Forkbeard started to use more and more Super 8mm and 16mm cine over the next few years although their first real ‘Crossing The Celluloid Divide’ moment took place in “GHOSTS” in 1985 when the Ghost-Hunter Holcombe Rogus is seen to walk out of the film and onto the stage.
By now they had also started making stand-alone films which they either showed in film theatres, festivals or after their live performances: films like “Night of The Gnat” and “The Bonehunter”.
Their first 16mm movie was an animated cartoon called ‘Could a Whale Fly?’ in ‘The Clone Show’ in 1979 with which Tim performed, talking to the cartoon characters. This was Forkbeard’s first ever live interaction with film.
CROSSING THE CELLULOID DIVIDE
Almost as soon as film was invented in 1895, film-makers began experimenting with tricks and illusions both live and on film in magic theatres and variety acts. Greg Giesekam in his book "Staging the Screen" (Palgrave Macmillan) describes how "..within a decade of the Lumière Brothers exhibiting the first films in Paris in 1895, theatre practitioners were employing film. By 1929 fifteen theatres in Berlin were already fitted with projection facilities. Georges Méliès was the true pioneering creator of cinematic spectacle and the first to use theatrical sets in a film.
To present these films they invented the Brittonioni Brothers but, unable to keep up the Italian accents, Chrissy and Timmy soon became the fabulous pompous Brylcremed jet-setting avant-guardistes, more concerned with the cut of their trousers than the cut of their films. The Brittonioni Brothers have taken Forkbeard to festivals across the UK and all over the world since they first donned their mirror-lens shades back in 1985
The ideas and possibilities for using film have been endless as well as hugely enjoyable to invent and realize.
"Crossing the Celluloid Divide" has become one of the main trademarks of a Forkbeard stage show. In its simplest form it is the trick of merging from stage to screen and vice versa. But Forkbeard have taken it to wild and fantastical levels in the years since they first hit upon the technique.
Chris and Tim’s father’s film making and delight in cinematic trickery and illusion that fired our enthusiasm for devising ways of using film in our shows. But cine film was expensive. The digital age was yet to come and you couldn’t project early video: it looked terrible. Unable to afford movie film let alone a camera or projector, the first ‘film’ we showed on stage was a series of 35mm slides projected very fast to humorously create the illusion of a film (‘On and Uncertain Insect' 1978).