A Unique Commemoration of Shakespeare’s First Folio
On November 8, 2023, London will host a cinematic and poetic celebration, “FOLIO 400 x INVERSE FILMS,” marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s first folio. This article delves into the event’s importance and the innovative approach of filmmaker Jack Jewers in revitalizing Shakespeare’s work.
Shakespeare’s First Folio: A Literary Milestone
Shakespeare’s first folio, a literary landmark compiled in 1623, preserves his works for posterity. “FOLIO 400” pays homage to this legacy by offering a fresh perspective on Shakespeare’s timeless words and their relevance in the modern era.
Jack Jewers: The Visionary Behind ‘FOLIO 400’
Filmmaker Jack Jewers is the driving force behind “FOLIO 400.” With expertise in film, television, and digital media, Jack brings a unique approach to the event, reimagining Shakespeare’s work for contemporary audiences.
Shakespeare’s Relevance in the Modern Era
At the core of “FOLIO 400 x INVERSE FILMS” is the exploration of how Shakespeare’s words resonate with today’s world. The event’s film shorts, narrated by renowned actors, offer a contemporary perspective on Shakespeare’s enduring themes.
Film Shorts: A Glimpse into Contemporary Themes
The film shorts delve into modern themes, demonstrating the enduring relevance of Shakespeare’s words. From the war in Ukraine to social justice protests and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, these films highlight the uncanny parallels between the past and present, showcasing enduring human experiences.
Jack Jewers remarks, “Recent upheavals, such as mass disease, immigration concerns, protests, and conflict, echo the world in 1623 when the First Folio was published.”
A Stellar Lineup of Narrators
Renowned actors, including Tom Baker, Eliza Butterworth, Cerys Matthews, Crystal Clarke, and Amber Anderson, breathe life into Shakespeare’s words, adding a contemporary perspective to the age-old verses.
Jack Jewers emphasizes, “Shakespeare’s words are fresher now than ever before, speaking powerfully to our contemporary lives.”
A Special Evening on November 8, 2023
On November 8, 2023, a special evening at St Martin in the Fields, London, will feature an exclusive screening of all six film shorts. Accompanying these films will be live readings of Shakespeare’s beloved poems, performed by a talented ensemble of actors.
Tickets and Further Information
Tickets for “FOLIO 400 x INVERSE FILMS” are available for £8. More details about the event, including ticket information and location, can be found at the end of this article.
Innovative Filmmaking Techniques
Jack Jewers’ innovative approach to filmmaking shines through in the creation of these film shorts. Notably, for one of the film shorts titled “Lovers and Madmen,” a speech from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” along with a portrait of Shakespeare, was sent into space, narrated by Tom Baker.
In the film short “St Crispin’s Day,” Ukrainian civilians in Kyiv were remotely directed to capture powerful footage interpreting Shakespeare’s “Band of Brothers” speech from “Henry V,” narrated by Eliza Butterworth.
Shakespeare’s Words and Their Timeless Resonance
Written 400 years ago, “The Stranger’s Case” speech passionately defends refugees and remains as poignant today as it did in 1597. The film short uses real footage of refugees at sea and is voiced by Crystal Clarke, with a compelling performance by actor Yasin Morad, who came to the UK as a refugee.
Jack Jewers says, “When I discovered this speech, widely believed to have been written by Shakespeare, I immediately wanted to combine the two. I hope it brings attention to the horrors faced by people who seek safety in the UK, forced to make dangerous crossings as a result of complex and unwieldy refugee policy.”
Challenging Perspectives with “They That Have Power to Hurt”
In “They That Have Power to Hurt,” musician and BBC presenter Cerys Matthews narrates Sonnet 94, transforming a traditional love poem into a commentary on violence and police corruption. This film highlights the complexities of protest movements and the tensions between activists and law enforcement around the world.
Jack Jewers remarks, “The film doesn’t seek to answer these questions but rather to provoke discussion. The last line of this sonnet speaks to that: Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds… at what point does ‘being on the right side of history’ become wrong?”
Shakespeare’s Influence on Multiculturalism
In “All the World’s A Stage,” international university students narrate the famous speech from “As You Like It” in their first languages, celebrating British multiculturalism and the universality of Shakespeare’s words. This film reflects the ever-changing immigration laws and the resilience of cultural diversity in the face of societal challenges.
Jack Jewers notes, “These young people were genuinely passionate about this speech. They knew it. They knew it in English, and in their first language. They wanted to be part of this project. And I think that comes across in the film. Even 400 years on, Shakespeare still has something to say to the young people of today.”
Isolation and Reconnection
The film short “Our Revels Now Are Ended,” taken from “The Tempest,” is narrated by Amber Anderson and explores themes of loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic. It also delves into the liberation and celebration that reuniting with loved ones brought when lockdown ended.
A Message of Hope in “Lovers and Madmen”
In “Lovers and Madmen,” a young woman enters an art contest by attempting to send a portrait of Shakespeare into the air. Narrated by Tom Baker, this whimsical and charming film serves as a season-ender and carries a message of hope, perseverance, and the joy of seeing creative ideas come to life.
A Unique Space Endeavor
The concluding scene of the film, in which the portrait of Shakespeare is taken up to space, was filmed authentically, without special effects. It involved sending a camera up on a weather balloon with a GPS tracker, with the assistance of a team from Sent Into Space, a company of engineers from Sheffield.
The Power of Shakespeare’s Words
In summary, “FOLIO 400 x INVERSE FILMS” promises to be a compelling testament to the timeless relevance of Shakespeare’s words. Jack Jewers’ creative vision, combined with the exceptional narration by renowned actors, offers a unique perspective on Shakespearean literature in the modern world. Jack Jewers aptly sums it up, saying, “Shakespeare’s words continue to be a source of inspiration and reflection, transcending time and speaking to our contemporary lives.”
- Date: Wednesday, November 8, 2023
- Time: 7 pm
- Ticket Price: £8
- Website & Tickets: Event Information
- Location: St Martin in the Fields, London
- Address: St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ
- Nearest Tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square