Five time James Bond Director John Glen was honored at the 6th CINEWAYS FILMFESTIVAL with two awards – a very emotional and magical experience
While preparing the annual James Bond evening of the Cineways Filmfestival weeks before the actual day, I thought a lot about how the individual program points would leave a lasting impression on both the audience as well as the guest stars. With six video tributes being screened throughout the evening, I tried to construct a bridge between action and emotion. Would it work?
Five time James Bond Director John Glen was the first guest I invited for the 6th edition of the festival and he agreed almost a year before it actually happened. When the car arrived at the Steigenberger Parkhotel in Braunschweig last Wednesday, a cheerful legend stood in front of me. Being a Bond fan since over twenty years, these are the moments that make you tremble with excitement. John was accompanied by his charming wife Janine who had been secretary to legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli during the 1980’s.
During the opening party of the filmfestival on Thursday, fans and film enthusiasts had the chance to meet all the guest stars in person in the relaxed athmosphere of a typical German restaurant with adjacent cocktailbar. Upon arrival, John was immediately surrounded by fans asking for autographs and photos and you could see how happy he was to satisfy everyone.
Once inside, John met with Béatrice Libert, one of the Bond Girls of ‘MOONRAKER’. Both instantly reconnected and engaged in a lively conversation with their fans who were absolutely thrilled to get so up close and personal with the stars. It has always been the main idea of the Cineways Filmfestival to bring fans and stars together and not cordon them off. Keeping myself in the background, I could observe how happy and joyful everybody was.
The highlight of the festival week was the James Bond evening on Friday – one of the best and fastest sold events since the festival was launched in 2012. Everybody had dressed up to the nines for the occassion but no one had an idea of what to expect. The 90 minute pre-show had been kept a secret and was only known to the festival organizers and participants.
It began with a 7 minute tribute for the whole James Bond franchise, starting with Ian Fleming in his own words and followed by a compilation of clips from the very first screen adaption ‘DR. NO’ to the last entry ‘SPECTRE’. After that, I welcomed the guests on behalf of the Festival and the James Bond Club Germany and tried to hide my nervousness as best I could while speaking in both German and English.
I quickly made my way to the sixth row to provide an English translation for John and Janine Glen during a 20 minute lecture given by Bond expert Danny Morgenstern. Focusing on the years between 1969-1989, where John had both edited and directed Bond films, Danny highlighted the recurring trademarks of Glens directorial style as well as the character development during those years.
Next up was a 30 minute segment from the upcoming documentary produced by the festival entitled ‘FOR OUR EYES ONLY: JOHN GLEN’ which is set to premiere in 2018. It featured an interview that had been recorded with John at his home in England two months prior to the festival.
Finally, it was time for the big moment. The video tribute ‘JOHN GLEN: ACTION MAN’ exploded onto the silver screen – a labour of love by composer Yannick Zenhäusern and myself to honor the man who had given us five wonderful James Bond films throughout the 1980’s. So many memories, so many iconic moments.
Another iconic moment was about to be added to the list when I called John to the front to receive the world’s first Cineways James Bond Award after a laudatory speech by the president of the James Bond Club Germany Andreas Pott. I had to swallow when suddenly the entire audience got up from their seats and loudly applauded John Glen. It was a magical and very emotional moment that showed the admiration of Bond and film fans towards the talent working behind the scenes to entertain us.
Speaking to the audience, John was deeply honored, thankful and indeed moved by this wonderful display of love towards his work and person. For me, who had created and designed the award, it was a way of giving something back on behalf of the global James Bond Fan community.
The following evening, John received yet another award – the Cineways Lifetime Achievement Directors Award for his entire body of work. The 30 minute laudatory speech was given by Dr. Wieland Schwanebeck of Technical University Dresden.
On Sunday, I picked up Janine & John at their hotel to take them on a small tour through the historic city center of my hometown Braunschweig. We started on castle square with the medieval castle of Henry the Lion and the cathedral. Always a humurous sight is looking closely at the bronze lion – the symbol of the city. Not at all having the correct facial features of a lion, it was the best medieval sculptors could do without having ever seen an actual lion.
Continuing our way back through the pedestrian areas, I explained the old trade routes connecting the large squares in the city and how Braunschweig was affected by bombings during the Second World War.
We arrived at the District Cocktailbar for a very special surprise: a private screening of my documentary film ‘A BOND FOR LIFE – HOW JAMES BOND CHANGED MY LIFE’. I was terribly nervous but tremendously excited to present my work in front of someone who would surely give me valuable advice on my filmmaking capabilities. After two hours, John and I agreed that some parts made the film lose its pace. To quote John directly: “It needs editing!” Where could I have got better and honest advice than from the legend himself? I was incredibly grateful for his input.
Both Janine and John are wonderfully charming, humurous and warm people. Countless autographs were given and photos were taken – not necessarily a relaxing job. But John did it all with passion and genuine love for his fans who were over the moon to have met their idol.
We finished the festival with a lovely and intimate dinner at OX Steakhouse, joined by actor and stuntman Brad Harris as well as our festival driver Thomas Rückert and director Carsten Panitz.
From the five days I spent with John & Janine Glen as well as our other guests stars Béatrice Libert and Brad Harris, I took home many memories. Other fans agree with me, that everything needs to sink in over the next couple of days. For me it was very important, that everyone went home with wonderful memories. We had so many lovely talks about various subjects, enjoyed good food, drinks, each others company and honored what we love: films and the people who make them. That’s the way a festival should be.