Received BIFA ceremony invitations yesterday. Two weeks to go! Excited... Also received Cork monolith award too - my desk is looking very glamorous just now.
November 2010 Archives
In Lille at the weekend people kept asking me why the British don't protest more. While we were there there was a big demonstration against pensioner's age going up, education & something to do with abortion & immigration all rolled into one it seemed.
Well today Apoa has joined in on a protest march against raised tuition fees and cuts within this sector - in fact I think Camden set up an inset day, just so students could go without missing school. Will these marches help or are we already defeated?
All the people of not so affluent means, who were gratefully thinking they could afford to send their children to university for an education, will have to rethink.
We are a generation (the parents with children almost of age to leave school) who were born into a life with many 'free' institutions and have grown up with many privileges. We have not had to pay directly to see a doctor, pick up medecines for our children, send our children to school... Indeed we could also afford to buy a house and park a car on suburban streets without having to feed meters or pay councils for the privilege. After all the amazing work our ancestors put in to make sure we could enjoy some of these privileges, we have had to live through their gradual eradication. We endure these losses because we are not given the option of halting them. Where does it end? We know with every loss, we are relearning to accept these taxations. We are regressing to the position we were in before these things were put in place. Taxation no longer balancing out inequalities, enabling all to live better lives. The policy is: Don't tax people according to what they can afford, tax them according to what you can get away with.
But then, I can hear my dad thinking: "what is she moaning about?". Amazingly, my brother and I went to the two most expensive universities in the US according to Forbes facts and figures. Now those figures are staggering! Imagine being saddled with that debt! If we'd had to pay that out of our deferred wages, we'd be repaying well into retirement! Is this what the UK wants? The students facing these changes as pioneers in 2012 won't have access to the bursaries, scholarships and other financial aid packages the Americans have in place. It will be a hard blow to many.
I am excited to have signed an option agreement on a beautiful project which involves love, loss, grief and madness. Perfect ingredients for a first feature? Let's hope so!
Since we got back this summer, we seem to have filled the autumn with fun cultural events. Here's a lovely picture of Apoa and Kiloh at the Almeida where we saw House Of Games & prior to that Ruth Wilson in Through A Glass Darkly which reminds me we also saw a great production of Ruined (although that was before the summer). We also went to see a fantasic expo called Hell's Acre at the Old Vic Tunnels (what an amazing place - it reminded me of Shunt). Here are a couple of pics.
Then of course The London Film Festival's been on and this year I was able to get to see actually quite a lot of films & talks! I think my favourite film was Blue Valentine - I say favourite - but it sure did make me cry! Here's a list anyway of what I saw (if I can remember them all): Never Let Me Go (which I thought was ok, pretty good but lacking in light & shade maybe), Le Quattro Volte (charming & gentle, maybe a bit long), Let Me In (was good, better than I expected, but what did it add to Let The Right One in? Fake snow?...), Self Made (Gillian Waring's film & really interesting, a filmed version of her art work looking into people), Conviction (was good, but a bit classic), The American (Beautiful, but boring neither thriller nor introspective - reminded me a lot of Jim Jarmusch's Limits Of Control but without the amazing De Bankolé etc..), Everything Must Go from Raymond Carver's short story (was also good - Rebecca Hall is in everything indeed & Will Ferrell was really good in this part / Director's first film as well so pretty impressive), Miral (was really good), two versions of peace & mending through education (also in First Grader), The King's Speech (was really good, beautiful & subtle & great performances - not usually my kind of film & I'm no big fan of Colin Firth's but he was really great here / My dad will love this film!), West Is West (a good follow up to E is E & entertaining), Les Amours Imaginaires (this film stayed with me in many ways, this guy is such an intresting filmmaker & soooo young. probably a little control freakery as he seems to write, direct, edit, costume etc etc... reminds me Goddard a bit the way Alexis Dos Santos does - stylish but free thinking. Is this true auteur filmmaking?), Abel (Again a really interesting little film, really liked it - not perfect, but the only film I saw that really made me laugh at lots of points with really clever & well executed moments, really interesting premise), Archipelago (one of those words I can never pronounce properly!) (I hope this director does well, the film