I'm planning to shoot a short documentary about 95 year old Stanley Fisher - a Jewish British Army veteran who fought in Normandy and then at Nijmegen to help relieve the Paras caught up in Operation Market Garden. He then witnessed the horrors of Bergen-Belsen shortly after its liberation.
I've had a preliminary meeting with him and hope to film his story in the next couple of months. Watch this space!
I'm looking to film my short script Legion in the spring. It recently came 2nd in a national short script competition so I'm eager to get the story on screen. The organiser Daniel Alexander of Daniel Alexander Films told me:
"Really appreciate you entering and the conversations some of the judges had around your script were amazing to hear. I think out of all of them, your story was the one that had everyone the most excited about and was a very, very close second."
There were judges from the BBC and Creative England amongst others so I'm taking that as an accolade.
Its a story about the Devil contending for the soul of an injured boxer. It was originally written for another director with a brief to "Go Weird" so I did!
I graduated from the fabulous Filmonomics 5 scheme a few weeks ago. I applied on the back of conceiving and curating 6 of the Best Fest back in January 2017. Its been a great experience and I'm hoping to find the time to blog about it in detail soon.
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.
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.
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).
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
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. #