October 2015 Archives

Rachel Maclean | Feed Me

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Rachel Maclean has been a revelation. When FVU asked me if I'd produce another art film for a Glaswegian based artist, I was concerned I already had too much on with the Maia workshops, getting La Fille De L'Estuaire development progressed enough to present at the Torino Film Lab and knowing I'd be shooting Clara's Voices of Finance too. I watched her work though and fell in love with it instantly. I read her script and that was it decided. So in June we started budgeting, casting and finding crew and helpers generally who were happy to come on board to help make the film. It was super ambitious at 60 minutes with all the backgrounds and animation to be generated in post, a very small budget and a firm deadline.

Rachel was really keen for there to be a musical element to the film, and we found Glasgow-based Finn Anderson to write the songs for us. That was a great exprience, and after Rachel and he spent a bit of time working together, we had 5 songs worthy of any Disney film tailored to our film and ready to record with our artists.

Rachel Maclean Sound recordings

By the beginning of July Rachel had firmed up the script, we had cast all our actors who had practiced their songs and memorised their scripts and so we went to Edinburgh, Glasgow and London to record them. We had the most amazing cast and such a surreal experience as the voices all came together with the creepy dark undertones of the script and songs. We had Kevin Parr from Dundee, Dolina McLennan and Steven McNicoll in Edinburgh as Granny and The Beast. We had Sara Cartwright in Glasgow as our little Britney. In London we recorded Jaime Adler and DeNica Fairman as Charlotte and Claire - both incredible. Rachel had worked with Steven before and he was so great. But it was amazing sitting at Sonido recording studios in Glasgow and watching that little girl sing her heart out, each time to absolute perfection. In fact by the end we had to ask her to do it less well and she even managed to do that convingly! She came through PACE youth theatre in Glasgow and was really impressive.

After this Rachel had to go back and work on editing the sound track together while I got evrything ready for the shoot. Rachel would play all the roles, lipsynching to playback throughout. Rachel made all the costumes with the help of Mari Campistron and Lucy Payne who were amazing third year students at Glasgow School of Art - who gave Rachel a fair chunk of their summers to pull this together. Rachel had to get covered in prosthetics - a different role each day with the help of Kat Morgan.

montage of pics from Rachel's feed me

We also knew we'd need to get extra help for all the VFX work, so we enlisted Colin Maclean (Rachel's brother) to help set up the computers, help with the shot and then be Rachel's right hand man right til we delivered the film in October.

I was bit trepidatious about Nexus moving to Old Street and into an even bigger building than before and Gaëlle having to share a new office with other animation directors. Mainly because our wall of La Fille De L'Estuaire has been the back-drop for so much of our work!! I was sad to say good bye.

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Along with changing offices we have changed co-writers! Now we are working with Amber Trentham.

Roxanne | Absolut launch

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End of June also saw the big launch event for Paul Frankl's Roxanne. Absolut shared the launch of their new Pride bottle with us, throwing a big cocktail party screening and interviews run by Little White lies' at the Edition Hotel Berners street, then on to Grouchos for celebrations.

Absolut Pride Bottle launch

There was a great turn out and interviews with Paul, Miss Cairo and Akua, who all gave great interviews. There were many questions, and great to see how many burning issues the film raises - not just issues of transgender and prostitution, but about Soho, community, rights, freedom of speech and the state of the film industry. Hard to photograph because of all the pink lighting!

Roxanne launch
Roxanne has gone from strength to strength and it is now getting hard to keep up with both its festival circuit and the prizes it has been winning. I went to my Maia workshop in Bologna or Roma and a Serbian-Welsh producer told me she had seen my seen my name come up in an award recently - and she was refering to Roxanne winning the Iris Prize for Best British Short.

Roxanne poster

Me and Mine

Me & Mine
was finally finished too - previously known as Credible Passion (see entry back in August when we shot in Bournemouth & Bourneville).

