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Film4 FrightFest premieres All 4’s A Moment of Horror Series

30 Jul, 2015 Productions Posted in: Film4 FrightFest, Short films

For the first time ever this year, Film4 FrightFest will premiere six horror-themed short films from All 4…

A Moment of Horror-WEB1

The series, entitled A Moment of Horror, consists of six individual episodes and will premiere throughout the festival which begins on 27th August 2015. All films will then be available exclusively on All 4 at www.all4.com/shorts.

The films’ directors are Rose Glass (Room 55, Film of City Frames), Christian James (Freak Out, Stalled), Weronika Tofilska (winner of FrightFest’s Short Cuts to Hell competition), Lee Lennox (AmStarDam), Andrew Brand (Where There’s Smoke), and Michelle Fox (Zominic), who each bring their own distinct dark thoughts to the screen. The series features the acting talents of Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Hot Fuzz), David Oakes (Truth or Die, The Borgias), Alexa Brown (Absent Mind, The Trial) and Elizabeth Chan (Black Mirror, Silent Witness).

The creepy encounters in the series include: the tale of a young mother who discovers she feeds something much more sinister than her own baby; a janitor who notices the doors he closes on his nightshift never remain shut; and an anxiety sufferer whose troubles take a physical form during a bath-time black out.

Night Feed by Christian James

A young mum is woken in the middle of the night by her hungry, crying baby. In the dark and half conscious, she autopilots her way through the nightly routine… but tonight, something else is waiting.

Bath Time by Rose Glass

Every night before she goes to bed, Evy listens to a self-help tape that aims to tackle her crippling anxiety disorder. But while having a bath, her anxieties take on a horribly physical form…

The Doorkeeper by Weronika Tofilska

A janitor walks through a long, dark corridor at night, closing a number of doors on his way.  But the job is not as easy as it seems, since someone – or something – is intent on keeping them open.

Behind You by Lee Lennox

A little girl’s favourite bed-time read is a creepy 19th century spectral illusions book, which hides a nasty surprise for the girl’s babysitter.

What the Dog Saw by Andrew Brand

All Linda wants to do is sleep but her dog Max won’t stop barking. If only she knew what the dog saw…

Killing Time by Michelle Fox

A rebellious intern wastes time at work on her mobile phone and discovers a vengeful boss is a force to be reckoned with.

 

A Moment of Horror will disturb your perception of the mundane, and plant images in your head that will make you think twice before turning off the light at night…

The series is produced by Zorana Piggott at 011 Productions and was commissioned by Jody Smith and Sam Lavender at Channel 4.

Destiny Ekaragha on Gone Too Far

10 Jul, 2015 Posted in: Film4 Channel, Uncategorized

As her South London-set comedy-drama Gone Too Far premieres on Film4, director Destiny Ekaragha recounts the films and formative experiences that led up to her feature debut…

breakfast-club-1024

The Breakfast Club

The first film I was exposed to was The Breakfast Club. I think I watched that film when I was like five or six or something like that, and I didn’t understand all of it obviously, but I just loved the characters, I loved them. I loved John Bender, I thought he was everything, and when I was a teenager I was a lot like John Bender – he kept all his feelings inside, you know he didn’t really talk about his emotions, neither did I.

I just loved the fact that John Hughes was able to tell this story in one location. So I was just like “oh my God, these characters are just literally just sitting down talking!” And when I started writing I realised I loved dialogue, so The Breakfast Club was a major influence, Clerks was a major influence. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused: major influence.

I was young when I saw Clerks, I think I was about maybe 15 I think, and I hadn’t been exposed to another film like that. When I saw films like Clerks and Dazed and Confused, I was like, you can literally just like follow people around and it can be a film, they’re just talking. The comedy and the emotion and indeed the journeys were being told through dialogue I didn’t know you were allowed to do this. Those are the directors that kind of inspired me to write in the first place and tell stories that way.

Your message doesn’t always have to be super, super heavy, but I think your films need to have a message. Clerks has a message, and people just think it’s jokes but it isn’t, it’s “why would you stay in a job that you hate?” You have the power to leave but you don’t, and you don’t because you’re scared. That’s most of us. That’s the message, even though it’s like the funniest thing. Dazed and Confused, that’s letting go of childhood. As much as you like, you might have hated the institution of school, you’re going into the big, bad world and you don’t know it. That kind of coming of age, that’s all of us. Every film should have a message, every film should say something, otherwise you get empty films.

dead-mans-shoes

Dead Man’s Shoes

I guess the three main filmmakers, British ones, that I’m inspired by are Shane Meadows, Guy Ritchie and Gurinder Chadha. When I was in my early 20s I discovered Shane Meadows. Not “discovered” – he was mainstream, he’s out there – but for me it was a discovery because I just didn’t know him. It felt like every British film was like kitchen sink, and I just wanted to see something else, and there was this DP that I knew that mentioned Dead Man’s Shoes. I watched that film and I was like “are you joking… how the f*** did I miss this film?!” That’s one of my favourite films, it’s brilliant. It’s a revenge movie, and I was just like, we can do revenge movies, why can’t we do revenge movies? Like of course we can, and he did one!

