Submarine Channel

Chunk: ‘Sticks And Balls’

“Golf is like sex, it’s sticks and balls…”

Straight8 is a one of a kind film festival that “takes you back to the original medium of cinema … and makes you think visually,” according to Alice Lowe. Together with Jacqueline Wright, Lowe directed ‘Sticks and Balls’ – their campy, tongue-in-cheek parody of golf culture was one of the highlights of Straight8 2007. The concept of Straight 8 is simple: Shoot a film using only one role of Super 8mm film, no editing (apart from in-camera) is allowed, send in the undeveloped film and your soundtrack to Straight8. If your film turns out great, it will be screened for the firtst time at Straight8, together with a packed audience.

The next Straight8 event takes place in London on 7 September 2008. It’s their biggest ever screening (in terms of films shown) and should be really good. Check for tickets and details.

We had a chat with the directors of Sticks and Balls, Jacqueline Wright and Alice Lowe.

Where did you hear about Straight 8?
Alice: “I heard about it from Jacqui!”

Jacqueline: “I actually heard about it from Edgar Wright. Alice and I met him at the Edinburgh Festival years ago, when he was writing Sean of the Dead, and he’d just made a straight 8 and was saying how great the competition was. So when I was at film school I entered for the first time. I made a film called David the Great with David Hughes, which is online on the BBC Film Network. After that I got the bug and made Alice join in.”

What is the challenge and also the appeal behind the straight 8 festival?
Jacqueline: “It’s a good way to drive yourself to make a short film. You can spend ages planning a project and ultimately putting it off, but Straight 8 has such a strict time frame and limitations, it forces you to just bite the bullet.”

Alice: “Doing things to a tight schedule and when the stakes are high is an adrenalin rush. Also thinking about telling a story in pictures is a great discipline and there’s no reason why Straight 8 films shouldn’t be every bit as brilliant as any short film. It takes you back to the original medium of cinema and film and makes you think visually. Everyone making films for Straight 8 seems to have a real passion for filmmaking and you meet very interesting people who are doing what they’re doing for the love of it.”

What do you do on a daily basis, besides making Straight 8 films?
Alice: “I am an actress and writer. I’ve appeared in a few TV comedies such as Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The Mighty Boosh, but I’m currently writing my first feature. I’m also about to film ‘LifeSpam’, a pilot I’ve written for BBC3 and which Jacqueline is directing.”

Jacqueline: “We’re deep in prep for ‘LifeSpam’! But I also direct promos and other stuff.”

What was it like to see your film screened at Straight 8 in front of loads of people, for the first time?
Jacqueline: “Amazing. There’s a feeling of real theatre about it. You know that the film turned out okay because it got selected. But you’re still expecting to be cringing at the mistakes. In the end it’s a real high.”


Were you happy with the results?
Jacqueline: ”I was so happy, our whole team did brilliantly.”

Alice: “Of course! It kind of looked how I imagined, but better. It was a real surprise how well the lyrics synched with the action too. We’d sort of planned that, but didn’t expect it to work! I slightly cringe at my arse in it, but I just tell myself that it’s not my fat arse, it’s the character’s fat arse.”

Do you play golf?
Jacqueline: “Sadly not.”

Alice: “No, unfortunately I don’t. I had no idea what a zeitgeist thing it now is and that young men play it. I had no idea about GolfPunk or anything. I’m glad if people find ‘Sticks and Balls’ funny because it’s somehow relevant to them. Although I have been mortified recently at a couple of weddings to find that my friends have forwarded the film to their dads and then their dads have recognized me and commented on how much they liked the film.”

Interview by Kelly van der Kwast

More Straight8:
Interview with Straight8 founder Ed Sayers and director Nick Scott

Two other Straight 8 films on SubmarineChannel:
‘Got, Got, Need!’ by Nick Scott
‘Earth to Earth’ by Nick Scott




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