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.




Friday, 9 October 2015

Colchester Film Festival 60 Hour Film Challenge

I did the Colchester Film Festival 60 Hour Film Challenge at the weekend. Only decided to do it about 2 weeks before so it was somewhat thrown together but managed to get a good crew and the Mockingbird Theatre Bar as a main location.

I also had a second unit filming in Minneapolis, USA directed my filmmaker friend Phil Harder. They were filming a segment featuring Barkhad Abdirahman who starred in Captain Philips with Tom Hanks.

I'm hoping a festival cut of the film will be available in a couple of weeks.

We'll here on 10th October whether we've been shortlisted.



Here's some pics and an early draft of the credit roll.








video

Thats all for now!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Around Again Wins UK Parliaments' Film The House Competition!


I'm delighted to be able to tell you that Around Again has won the UK Parliaments' Film The House Competition 2015. Here's some more info about the competition
"Founded by Hon. Mike Weatherley MP, Rock The House and Film the House are the largest ever Parliamentary competitions and raise awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights among legislators and the general public.

Musicians and film makers enter their original material to their MP, who ultimately nominates one entrant per competition category. A panel of industry executives presides over choosing the finalists and winners, who go on to have their pieces played in Parliament and win an array of prizes, from equipment, festival slots, exposure, recording sessions, radio and TV airplay and more.

The competitions give Parliamentarians an opportunity to engage with a grass-roots creative demographic and provides the creative community with a vehicle through which to communicate their issues to legislators. In short, the House Initiatives provide a means for the UK creative."
I produced Around Again with my former collaborators in Film Division. It was directed by Stewart Addison and edited by Annie Langrick.

We'll be going to London to a very swish Awards event soon to pick up certificates and prizes. More to follow..!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

February News Round Up



I was delighted that my Scampenstein crowdfunding campaign was successful but it was very hard going especially with Christmas falling during the middle of the campaign. I didn't meet my stretch goals but that was always going to be a tall order. In the end the campaign had 67 backers with most of the contributions coming from people I knew but also some very welcome donations from the USA, Australia, Canada and Italy.

Hopefully with a cracking script in place I can push on by circulating it amongst animation production companies and seeing if anyone likes it. Lionsgate said they'd give it a read so that’s a big incentive for me as I get stuck into writing and revising the script over the next couple of months.

I also had some meetings before Christmas with some nice folks who are setting up a new Birmingham based animation company. I pitched various ideas to them and they really liked one of them. Its a exotic twist on the Dick Whittington story that I'm hoping will go on their development slate.


In other news I've been developing a short script based on a true World War II short story by a writer I've known through the independent filmmakers network Shooting People for a number of years. Its about a sleepy French village that somehow manages to avoid having a visit from the Germans until 1944. I'm hoping we can use the same costume wardrobe and decommissioned arms we used on Around Again to make it. We achieved fantastic production values on that so it'd be silly not to use that resource again.


I've entered the script into two competitions but also now have interest from a producer who told me he liked it "a lot". I know its not the finished article but that is very encouraging.

Here's the 48 hour competition version of Around Again. There is an extended, graded and re-imagined out of competition version but thats not in the public domain just yet.