It was films like that and Lock Stock… Lock Stock to this day is one of the funniest films. The thing that I loved about Lock Stock was that the people sounded like they were honestly from south-east London. I watched Lock Stock and I was like “oh they sound a bit like us or like people we know”, but the comedy! This is a gangster movie, but why wouldn’t there be comedy in there? Like, you know, people are funny! And that inspired me.

And Bend it Like Beckham, I just love that film, but that one inspired me on so many different levels because you had a different culture. You had this Asian culture that you very rarely see but is very much a part of British life or at least London life from what I know. And then the bits with the parents, the mother, they’re so similar to Nigerian parents that I was just like, this is how I grew up, this is the same. It’s just a great film, but I found it to be just really real and kind of unapologetic. And Gurinder Chadha being female and a non-white person that’s a filmmaker, it was just unheard of to my knowledge. So I was like, she got her film done, so she inspired me on that level as well.

Tight Jeans

Tight Jeans

When I made Tight Jeans, which was my first short, I was young enough and naive enough thankfully to think that I could do whatever I wanted. So if I want to direct I’m going to direct. There was never any question about “oh my God I’m a woman” and “oh my God I’m black”, “I can’t direct”, or “this is going to be hard”. Because I did my first short film when I was 24. The sky’s the limit when you’re 24, there are no obstacles.

That’s a real confidence booster, you know what I mean, because once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. And then once you’ve got that, you’ve got the major tool that you need for any filmmaker, confidence. So when I walk into a room, nobody in that room, and I don’t care who it is, can tell me that I can’t make a short film, and that’s what making a short film does for you. It gives you those tools and that ability to be like, “I know I can direct because I’ve done it”.

Gone Too Far

Gone Too Far

But when I got to features…  Nobody gives a f*** about your short films one you get to features. Your first feature is everything, so that scared me. I knew that I would love making the film, it was just trying to get that film made, and I fought, we fought to get that film made.

To be honest with Gone Too Far that’s when I first came up against my biggest hurdle, and it’s the hurdle I know that may plague me for the rest of my career, in that once the majority of your cast is black, the moment you say that they’re all black you see the flicker in people’s eyes. Everything becomes harder for people, they’re just like “how do I sell that film? Who’s going to watch it outside of ‘the black’, and I’m doing quotations, outside of ‘the black community’?

And I just thought… It’s based in London, these people are from London, they’re kids, it’s just teenagers. It’s first love, it’s identity crisis, everyone has been through these things, how can they not see the world? Gone Too Far is a walky-talky film. I haven’t created this alien world, it’s not f***ing Avatar. Yet they can’t see this world. I’ll never forget it because it was like that moment I was like, if these leads were white it would be in the genre of Stand By Me. You’re on a journey with these kids. But the moment the kids are black nobody understands them, because my opinion of that is that it’s just not the narrative that they’re used to with young black kids. The narrative that they know is hoodies selling drugs on the corner, or someone gets shot and there’s some moral at the end. Some of the notes we were getting… “There’s too much race talk, there’s a bit too much talk about race”. One of them was “take out the debates about race and your film will get made”. That’s like asking Spike Lee to take out the debates about race in Do The Right Thing. It’s the entire film, that’s that what the film is!

Gone Too Far

Gone Too Far

When people ask me what my journey to Gone Too Far was I tell you the truth, I’m not going to sit there and go, “ah you know we were in development for a couple of years but eventually got our film and it was just amazing”. I think I’d do myself and other filmmakers, especially up and coming filmmakers, a disservice by doing that. I wish it was like that, it would have been f***ing dope. But I’m glad I went through what I went through because I think I’m better for it, but I wish it was all just sunshine and rainbows but it’s just not yet.

As I was trying to get Gone Too Far made, I ran against every instinct in the beginning, in the development stages every instinct I had I went against because I was absolutely sure that everybody else knew better than I did. With my short films I just made the films that I wanted to make, but features was a big thing, it’s a big deal, and I was like they must know what they’re doing. But when I think of all my favourite directors and their first feature, like Kevin Smith with Clerks, Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs. That’s when I began to follow my instincts and be like, I know how I want to make this film now, I’m going to do it the way I want to do it, and people seemed to go along.

But after Gone Too Far, there’s no looking back from that, after that you’re just like this is how I see the world, this is how I envision it, this is how I want to tell it. And you’ve kind of got to be yourself when you’re going to these meetings and pitching it. That’s why it’s always important to tell the truth about how it is that you see that script that’s been put in front of you, and then if you’re lucky, they go “oh my God that sounds great”, then you try and do it and you do it to the best of your ability. But I will never go against my instincts again ever, that was my lesson on Gone Too Far.

