Cecilia makes a Case for Berwick

Cecilia Stenbom, artist in residence in Berwick.
Cecilia Stenbom, artist in residence in Berwick.

Look out for some familiar places and faces when Cecilia Stenbom’s ‘The Case’ premieres at The Maltings on Wednesday as part of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s Opening Gala.

Cecilia arrived in Berwick in January as the town’s artist in residence, tasked with shooting a piece to debut at the annual celebration of the moving image, now in its ninth year.

Speaking to ‘WOW’ back then she felt optimistic that Berwick would give her plenty of inspiration for a film and eight months on she’s now ready to show audiences how she’s been influenced by the town’s structures and people.

Although using generic scenarios from typical crime films, ‘The Case’ uses discussions Cecelia hosted with local residents to string together a narrative which is then played out by a cast of both professional and local amateur actors including Jackie Kaines Laing, David Simpson, Daniel Cox and Frances Pattinson.

“The casting was the most interesting part of the process,” Cecilia explained.

“I knew I wanted to work with people with local connections but then also balance that with the experience of professional actors.

“Although not all of the locals who came along to my open casting ended up with speaking parts but all became important for the film.

“One of them is particularly important as they do the voice over which makes the whole film come together.

“I’d originally intended for the part to be taken by a man but after one woman read for me I knew she was ideal.”

Filling the different roles in ‘The Case’ might have left Cecilia with a few tough choices to make and after filming wrapped in May she was left with the hard job of editing down all her footage into a nine minute film to present at the festival.

“As a filmmaker you know you’re always going to take a lot more footage than you actually need,” she continued.

“You can’t afford to be too precious about what you’ve filmed; it’s all about trying to find what’s best for the end product.

“ Sometimes you’ve got to kill your darlings to get the right result.

“The film has three main settings - on Spittal beach near the lighthouse; in The Maltings and then by the port but then between the scenes there are shots of other locations to help to set the tone.”

Cecilia will be in Berwick for Wednesday’s Opening Gala at to introduce ‘The Case’ and will also be at the Gymnasium Gallery on Saturday, September 28 for an Artist Talk.