Lucy Beech's new work 'Me and Mine' is a 40-minute film pivoting around an annual awards event called the The Good Funeral Awards at which the growing contribution of women to the funeral industry is celebrated (awards given out for best grave digger etc...), 'Me and Mine' records (and applauds) this transformation, but also pauses to reflect on what else these changes might be said to signify. It premiered at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, from 2 May - 4 July, before travelling to Tetley, Leeds, from 17 July - 27 September. This is her most significant solo show to date.

Lucy's work often (maybe even always?) includes an element of choreography / body theatre. She takes every day (sometimes mundane) situations and analyses them & replays them in a way that makes them extraordinary, making the audience think about things in a very different way. Working with Clara van Gool on The Beast in the Jungle and Voices of Finance, has made me think of Lucy and her work again. There is something so intriging working with dancers in these contexts.

I really love Lucy's film Open House, Rob taking prospective buyers through the rituals of home showing. Great piece.

Kingston degree show | June 2015

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And there it was - the end of 4 years illustration and animation degree at Kingston University. An absolutely frenetic few months getting everything finished on time - and ultimately not everything as some of the items planned for the exhibition never quite made it on time! The end of an era and the beginning of a new life.

Apoa's Art Show

There was a great turn out both in terms of the students and all their work - but also in terms of friends, family & industry coming to see what they had all done. Some really interesting animated films to watch as well, lovely to see Chris Shepherd there, animation director & Kingston tutor.

I loved watching Anna read Playa Playa and relive those moments in Portugal. So great Apoa's put it all into a most beautiful graphic novel. She's so talented it makes me super proud of her!!

Playa Playa

Making Movies | Linda's Timeline

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Linda's Maia Timeline

I forgot to add this picture to the Sardinia Maia workshop entry. Linda Beath's initiation to her group of emerging producers was the average making-a-movie-timeline, from inception to when an audience will sit in front of a screen and watch it. I might have posted it a bit too small to read here (click on it & it opens bigger), but it starts in April 2015 with an idea for a film and ends in February 2022 with some money trickling back to someone (although god knows who...) once the sales people have got it out to a few places for people to go and watch it - starting in January 2020. So basically - you gotta look 7 years ahead.

And I guess the wisdom we took from that was "learn to pace yourself" "More urgency, less haste!". "Yes ok I'll have that glass of wine".

I think Linda would agree...

Linda Beath

Thanks to Marit Van Den Elshout and Cinemart, this year I was given a Producers Network pass in Cannes. So pleased - thank you Cinemart. You have to have produced a feature in order to qualify, so grateful for the alternative opportunity.

producers network reception

In any case it meant Gaëlle and I came to Cannes again this year. It also seemed a great opportunity to re-connect with the producers, distributors etc we met at Cinemart earlier in the year, as well as a few new producers we met in Paris in March.

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And of course it was generally great to hang out with friends at parties and bars and Croisette - both London based ones who you never get to see anymore coz everyone's so busy! And the ones further away cos they live up north or in different countries altogther!! Samm Haillay, Gavin Humphries, Nathalie Algazi and Marie Sonne-Jensen, Matthieu Darras, Una Gunjak, Grant Keir Ginny, lovely to meet Lauranne Bourrachot and Cassandra Sigsgaard a little better and see Anwen Griffiths again after so long, and of course many more!

It also meant we were able to reconnect with everyone at Critic's Week | Semaine de la Critique, Julie, Remi, Fabien, and of course Charles Tesson. They were super generous with us so we had tickets, and passes and were able to go to the premiere of Jonas's film Mediterranea with Una Gunjak too. It was an excellent screening and so moving to be there and see all the reactions afterwards.

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And of course Semaine always through the best parties! So excited to have Céline Sciamma as DJ - she rocks!

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It was a great experiencing Cannes having to get up early to go to breakfast meetings every day. The Croisette empty except for street cleaners and the odd strays. It was also great reconnecting with Clare Spencer was also attending Producer's Network with her Pink Floyd project - The Wall. Hadn't seen her for ages. And great hanging out with Sophie Venner who is doing brilliantly now with all her new projects. Good to hang out with James Cotton too, and meet industry experts such as Mike Goodridge from Protagonist, Tanja Meissner from Memento, Todd Brown from XYZ, Amy Dotson from IFP and many many more...

