Maybe - Amber Films

A gentle, reflective film about a gentle, reflective man, and a river crossing as brief but evocative as the film itself. The Northumbria Ferry crossed the River Tyne between North Shields and South Shields carrying workers, shoppers and kids, and in the evening the same again dressed up to sample the night life on the other side. The river crossing, though only ten minutes long, was an event, set against the busy river and its strong industrial landscape.

In the engine room of the ferry the elderly engine man reminisces about his life, and the life of the river, and considers his retirement in anticipation of the ferry being taken out of service. It was, in fact, converted into a trendy restaurant a few years later. In retrospect, the engine-man displays a worker’s wisdom that is seldom sought. He talks about the contraction of work on the river Tyne and predicts its commercial death. When the film was shown at a week-end school for the Transport Unions soon after completion, union officials vehemently disagreed with the engine-man’s analysis. Time proved him right.

Maybe was made as a student film at the Regent Street Polytechnic by Murray Martin and Graham Denman, founder members of the embryo Amber Associates. Murray had lived in Newcastle for a number of years before going to film school in London, and he was the primary instigator of the group's move to the North East. Maybe was completed at the time of transition, and acted as Amber's first introduction to the region.

The BBC in the North East was prepared to show it on the condition that its Northumbrian song used on the soundtrack was removed on the grounds of unintelligibility. The song in question was a great Louis Killen performance of Sair Fyeld Hinny. The film was never shown on TV.


Made with financial assistance from Regent Street Polytechnic.

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