Tuesday, 2 May 2017

May '17:Gwen Documentary and Other Film News

I recently made a documentary about an old lady called Gwen McKendry who was a nurse of sick children and servicemen during World War II. It was fascinating to hear about her life and wartime experiences.
The film was made for the Whickers World Foundation Sage Award for new documentary filmmakers over 50. Unfortunately it wasn't shortlisted but they have promised me some "deserved feedback"!
I'm currently having the film properly scored and then hope to screen it for Gwen and put it in to festivals. I may have to do a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the creation of a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) and festival fees to try and get it out there so watch this space.

Thanks to my crew Nina Baillie (Camera), Josche Eickel (Sound) and Chantal Felui Gurri and Mike Goreham (Editors). Thanks too to David Shipman for helping set things up.


FreeFire Q & A at Ritzy.

I was delighted to be offered a complimentary ticket to a FreeFire Q & A at the Ritzy in Brixton with director Ben Wheatley back at the end of March. The ticket was provided by Michael Smiley who some of you may remember played Tires O'Flaherty in the sitcom Spaced.

Michael stars alongside Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), Brie Larson (Room, Short Term 12) and others in a great ensemble effort. Brie won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Lenny Abrahamson's multi award winning film Room in 2016

I was fortunate to meet and chat with Ben and his producer Andy Starke before the screening.

A Poitín Whiskey Fuelled Romp through Time, Space and the Irish Countryside.

In other news I'm having a big push on finishing my novel Ulysses O'Mooney after being selected for the Penguin Books #WriteNowLive scheme before Christmas. I was delighted to be selected for the scheme which had over 2000 applicants for only 150 places devided between Birmingham, London and Manchester events.
 Its a story about a young alien who crash lands in rural Ireland in 1969 and has to try and find a way back home.The Penguin editor that I had the 1-2-1 with loved the story world that I have created. She did ask me at the time what books I could compare it to and I was stumped. I now think that in terms of the myriad of interesting characters it could be loosely described as an Irish Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

You can read 3 extracts on Wattpad here.

Film Production News.

My plan for the rest of the year is to make at least two quality shorts that I can enter into BAFTA and Oscar feeder festivals. Assuming I can get these films selected this would then qualify me for prestigious talent development and mentoring schemes such as Guiding Lights.

I'm also aiming to have a nano budget feature ready for entry into the London Screenings Breakthrough Strand in March 2018.  Any producers,crew or financial backers that wants to help with these projects should get in touch via email to info [AT] sticklebackproductions.co.uk

NB I'm nowhere near casting yet so would request that actors send a short covering letter and CV with links to reel etc.

New Battle of Britain Documentary Project

I'm also currently trying to put some funding together to go and interview a 102 year old Battle of Britain pilot about his wartime experiences. This would hopefully form the basis of a longish short or even feature length documentary.
Finally here's a gratuitous but great picture of Juno - my constant canine companion taken by my pro photographer friend Owen de Visser.
TAFN

Brendan

@Stickleback_Pro

Monday, 9 January 2017

6 of the Best Fest, Birmingham 2017

I'm curating an inaugural mini-festival of new films by 6 UK women filmmakers on the weekend of 20th-22nd January at the Mockingbird, Birmingham called 6 of the Best Fest. There's a great line up of award winning films plus 4 x Q & A's with the writer/directors or producers. Festival pass is a January Blues busting £30 pounds and can be booked at the Mockingbird (www.mockingbirdcinema.com).

The festival is supported by Birds Eye View, Flatpack and Producers' Forum.



Oscar winning producer Mia Bays – Director-at-Large of women’s film organization Birds Eye View said:

“We are excited to be heading to Mockingbird Cinema in Birmingham, it’s a key location for great film programming, and their ‘6 of the Best Fest’ is a terrific initiative.  The Incident is a film we released, so we are happy this gets a prime slot, and the other films – such as Light Years and Adult Life Skills – are films we admire enormously. We hope more cinemas take up this idea and screen some of the best female-led UK films of the year side-by-side.”

Other great films include Prevenge – the directorial debut of Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Hot Fuzz) and The Levelling by Hope Dickson Leach and Couple in a Hole starring my friend Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, The Witch) and Paul Higgins (In the Loop, Utopia).

 Full Q & A and film schedule is on the Stickleback Cinema site. The hashtag for the festival is #6BestFest



Monday, 26 September 2016

The Girl With All The Gifts Screening + Q & A 8th October


 I'm really looking forward to hosting writer/screenwriter Mike Carey at a screening of The Girl With All The Gifts at the Mockingbird Theatre, Birmingham on Saturday 8th October. Mike is in town for the Birmingham Literature Festival the next day and has kindly agreed to do a Q & A. The film is getting rave reviews including one from the highly respected Mark Kermode on the BBC.


The film is getting some fantastic press - not least for its young lead actress Sennia Nanua on her feature debut. Better still most of the film was shot in Birmingham, Dudley and Cannock Chase.

