Buffed-up tribute to a polished film-maker

Sheffield Film Co-op's 1988 drama documentary film 'Diamonds in Brown Paper' about the Sheffield 'buffers' of the cutlery trade, showin on November 16th 2011,  4.30pm in the Showroom Cinema in memory of Gill Booth .
Sheffield Film Co-op's 1988 drama documentary film 'Diamonds in Brown Paper' about the Sheffield 'buffers' of the cutlery trade, showin on November 16th 2011, 4.30pm in the Showroom Cinema in memory of Gill Booth .

A SCREENING of the drama documentary, Diamonds in Brown Paper, about the Sheffield ‘buffers’ of the cutlery trade, is taking place at the Showroom next week in memory of writer-director Gill Booth who died a year ago.

Made by Sheffield Film Co-op in 1988, Diamonds in Brown Paper depicts the working lives of the ‘Buffers’ - women who worked in the cutlery trade polishing spoons and forks and who had a notorious reputation. They were once a common sight in Sheffield streets dressed in their protective ‘buff-brats’ and leggings made of brown paper.

After talking to many cutlery workers about their working lives, Gill wrote a script following a group of buffers from 1928 to the 1980’s in a series of lively dramatic episodes. Old documentary footage and songs place the scenes in their historical context.

It was filmed in actual cutlery works, including Taylors Eyewitness which does still make cutlery today, though most are now fancy apartments such as Cornish Place. Several local actors are in the film including Roger Bingham, Ann Musselwhite and Kate Rutter. Christine Bellamy, who was in the sound crew, recalls: “The crew were entirely women except for one man in the role of Grip (responsible for moving the camera on tracks etc) which women had not yet ventured into in the Eighties,”

Surviving members of Sheffield Film Co-op which was active from the mid Seventies to 1992, will be at the screening to introduce the film and take part in a Q & A. DVDs of Diamonds will be on sale after the screening at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

lThis year has seen 14 cinema releases of films from Korea, the highest ever amount in the UK. At the same time Hollywood is exploiting the popularity of the countrys cinema with Old Boy being remade by Spike Lee, Park Chan Wook making his first Hollywood film, Stoker starring Nicole Kidman, and Kim Jee-woon directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand,

So it’s a good time to check out the latest from The Land of the Morning Calm as the London Korean Film Festival comes to the Showroom this weekend.

Three of the four films coming to Sheffield are inspired by the the ‘Forgotten War’ and the North/South divide - Poongsan, showing on Sunday, a fast paced thriller about a young man tasked with a secret mission by South Korean government agents to bring over the lover of a high-ranking North Korean defector, The Front Line (Saturday), an action drama set towards the end of the Korean war, and Dance Town (Saturday) which follows the ambivalent migration of a former North Korean table tennis champion as she heads to the South.

The festival begins on Friday with Arrow – The Ultimate Weapon, an action-paced box office hit set in 1636, during the second Manchurian invasion.

lA free screening of a documentary about Park Hill Flats takes place at the Showroom on Friday morning. It is from the BBC series, Reel History of Britain, in which Melvyn Bragg travels back in time to reveal what life was really like for ordinary British people. The episode was filmed at Park Hill and includes archive footage of the construction of the flats. There will also be a display of archive photos in the Showroom Café. Friday. Tickets are free but need to be booked via 2757727.