Don't be Impotent - Be Important!


A few months ago TayScreen featured polar explorer Oliver Westbury, and now we’ve got another ice adventure inspired by Captain Scott’s expedition in the shape of British mockumentary Beyond the Pole. Produced by Shooting Pictures and starring Rhys Thomas (Bellamy’s People) as the brilliantly likeable Brian Tongue and Stephen Mangan (Green Wing and Confetti), perfectly cast as the earnest and slightly deranged Mark Bark-Jones, the film follows two best friends who aim to be the first carbon-neutral, organic, vegetarian team to reach the North Pole unsupported in a bid to save the planet from Global Warming. Their journey from Staffordshire to the Arctic is followed by a documentary team (led by a reporter played by Helen Baxendale, who also executive produces). As Mark and Brian set off for the Pole accompanied by veteran cameraman and arctic specialist Steve (played by Clive Russell, who was raised in Fife), the only communication they have is with Mark’s second best friend and keen CB radio enthusiast Graham (played by Mark Benton), who waits for their transmissions in the operation nerve centre caravan with Brian’s girlfriend Sandra (played by Rosie Cavaliero). However, the intrepid pair hadn’t counted on polar bears and the ex-Olympian Norwegian team who are also a carbon neutral, organic, vegetarian team and fast on their tracks.

Hailed as a cross between Touching the Void and The Office, Beyond the Pole is an excellent example of British comedy at its self-deprecating best, and displays the talent of some of the comedians who have been entertaining us over the last ten years. TayScreen got a chance to chat with director, producer and co-writer David L. Williams (pictured below with partner and executive producer Helen Baxendale), who described the film as ‘funny, dark, and moving, with lots of heart’. Although the genre is different, the film shares the same message as Al Gore’s 2006 An Inconvenient Truth and last year’s The Age of Stupid, albeit in the slightly more comedic tone of ‘Don’t be impotent – Be important!’ Williams hopes that through its mockumentary style the film’s message will reach a wider and varied audience, raising awareness for a global issue.

Praised by the press, the film has also amassed a hugely supportive fan base, particularly through the social networking phenomenon that are Facebook and Twitter. David is extremely grateful to the loyalty of the international fans, who range from members of Friends of the Earth, fans of UK comedies and dramas such as The Office and Cold Feet, fellow adventure explorers, and even True Blood fanatics, as one of Mark and Brian’s Norwegian ex-Olympian rivals is played by Alexander Skarsgård, who plays brooding vampire Eric in the smash-hit American TV series. In fact, he stated that the film is being shown at the Phoenix Film Festival in April thanks to the efforts of one extremely proactive fan. David said that Beyond the Pole is also attracting the attention of Hollywood, with documentary supremo Michael Moore showing his support for the film. ‘Watch it; you’ll enjoy it and have a good time’ says David. We certainly agree.

You can watch the trailer here, and show your support by following on Twitter and Facebook (don’t forget to check out TayScreen’s Facebook and Twitter for regular news and updates!)

Beyond the Pole is currently being shown at cinemas in America and the UK. For those of you in the Fife and Tayside area it is running at DCA from Friday 19th till Thursday 25th March, or for those further afield visit the film’s website to find out if it’s coming to a cinema near you