Film London - London Calling

| 0 Comments

Lily and I booked out the whole day yesterday to go watch all 21 London Calling shorts at the BFI - NFT3.

We were well and truly impressed with the whole presentation. Some films stood out in particular including and beyond the winning films which were:

Fighter written by Guy Bolton and directed by Bugsy Riverbank-Steel and the fabulous Tina Pawlik. I think that one won 2 awards - one for cinematography and the jury award for best short which it shared with the really quite excellent Wren Boys written by John Fitzpatrick, directed by Harry Lighton and produced by Sorcha Bacon. And finally for the best London Calling Plus award it was the excellent Kara written & directed by Deepa Kashvala, produced by Gloria Bowman and EPed by Daniel Wolfe of Somesuch.

I will definitely be looking some of these people up, there were some very strong entries, really good performances and ideas - I probably won't remember all but both His Wake (Jamie Noel) and Modern Props (Ruaidhri Ryan), New Year (Lauren Bensted), V (Ellie Gocher), Bitter Sea (Fateme Ahmadi), Fog (Shan Christopher Ogilvie), To Wendy Who Kicked Me When I Said I Love You (Christian Sandino-Taylor and Dan Castella), Landline (Matt Houghton), Support (Troy Hunter and Christiana Ebohon-Green) and the sumptuous The Field (Sandhya Suri) shot in India...

Some of the films had big companies behind them (Pulse, Moxie, Somesuch...) and one had co-funding from the CNC! Others were genuine beginners.

Josic Cadoret and his team at Film London organised the day so there were plenty opportunities to meet everyone over lunch, teas & wine... And of course a pleasure to see Nicolas Chaudeurge there with Sandhi (he edited The Field), and meet her French producer Balthazar de Ganay.

London Calling Screening.png

Loss

| 0 Comments

This summer we've had two big losses. We lost Billy's mum Bessie, who - at the age of 93 - leaves behind Kathleen, Kim, Billy and Mike, as well as many grand children and great grand children. She's had an extraordinary life spanning war, several complicated marriages, motherhood, various family member's addictions, various family member's successes... She's diligently cared for many; both as nurse and carer, as well as mother, grandmother and great grand mother. She's navigated single motherhood in northern Scottish farmland and built a solid beautiful family up there too. At the age of 45 she went back to college to train as a nurse and at the age of 60 she performed topless on a London stage. She enjoyed celebrity and the intimate company of inspiring artists and dancers, travelling all over the world with Michael. She shared the limelight on stage with him and the urban delights, frenzy and the blur of the backstage and touring life in the 80s and 90s. A couple of days after Bessie passed away, we had news of a more shocking tragedy, her great grand daughter Kirstin was in a coma and a few days later passed away too. Little Kirstin was only 16 and had not yet started living her life to the full. She leaves behind her a shocked and grieving family, who will never get to know all the things she might have got up to with her life. Our hearts go out to Phil, Elma and Kyle who will miss her so terribly, it's hard to process it - and of course all her friends and extended family too.

Bessie's Funeral

Cannes 2017

| 0 Comments

Very cool to be in Cannes again this year with Gaëlle and Nathalie with some excellent meetings for La Fille de l'Estuaire. Lovely hanging out with Robbie Ryan and friends and getting a chance to see excellent world premiere films. My favourite was Ruben Östlund's The Square. But I was most moved going to see Kaouther Ben Hania's La Belle et la Meute - which had a standing ovation at the end.

I had a great surprise when Kyla announced she was shortlisted for the ShortsTV Pitch competition in Cannes. I told her I couldn't think of anything I'd enjoy less than standing in front of people in the UK Tent pitching. But bless her she went ahead and applied all the same and she was shortlisted to go. With a week ahead of the pitch she called to ask if she'd be able to get flights, a badge, somewhere to stay... So of course she did and she was great and before you knew it - she only went and WON THE BLOOMIN pitching!! So we have a €5,000 prize towards making Mercury.

Very exciting!

Kyla wins a prize at Cannes

Back from Cannes now. Really great week on the Croisette. Awful news from Manchester while we were away. My heart goes out to them. We were reminded every day of the dangers with the Cannes Film Festival security guards ramping up security. They saved the day by taking Zorana and my tweezers away - lethal weapons that those are. We did find an amazing security guard who helped sneak Kyla's beer into the Palais and thus helped her win the competition. He was so lovely - one of a kind. I had to grab his picture.

