Latest from Film4 Team

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Loach and Leigh selected for Cannes Film Festival

17 Apr, 2014 Productions Posted in: Cannes, Directors, Events, Festivals

Film4-backed Jimmy’s Hall and Mr. Turner announced for Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival

Jimmy's Hall, from Ken Loach

Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall

Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner and Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall have been announced for Official Selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  Both Film4-backed films will screen in competition during the 67th edition which begins 14th May.

Tessa Ross, Controller of Film and Drama at Channel 4, said: “I’m delighted that two of our most significant filmmakers will premiere their latest films side by side on the Croisette.  Ken and Mike are synonymous with great British filmmaking; with Jimmy’s Hall and Mr. Turner they return to Cannes with two wonderful films which join their extraordinary canon of work. We’re privileged to have supported them both.”

On hearing the news, Mike Leigh commented: ‘It’s a great honour to be in Competition in Cannes for the fifth time, and I’m over the moon!’

Loach took home the Palme D’Or in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, whilst Leigh won the same prize ten years before with Secrets and Lies. The last time their films were in competition together in Cannes was in 2010, with Leigh’s Another Year and Loach’s Route Irish.

Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner

Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner

Mr. Turner
Timothy Spall heads a large and impressive cast in Mike Leigh’s rich portrait of the great if eccentric British painter, JMW Turner. Exploring the last quarter century of the artist’s life, Mr. Turner takes us from Georgian to Victorian England, from the end of sailing ships to the coming of the railway. Sumptuously photographed by Dick Pope, the film evokes Turner’s epic imagery, yet tells the tragi-comic story of a very mortal man.

Click here to find out more about Mr. Turner

Jimmy’s Hall
In 1921, Jimmy Gralton’s sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in Ireland, where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream… but above all to dance and have fun. Jimmy’s Hall celebrates the spirit of these free-thinkers.

Click here to find out more about Jimmy’s Hall


Four films announced for Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House 2014

08 Apr, 2014 Posted in: Events, Film4 Summer Screen

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House celebrates its 10th anniversary this August with 14 nights of open-air screenings


Celebrating ten years of classic, cult, and contemporary films in its open-air courtyard, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is back for a bumper birthday season in August. For 14 nights, back-to-back great films will feature on London’s largest screen with full surround sound in the spectacular neoclassical setting of Somerset House. To mark its milestone season, an array of anniversary activities will also accompany around the site including industry insider
talks, workshops, family events, and a film poster print exhibition.

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House will stage a typically eclectic mix of movies, ranging from red-carpet premieres, comedy, romance and musicals to thrillers, action, horrors and foreign-language films. Film aficionados will appreciate that part of the programme will be projected from 35mm film reels as well as digitally. This year’s line-up will include the John Waters’ musical with big hair and a big heart Hairspray, the deliciously dysfunctional family comedy from Wes Anderson, The Royal Tenenbaums, the dazzling double trouble of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the award-winning modern Italian masterpiece The Great Beauty.

David Cox, channel editor of Film4 and programmer of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, said: “We’re proud that Film4 and Somerset House have forged such a close and productive partnership over the course of a decade. When we kicked off Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House with Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 2005, we had no idea that we’d still be working out what films to show ten years later, having since screened more than 100 titles without repeating one. Going out to see a film, be it something old or something new, should always be a special and social experience; we hope this year’s Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House delivers that once again on our 10th anniversary.”

While the sun sets over Somerset House, live DJs spin a soundtrack inspired by the upcoming screening. Cinema-goers can chill out in the courtyard with picnics and drinks, and pop into the Summer Screen Prints exhibition. Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House has commissioned screen-printing fanatics Print Club London to curate a series of contemporary screen-print posters, based on the films shown in the anniversary season. Open during the day
and for each evening event, the Summer Screen Prints exhibition will feature the great and good of the graphic arts world.

Each exhibiting artist will reimagine a poster for one of films in this season’s line-up, taking particular scenes, quotes, characters or anything else from their selected title as inspiration. Renowned for curating and dealing screen-printed artworks, as well as its workshops, Print Club London has hand-picked an assortment of artists and styles, including Kate Moross, Steve Wilson, Kate Gibb and Michael Gillette, to reflect the veritable variety of films featuring on the big screen. Each of the posters will be limited-edition and exclusively available to buy from the exhibition at Somerset House.

During the two weeks of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, film fans will also be able to come along to Behind the Screen. This diverse and entertaining programme of talks, workshops and family events brings the world of cinema into sharper focus, with special guests providing unique insights into a world that usually only exists up on the big screen.

Over the course of the past decade, Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House has become one of London’s favourite summertime experiences under the stars. It has shown more than 100 films, never scheduling the same one again, to almost 200,000 people. Films have been introduced by their stars including Alan Rickman for Die Hard, Tippi Hedren for The Birds, Simon Pegg for Shaun of the Dead and Brian Blessed for Flash Gordon, who joined the crowd and commenced to recite lines live.