 

As told to Michael Leader. Gone Too Far premieres on Film4 at 11.10pm on Friday 10th July

 

Amy achieves record-breaking opening weekend

06 Jul, 2015 Productions Posted in:

Amy has recorded the biggest ever opening weekend for a British documentary at the UK box office.

The Amy Winehouse doc from Bafta-winning director Asif Kapadia opened to £519,000 making it the second biggest opening ever for a documentary (excluding concert films), led only by Michael Moore’s 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11. The film has already become the highest-grossing documentary of 2015 and has surpassed Kapadia’s 2010 film Senna, which grossed £375,000 on its opening. Following a nationwide preview on Tuesday 30th June, Amy opened in 133 cinemas this weekend across the UK and Ireland and will expand to over 200 locations from Friday 10th July.

“We are thrilled that audiences have come out en masse during a period of exceptionally fine weather to see Amy. It is testament to not only an incredible film, from some of the UK’s leading filmmakers, but also to the unique talent and enormous lasting appeal of Amy Winehouse – we are delighted that audiences have chosen to celebrate the life of the truly talented musical icon” said Hamish Moseley, Head of Distribution at Altitude Film Distribution. Amy also achieved a successful opening in the US where it opened to $222,015 across six theatres, with an outstanding location average of $37,002.

Amy tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. The film features extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.

For further details and to find a screening near you, visit http://www.amyfilm.co.uk

Principal photography commences on Benedict Andrews’ Blackbird

17 Jun, 2015 Productions Posted in:

From a screenplay by playwright David Harrower, Blackbird will shoot for five weeks across the south of England…

Rooney Mara (Carol), will star opposite Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Starred Up, Slow West) in an intense, unflinching examination of damaged love.

In Blackbird, based on Harrower’s celebrated Olivier Award-winning play of the same name, Ray (Mendelsohn) is confronted with his past when the young and beautiful Una (Mara) arrives unannounced at his office. Fifteen years earlier, the two had an illicit affair, for which Ray was arrested and imprisoned. He has since built a new life for himself; she is looking for answers.

Said director Benedict Andrews: “I am relishing the opportunity to bring this vital, highly-charged story to the screen. David has written a beautiful, brutal script and I have two outstanding actors in the roles of Ray and Una. The fragility and extremities of human experience are central to my work- and Blackbird is no exception”.

Blackbird marks the feature film directorial debut of this critically acclaimed Australian stage director. His most recent theatrical productions have included the sell-out London production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster and Sydney Theatre Company’s touring production of The Maids at the Lincoln Center Festival, New York, which starred Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert.

Blackbird also boasts a strong line-up of talent behind the camera: director of photography Thimios Bakatakis (The Lobster, Dogtooth) production designer Fiona Crombie (Snowtown, Macbeth), hair and make-up designer Jan Sewell (Everest, X-Men: First Class), costume designer Steven Noble (BAFTA-nominated for The Theory Of Everything) and award- winning editor Nick Fenton (Life, Submarine).

From film and theatre impresario Jean Doumanian and Patrick Daly for Jean Doumanian Productions (August: Osage County, The Book of Mormon) Blackbird is also produced by Maya Amsellem for WestEnd Films. Executive producers are Kevin Loader (Wuthering Heights, Hyde Park On Hudson), Sharon Harel and Eve Schoukroun of WestEnd Films – who will also handle international sales – and David Kosse and Sam Lavender for Film4. Celia Duval is Co-Producer. Financial backing has been provided by Film4 and Creative Scotland.

Principal photography starts on Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

09 Jun, 2015 Productions Posted in:

Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Enzo Cilenti and Babou Ceesay join Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley in Ben Wheatley’s explosive Film4-backed action thriller Free Fire.

Principal photography began yesterday on Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. Film4 and the BFI back the film, STUDIOCANAL have rights in the UK and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) have territories including Australia / New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavia and Spain. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. WME is co-representing the North American sale with Protagonist and Film4.

Andy Starke and Ben Wheatley’s Rook Films is producing the film set in Boston in the late seventies. Larson plays a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Murphy and Smiley) and a gang (led by Hammer and Copley) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues. The film is written by Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump.

Ben Wheatley, who has just completed his dystopian epic High-Rise starring Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller, is fast becoming one of the UK’s most revered filmmakers after a string of signature movies including Sightseers, Kill List and A Field In England.

David Kosse, Director of Film4, says: “Ben is one of our most exciting and original filmmakers and a great example of the bold British talent we want to support at Film4. What better way to continue our long-standing collaboration with him and Rook films than this explosive thriller.”

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund says, “It’s a testament to the way Ben makes his films and works with actors that he’s attracted such a first-class international cast to strap on the squibs for Free Fire. And Scorsese for heaven’s sake… We’re very excited.”

“Ben Wheatley and Andy Starke have come a long way in the six years since Down Terrace,” said Mike Goodridge, CEO of Protagonist Pictures. “The knockout international cast they have attracted to Free Fire only fuels our confidence in the remaining worldwide sales prospects for their most commercial film yet.”