Jim Broadbent: “You learn so much by making films.”

The article was originally published on The Linc. 

The Engine Shed’s Platform looks fairly normal, considering it’s currently acting as the VIP room of what can only be described as a very unique after party. Stood near the bar with a pint and a plate of sandwiches, Oscar winning actor Jim Broadbent is taking a well-earned rest after hosting Lincoln’s annual LAFTA awards.

Perhaps better known for the characters he’s portrayed, rather than for his real persona, Jim has featured on the big screen for over 30 years.  Made famous for his roles in films like Harry Potter, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Iris, he’s become a veteran in the world of acting.

As a Lincolnshire man himself, he now returns to the county every year to spread his love for film by hosting the LAFTA awards.

“It’s a great privilege. I enjoy coming along and I get well looked after. I really enjoy it,” he says.

The LAFTA awards have been a part of Lincoln as well as the wider community for seven years now and last night saw The Engine Shed play host to this year’s ceremony.

Partnered with companies like Warner Brothers UK and Walt Disney UK, the event celebrates the work of young film makers from across Lincolnshire and the country. It also aims to bring creative aspects of the school curriculum into the limelight.

Speaking at the start of the ceremony, he talked with great affection about how important he feels the event is. “The buzz and excitement that young people get from making these films will stay with them forever and I have no doubt that for many, film making will continue to be a big part of their lives. Not only will the film industry reap the benefits of that, we all will.”

Broadbent glows with a very mysterious aura; one could initially mistake him as being awkward or even uninterested. But it becomes clear that really, he’s extremely attentive to and thoughtful about what he’s imminently saying.

He’s the patron of the event and has been seen its inception in 2006. The shine in his eyes whilst speaking about this hints at his passion towards the role. “I think it’s very valuable to get schoolchildren of all ages enthusiastic about films, to [give them the chance to] make them and to get people to look at them,” he says.

“You learn so much by making films; it’s a rich educational experience. It’s really valuable!”

As part of his role in the LAFTAs, Broadbent watches all of the films produced by finalists in the competition. He stresses that for him, this is a perk of the job, “I look forward to it, and I really enjoy seeing them. They’re good, interesting and impressive for one reason or another.”

After stopping to grab a little more food, he went on to talk about his role in the LAFTAS. As well as hosting, he chooses two films to which he awards his very own Patron Award. These awards are chosen solely by him, with no influence from the judges. But how does he go about choosing them? “They were all good films,” he says, almost in a whisper.

Broadbent seems to regularly disappear off into his thoughts mid-way through his sentences and it’s nothing short of perplexing; you’re often left wondering what on earth you’ve said to cause such apparent confusion.

But he soon continues, fading this worry, “They’re the ones that I liked most. I don’t know why I liked them; maybe they were original, maybe they were funny, maybe they showed a wit or a visual talent. All sorts of reasons.”

I’m intrigued as to whether an event like this makes Jim feel nostalgic to the start of his own career. He seems genuine when he denies this, though. “No, not particularly,” he says, “But these people are in a very good place. It’s a great starting point for them to kick off and do whatever they want.

“The encouragement in the creative arts is great. It’s the sort of thing I’d really have wanted to do; to get my mates involved and make something together.”

The interview comes to an end with Broadbent chatting about his newest film, “Le Week-end,” which is in Cinemas now. Speaking about this, he says, “I’m very pleased with it; a month’s filming in Paris and it’s got great reviews. It’s doing very well. It’s a real achievement on the director’s part.”

He also features in “Filth” [in cinemas now] and “Closed Circuit,” which is due to hit cinema screens in November.


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