July 2016 Archives

I believe it's official now, so I can start posting lots of pretty pictures about the Guiding Lights, Galway etc..

Guiding Lights 8

So - much as I was disappointed not to get a full application in to the BFI's Vision Awards - I did manage to get one into Guiding Lights and Market Trader. And the good news is they decided to pick me - YAY!!! The VA thing was infuriatingly depressing, at least at midnight on whatever day that was, when I had to press the send button on the half-baked application without a budget. And I did howl. But I only had me to blame for not allowing the time :( three or four hours was never going to be enough when people spent days on their applications. At least I haven't had to be in perpetual fretful suspended apprehension all this time, while they processed the applications and went through the interviews. It was such a popular call-out (of course!!) with so many applications from great producers who actually put together really compelling applications! So there you go.

Fancy Dinners and parties at Galway Fleadh

But back to the Galway Film Fleadh, Guiding Lights and Market Trader... I'm mixing them up a bit here because we just spent 4 days in Galway all together, and at times it was hard to remember who was part of what. Market Trader is a Creative Europe incentive run by Caroline Cooper Charles until she left Creative England last week ☹ and Haley Mellor with Mia Bayes, Peter Ettedgui and Beatrice Neumann as mentors. This is a professional development programme aimed at giving 10 emerging UK feature film producers a better understanding of international markets and international co-production, although of course now with BREXIT and all that.... international co-production may mean more than ever the USA coming to shoot in the UK more than any mutual cooperation with Europe unfortunately. But anyway.

Galway Medley

Guiding Lights is the UK film industry's leading mentoring programme supporting upcoming filmmakers and professionals through high-level mentoring, and complemented by training and networking activities. We are: Ohna Falby, Ailbhe Keogan, Lindsey Dryden, Brian Martin, Kara Smith, Matthew Hellett, Julia Stovell, Becky Bruzas, Sarah Brocklehurst, Jude Goldrei, Ruth Paxton, Lizzie Brown, Aleem Khan, Kate Dolan, Baff Akoto, Paven Virk!! During our time on the scheme, we will be matched with a leading film industry professional who provides advice and guidance over a nine-month period. Our time at the Galway Fleadh was led by the fabulous GL duo of organisers the stalwart GL leader Emily Kyriakides and GL6 graduate Alex Thiele. Who made our stay endlessly fun and rich - thank you ladies!

Emily and Alex

Being at Galway Fleadh was fun. Screeningswise, we only saw The Young Offenders by Peter Foott. But it was so good it kept us all awake, a big achievement on so little sleep! It was fast paced and stylish, very funny but also really dark, and always human right the way through. The young actors (Chris Whalley & Alex Murphy) were fantastic and I thought the woman playing the wife Hilary Rose (who was actually Peter's wife and very pregnant with their first baby by the end!!) was really great too & the role she was playing was such a refreshing change from your usual mums on screen. Really loved it... And thankfully as the director, producer (Julie Ryan), DoP (Paddy Jordan), actors and sales agent/distributer (Patrick at Wild Card) came to give us Q&A masterclass on the making of the film. What a delightful bunch of people!! I so enjoyed that and it really made you want to work with them. I was even more chuffed when I found out they won the best film at the festival (shared ex aequo with A Date for Mad Mary) - really well deserved!

The Young Offenders at Galway

Masterclass-wise, I was also super interested to go see a talk given by Katie Holly at Blinder, Lauranne Bourrachot and Vanessa Saal at Protagonist (and Keith at IFB!!) on the finance structure of Love and Friendship - a French Irish co-production with the NL and Protagonist. Super interesting! And then there was Robbie Ryan! He gave a masterclass on being Robbie Ryan, again super refreshing!

Galway Medley

There were also talks on tax credits, working with the IFB and lots of other things, that we didn't necessarily get to. Another highlight was breakfast with Ted Hope from Amazon Studios. He's a mile a minute of straight talking how it is in the movie biz. I also got to listen to Jeanie Igoe from A24, super hot sales company based in LA.

Galway Fleadh General.png

And of course the meetings...

So chuffed to bits by it all and I can't wait for the rest!

23rd June came and, after lots of speculation, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Well 52% of the UK people who voted did.

What can I say?!


Why was there a referendum on this? It's very complicated. People study these things full-time to understand all the intricacies, the ins and outs - the good the bad of the organization. What do we know beyond the fact that we have freedom to move and trade within the EU? I have to confess - I have no idea who my MEP is! ... and yes - faceless Belgian bureaucrats make decisions and directives about things like pillow density and what size a banana has to be. But for heavens sake!

