Media Parents

5 minutes with Sofia Olins and her Glastonbury Film

May 2, 2016 @ 6:00 pm Posted in News Comments

In 2004, I’d been having a great career as an assistant director, working on stuff like Bridget Jones, Peep Show and The Royle Family for around six years. Then one summer’s day in Glastonbury Festival, I stepped into a world that, unbeknown to me, would filter through the next 12 years of my life….and counting.

That ‘world’ was a place called Lost Vagueness. For those that either can’t remember or never went, it was an area of the renowned festival that blew apart the bland aesthetic of the waning Britpop and Rave era. It was trashy glamour infused with naked cabaret, set in a decadent casino and only when you looked down at the mud, did you remember that you were in Glastonbury.

In an impulsive flash I felt I had to know more about the people involved in creating this playground. A few weeks later, camera in hand and never having entertained the idea of making a documentary, I started to follow their every venture. At first I thought it would be around six months, especially as I’d just caught the attention of a content branding agency. All seemed to be well.

Sofia Olins can be contacted through Media Parents :

But then after the first year, I’d made friends with the main characters and there seemed to be a bigger story, one that questioned cultural phenomena and closely examined individualism. Not to mention a relationship between the anti-hero central character, a man named Roy Gurvitz and legendary Michael Eavis. One year became two, then three and four until by 2007, I’d almost given up my assistant directing role so that I could plan the ending to the film, finally, in Glastonbury, where it had all begun.

Primed for the grand finale, I took a crew of five camera people, sound and stills for what was to be one of the wettest festivals in history. I cried at one point, not from lack of sleep, but from water in my wellies. Weather aside, the entire story imploded as Roy and Michael’s relationship fell apart in a spectacular and public way and suddenly Lost Vagueness at Glastonbury was no more.

I now had an unfinished film. Not long after, needing a breather and some distance, I did a masters at Goldsmiths and then, once finished, I was pregnant with our first child. We left London for two years and I found that I’d gone from a high velocity lifestyle on big budget film sets to a draughty church hall playgroup in Newcastle with sick on my shoulder.

After some intense marital negotiation, we were back in London, I’d been accepted on to a TV mentoring course and I was back on track, phew. My mentor couldn’t believe I hadn’t finished the film. And so this time last year, I was in the early stages of planning the revival of what was now an archive film and building a Kickstarter campaign.  Now there’s a refreshed narrative, some amazing new footage, an incredible team and the real final final shoot planned for this June.  We are ready to share the tale of how once upon a time in the 1990’s, the mythical west country gathering was not a 30 minute sell out sensation. Then along came a bunch of angry and lost travellers. And somehow an alchemy of massive risk, political frustration and cultural zeitgeist would catapult it to become what we now know as one of the worlds greatest festivals.

So if you’re interested in joining our progress for the next 12 months (not years, I promise) do have a little look at where we’re at. Oh and maybe see you at Glastonbury…?

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by Amy Walker

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