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Mikey Please & Daniel Chester Film Night at the Leftbank
8:00pm – 11:00pm
Monday, January 17 2011
128 Cheltenham Rd
Bristol, Avon BS6 5RW
0117 944 4433
The Amazing Mikey Please & Daniel Chester will be delighting us with a for a free night of animated films that will definately inspire and amaze! to see emporium of visual delights go to
… popcorn, drinks promotions and comfy sofas.. yum.
DixonBaxi Film is launching a new production company and are looking for feature film scripts to finance through development with a view to going into production in 2011.
They’re looking for stories with a original point of view on the world, that demand to be told.
If you’d like us to consider your work please send it to: email@example.com
They would prefer to consider complete screenplays, but will also read treatments where appropriate.
LEARNING ABOUT WILDLIFE FILMMAKING FROM TOP TV PROFESSIONALS
Bristol Wildlife Filmmakers have teamed up with Avon Wildlife Trust to offer a rare chance to learn wildlife filmmaking skills in the peaceful setting of the 250-acre nature reserve at Folly Farm between Bristol and Bath.
The three-day Introduction to Wildlife Filmmaking course is open to all – we welcome complete beginners and those who have some experience of filmmaking but want to learn more about the challenges of filming wildlife. Our tutors all work in the internationally acclaimed natural history film industry and there will be specialist camera people, producers and editors teaching on each course.
Working on location in small teams you’ll learn about the field craft that will help you get closer to animals in the wild. You’ll gain hands-on filming experience under the watchful eye of expert tutors and learn about different camera techniques. Workshops will introduce you to the importance and practicalities of research and storytelling, and to the ethics and legal considerations of filming wild animals. And finally, working with your team alongside professional editors you’ll produce a short film, which will be transferred to DVD for you to keep. Tutors are on hand at all times and there’ll be an opportunity for you to have a one-to-one to discuss your own film projects.
23 – 25 JUNE – the MID-SUMMER COURSE featuring butterflies, bees, barn owls and wildflowers.
1 – 3 SEPTEMBER – the LATE SUMMER COURSE featuring woodland, wildfowl and waders
To watch a short video about the course:
For more information contact Folly Farm Centre
Tel: 01275 331590
or visit http://bristolwildfilm.co.uk
Are you a TV producer, director, filmmaker? Maybe you’re a writer, a media lecturer or a web designer?
Whatever your corner of the digital media world, if you only go to one event this year, make it Crossing the Void 09…
CROSSING THE VOID ’09 – TICKETS SELLING FAST
TUESDAY 17 MARCH, WATERSHED, BRISTOL
BOOK NOW: +44 (0)117 927 5100
MAKE SENSE OF MULTIPLATFORM at CROSSING THE VOID ’09 – a one day event that explores the latest developments in the cross platform landscape.
Following the success of Crossing the Void ’08, we present a one-day unmissable event that features in-depth and honest case studies about multiplatform content from commissioners and indies, speed networking, and an eye-opening quickfire pitching session.
We’ll look at how to stay creative in the cross platform universe; how to make your TV idea work as a 360 idea; the coming challenges of content creation and new narratives; and – crucially – where to find the money to do it all.
Tickets are selling fast, so to guarantee your place book now! Tickets are just £50 (inc. lunch) – contact Watershed box office on +44 (0)117 927 5100. Please note bookings can only be made on the phone by credit or debit card.
For more information and event programme see www.swscreen.co.uk/crossingthevoid
‘Crossing the Void’ is supported by South West Screen, Just-b. Productions, Bristol Media and the South West Regional Development Agency.
South West Screen, St Bartholomews Court, Lewins Mead, Bristol BS1 5BT. 0117 9529977
Copyright © 2007 South West Screen All rights reserved.
8pm Wednesday 11th February 2009, Waterside, Watershed Media Centre
Guest: Samm Haillay
Presenter: Oli Purches
Better Things is a striking and poignant film from director Duane Hopkins and producer Samm Haillay. Combining a lyrical, dreamlike rhythm with powerful performances from a cast almost entirely composed of non-professionals, it walks a fine line between poignant rural despair and a lyrical cinematic poem, and has deservedly won acclaim from critics and audiences.
Samm Haillay attended a showing of the film at the Watershed on 11th February 2009, discussing it with members of the audience and in a subsequent Q&A led by Oliver Purches.
How would you describe the film?
Firstly, it’s a rural tale, set in a part of England that doesn’t appear on film very often. We shot in Stow, Moreton-in-Marsh and all around the Cotswolds. The landscape is a key part of the film, and it’s a landscape which audiences have not seen before
Secondly, it features a group of individual storylines that reflect and rub off on each other, featuring very young and quite elderly characters.
