaphors. In fact, Black Coat Metaphor People has three nominations – Best Dialogue, Best Wardrobe and Best Catering. And there’s a film called Reversal of Sexpectation, which is about a guy who gradually becomes his own kid after a bizarre set of erotic circumstances. The kid in the film is up for the Best Facial Hair award. So there. Beryl, have you finished in there? We’re gonna be late for Tumblin’ Monkeys!”
I end the interview there, Mr. Face’s mood has turned to one of anger and frustration. I leave his house, thought best to not ask what Tumblin’ Monkeys was.