White Island Gala Screening
Pikes Hotel Sunday 22nd May.
The gala screening of White Island has been hugely anticipated on the Island, but whatever level of excitement we locals held must have compared as nothing to that of Ibizan author Colin Butts upon whose book ‘A bus could run you over’ the film is based.
The realisation of the silver screen adaptation of his book has been a labour of love over a decade in the making. To finally see such dedication come to fruition is an incredible achievement. This was recognised in a huge outpouring of support with all of Ibiza’s great and good in attendance together with us normal folk and numerous celebs connected to the film and not. Many people in the audience had flown to Ibiza especially for the event.[quote_box_right]“Ibiza is the same as any good relationship, it changes as you do, you have to work at it”.[/quote_box_right]
Colin’s way with words did not let him down in an introductory speech that carried particular poignancy to his many friends. It is perhaps fair to say that despite the odds he had the audience laughing as the film rolled into its opening sequence.
My own nerves were due to the inconceivably difficult possibility that I might not enjoy the film given its subject matter being very close to home. Set mainly in Ibiza, and you can’t get closer to home than that, how many portrayals of our island have we seen on big and small screen that do it no favours at all? But this is Butts, and I was soon able to breathe the sigh of relief to say I need have had no such fears.
Unaccustomed as I am to film reviews, I will rely upon the synopsis of the Edinburgh film festival to avoid any possibility of doing a spoiler.
- Benjamin Turner / UK / 2016 / 95 mins
- Lyndon Ogbourne, Joel Dommett, Elliot Gleave, Gala Gordon, Billy Zane, Billy Boyd
An ex-DJ who is trying to live a normal life in London is dragged back into the seductive drug-fuelled world of Ibiza nightclubs. This breezy comedy thriller stars Lyndon Ogbourne (Emmerdale) as Connor who, after a series of mix ups – which include an angry girlfriend and her drug dealer father (Darren Day) – finds himself back on Ibiza with his best friend, caught up in the plans of a violent drug gang, with the only possible support coming from his old mentor Leo (an engaging turn from Hollywood star Billy Zane). 
Though I guess we have to remember that the rest of the world’s film going public will not have the same almost paternal concerns as we islanders as to how the film portrays Ibiza, we are Ibizans and my own view, echoed by many others, is that the film manages to portray the island in a very positive light. This is no mean feat given the subject matter is largely based on the drink, drugs and party culture that are often used to bring our reputation down.
I am no expert but I wonder if the cinematography had a large part in that? I remember from last year’s filming that the production commenced under unseasonably grey skies. In some film maker trickery it seems that they had compensated for this by ramping up the white light levels and colour saturation. A technique I like in still photography and whether it was by design or necessity, I thought it filmed really well.
The film has a few bittersweet moments. A scene on the cliff tops overlooking Es Vedra between Connor and his past mentor Leo, where they discuss Leo’s terminal illness includes the line “I didn’t live like this to die like that”. It brought a good few lumps to throats.
At the other end of the emotional scale the film has a good smattering of comic moments, particularly the thug double act formed by Darren Day and sidekick brother played by Owain Arthur. They provided some real laugh out loud moments and if anything my only criticism of the film in that I wanted to see more of them – but that gives me good reason to read A bus could run you over, which Colin instructed me not to do before watching the film.
White Island ends with a line I somehow feel will sound more cheesy in print out of context than it did in the movie. “Ibiza is the same as any good relationship, it changes as you do, you have to work at it”.
Ain’t that the truth.
- There is no word yet on when the film can be seen on general release however watch this space as following a very good reception at Cannes distributors are currently bidding for the rights in various territories.
- Colin Butts, Pictured below on the set of White Island, and his 3 novels, Is Harry on the Boat, (also adapted for film), Is Harry Still on the Boat, and A Bus Could Run You Over, upon which White Island is Based.
After the screening Colin posted to his facebook page.
“Just about recovered from one of the most memorable nights of my life on Sunday night.
Thank you to everyone who made the effort. I was pretty nervous both at having to say a few words and how the film would be received but with so much support I needn’t have worried.
It was an uplifting night in so many ways. Seeing some friends I literally hadn’t seen in decades, seeing the fruition of a 12 year journey and listening to some of the best music at the after party I’d heard in many moons (thank you DJs).
My only regret of the night is that I didn’t get to spend more time with those friends I hadn’t seen for ages and those who had travelled a good distance to attend.”