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Film bid to tell the remarkable tale of 82-year-old Cornish punk performer Viva

By LeeTrewhela  |  Posted: October 03, 2013

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Viva being filmed at this year's Glastonbury festival.

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SOME people need to have their story told – 82-year-old Cornish resident Viva Hamnell is one such person and thanks to award-winning Devon director Amanda Bluglass that story will now be told on film.

Still sparkling with good humour and an irrepressible sense of fun, Viva’s tales of life as a singer in Cornish punk band The Bricks is aching to be made into a film.

In the past six months, Ashburton-based Amanda Bluglass has been directing a documentary where Viva recounts her 30 years of working at Glastonbury, her arrest and trial for drug possession and her helping to set up Elephant Fayre – long regarded as the best festival in Britain.

Now Amanda has created a crowdfunding platform at www.sponsume.com/project/viva to raise the collateral needed to purchase precious 1970s footage from the BBC and enter the film into festivals around the globe.

Viva, who lives in St Anne’s Chapel, near Gunnislake, started telling her story recently via her ‘Beer Crate Moment’, a little touring performance piece created by her friend Jane Spurr.

It’s been intriguing, delighting and often politely shocking small and interesting audiences across Cornwall and beyond.

Bedecked in a burnished bronze evening gown and tiara, Viva invites people to pick a ‘story’ from her favourite Vivienne Westwood handbag and proceeds to regale them with a personal tale of that chosen topic.

Her sparkling wit mixed with her incredible candour transports her eager listeners into the tales of her extraordinary life; from the Blitz in London to the heady days of The Bricks; from courtrooms to the comfort of a Cornish Rayburn; and from Glastonbury to Gladys (her recent tattoo).

A small excerpt of her life will shortly blossom on Channel 4 thanks Amanda Bluglass’ initial edit of her film, simply entitled Viva (awaiting transmission date).

Cutting down this material into a short film has been an incredible challenge for Amanda, given the depth and extent of the possible options.

As a result, Amanda, whose recent work Ray: A Life Underwater together with Torbay-based cinematographer Danny Cooke, has just received the Port Townsend Film Festival Juried Award for Best Super Short Doc – and won 12 film festival plaudits internationally – has been inspired to create a longer version of the film which will be re-edited and submitted to film festivals across the UK and the globe.

Amanda said: “A friend told me about Viva and the minute I met her I just knew this film had to happen. Hers is an incredible story that just had to be told. We’ve followed Viva from her farmhouse to Glastonbury, reliving her years of leading a punk band at night while working as a lollipop lady in Callington during the day. The footage from the BBC is such a find and will transport the viewer back decades. We’ve just got to have that footage for the mini feature film and the donations are rolling in beautifully.”

Viva added: “I’m so touched to know that people are donating to help make Amanda’s extended film a reality and we’re all so grateful for any support for this special project.”

The crowdfunding page at www.sponsume.com/project/viva, set-up to raise the collateral needed to purchase precious 1970s footage from the BBC and enter the film into festivals around the globe also contains a set of incentives for people who are able to kindly donate.

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