had lots of interesting things about it. Although the main thing I keep thinking about are some of her creative choices, like many scenes shot on long lenses but with sound as if very close, but good 2nd film), Black Swan & a talk by Darren Aronovsky (I thought he was great, so down to earth & genuine. I didn't expect that. The film is amazing although not my favourite), The Kids Are All Right (I really enjoyed this - how could you not?! - The cast were all so good & likeable/ not art, but good entertainment), The First Grader (Another really enjoyable film, beautiful & sad but with a positive message), Submarino (Oh my God this film jammed & melted in the screening & took the Odeon 20 minutes to fix - Thomas Vinterberg was not impressed! But otherwise another really good - if harrowing - film), Another Year + talk with Mike Leigh (good film, majorly fantastic performance by Leslie Manville, but Mike Leigh came across as a bit of a pompous ungrateful grump - was this just a bad day or is he always that way?), Biutiful (Good film & Javier Bardem is amazing, very similar theme to Submarino... disfunctional familes & how to survive them. but where Thomas Vintenberg is all about subdued naturalism, Iñarittu is about stylising & going over the top), Somewhere (surprised, but I think a bit disapointed. Seemed empty & void of anything much other than it was stylish, langourous, music great in all of Sofia's films, but what else?), I Malavoglia (An Italian film shot in southern Sicily, where poverty makes life very hard for sustaining families. A modern version of both the famous XIX novel & Visconti's 1940s film La Terra Trema - good but bleak), and finally 127 hours (This film was really good. I wasn't sure I wanted to see the film & sit through the grizzlyness & the boredom of a man stuck under a rock for 127 hours, but i should have known better, not a dull moment).
That's an amazing 20 films!! Just think of all the nights in I can now have instead of going to the cinema....
I had a few gripes with the festival (or the Odeon). There were several really bad projection mistakes and I don't think they were handled very well. In particular the breakage on Submarino & a major recurring out of focus issue in Everything Must Go. Both times the directors were subjected to the torture of seeing their films mangled for large audiences. Really not a nice thing. Also, at pretty much every screening , crowds were let in only when the films started, which meant people would crowd the narrow corridor for up to 10 minutes into the film & you missed the beginnings. Particularly crap when you can't read the subtitles of a language you don't understand! There was a policy to hold industry back from press screenings until the very last minute, I understand press need priority, but this obviously didn't apply to the public screenings and in general just needs a better solution.
This summer the Fresh Film Festival in Prague put on a retrospective of Daniel's films, you can read more about it here. I made two little appearances this autumn, one to Camden School For Girls sixth form assembly, where I showed BABY to 450 sixth formers. That was a most amazing experience, so different from any industry screening - it was great! Daniel Kaluuya was meant to present the film, but he was busy shooting the sequel to Johnny English, so they had to make do with me instead. I was also invited as guest filmmaker to show Son at ShortCutz at the Proud Gallery in Camden. you see me here.
We have now started sending Baby out to festivals and already it has been selected at the Corona Cork International Film Festival and will be playing there as part of their shorts selection. The festival looks amazing with a great programme of films and a slow food evening too. Dad will be showing at Brest next week, as they are putting together a special celebration of UK Films this year - again with a fantastic looking programme of shorts to see.
Now it's November, it means preparing for Christmas but also involves looking back at summer and thinking was that really already so long ago? We spent our family holiday in the Luberon which is always wonderful, but I was just remembering the fantastic day out heading down to Sivergues,
walking up to the amazing fort in Buoux and lunching at the incredible Castelas where you meet your meal while it is still jumping on your table!
This year, as the cold kicked in, we had the pleasure of our hot water cylinder exploding. That has been fun. Not only did it mean having to take showers at our neighbour's house and family huddling around the one electric fan heater to keep warm at night, but it has also meant having to tear out all our beautifully built cupboards & rebuilding the whole damn thing again. Just what we needed before Christmas!
Our kids have always loved that Simon Pegg lives on their trick or treat route and he has always been very generous to them. The first time he opened the door to them, they squeeled in excitement. It's Shaun of the dead!!!! He didn't have any sweets, so he sent his mum out to get some & in the meantime gave them lots of coins. This year we made a Tintin pumpkin lantern in his honour!