And thirdly, it’s romantic – in the original, authentic sense of the word. It has the same romantic sensibility as certain novels and poetry. It’s certainly not a rom-com.
What was the budget?
The budget was £1 million in total. That’s a big leap up from previous collaborations between Duane and I in terms of money. But not in terms of ambition, I like to think.
How did you cast the film?
Duane and I strongly believe in casting from life, and in bringing real people rather than polished actors to the screen. That way, people bring their own life experiences to the roles. The couples in this film are real couples – or ex-couples. And none of the cast did it as a route to stardom. Some of them haven’t seen the finished film, and don’t particularly want to. For them it was just an experience, something they had the chance to be involved in. They did it, they finished it, and then they moved on.
The film has a powerful, dreamlike style. How did you shoot it?
We did a great many takes of each scene, possibly hundreds. That let the cast really engage deeply with their characters, and also meant that we had a real depth of rushes to choose from in the editing room. That was vital for a film with such a delicate and intricate structure as this. It also meant that if we had been lucky along the way with a particular skyline, or caught the sun coming out in a particular take, we could use it.
Was it a difficult film to shoot and edit?
The shoot was tough. We shot six days a week for six weeks, with a cast of about 30 non-professional actors and a crew of 39. Plus we started in October 2006, which was later in the year than we would have wished and led to trouble with the shortening daylight. In that situation, there were bound to be difficulties. But the hardest element was simply the 36 day schedule. We filmed seven scenes a day, every day! It was very difficult, and the pressure on Duane was pretty extreme. I probably wouldn’t want to repeat exactly the same scenario again.
We shot digitally, in 35mm anamorpic. I believe that the aspect ratio should be determined by the project, not the budget, and in this case the painterly nature of the shots and landscapes in the frame meant it really had to be in widescreen. And 35 mm allows the colours to come alive, even after colour grading.
Digital is certainly changing the film-making landscape and how you go about making a film. Anyone who thinks it isn’t doing so is mistaken – or doesn’t use the internet. Budgets are shrinking and money is getting tighter, so companies want more results for less money. Digital technology and cameras like the RED are a way for that to happen. And for us, filming digitally helped to provide the depth of rushes that was important for the film, since we hardly needed to ever turn the camera off.
The first cut was about 2 hours long, but we always knew the final cut would be 90 minutes. It’s just too demanding for an audience if a theme-driven multi-storyline film is much longer than that. So we stripped things out and cut it down to the bare minimum. Everyone involved is proud of how it turned out. It’s concise and emotive, and despite ending up quite differently from the script it conveys the same feelings we intended from the beginning.
Do you agree with reviewers who have described it as bleak?
It’s not bleak. One of the first journalists to see it used that word, and since then all the others have followed suit. In fact there’s real humour in the film, although certainly not of the belly-laughing backslapping variety. But the themes are serious, of course. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if it had been given an 18 certificate, instead of the 15 it actually got – although there was no way we were taking out so much as a frame from our final cut.
It has a strong and disconcerting sound design, with lots of breathing, weather effects, rustling leaves etc. Was this deliberate?
The sound design was done in Glasgow by Savalas Sound, and it’s a key part of the film. Truthfully, it was done in Scotland because we’d drawn down some Scottish money, but I think the end result is excellent. Some scenes in the film, including the school and the railway scenes, were filmed in Daventry, for a similar reason – we had funding from there.
Talk about the film’s generational issues.
The film shows the elderly generation looking back, and the younger generation looking up, and both sharing analogous problems and pain. In the final cut the film doesn’t show any of the intervening generations, although in fact we did film some middle-aged characters but eventually cut them out. The story works best without them, by showing the twin poles of the story.
The film has been very successful, even though it’s not a mainstream movie.
There has to be room for cultural, regional film making, to stand alongside the more mainstream commercial fare. Other countries have successfully revitalised this facet of their cinema culture, and we must do the same. The problem we face is the English language: sharing a common language with Hollywood makes it all too easy to be swamped by their product. The model here has to be people like Alan Clarke, Lynn Ramsay and Andrea Arnold, who practice a different kind of film making.
The way we have released the film has helped its success. There are about two dozen prints being shown all around the country, and we’ve gone from festival to festival, and done intros and Q&As like this one in lots of places. This is much better than having the film appear everywhere for just one week and then be forgotten about.
Having said that, Better Things almost certainly won’t earn a profit. But everyone involved understood that this film wasn’t going to be a huge profit earner. That was not what it was about.