I expect this screening to sell out so buy your tickets here if you dont want to miss out. #

Twitter: Stickleback _Pro


Saturday, 25 June 2016

5 Great Films at Brum Spirit 2016: We're All In This Together

I've been asked to programme the cinema strand of Brum Spirit 2016 at the old Moseley School of Art in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. Its where various members of UB40 went to art college.
 Its billed as

"A weekend of music, film, visual arts and feasting, exploring the thrills and challenges of sharing space in a changing world. Family friendly, free and affordable events, with headline performance from Panorama do Choro (Brazil), arts interventions curated by Darryl Georgiou, and film screenings by Stickleback Cinema"

 I'll be screening 5 great films. My programme includes Court - India's Official Entry for the 88th Academy Awards and Mustang - a fantastic Turkish debut film which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

First screening is Mustang at Ort Cafe on 22nd July at 19.30. All other screenings are next door at Moseley School of Art. The other films are Tina Gharavi's I Am Nasrine, Sean McAllister's A Syrian Love Story and a new Brazilian documentary O Outro Lado do Cartão-Postal (The Other Side of the Post Card).

The Facebook page for the event is here.

TAFN

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Slow West Screening Report

It was great to have Slow West writer/director John Maclean come up to Birmingham to do a Q & A for me. It was my first big Stickleback Cinema event though soon to be followed by my Cathy Come Home screening on April 9th with legendary Kes producer Tony Garnett.

John is a great guy and a really talented director. I think I appreciated the film more second time round and the feedback from the audience was very positive. John spoke at length about his filmmaking career and the move from shorts to a debut feature. All in all it was a great night. Here's some pics from the evening.
Juno getting in on the act!

John Maclean






Sunday, 6 March 2016

Stickleback Cinema Presents...Slow West, Cathy Come Home, The Kings Speech & more!

I'm going to be doing some screenings under my new Stickleback Cinema pop up label. These will be mostly at The Mockingbird Theatre Bar at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. They're letting me do some off peak programming for them.

I want to try and bring directors, producers, actors etc to Birmingham to talk about their films in order to educate and entertain the local filmmaking community and wider cinephile public. I'll also be doing themed and issue related event both at the Mockingbird and other venues.

The next event is Slow West starring Michael Fassbender. This is on April 1st with a Q & A by writer/director John Maclean who has very kindly agreed to come up from London to do it. John has had an interesting career as he was in both The Beta Band and The Aliens before crossing over into film.

John won a BAFTA for an excellent BAFTA winning short called Pitch Black Heist which I'll be screening prior to Slow West. There's more information here on the Eventbrite page.


Shortly after that I'll be putting on a 50th aniversary screening of Cathy Come Home with a Q & A by veteran producer Tony Garnett who also produced the fabulous Kes. Thats on April 9th and will be a fundraiser for local homeless charity SIFA Fireside and Shelter. A 1998 Radio Times readers' poll voted it the "best single television drama.Tickets here

Cathy Come Home caused a public outcry on the issue of homelessness when it first came out so its going to be an interesting discussion with local producer and professor Roger Shannon asking the question alongside SIFA Fireside's CEO Cath Gilliver who will also be on the panel.

I'm told that part of Cathy Come Home was filmed in nearby Highgate which is just a stone's throw from the Mockingbird. It'll be interesting to find out more about the local connection.

Other films lined up include the Oscar winning The Kings Speech with producer Gareth Ellis-Unwin.

I'll also be showing Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg - a micro budget children's film made by two writer friends of mine Tim Clague and Danny Stack. They run the popular and informative UK Scriptwriters podcast. The film  was selected for the BFI London Film Festival which is a massive achievement in my opinion.

Here's the trailer.



TAFN. Juno needs to go!

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

European Première of Lenny Abrahamson's Room in London

I had the unexpected pleasure of attending the European Première of Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's Room at the Vue cinema in Leicester Square, London on Sunday evening.

I won a Twitter competition run by the nice folks at the Irish Film Festival London. It was nice to meet Lenny briefly after the packed out double screening - I'd met him once before when he was a speaker at an Irish Film Board scheme I was selected for in Dublin 2013.

I thought the film was fabulous. Lenny has done really well to bring Emma Donoghue's difficult story to screen. He was helped greatly by terrific performances by Brie Larsen and child actor Jacob Tremblay who was outstanding.
Brendan O'Neill and Lenny Abrahamson
Room has picked up several awards so far - winning the People's Choice award at Toronto and Audience Award at Aspen. It has also been nominated as Best Film in official competition at the BFI London Film Festival.

There is talk of Oscar nominations which in my opinion would be well deserved. I think it may be a watershed film for Lenny allowing him to tell some great stories by working with bigger budgets and other big names in future.

Here's some photos from the Just Jared Celeb site of the Red Carpet action before the show.
Room star Brie Larsen with director Lenny Abrahamson
 Here's a great 5 star review by Scott Davis on the Flickering Myth site
"Even the most hardened cinemagoer will fall under the spell of Room at least once, and so far it seems every audience have fallen suit. Almost out of nowhere, Room has enchanted, enthralled and uplifted itself into the Oscar race with an emotionally complex but supremely rewarding, heartbreaking and transformative tale of the love between mother and child, supported by two astounding central performances that will stay with you for days afterwards."
Thats all for folks now. You can follow Room news on Twitter here. You can follow my Stickleback Productions tweets here.