October 2014 Archives

CROCODILE: Nominated for a BIFA!

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Gaëlle and I (and the rest of the team) are unbelievably thrilled to have been nominated for a BIFA. We are so grateful for the support the film has had, and the amount of incredibly positive feedback we've received. It has been a pleasure to share the film so far and wide already and it feels like the trajectory is picking up more and more momentum. This month alone, we are juggling 'print traffic' between eight overlapping festivals - who knew November was such a popular month!

The announcements were made today at the St Martin's Hotel in Covent Garden and it was great to find ourselves amongst such fabulous people and in competition against such other great shorts! I can't wait for the ceremony in December. I had such an amazing time back in 2010 when Daniel Mulloy and I had the pleasure to be there with Baby. And they are sponsored by MOËT it means lots of champagne celebrations, and you can never have too much of that - or at least so says Antonio Piazza (fellow fabulous filmmaker (maker of Salvo) & winner of much champagne)!!

Keeping Rosy, '71, Catch Me Daddy, The Goob, Lilting - many of the teams from Dinard (X&Y as well...). Lovely to chat to Steve Reeves & Jared Harris who has agreed to star in the next film...

As we approach our final CCFL workshop and gear up to be ready for the presentations in Falmouth, it's good to catch up with all the key members of the CCFL team on skype. The script work has been progressing really well and we're excited to have Chris Andrews back on board to get to the next draft. Here's a little snap of Antoine Le Bos, François Garnier and Joséphine Derobe who have been working with us.

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Now I look forward to starting my Closing The Gap training. I'm excited not only to have been accepted onto the programme but have had Creative Skillset 's support to help cover the costs. It's an investment training programme that leads up to equity investor pitching in Berlin in December.

Undead Sun was finally unveiled at the iwm in London this month and will be open to the public until 11 January.

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The premiere event reunited many from the team involved in curating and making the film. It's a large-scale video installation that looks back at the impact of the First World War and considers how so many of the products of that conflict continue to shape our contemporary experience.

Inspired by archive photographs and artefacts, and by diary entries and personal testimonies, the piece reflects on the visceral, elemental forces that the war unleashed. Sequences filmed against the looming backdrop of a giant wind tunnel evoke these larger-than-life forces at work, while a series of staged cameos, interspersed throughout the footage, offers glimpses of individual, human-scale dramas.

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The Undead Sun is presented in a specially constructed architectural setting, in which the viewer's lines of sight are directed, and partially obstructed, by mirrors and veils of gauze. This is the first iteration of an unfolding project, commissioned in partnership by Film and Video Umbrella, Imperial War Museum, MIMA, Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Art Gallery, and coinciding with the Great War Centenary.

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Films | Dinard and the BFI LFF

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Creative England offered Gaëlle the opportunity to join a small group of writers, directors and producers to take part in NET.WORK@LFF, an internationally-focused development programme managed and delivered by Creative England on behalf of the BFI during the BFI London Film Festival. Organising this during the festival meant having access not only to industry decision makers, but also to Filmmakers from different countries who generously made themselves available to share their experiences. It was a great few days.

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While Gaëlle was busy meeting the likes of Susanne Bier, Andrew MacDonald, David Robert Mitchell... I was invited to Dinard Film Festival in Brittany to view British Films and meet French Producers for our Estuary Girl project.

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At Dinard I finally got to see Dexter Fletcher's Sunshine On Leith and Hong Khao's Lilting, which was a beautiful, gentle and strongly emotional film. I also got to see '71 by Yann Demange, which was hugely impressive - especially considering it was also a first film. You really felt you were in there with the soldier, felt the adrenaline and the awfulness of it all. I also got to see Guy Myhill's The Goob which I believe he & Mike Elliott made through iFeatures. Mike had an excellent festival picking awards for The Goob and Catch Me Daddy! I was really impressed with "The Goob", knowing how tiny those budgets are, they managed to pull something off that was really strong and immersive. I also watched Steve Reeve's Keeping Rosy with Maxine Peake in the lead role - very reminiscent of her role in Michael Pearce's "Keeping Up With The Jones".

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Going to Dinard is a really special experience. It starts with a flight from City airport straight to Dinard (or was it St Malo) airport. In a tiny plane filled exclusively with Dinard Film Festival guests. It was great getting a chance to catch up with Zorana Piggott who was also invited and to chat with Dexter Fletcher who were all on the same flight. The weather was incredibly beautiful - considering the time of year! And the Brittany beachtown setting is fabulous. The Thalassa hotel where Zorana and I were staying was beyond fabulous!! Although peculiar seeing all the guests in towelling bathrobes all day long!