Hero security guard

Emergence and Guiding Lights

| 0 Comments

Gaëlle is in Paris just now finishing the sound on the two scenes from the Girl from the Estuary we shot as part of the Emergence workshop. It's been such a great experience and allowed us to cast and discover our fabulous MARNIE who blew us all away on the shoot. We also got to work with a really top notch fabulous crew including Michel Amathieu on camera and Anne Seibel on production design.

Marnie - Giovanna

Another fabulous workshop I've had the privilege to be on this year - and which is sadly coming to an end - is the Guiding Lights scheme. All too fast, but it has been good! Past entries will show how it kicked off in Galway, and who the other participants were. But I haven't yet mentioned the key component of it all (and which continues until October) ... my amazing mentor Amanda Posey from Wildgaze! Best known perhaps for producing Fever Pitch, An Education, Brooklyn and most recently Their Finest with Gemma Arterton.

Amanda Posey

It's actually hard to work out who will make a good mentor. The Guiding Lights experts (Emily Kyriakides and Alex Thiele) share lists of industry people to consider, and help enormously to navigate the process. A good mentor needs to have the skills and experience that make them busy people, yet have the generosity to make time to share their knowledge and insights with you. It is so individual - it might not work out if you just don't hit it off in some way. So with all that in mind, I feel incredibly lucky to have found all that and more in Amanda. She is enormously busy, running a successful company and slate of projects and making time for her young family, yet also manages to carve out time to mentor me meaningfully too. This is invaluable. It was actually in conversations with her writer husband Nick Hornby that the desire to work with her was cemented. He was one of the GL experts answering questions for a week, and in so many of his answers he mentioned Amanda in such a way that it was clear what a great producer she is.

And so our final day was a pitch to a panel of: David Segal Hamilton (BFI) / Celine Coulson (Film4) / Jeremy Baxter (Riverstone Pictures) / Hilary Davis (Bankside) / Alex Stolz (Film Disruptors)

Final GL8 pitch day.png

And then a party at the Picturehouse Central where they handed out the little booklets with all the Guiding Lights mentees.

After so many disappointing results one after the other (and the fear of what's to come in June) - Great news about the French election results!! We can all breathe again.

Rachel Maclean in Venice

| 0 Comments

Very exciting to be going to Venice today to see Rachel Maclean's Scotland + Venice show Spite Your Face which looks like it's going to be amazing!!! Of course everything Rachel does just IS amazing - and extraordinary to see how it will work in that beautiful old church.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 08.08.01.png

I haven't been to Venice since I was 11, so I'm also very much looking forward to strolling around the canals and seeing some of the art exhibitions that are on there during this year's Venice Biennale - we'll see Damian Hirst's comeback Treasures from the wreck of the Unbelieavable, and maybe there will be time to drop in and see Cerith Wyn Evans at Lorcan's Gallery and Nancy Foutts exhibition as part of Gavin Turk's COLLECTION - all in Venice Biennale...

Clermont and Berlin

| 0 Comments

I'm finally back after a couple of weeks on the road doing Jury Service for the International Section of the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival and then rushing off to the Berlinale, and it feels great to be back in London.

International Jury panel CF

The jury were Colombian director Franco Lolli, Romanian actress Madalina Constantin, Kaouther Ben Hania (whose film Le Belle et Le Meute has been selected for Un Certain Regard in Cannes!!!) and Korean director Daniel Byun, and our lovely CF helper was Floriane Decory.

We had a great time, and were really well looked after by astoundingly perfectly bilingual Tim Redford and the fabulous Laurent Crouzeix. We watched 75 shorts over a week, which was very intense but also hugely rewarding. Here's a list of some of our winners in this article. I also found this article about the 20 top directors to track at Clermont, which really aptly lists some of the really exciting new talent to watch. I was particularly impressed by a few of the films and filmmakers - unfortunately rarely possible to get 5 jury's consensus on everything and so few awards to go round! Such a shame those directors will never know how long and hard some of their films were defended and cherished - For instance, beyond the ones we did name - I absolutely loved In Kropsdam Is Ideren Gelukkig by Dutch director Joren Molter (as did a few of my colleague jury members. Same goes for Coin Boy from director Chuan-Yang Li. It took the jury a full day of deliberation to get to a final decision!

Jury at knife point

Marc Reisbig's third short film Working with Animals was really funny. I really liked Swedish director Daniel Sawka's Icebox and also thought Red Apples from George Sikharulidze was interesting.

Nice article with pretty picture of Laurent Crouzeix

Clermont Ferrand international jury panelBackstage FlorianeClosing night celebrations