Ever since 2005, the year Britain’s alternative comedy godfather Malcolm Hardee drowned, Jody VandenBurg has been collecting material for a feature-length film: Malcolm Hardee: All The Way From Over There.
Still unfinished but with a staggering amount of unique material collected and a vast number of interviews with Big Name comedians telling stories about Malcolm, a couple of years ago, the projected full-length documentary spawned a short 30-minute film on Malcolm’s notorious comedy club The Tunnel. It includes memories of Malcolm from comedians Harry Enfield, Simon Munnery and Arthur Smith
Last night, I was at a screening of The Tunnel in Greenwich. It is being shown again on 6th May as part of the New Cross & Deptford Film Festival.
It is also, as they say, “going to Cannes” in May.
Last night, director Jody VandenBurg told me:
“We’re going because I accidentally entered The Tunnel for the Cannes Short Film Corner and accidentally got through. I wasn’t even thinking Oh. This is the Cannes Film Festival. I just thought Oh. I’ve managed to find another film festival that’s worth entering. I guess I just thought I was entering a competition rather than the actual short film section of the Festival, which is more of a market place. There are going to be lots of agents and producers looking for new talent.
“The Cannes Short Film Corner is not part of the official Cannes Film Festival competition but it is very much part of the Festival. So, like the Edinburgh Fringe, we are going to take posters and flyers and put them up and encourage people to come and watch the film and we’ve got a screening room where we can show it to people. I’ll take an iPad so I can easily shove it in people’s faces. Show them The Tunnel and the trailer for Malcolm Hardee: All The Way From Over There.
“It’s going to cost you a fortune, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Probably. Yeah,” Jody admitted. “This whole film obviously has cost us all a fortune, so far.”
“So,” I suggested, “Malcolm is managing to screw money out of people even from beyond the grave?”
“Yes,” said Jody. “But he is talent-spotting as well, isn’t he? Helping someone at the beginning of their career even from beyond the grave.”
“You should put the trailer online,” I suggested.
“Yeah, we’ll put that online before Cannes.”
“My memory of the trailer I saw at Edinburgh in 2010,” I said, “was that it had an emotional flow to it. There was a feeling of tragedy and sadness towards the end.”
“Well,” agreed Jody, “there’s much more to Malcolm than just the bollocks-out with crazy antics and stunts, isn’t there? There’s a lot more depth to him, really.”
“Who wants to hear about that, though?” I said.
“Lots of people,” replied Jody. “Big audiences hopefully. People really love The Tunnel because it has that same sort of emotional curve to it.”