Peter Blach – Filming in Folkestone
Folkestone is a creative place to live, and an inspiring place to work, especially if you are a film maker like Peter Blach. The community has influenced his life and work. Based in Digital Glassworks, Klip Films creates films for the corporate sector, the arts, events and real-life stories. Folkelife spoke to Peter about his reasons for basing his life and work in Folkestone.
“My wife and I were on holiday in Madrid and saw a BBC World report on Folkestone. We decided, when we got back to the UK, we’d come down to have a look. That was 11 years ago, and Folkestone was, and still is, an intriguing place. We moved down after the high speed train connection started. That certainly made the commute to London easier. The main attractions were the sea – that was incredibly important to us; house prices were also attractive, and Creative Folkestone was important because I’m in the creative industry.”
films inspired by folkestone
“I usually make films about my surroundings. I’ve made two films about sea swimming, and I wasn’t a sea swimmer before I moved to Folkestone. Three or 4 years ago I made a feature film called Seagull which I filmed in Folkestone. That featured Jessica Hynes, Gabrielle Sheppard and Adam Radcliffe and was a psychological thriller.
“Seagull is a project that would never have happened if I were based in London. To have the space and the location to film here in Folkestone meant it was viable financially. I had been involved in a film in London, set in the Turkish community in North London, but that never got past the script stage. So living and working in Folkestone has definitely changed that side of my film-making for the better.”
folkestone’s creative community
“One of the many great things about Folkestone is the creative community is very well connected. I know most of the film-makers in the area and there is a strong sense of community here. In London, it’s so sporadic, you are a tiny drop in a huge ocean. Whereas in Folkestone, you can meet and really connect with all sorts of different people.
“My first office was above Strange Cargo when they were based at the top of The Old High Street. I then moved to Creative Folkestone property on top of Pick Up Pintxos, at the bottom of that street. Now, based in Digital Glassworks, there’s lots opportunity to work with different people.”
Sea Swimming in Folkestone
“I wasn’t a sea swimmer before I came here. It was important for us to live by the sea, and my family love it. I was on holiday in Denmark and went to an exhibition that had audio stories of people’s experiences. Someone described what it felt like to swim in the sea and it was such a powerful piece that I wanted to try myself. My first swim was in September, when the sea is at its warmest, and it was an experience I will not forget. It definitely had a positive impact on my mental health. I continued to swim, and do so most of the year, and it’s been such an inspirational experience that I’ve made two films about it. It’s just made me want to share that experience with lots of other people.”
“What I really like about it is that when you go into really cold water, your body goes into shock. It pumps with adrenaline and goes into survival mode. Then the endorphins get released and when you get out, your body is tingling all over. It’s a feeling you only really get in the winter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to swim in the summer too, you just don’t get the same kick!”
events in folkestone
“Klip Films have been responsible for filming large events such as Folkestone’s Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever. The first year we filmed it all with about 4 or 5 cameras. The second year we got people to give us their footage and cut that together, which was really fun. It’s a bizarre day, but I like that!
“We also work with Creative Folkestone on promoting the town, especially on safely opening up after the Covid 19 lockdown. These projects sum up the town, it’s a beautiful place, very picturesque, with great community spirit.”