How do you become a film producer?
I went to film school to be a writer, but soon found out that I can’t write a coherent sentence. I met Duane Hopkins very early on, and found that we shared opinions about what could be done on film, and were both frustrated at what was being fed to us. I put everything I had into making Duane one of the lucky ones: an aspiring film maker who didn’t fall by the wayside. I basically lucked into being a producer, by helping Duane to get things realised.
My basic approach was simply that I wasn’t prepared to produce a film which I wouldn’t want to see on screen. Many producers are package producers, putting together big packages of talent and money. That’s not what I do. For me it’s about working with a particular person and their worldview. It doesn’t always work, but with Duane it was obvious to me from very early on that the two of us shared the same goals. My job is to let his creative force get close to the finance.
Any final words of advice for aspiring film makers?
If you think you have the ideas and the talent, then you just have to keep fighting. Everything is possible, just don’t give up. Simple as that.
(Tim Hayes 16 February 2009)
This month’s Cineformation, as part of the Encounters festival, gave an abundance of great tips and advice on the art of pitching your film/script to a panel of producers.
Nine brave and enthusiastic writers/directors/actors volunteered to present their project in front of a panel of four experts: Paul Appleby, executive producer at the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk), and Chris Moll, executive producer at South West Screen (www.swscreen.co.uk), who gave advice on what a producer wishes to hear when he listens to a pitch – for a short or a feature film; Vicky Brophy, managing director of Wonky (www.wonkyfilms.co.uk), who gave recommendations as a producer of animation; and Melissa Kidd, managing director of Coaching Creatives (www.coachingcreatives.co.uk), who offered tips on how to present your project and yourself at such meetings.
The meeting was chaired and hosted by Oliver Purches, a Bristol filmmaker, winner of this year’s Raindance festival pitching competition for fiction, who is working on a feature film entitled “Robopartners”, a romantic comedy with a quirky contemporary twist, to be shot in 2009.
The first pitch was given by Geoff, a Bristol filmmaker, who was presenting an idea for a short film entitled “Close”: a story about how a tragic event brings together an eleven year old boy and his distant father. Geoff described his idea as dark but with an optimistic aspect. He was very articulate, clear and passionate. As a director, he spoke a lot of images and atmospheres (for instance the contrast between the dark world of the boy’s home and the bright world of his school). The panel appreciated the clarity and enthusiasm of the pitch, which described well the plot, the conflict and the story arc.
The advice they gave was:
1- A pitch should start with an introduction about yourself and your background.
2- You must remember to stress the theme of your film throughout your presentation (in this case it was the theme of – lack of – closeness).
3- You must explain why this idea is personal to you. Why it is the one idea for you.
4- Make sure the ending of your story is clearly described (a problem that was stressed repeatedly throughout the pitches).
The second pitch was delivered by Andres, a Columbian filmmaker, writer and fine art artist. He explained that he had experience in animation and that his previous film had been shown in thirty three festivals. He had written the project he was presenting but had given its direction to a trusted and valued animator friend of his. The story was about an elderly couple in a 1950s car on a windy road, who are stunned to discover on their car’s roof a threatening looking witch who wants to challenge the woman (an ex great dancer) to a dancing contest. The panel praised Andres’s very relaxed, animated and confident demeanour. They also loved the fact that he acted out the story.
Their advice was:
1- Bring visuals when you are pitching animation.
2- Sometimes (as in this case when the writer and director are not the same person) it is a good idea to have several key people doing the pitch. In that case the pitch must be very well rehearsed and must showcase a good team spirit (film being a collaborative art).
3- Be careful not to be swamped by backup material such as a piece of paper (with your pitch on it) or a laptop.
The third pitch was given by Ian, an actor from New Zealand, who was presenting a complex feature length adventure mixing mythology, initiation and action. The theme was “the time in a young man’s life when he has to decide whom to trust”. Ian’s pitch was praised for being well performed (good use of powerful pauses, animated story telling) and well researched (mythology, history). The panel, however, felt confused by the numerous character names, complex twists and turns, and overall profusion of details.
Their advice was:
1- Do not get lost in details. Do not pitch the plot but the essential story and theme(s) of your film. Strip down your idea.
The fourth pitch was delivered by Karen, a director who has made music videos and commercials, and who has an interest in PARKOUR, free running and martial arts. Her idea for a film was a conspiracy drama based in The City and exploring the culture of finance. This film would be the first of a trilogy based on the main character’s quest for revenge. She described it as “Bourne Identity meets Old Boy”. The panel liked her friendly and open manner. They also liked the fact that her theme was contemporary (credit crunch) and that she had presented her idea as a concept (no details, flowing form), leaving them intrigued and wanting to know more. They only expressed concern about the idea risking to sound derivative.