So what next? Should we expect a referendum on bringing back the death penalty? Public lynching? Bring back slavery?

Politicians never usually have any qualms about breaking promises. I understand Cameron thought it was his only way to guarantee being elected, but since when do politicians follow through where it matters? They had no qualms about upping university fees despite promises not to, and plenty other things they didn't feel they could follow through on. So why this?

Back in January 2013, the prime minister committed to an In-Out referendum on Britain's membership in the EU. He chose to make this pledge to try to unite his Conservatives, see off a challenge from the rising populist party UKIP and put Labour, unwilling to countenance a vote on the EU, on the back foot.

When Cameron triumphed in last year's parliamentary election, becoming the first Conservative leader in 23 years to win a majority in the House of Commons, he was boxed in on Europe.

Why are the people voting on such a thing when many don't even know what they are voting for? What was there to gain?

There are a lot of very disappointed racist bigots going around the UK just now, flummoxed that they've woken up in a post LEAVE victory to discover all those bloody foreigners are still here!!! Now they feel justified to shout at people on buses, in shops, in cinema queues: Paki go home!! We voted Leave - so leave!!


A lot of people are justifying the vote saying, it's all fine. We'll negotiate a settlement in which we get to keep all the benefits, just don't have to shoulder the responsibility or the unreasonable costs. AH! How bloody typical! Our fellow EU partners just love that one. President Martin Schulz's response to that is let's not fuck around! You want out. You can bloody well pull your socks up and get the hell out of here fast. He's warned Cameron that his decision to delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor is in place will not be fast enough!

Can't blame them, but really. It's a mess and hopefully the people in charge will be good adults, and good divorcing parents, and make considered choices and decisions - trying not to exacerbate wounds and cement ill feelings, but try to do what is the best for economic stability and peace.

Which leads me on to the next most peculiar thing.

This great big Tory mess seems to be mainly falling on Jeremy Corbyn's table. All we hear in the press, in the pub and on the streets is bloody Jeremy, why won't he resign. He's to blame. It's all his fault, HE's got to go!

Who has led this spin? And why is everyone biting?

Labour was unwilling to countenance a vote on the EU when Cameron made it his mandate back in 2013. So why should Corbyn share a public platform with Cameron to sort out the mess - a mess he had not invited in the first place. What difference would it make beyond making Corbyn look like someone weak who swings any which way the spin doctors ask him to.

At a time when the UK has established the results of mob rule, and the tactics of displaced finger pointing as a means to secure one's personal wellbeing, to the detriment of anyone else's - I would have thought a leader who cares more about doing what's right would have been a welcome change.

Where is Atticus Finch when you need him?

Ironically, the angry disenfranchised working classes - the ones who voted resoundly to leave, are historically always disregarded by politicians, who just want to make use of their labour, but don't want to consider their well being. But there was Corbyn, fighting their cause, expressing his deep concerns over the results of austerity; exposing the conservative ongoing policies of spending billions cutting taxes for the richest families and for the most profitable businesses while squeezing the poorest parts of the population.

The deep anger felt by an ever-growing and very large part of the people of the UK has been deflected once again from those who should shoulder the responsibility (the government of the country they live in!!) for these policies, and instead has been pointed at a faceless "foreign" organization known as the EU.

People love to find someone else to blame.

So the EU are to blame for why we can't get a job, we can't afford to buy a house, we can't afford to live in London where all housing has been inflated for because this suits the market.

Easy to fan the powerlessness and fear everyone feels, faced with the threat of swathes of endless desperate immigrants into the country.

What will be the cost translating all these real world problems into localised protectionist and reactionary behaviour.

Where are the responsible considered adults?

No one wants to be responsible for what happens next. Cameron resigns instantly before he's even asked to. Gove and Boris - well let's not even mention them. How crazy! And now all people can do is blame Corbyn.

Anyway, here we are now, the quiet after the storm and I'm still reeling from it all. Who knows exactly what's going to happen?

On a personal level: Producing films is hard enough without your country trying to kaibosh you.

The BFI have been hugely supportive, and the creative community as a whole is trying to pull together, to find positive solutions: Business as usual for now.

I can only hope that the rest of Europe will do the same.

Fingers crossed we can continue to co-produce regardless!