Stunt Masterclass with Vic Armstrong at the BFI (2009)
From time to time, I trawl through the various content that I've archived from all my previous blogs and websites. During one such search, I recently found a post I had written in 2009 after attending an event at the British Film Institute. Stunt Masterclass with Vic Armstrong, was held on Saturday May 2nd of that year and I remember it being an especially interesting interview with the UK's leading Stunt Co-ordinator and 2nd Unit Director. The event was chaired by the writer Mark Salisbury and consisted of an in-depth interview followed by an audience Q&A session. Here's how I originally summed up the evening:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to see one of the great names in the British film industry; namely Vic Armstrong. Veteran Stuntman/double, Stunt Co-ordinator and now leading 2nd Unit Director. Mr. Armstrong's extensive CV speaks for itself. The event was held by the BFI at their Southbank venue, as part of their ongoing season dedicated to Bond producer, Cubby Broccoli. The lecture was moderated by journalist Mark Salisbury.
Vic was informative, witty, and very down to earth. Completely the opposite to the public perception of stuntmen, fashioned by such Hollywood films as Hooper. He talked on how he got his break within the industry and those who were influential on his career. He had a wealth of anecdotes but never once strayed into "luvvies, darling" territory.
The session ran for a generous 100 minutes, with a selection of film clips, ending with questions from the audience. These were mercifully free from "fanboys", although an opportunist Dutch stuntman did offer Vic his resume, which raised a wry smile. The lecture also benefited from good moderation by Mark Salisbury. He asked pertinent questions and allowed Vic to express his views clearly. All in all, a very good event from the BFI. It was a shame it wasn't better attended.
I attended a lot of these sort of events at the time and frequently went with a colleague who would surreptitiously make an audio recording with a digital recorder. To cut a long story short I've managed to track down the original audio file and have posted it below. Sadly, the sound quality is not particularly good, although I have done my best to remove some of the background noise. I have also edited out the movie clips that were shown, as they were deafeningly loud. After eight year’s I still consider this one of the best events I have ever attended at the BFI. The interview offers a great insight in to Vic Armstrong's body of work and the way the film industry works.