Directors have brought their latest creations to the screen for the first time at Somerset House and hit the red carpet with their cast, including Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz (who enjoyed his UK Premiere of Broken Embraces so much at Somerset House, he decided to do the same with The Skin I Live In) and Richard Curtis, whose romantic hit About Time received its World Premiere at Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House last year with the entire cast in attendance. Curtis said: “The premiere of About Time at Somerset House was one of the most sublime movie moments I’ve had. Open skies, open hearts, warm jumpers, warm reception – it felt like the dream of how watching movies is meant to be. I liked it so much, in fact, that a few days later, I snuck into someone else’s premiere just to live the experience again, without any nerves.”

The full programme of films will be announced in May, with more details of anniversary events to follow. The synopses for the first four films announced are below:

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

An unforgettable and irrepressibly bold burst of music, comedy and colour, with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell playing a pair of showgirls balancing their gold-digging instincts with romantic dreams. ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ may be the film’s best-known number but each scene is ablaze with camp wit and old-school glamour, with the silly, sexy, screwball energy moving the story swiftly from one show-stopping musical set-piece to another.


It’s Madison Time! Cult director John Waters’ joyful musical-comedy swings into Somerset House, displaying the infectious energy and subversive wit that helped transform it into a stage sensation. It’s 1962, and Baltimore teen Traci Turnblad is about to become the queen of a local TV dance show. However, when she turns her newfound stardom to the cause of racial integration, Traci stirs up both rivalry in the studio and prejudice in the streets. The fabulous
Ricki Lake takes the lead, while a fun and unpredictable supporting cast (including Divine and Debbie Harry) adds plenty of character.

The Great Beauty

This modern Italian masterpiece – winner of both the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film – takes the audience on a dazzling trip through present-day Rome, exploring both high society and the demi-monde through the seen-it-all-before eyes of society columnist Jep (Toni Servillo). The parties are dizzying but the comedown can be hard, as Jep discovers when the past starts to catch up with him on his 65th birthday. An extravagant and often
overwhelming cinematic experience that more than lives up to its title.

The Royal Tenenbaums

An eccentric comedy from the wonderful Wes Anderson, director of this year’s hit Grand Budapest Hotel. Former child prodigies Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson – the Tenenbaum children – are already struggling to adapt to adulthood, but the re-emergence of estranged father Royal (Gene Hackman) only complicates their lives further. This emotional and expansive film contains a multitude of beautifully-drawn characters and comic scenes, with
each big laugh accompanied by a hard tug on the heartstrings.

Shooting starts on Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster

31 Mar, 2014 Productions Posted in: Behind The Scenes

John C.Reilly, Ashley Jensen, Michael Smiley and Jessica Barden join Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux and Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia.

Principal photography started last week on The Lobster, the first English language film by Yorgos Lanthimos, whose Dogtooth won numerous international awards and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Shooting takes place over seven weeks on location in Ireland.

John C. Reilly, Ashley Jensen, Michael Smiley and Jessica Barden join the previously announced Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia.

A love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.

The Lobster is co-written by Lanthimos and his long-time collaborator, award-winning Efthimis Filippou.

It is being produced by Element Pictures, Limp and Scarlet Films. Producers on the film are Lanthimos, Lee Magiday, Ed Guiney and Ceci Dempsey, with Element’s Andrew Lowe and Film4’s Tessa Ross and Sam Lavender acting as executive producers. Isabel Davis is the lead executive for the BFI Film Fund, and Rory Gilmartin for Bord Scannan na hEireann/Irish Film Board.

Partnering on the project are Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Faliro House in Greece, Carole Scotta of Haut et Court (who will be both the French co-producer and distributor of the film) and Derk-Jan Warrink, Joost de Vries and Leontine Petit of Lemming Films in Holland.

The Lobster is being financed by Film4, Bord Scannan na hEireann/Irish Film Board, the BFI Film Fund (the first film through its minority co-production strand), Eurimages, Greek Film Centre, CNC, the Dutch Film Fund and Canal+.

Protagonist Pictures is handling world sales.

Tessa Ross to step down as Channel 4 Controller of Film and Drama

26 Mar, 2014 Productions Posted in: Behind The Scenes, Film4 staff

Tessa Ross CBE will leave her role later this year having been appointed as Chief Executive of the National Theatre.

Tessa and Steve at C4

Tessa Ross will be stepping down from her role as Channel 4 Controller of Film and Drama later this year having been appointed as Chief Executive of the National Theatre.

Commenting on her departure David Abraham, Channel 4’s Chief Executive, has said: “Tessa has made as big a contribution to Channel 4 as anyone in its history. I would like to personally thank her for her extraordinary commitment, talent and leadership over 13 remarkable years. I am looking forward to working with her over the summer on a number of important projects, including Todd Haynes’ Carol, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth.

