Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sophie Bowkett

Kysen's own Sophie Bowkett has been trying something new. By day she looks after a busy portfolio of legal clients, but in the evenings and weekends since January she has been giving up her free time working pro bono for the 20th Anniversary Dulwich Festival. The arts event opened on 10 May and ends this weekend.

So what has it been like stepping out of her legal niche?

"It's been surprisingly different," she tells me. "Particularly the broadcast news story I worked on for BBC London. I am used to placing lawyers on BBC and Sky, but of course they are never the subject of the story. Even where we are the ones alerting a broadcast journalist to a story, our clients' role is always as expert commentator, not protagonist." A good example of more usual Kysen fare was Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC's appearance on Sky this week explaining why Huhne & Pryce were being released so soon after their incarceration and how the law works in this area. 

"For the Festival our best (only!) hope for national and broadcast coverage was to push individual artists. This is how I came to be placing international street artist Thierry Noir on BBC London's regional news programmeNoir was the first artist to start applying paint to the Berlin Wall. How wonderful this local London Festival managed to snare him as one of its main arts celebs this Spring!  Working on his story gave me a perspective on broadcast programming I've never had before, as I was so much closer to the centre of the story because of course the production team had nothing to draw on other than the information I was feeding them. My client was the entire story, so it brought me into much tighter proximity with the production team. One particularly visual element of the festival is Baroque the Streets, a street art project involving internationally renowned street artists "re-interpreting" some of the Old Masters hanging in the permanent collection at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. So perfect for broadcast. This public gallery is in fact one of the oldest in England, so the art project creates a lovely juxtaposition of "old" and "new". As I watched the BBC team put the segment together, I was particularly struck by how many camera shots there were, how many different angles and locations, how much time was devoted to each: so many complex shots, lasting only seconds in the final cut!

"I've thoroughly enjoyed getting so involved in the Festival (although glad I will be able to put my feet up outside work after this weekend!) It'll be interesting to see how my new perspective impacts my broadcast work with legal clients."

Well, nice job Sophie! A great result and an unusual learning opportunity for you too!
After all the headlines about relaxing planning laws to kickstart the economy, the rejection of Pinewood Studios expansion plan beggars belief! Sorry if you detect a hint of exasperation in my tone. But...really?? The film industry is one of our few growth industries; over 3,000 jobs might have been created if the expansion plans had gone ahead; and without the expansion these world-class film studios (where Skyfall was made, among other Bond films and hundreds of other classics, and where the new Star Wars film will be shot soon) will be faced with having to turn away lucrative Hollywood mandates for lack of space.

Better news for the UK in the world of film is the latest iteration of the Fast and Furious franchise in which London is apparently the biggest star. The film opens this weekend. The decision to use London for some of the key chase scenes was the result of Universal Pictures' decision to let the fans decide. If only Buckinghamshire council's planning committee had thought of this approach in deciding the fate of Pinewood Studios!
How fantastic: a giant reading festival to be staged in Trafalgar Square this Summer! The free Get Reading festival takes place on one day - 13 July. It is organised by The Evening Standard (there's a reason this is one of our favourite papers!) and is designed for children and families "to experience the magic of being transported by story in an iconic setting". A line-up of famous authors is to be announced shortly.

Brilliant idea!

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