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Essentially you spend a week in an idyllic little town - where Hitchcock used to spend his summer holidays and where apparently the Psycho house was inspired from - watching British films, drinking at the Grand Hotel and mingling with all the filmmakers, cast and members of the jury, and bumping into Catherine Deneuve stepping in and out of black cars with tinted windows in a totally informal atmosphere. It was lovely seeing Michael Radford who was at the festival as a special guest showing four of his films, chatting to Hong Khao and getting to know Richard Holmes from Creative England (who had produced Keeping Rosy) and the girls from Directors UK (Rosie and Abi) who just gave us our Channel4 award at Encounters.

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It was a welcome pleasure to be out there and I got back to London to still catch a few films at the BFI LFF. Notably I saw Foxcatcher (which felt like it could have come out of Jon Ronson's Psychopath Test book) and Whiplash which was a very cool film & the director's first feature. The film is about the relationship between a gifted drumming student and his teacher / mentor who is a legend at the conservatoire (but is also bordering on psychopathy). I wasn't sure if Whiplash was going to be a success 'Fame'-type film all about the 'spectrum' student in a fame academy or about an abusive relationship - but it turned out to be about a range of things covering that & more. I also got to see Xavier Dolan's Mommy and Céline Sciamma's Girlhood which I missed in Cannes. I'm a big fan of both of theirs and both films were great. There was a Q&A with Céline Sciamma run by Lizzie Francke & she came across incredibly well. Great to finally see The Tribe which I also missed in Cannes, but I must say I'm not quite sure what I think about that film. Bold and brave for sure, but I think probably needed a Q&A after that to make sense of it all. I also got to watch Rebecca Johnson's Honeytrap her first feature film which I really enjoyed. It will probably be compared quite a bit to Girlhood as there are so few films we get exposed to here with young black women as main protagonists.

After its success at GIFF in Mexico, Crocodile finally had its UK Premiere in Bristol where it was awarded the Channel 4 Best of British Short. Gaëlle and I were really thrilled and really enjoyed our few days in Bristol. It was great visiting with Sara Sinton who used to be my boss at production company Mighty, and now has given all that up to work as an NHS nurse in a Bristol hospital and now is married to a lovely kitchen maker Hugo and more recently has a delightful son Archie who I met for the first time on this visit - which was extra special as Sara was pregnant when I was last there with Douglas Hart's Long Distance Information back in 2012, so it was great to see them all.

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The festival was lively as always and it was great to see the programme of shorts and hang out with Dawn (from Dazzle) - who is looking really fabulous, Will Massa and his Brazilian delegation, Derry (from Network Ireland), Becky Mark Lawson and many more. It was really nice hanging out with Becalelis Brodskis an old animator friend of Gaëlle's now based in Cornwall.

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Credible Passion

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It's been one hell of a busy summer! While finishing Undead Sun and Roxanne, Film and Video Umbrella invited me to produce Lucy Beech's Credible Passion film in Bournemouth.

Lucy's film is about an undertaker Viv, coming from a traditional family of undertakers, who sneeks into a Funeral Awards weekend. She infiltrates the world of alternative funerals awards where awards are handed out annually for such things as best grave digger - and where the tradition of male workers is replaced by women celebrants and undertakers. In any case this is no run of the mill event and Viv has quite a journey!

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It is an ambitious project shot on a very small budget with two cameras, over the course of three long days, involving underwater shots of people falling into swimming pools, but Lucy and Film and Video Umbrella pulled together a really great team. Lucy and Jamie Quantrill (DOP) worked at length to get everything planned and visualised, and the shoot itself went really well.

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The first part of the film was shot in Bourneville with a skeleton crew including John Ford and Rob Crosse, Lucy's two other key collaborators on the project. And the next part was shot in the Ocean View hotel in Bournemouth, a beautiful hotel by the sea.

Again Alix Taylor found a stellar cast and the whole project came together quite swiftly. In fact the whole thing needed immense resourcefulness and was made possible by many generous voluntary contributions from both cast and crew. The Ocean View were amazingly generous too.

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The post has begun, but there is still a shoot day to go to complete the story. Susanna Chisolm and Lucy Beech have been raising more money and the shoot should be completed soon.

Norwegian BIOLA yogurt

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This summer Gaëlle was busy shooting a commercial for Norwegian BIOLA yogurt through Nexus and she was able to pull in some of the fabulous Crocodile team Carly Reddin on production design, Angus Light on locations.

Apoa was also back with the team making pretty leaves and painting blocks.

Gaëlle also had the opportunity to work with Daniel Landin on camera who shot Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin. The commercial was a combination of live action and animation and will be available to view on the Nexus website soon.

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