Their advice was:
1- Remember to adapt your pitch to your audience (a pitch should be a dialogue; pitchees may ask questions and you must be prepared to respond and adapt).
2- Keep your idea fresh (not derivative).
The fifth pitch, given by Nik, was very original. He started by introducing himself, but very soon he stalled and looked confused. A ripple of discomfort passed over the panel and audience. He then went on to confess that he was very upset because he had just been thrown out by his girlfriend, who had replaced him not with another man (or woman) but with a robot. To add insult to injury this robot happens to have his face. He continued to describe his comically distressing story (to the delight of both panel and audience) until, eventually, he came out of character to conclude that the pitch was for a feature length romantic comedy, with robots, entitled “Robopartners”.
The audience applauded Nik warmly and the panel praised his talent at understanding and playing his audience. His pitch was very unconventional and would definitely make him and his idea noticed and remembered. The panel, however, also underlined that it was a risky approach to take.
The sixth pitch, entitled “Two Bullets”, was delivered by Alex. It was about a gang in Hong-Kong who (for money) get immigrants into Hong-Kong and give them two bullets. Possession of two bullets gets you arrested in Hong-Kong and sent to prison – a better situation for these immigrants than the desperate predicament of their life. The panel really liked the fact that it was a big story (trafficking and transmigration). They were, however, confused by the ending and also advised Alex to be less self-deprecating.
Their advice was:
1- Tell the panel what your idea is for: a short or feature film.
2- Work on your ending.
3- Be upbeat and enthusiastic about your idea. Practice it with supportive friends and family to gain more self-confidence.
The seventh pitch was given by Sophie. It was for a short, offering a modern and metaphorical twist on the old “damsel in distress” fairy tale archetype. The panel really enjoyed Sophie’s agreeable demeanour and delivery. They were however a bit confused by the ending of her story.
Their advice was:
1- Do not forget to tell the pitchees what you have brought for them, should they be interested, (script, etc.). Moreover, if they do not like your pitch, they may still like you and be interested in another of your projects. So make sure you have one or two alternative ideas up your sleeve.
The eighth pitch was delivered by Juan. His idea was very different as it was for a non-narrative film. Juan is from Columbia, where he has been working for years with sound and performance. His film would consist of six stories which are linked together and explore the themes of the self, of identity and of “going beyond”.
The panel’s advice was:
1- Even if your idea is non-narrative, it still needs to be presented like a story.
2- Find out about your panel’s backgrounds and tastes before doing your pitch (they may not be the right people for your idea).
The ninth and last pitch was given by Loyd. He described his short as “a reflective social drama / coming of age comedy”. His idea was about two students, drifters, who find escapism in drugs. Their story is contrasted with one of the boys’ uncle’s who has led an exciting and adventurous life. Loyd, pressed for time, gave his pitch first by reading it off a piece of paper at warp speed. The panel asked him to do it again without reading his paper, which resulted in a much improved pitch.
The panel’s advice was:
1- Tell what your connection is to your story/characters.
2- If ever your idea is reminiscent of another, mention it and use it to your advantage (instead of letting the panel make the connection for themselves).
3- Keep eye contact with your panel/audience and engage with them (do not read your piece of paper, only use it for backup).
So, to conclude my notes on the latest in Cineformation’s series of ever informative events, when you pitch your film: believe in yourself and your project; be open and enthusiastic; know your pitch well – rehearse it in front of friends and family; and remember that FEAR stands for “Felling Excited and Ready”.
Véronique Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.myspace.com/cubicstone
Mikey Please & Daniel Chester Film Night at the LeftbankAuthor: menekse - 15.01.11
8:00pm – 11:00pm
Monday, January 17 2011
DixonBaxi Film is launching a new production company and are looking for feature film scripts to finance through development with a view to going into production in 2011.Author: menekse - 20.07.10
Bristol Wildlife Filmmakers have teamed up with Avon Wildlife Trust to offer a rare chance to learn wildlife filmmaking skills in the peaceful setting of the 250-acre nature reserve at Folly Farm between Bristol and Bath.Author: menekse - 29.04.10
Bristol Wildlife Filmmakers have teamed up with Avon Wildlife Trust to offer a rare chance to learn wildlife filmmaking skills in the peaceful setting of the 250-acre nature reserve at Folly Farm between Bristol and Bath.Author: menekse - 31.03.10