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Hundreds of guests gathered in the backyard of the British Consul General’s Hancock Park estate on a steamy Sunday afternoon to celebrate at the BAFTA garden party and to recognize Annabel Jones, the Emmy-nominated producer and co-creator of the Netflix film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Guests were greeted by a giant Bandersnatch ice sculpture when they walked into the party, and there was a photo booth where they could pose inside a mock TV with boxes of cereal featured in the interactive film. The bar featured Black Mirror-inspired cocktails, such as the Mind Controller and the White Bear.
Jones spoke to THR about the importance of BAFTA in the lives of British actors, producers and other creators. “BAFTA is always very good at championing young talent, and particularly talent that is not equally represented on the screen. They do a very good program of identifying breakthrough talent, and with them signaling and nurturing and trying to get these young actors their first job, it’s good support for the actors and good for the creators, because BAFTA is saying, ‘You need to look at these amazing people, and you’ve got to make sure that people who may have slipped through the casting agents, here they are being picked up by BAFTA.’”
Jones may have been the guest of honor, but the party was also a celebration of all English artists working in Los Angeles, and the event was a very British affair, with some guests wearing kilts or fascinators while classic hits from British new wave bands such as the Police and Duran Duran blared over the speakers.
Bandersnatch is an interactive feature film set in the Black Mirror universe. Jones also spoke about the technical challenges of creating a film where the viewer could literally choose their own path forward.
“Netflix was just in its infancy with these tools, and we were going to them and saying, ‘Do you think you could have this element, or is there a learning tool where we can track the decisions someone’s made?’ And they were like, ‘Not at the moment, but we’ll see if we can.’ And these great and really talented technicians in Los Gatos, where Netflix is based, went away and developed the platform to meet the idea. It was a really satisfying fusion of creativity and technical creativity, trying to realize this film.”
She also told THR what it felt like to cede control of the narrative from the creator to the viewer. “It’s quite risky taking on the interactive form, because your relationship as the creator, you have to cede control, because you can no longer dictate or determine — it’s not a linear narrative,” she said. “You don’t know where that person is going to end up, so you’re having to devise an experience and a world that sort of foreshadows and predicts what everyone might do and still try to have a satisfying experience.”
Bandersnatch is nominated for two Emmy Awards, including best television movie and best scripted interactive media.
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