Sitting down and coming up with a list of fourteen or so films that I’d like to watch during the Summer should really be a relatively straightforward and enjoyable thing to do. Of course, the fact that I’m going to be sharing each of them with 2000 people adds a bit of pressure, but still…it’s just a short list and they’re only movies after all.
Turns out it’s a bit more complicated than that. This is the thirteenth year that I’ve programmed Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House and every year, without fail, I’m still agonising over final decisions and becoming obsessed with new favourites only weeks before we’re due to announce the programme. The general goal of the line-up is to bring together a line-up that reflects a variety of cinematic styles and eras, offers something for everyone and, where possible, feels connected to contemporary interests and concerns. Some of these objectives are, of course, a little broad and rather nebulous and not every film is going to fit that brief. However, that bigger picture is something that’s always in the back of our minds as we make endless lists, re-watch DVDs, swap ideas, agree to disagree about the merits of one another’s favourites and do whatever it takes to reduce a few pages of titles to the fortnight of films we now have before us.
From a practical programming perspective, this year’s line-up is a fairly typical mixture of films that we’ve been keen to show for awhile, films that suggested themselves only recently and three UK premieres – Opening Night, Centrepiece, Closing Night. We’re thrilled with our premieres this year, especially the exciting Summer Screen ‘first’ which finds us doing something we’ve not done before - kicking the season off with a documentary.