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Film London - London Calling


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

Cannes 2017


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

Clermont and Berlin


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

And what will 2017 bring?


With half our house under siege with subsidence work, we were happy to see the new year in out in Melbourne Australia this year - which in effect meant we celebrated it a good 11 hours before everyone in the UK. Turns out Australia is a great place for New Year and fireworks and Christmas day on the beach...

New Years Eve in Melbourne

This week Teresa May paves the way for pulling out of the EU, Obama steps down as US president and Trump takes his place in the White House in a couple of days - his official inauguration on 20th of Jan... Again it's Michelle who makes the most moving speech.

So goodness knows what lies ahead this year! I liked the Scottish Sunday Herald's TV guide entry (as posted by Billy Bragg) - something that seems straight out of a bad soap for sure! How all of this will impact on the 2017 zetgeist, policy, and generally people's everyday lives?

Well in good old producing tradition, we plough on regardless and make the most of whatever the situation will be - but with even more URGENCY. And so we prepare for Émergence, a fantastic new opportunity that has come our way for the Girl from the Estuary. We will be prepping two or three scenes from the film (casting, recceing and shooting) under the tutelage of industry experts in Paris - cool.

The lineup for this winter will be to attach French distribution and World sales to raise the rest of the finance for The Girl from the Estuary, whilst progressing the development work on the rest of the slate. I am very much looking forward to meeting my Guiding Lights mentor very soon who, if all goes well, will guide me towards successful outcomes. We spent a fantastic GL8 day with script consultant and industry stalwart Kate Leys, who gave us her insights, helped us encapsulate our projects into one sentences, and encouraged us to pitch our projects to each other - and then receive the feedback silently (absolutely NO speaking and no answering questions), attentively and most importantly with marked gratitude (a slice of cake, a bacon sandwich...). Very wise and useful advice to start the year with.

Guiding Lights Kate Leys Day

I will be part of the international jury at Clermont Ferrand this year, so I am looking forward to discovering a lot of new talent - although quite daunting prospect as there will be 75 short films to watch!!! And then it will be straight on to Berlin from there for the 67th Berlinale.

Looking back at 2016


Looking back at this time last year, we were putting in our production funding application for the Girl from the Estuary into the BFI's first feature fund, in anticipation of the Brexit results in June. Never dreaming the good people from the UK would vote to leave the EU, but uncertain all the same. Better not make the result of that, a feature in the BFI's considerations!! Here we are a year later, and very very thankful of that decision, and their decision, and now looking at what lays ahead as Teresa May paves her brutal way forward.

Last week I had to fill out a whole bunch of Media questionaires for all the workshops I did last year - most Media funded. Ah we will miss that indeed!!! Who will fund our training now? There was Creative England's Market Trader which took place over several weeks starting early summer until the end of the year. A development programme that prepares emerging film producers for working in international markets, by taking the participants through intensive residential workshops and mentoring with Mia Bays, Julia Short, Bea Neumann and Peter Ettedgui.

julia and mia.png

peter and bea.png

Our version of Market Trader took us to Galway Film Fair 2016, which I guess for me was a bit of a shame as i was going there anyway with the Guiding Lights! In any case - all a Great experience we wouldn't have without Media funding into Creative Skillset.

There was the EP2C workshop which I participated (also Media funded!!). A week long residential post production workshop split 50 / 50 between emerging producers and post production supervisors. Again run by fantastic mentors Diana Elbaum (Entre Chien et Loup), Roshana Behesht Nedjad Behesht Nedjad, and Niko Remus and their team of experts. Most notably NL post production supervisors Hans van Helden and Neeltje van der Heijdenn. Another great experience and based out in Halle, Germany, making us still feel very much part of Europe, sharing our practises together.


And of course there are almost my fabulous Skillset trainees Amy and Maria (again something we might loose in the future, and what a terrible shame that would be!!)

maria and amy.png

But there you go, there were many fantastic things that happened last year. Of course very sad things too. Ending with an Australian Christmas for me and the family (Christmas day on the beach!! - now that was really special. It made up for the house being a building site, falling down with subsidence and all ...


Here's two jolly pics to keave you with! Happy New Year one and all...

Christmas Day Santa in Oz

The Jane and Louise Wilson exhibition at mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) started at the beginning of the month. It's a fabulous exhibition including the premiere of Jane and Louise's new film which we shot at the RCA Moving Image Studio over the summer as well as the wind tunnel film we shot at Farnborough as part of the WWI centennary for the iwm, and exploring related themes. Martin Testar lit both films with many of the same key team, and commissioned through FVU. It was fascinating collaborating with Professor Caroline Wilkinson from Liverpool John Moores University, who is the amazing expert behind the 3D facial reconstruction of Richard III.

We Put The World Before You Mima

We Put The World Before You Mima2

It's well worth a visit and on until mid January 2017 before moving on to Wolverhampton art gallery.

Gaëlle has been busy in Berlin this week helping Nespresso as they announce their inaugural Nespresso Talents 2016 contest, a vertical film contest. Nespresso is an Official Partner to the Cannes Film Festival and in particular La Semaine de la Critique since 2011. We had the distinct pleasure of benefiting from this sponsorship with Crocodile in competition there in 2014. They had the best beach venue there. Nespresso Talents 2016 was announced at the 66th Berlinale, Berlin International Film Festival. The contest is open for entries from 7th March until the 10th April 2016 on and has been formed to find extraordinary talent and provide them with a platform to share and celebrate their work.

And low and behold she has been spotted hob-nobbing with Daniel Brühl!!

Nespresso Vertical Film Challenge Press Launch

How great Eva Weber was also selected as a jury member for their competition - they can hang out together!!

The contest is looking for entries that challenge the conventions of storytelling and creatively bring to life the creative theme of "Explore Your Extraordinary". The three winners selected will have the chance to win (but not only!) an exclusive trip to the world renowned 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where the selected will be formally announced and celebrated.

Nespresso has a long tradition of supporting talents in different fields, such as film, design and gastronomy. As co-partner of Berlinale Talents, Nespresso expands its support for talent development and soundly complements its engagement in film. At Berlinale Talents 2016, Nespresso launches its vertical video competition Nespresso Talents 2016 with an international jury Gaëlle Denis (President), Alfonso Gonzalez, Erik Schmitt and Eva Weber. In addition, Nespresso hosts an Early Bird Breakfast followed by a Talents Circle.

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