Just over 10 years ago, Warp Films was launched by Mark Herbert, hot on the heels of his success with Phoenix Nights, from a shed in his back garden in Sheffield. The founding ethos was to make Artist focused films. A rarity both then, and now.
The first short My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117 was made by Chris Morris (Brass Eye), starring Paddy Considine. Who both would end up being a central part of the Warp Family over the next ten years. My Wrongs is a cracking 12 minute short film that tells the tale of a mentally disturbed man looking after a neighbours dog. Straight off the bat, this short set the tone of what was to come from Warp – Films division.
Their first full feature was the now cult film – Dead Man’s Shoes. Now, some ten years after those early releases, with a whole host of critically acclaimed films under their belt including; This is England, Tyrannosaur, Four Lions, Submarine and Kill List… it was time for a Celebration/Birthday party.
On paper the line-up was a beauty, but would it deliver?
WarpFilms10 The Line-up:
Saturday 17th November 2012
Magna Science Adventure Centre
DEAD MAN’S SHOES, re-scored live by:
Gavin Clark (Clayhill, UNKLE), Joel Cadbury (UNKLE, South), Ali Friend (Clayhill), Jah Wobble, Marc Layton-Bennett, James Griffith (UNKLE) & Helen Boulding.
Screenings throughout the night of All Tomorrow’s Parties, Submarine, Four Lions, Kill List and Berberian Sound Studio.
DJ Sets from Andrew Weatherall, Tom Ravenscroft and Pablo Clements. Plus Seven by 7 DJ sets from Friends of Warp including Kayvan Novak, Shane Meadows and Vicky McClure.
On arrival at Magna, there were huge queues outside. People were standing in line patiently and not saying very much. There was a strange mood. A mood that was on one hand subdued – but on the other there was clear palpable excitement. The venue itself was incredible to behold. The Magna Science Adventure Centre has been built around an old abandoned steel works, a relic from Sheffield’s industrial past.
Once through the foyer and into the Centre properly, we ventured to a huge loading bay style area, en route to the Big Hall, that was screening Matthew Holness‘s debut short A Gun for George on several screens high above. A very good look.
Continuing on inside Magna, following the map we were given at the Box Office, through several spaces and corridors, we arrived outside the Big Hall. The central focus of the evening’s entertainment.
On display just outside were some fantastic prints by Pete McKee. Re-imagined film posters of most of the Warp Films releases. Many of which were on sale on the night, along with some exclusive merchandise from Warp and Last Exit to Nowhere.
Inside, the crowd had gathered to watch the pre-lim to the main event, a screening of All Tomorrow’s Parties. The 2009 film from Jonathan Caouette that journeys into the heart of the iconic music festival.
With a slight delay in proceedings to ensure everyone was in Mark Herbert began the hellos and thank yous to the crowd and the behind the scenes Warp team. Shortly followed by the welcoming to the stage of Shane Meadows, Director of Dead Man’s Shoes/This is England and one of the most recognisable faces of Warp Films. He in turn introduced the cast of Dead Man’s Shoes to the stage. Sadly Paddy Considine, another cornerstone of the Warp family had to miss out due to filming commitments.
And finally, Gavin Clark was introduced. The man in charge of both the original soundtrack and the live re-score. A life long friend of Meadows and purely based on the tone of his voice, a true character. His first sentence when someone passed him a mic was “Fucking hell… oh fuck… sorry, i’ve just woken up… this is an over 18’s show right?… fuck” After he had welcomed the rest of the band to take their places, followed by several more expletives and laughs, I began comparing Gavin to Del Preston, The Greatest Roadie In Existence from Waynes World 2. Pure gold.
Although signs around the venue said Standing Room Only – most people had found themselves a nice plot to sit back and enjoy the performance. The film began and the band started to play. One thing was clear – The sound system! It had the two critical factors you want from an event like this – volume AND clarity.
The crowd were very respectful to the performance, keeping their voices to a minimum, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying seeing the film again in this live environment. Occasionally stopping by the bar to grab themselves a bottle of Warp Beer, brewed locally at Thornbridge. Live re-scores have become very popular over the last couple of years but this was no rush job. People were blown away with it. Excellent vocals combined with very talented musicians. The drug taking scene will be remembered for the pulsating heavyweight basslines being played live by Jah Wobble which brought huge cheers from the crowd. Outstanding.
As well as the audio-visual feast, bumping into members of the cast from the film (and some from other Warp releases) walking around the crowd really added another dimension to the evening. It created a sense of familiarity with everyone there. The night had now slyly become the sort of party where you felt like you had known everyone in the room for at least ten years.
Once the screening had ended, the crowd found their feet, the Friends of Warp/Seven by 7 DJs stepped up. These included guest sets from Kayvan Novak (Fonejacker/Waj), Vicky McClure (Lol from This is England) and Shane Meadows who started dropping classics from The Specials and The Jam. Those wry grins and cheeky smiles which dominated the early part of the evening now gone. It was time for a right old knees up, Sheffield Style.
By now, the doors to several other parts of Magna were open too. The Big Melt and Fire were the 2 main installation areas. If you can call them that.
Sandwiched between these two, was a lovely area set back in the darkness. Screening here were some of the Warp short films including the Chris Cunningham and Aphex Twin masterpiece Rubber Johnny.
Nicely polished DJ Sets followed from Pablo Clements and John Peel’s son, Tom Ravenscroft.
To finish off the night, a phenomenal set from the mustachioed eccentric, Andrew Weatherall. Many people know the name but will not be aware of just how good a DJ he is. He is clearly the sort of man that lives and breathes music. It’s very difficult to portray this type of deep house based set in words but the people that stayed until the lights came on… you know.
Everything about this night fitted. The Venue, the Performances, the Films, the Music, the People and the Atmosphere. At it’s soul, this was a small house party for close family and friends which was somehow magnified to encompass 3000 people without losing any of the intimacy and re-located into the middle of a steelworks.
But, this was more than just a big party – this was the culmination of ten years hard work from many people and their chance to properly celebrate their achievements. Warp demonstrated that as well as making great films, they also know how to throw amazing parties.
You can tell from comments like this left on Twitter, “last night is most definitely in my top 3 best nights out ever….& i’ve been out a lot!” that everyone there will remember this night for a very long time. At least until the 20th Birthday Party comes around. Warp Films take a bow.