Also thanks to Gaëlle mastering the old booking system, we managed to see a fair few films too, the premiere of Canadian film Sleeping Giant, Mediterranea, The very glamorous The Lobster we shared with the lovey Verity Wislocki post produced it, and I caught up with Michal Kráčmer Maia too!! We also got to see the premiere of Son of Saul, László Nemes' film who Gaëlle had met at Torino Film lab the year before.

Cannes Screenings

Maia Workshop - Creative Aspects

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With my fabulous Franco-British project stewing, I thought this is the year to apply to EAVE! Well I did and they didn't want me, so instead I saw something online which sounded like a good alternative. It was called Maia Workshops and was aimed at the emerging producer, with a distinct slant towards the Eastern co-production. I thought well - why not? Let's give it a go, and happily they decided they would have me! First session in April was set in the Chia Laguna resort in Sardinia - no less than a fabulous 5 star resort sandwiched on a hill between two gorgeous beaches... One inhabited by pink flamingos! Well frankly... What's not to like!

Chia Laguna

First workshop was focussed on all creative aspects - looking mainly at script, development, practical strategies and feasibility. Our producer mentor was Danijel Hocevar from Slovenia. He has produced millions of award-winning films, and I have to confess I knew none of them. But then again I am quite ignorant and can't say I have been exposed to many films from the Balkans generally. But I am discovering his films gradually, and despite a dark disposition (not surprising) many are eye-opening and some even uplifting, beautiful films. Danijel's Serbo-Slovenian Circles by Srdan Golubović has an incredibly positive vibe. (Sundance 2013: Special Jury Award, Berlinale 2013: Ecumenical Prize).

Daniel and Danijel in Cagliari

Our script mentor was Alejandro de la Fuente, who comes from Italy, via France and South America. He has worked forever in script development and acquisitions and he has been supporting all the projects with a particular interest in the scripts themselves, story and how they position themselves.

Everybody Maia 2015 Sardinia

Graziella Bildesheim
who created and runs the workshop, is an inspiring passionate producer herself, an industry person with many years experience in film and sits on the Italian film commission in Roma. She cares deeply about practices within the industry, developing good producer skills generally but also encouraging the under-developed areas of Europe (and the world) and encouraging those for whom there is less available close to hand.

Sardinia tutors

We were given as task and study tool the script of Sworn Virgin by Laura Bispuri which was nominated for the golden bear award at the Berlinale. We met Marta Donzelli (producer behind Le Quattro Volte) from Vivo Film in Italy, who produced the film. She talked us through all the production and finance steps that went into making the film. We watched the film and then dissected it later with Alejandro.

Linda Beath brought us all back to reality with a big bump as she splayed out sheets of paper on a the wall and minuted a most likely timeline for any of our projects, which took us through a good 7 years before any of our projects would actually see the light of day. Maybe a bit tough - the ruler was out and knuckles were wrapped when stupid questions were asked, or mobiles and laptops twanged - but a super intelligent and perceptive lady - knows her stuff inside out and is completely clear on all things finance and making sense of the industry in business terms.

Stefan Rüll spoke to us about chain of title and script optioning contracts. Nevina Satta accompanied us into Cagliari and the local festival to teach us about the local possibilities and the different film funds they have on the go there.

There were 20 producers from around Europe with feature and documentary projects on the workshop - some were on board without projects but looking to see how they could grow themselves and their companies. A clutch of 9 or 10 producers booked themselves on the full course of 3 workshops, the rest were only booked on one.

It's funny how these bonds of friendship form, but already after only a week spent in Sardinia together something grows, like a little ivy creeper, and friendships and future collaborations blossom. If I was a bit apprehensive at the start whether or not I would have anything in common - any shared interests etc... with my fellow participants and tutors, I didn't realise how much it would open my eyes and whet my appetite to learn more about the Baltics and the Balkans and even Poland and Germany!

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How funny that on my return from the Maia session, Daniel Mulloy should get back in touch with a Kosovo based project. It would have seemed unthinkable before but now...