Filmmaker Clive Booth to talk at Ashbourne

Clive Booth, right with Don McCullin centre

If such an accomplished photographer and filmmaker as Clive Booth was part of your community it would be foolish not to ensure he was part of your annual festival.

Hence at this year’s Ashbourne Festival you will find him talking about a film he considers to be the best piece of work he has ever done – a film of the legendary photo-journalist Don McCullin behind the lens in Kolkata, capturing the plight of street people. 

As a member of the Canon Ambassador Programme Clive was given the opportunity to direct and deliver Canon Europe’s first-ever HDR film of Don working in India and it was a task he  took on with relish. 

 “Don is one of the greatest living photographers of our time. His work is second to none.

“We were going to an environment that was rich in imagery for Don, and us too,” says Clive. 

“He had chosen several places to shoot over a three- or four-day period, and it was really about putting him in that situation and enabling him to do his thing without us being intrusive. This was the key to making it work. Then we would cut the film.”

Despite Don’s 82 years, Clive says his reactions were still phenomenally quick. “He was like a caged animal in the car, champing at the bit to get started. Something would catch his eye and he would say, ‘Stop, stop, stop! We’ve got to get this,’ and he’d be off. Don is always looking, the radar’s on the whole time. 

“On the first day, we did a shoot at the market in the morning, then in the afternoon we were thrown into a chaotic environment where Don was photographing in the middle of all this traffic. Health and safety went out of the window. At the end of it, Chris Clarke and I agreed it was the most exciting day’s shooting we’d ever had in our careers.”

“We are very fortunate to have been able to film him in his element in one of his favourite cities.

“There’s no single aspect of the film I’m not immensely proud of. That includes the subject matter, the cinemato-graphy, the music and the editing. 

“It’s really about showing Don in a way that most people won’t have seen him before and I’m grateful to Canon for giving us the room to do it as we wanted. For me, hand on heart, it’s the best piece of work I’ve ever done.”

Clive will share the story of how the documentary was made at Ashbourne Town Hall on July 1 at 7.30pm. For tickets go to http://www.ashbournefestival.org

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