“Tessa’s job is one of the most coveted in film, both in the UK and internationally, and while she leaves big shoes to fill, we will shortly begin the task of identifying a new leader for the next chapter of Film4’s story. Meanwhile our commitment to investing in independent British film remains undimmed and we have every intention of building on the extraordinary reputation Tessa has created.”

Tessa Ross said: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining the National Theatre but it is with a heavy heart I leave this wonderful organisation and the brilliant people I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to work beside over the past 13 years.  I leave behind a dedicated, passionate team at Film4 – not only colleagues but true friends – and an important organisation in its mother Channel 4. It’s been an absolute honour to work with the writers, directors, producers and the many other talented people I’ve collaborated with during my time here, relationships I look forward to continuing. I’ve loved every minute of the work, and am privileged that the public purpose that has been at the heart of it – of discovering, nurturing and supporting great artists and great work – is something I shall be able to continue to champion and celebrate in my new role.”

Tessa will remain in post until September 2014, and will stay on as Chair of the Growth Fund Advisory Council once in her new role.

Tessa Ross joined Channel 4 in 2000 and became Head of Film4 in 2003, followed by Controller of Film and Drama in 2008. Under Tessa Ross Film4 has built a worldwide reputation for developing and financing bold and distinctive films such as Steve McQueen’s recent Oscar and Bafta-winning 12 Years A Slave; Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which won multiple awards including eight Oscars and seven Baftas; Kevin Macdonald’s Oscar-winning The Last King Of Scotland; and Bafta-winning This Is England by Shane Meadows.

Working with the most exciting British talent has been key to Film4’s success, reflected in films such as Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Shame, Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, and The Iron Lady, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Meryl Streep.

Current films on release are Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin and Starred Up, directed by David Mackenzie;  upcoming films include, amongst others, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Yann Demange’s ‘71, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, and Carol, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

During her earlier stewardship of Channel 4 Drama, Tessa Ross successfully implemented a strategy that cemented a drama reputation based on risk and innovation. Pieces commissioned during that time include Shameless, Teachers, Not Only But Always, White Teeth, No Angels and Sex Traffic. Tessa came to Channel 4 from the BBC’s Independent Commissioning Group where she was Head of Drama; television and film she commissioned included Billy Elliot, Clocking Off and Playing The Field. She was educated at Oxford University and spent her early career as a literary agent after postgraduate training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Tessa Ross was on the board of the National Theatre from 2011-2014.

She has previously been a governor at the NFTS, a member of the ICA Council and a governor at the BFI. She is an honorary associate of the London Film School and an Honorary Fellow at the NFTS. She was also a member of Chris Smith’s Film Policy Review panel. Tessa was appointed CBE in the New Year 2010 Honours List and received the 2013 Bafta for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.

Shooting starts on Our Kind Of Traitor

25 Mar, 2014 Productions Posted in: News

Damian Lewis and Jeremy Northam join Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard and Naomie Harris in a Film4-backed adaptation of the John Le Carré novel.

STUDIOCANAL, Film4 and The Ink Factory, in association with Potboiler Productions, are pleased to announce the start of shoot tomorrow in London of Our Kind Of Traitor.

Susanna White directs this adaptation of John le Carré’s novel from a script by Hossein Amini, with a cast headed by Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris and Jeremy Northam.

An English couple, Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris), are taking a holiday in Marrakech. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima (Skarsgard) who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.

What else he wants propels the couple on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain’s Intelligence Establishment.

Our Kind Of Traitor is produced by Simon Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell of The Ink Factory and Gail Egan of Potboiler. The two companies recently collaborated on the adaptation of le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man, which received its world premiere at Sundance in January. Potboiler previously produced the Oscar-winning adaptation of le Carré’s The Constant Gardener.

Our Kind Of Traitor is directed by Susanna White, the Bafta-winning director of BBC drama Bleak House, as well as Nanny McPhee Returns and HBO’s Generation Kill. She recently directed the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End. The script of Our Kind Of Traitor is by Hossein Amini, the Oscar nominated writer of The Wings of a Dove, as well as Drive and the forthcoming adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Two Faces of January, which he also directed.

Production design is by Bafta winner and four-time Oscar nominee Sarah Greenwood (Atonement). Anthony Dod Mantle (Oscar winner and Bafta winner for Slumdog Millionaire) is director of photography. Costumes are by Julian Day (Rush) and hair-and-make up by Fae Hammond (Bafta nominee for Pride and Prejudice).

Our Kind Of Traitor will shoot on location in London and the Home Counties, Finland, Bern, Paris, the French Alps and Marrakech for 10 weeks, until the end of May.

The script was developed by STUDIOCANAL, Film4, Seadune Developments, Potboiler and Ink Factory.

STUDIOCANAL and Film4 present Our Kind Of Traitor in association with Anton Capital Entertainment S.C.A., with the participation of Lovefilm. It is an Ink Factory Production in association with Potboiler Productions.