Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

16 Apr, 2015 Productions Posted in: Cannes, Cannes

Four Film4-backed films – Todd Haynes’ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth – have been invited into official selection at this year’s Cannes film festival.

All four films will have their World Premieres In Competition, a record number for Film4-backed films in Cannes.

David Kosse, Director of Film4, says: “It’s a very special year for us with four extraordinary films premiering In Competition at this year’s festival. Cannes is the perfect stage for such visionary work from these world-class directors.”


Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in the throes of love in 1950s New York. It was developed by Film4 and is co-produced by Liz Karlsen and Stephen Woolley at Number 9 Films, and Christine Vachon at Killer Films. International sales handled by HanWay Films.


Yorgos Lanthimos returns to Cannes following his 2009 Prix Un Certain Regard win for Dogtooth with The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux, Olivia Colman and John C. Reilly. The Lobster is co-financed by Film4 and co-produced by Element Pictures, Scarlet Films and Limp. International sales handled by Protagonist Pictures.


Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, sees Justin Kurzel return to Cannes following his debut feature Snowtown which screened in Critics’ Week in 2011. Co-developed by Film4 and See-Saw Films, MACBETH is produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman at See-Saw Films, and Laura Hastings-Smith, and majority co-financed by STUDIOCANAL and Film4. International sales handled by STUDIOCANAL

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.07.42

Youth, starring Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda, will also screen in Competition, and will be Sorrentino’s sixth film to screen at Cannes. It is produced by Indigo Films, Number 9 Films are co-producers with Film4 co-financing. International sales are handled by Pathé International.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from 13th to 24th May. For more information, visit http://www.festival-cannes.com

Postcard from Sundance

Dark Horse director Louise Osmond on visiting Sundance for the first time, where her film premiered to critical acclaim and won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary.

Dark Horse: winner of the Audience Awards for World Documentary at Sundance

Dark Horse: winner of the Audience Awards for World Documentary at Sundance

Sundance has such a romance attached to it – the original indie festival – and I’m glad to say it genuinely lives up to its reputation. There is some madness out there – a swanky crowd who gather on the main street of Park City and swarm over celebrities like Chris Pine (we saw the swarm snaking down the road but not the man inside.)

But most of it is people who love film watching everything they can and a very warm atmosphere that gets film teams together in brunches and lunches and events that remind you why you love the job you do.

The producer, Judith Dawson and editor, Joby Gee were out there too and, nervous as cats, we waited for the premiere. Joby had one of his trademark fantastic/horrible shirts on – brown and blue dancing horses in 100% vintage rayon. Laughing at him proved oddly calming.  Coming out here, I’d thought – worried – a lot about whether American audiences would take to the story. In Park City, listening in the dark to every sigh or cough it seemed like they did but at a screening in Salt Lake City the next day it was louder and easier to read. They did seem to take to it and better still what they loved most about our fantastic characters – Jan and Brian, Howard and the others – was their spirit of defiance.

People will sometimes tell you America is a classless society but that news hasn’t reached Utah. Taking on the elite sport of kings with a horse bred on a slagheap allotment seemed to resonate very strongly with them. One man said: ‘Good to see people who aren’t respected getting the respect they deserve.’  Can’t argue with that.

Read more about Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance



Gearing up for the Glasgow Film Festival 2015

23 Jan, 2015 Posted in: Festivals, Glasgow

The Glasgow Film Festival programme is announced and features Film4-backed films Second Coming and Catch Me Daddy plus much, much more, from 18th February to 1st March

It’s almost time once more for the Glasgow Film Festival, and once again, its programmers have put together a cracking selection of films, including a few Film4 favourites. We’re delighted to have backed Debbie Tucker Green’s drama Second Coming, which receives its Scottish premiere at the festival. Starring Nadine Marshall and Idris Elba, it follows a tight family unit navigating their way through life in the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy.

Second Coming

Second Coming

Also on a Film4 note, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy will play the festival, following its world premiere at Cannes in 2014. This dark, blisteringly tense thriller about a girl on the run stars award-winning newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed and will be released in UK cinemas on February 27th.

Catch Me Daddy

Catch Me Daddy

Elsewhere, the festival explores Glasgow’s history on film in the Cinema City strand, looking at the way films like Under The Skin have made the most of the city as a location, while fans of classic cinema can revel in the glorious existence of an Ingrid Bergman retrospective.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to finally catching Carol Morley’s follow up to Dreams Of A Life, acclaimed teen hysteria drama The Falling. You can watch the trailer here:

The Glasgow Film Festival runs from 18th February to the 1st March. Click here to download and browse the complete programme.


Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

As Louise Osmond’s inspirational documentary about an unlikely group of friends who breed themselves a racehorse is about to premiere at Sundance 2015, Catherine Bray catches up with the director for a quick chat about her inspiration for the film and hopes for Sundance 2015.

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

Apparently, Dark Horse came out of a desire on Louise Osmond’s part to make “the Rocky of horse documentaries.” It’s quite the pitch, and that’s exactly what she’s achieved. Dark Horse is the rags to riches tale of Dream Alliance, a horse from humble origins that goes on to gallop his way to success on some of the UK’s top racing tracks. The team who backed him weren’t wealthy playboys or landed gentry, but a syndicate from a down-on-its-luck Welsh village who decided to have a bash at succeeding in the so-called “sport of kings.”

Almost unbelievably, they made it. Louise credits much of the mad-cap project’s success to one woman: Jan Vokes is the fearless founder of the syndicate and the woman who first decided to breed a racehorse on a rubbish heap. “Jan is fearless really. In her lovely quiet way, she’s really inspirational. She has that attitude of ‘nope, I’m not going to let my circumstances or anyone else define me and my life.’”

Although the icy mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah, might seem like a bit of a contrast with the lush green Welsh valleys, Louise hopes Sundance audiences will relate to the film. “It’s interesting, our American publicist saw it and he really got it. We hope it’s universal enough that US audiences will see the situation, the place, the context, the village, the valley, and be able to relate it to their own country, place, state. There are a lot of places in US, after the economic crash, facing the same issues as those South Wales villages. And everyone speaks really clearly so hopefully the accents won’t be a problem!”

I can’t wait to hear how the film connects with US audiences at its premiere tomorrow (23rd January) and am also looking forward to interviewing Louise and the rest of her team in more depth closer to the film’s UK release via Picturehouses in April 2015 – watch this space.

Film4 at Berlin International Film Festival

15 Jan, 2015 Productions Posted in: Berlin, Festivals

Two Film4 films have been selected to screen at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Both films feature in the competition programme.

45 Years

45 Years

From the director of Weekend, writer-director Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple whose seemingly contented lives are thrown into question when a letter from a past lover arrives in the post.

Dane DeHaan in Life

Dane DeHaan in Life

Anton Corbijn’s Life stars Dane DeHaan as James Dean and Robert Pattinson as Dennis Stock, the Magnum photographer commissioned to photograph the actor for LIFE Magazine in 1955.

Both films will receive their World Premieres at the festival.

The festival runs from 5th February to 14th February.

’71 and 20,000 Days On Earth, which featured in the 2014 festival, have both since received British Independent Film Awards and BAFTA nominations amongst a number of other accolades.


45 Years (Dir. Andrew Haigh)

The film follows Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) in the five days leading up to her forty-fifth wedding anniversary. Party plans are going well, until a letter arrives for her husband (Tom Courtenay) informing him that the body of his first love has been found frozen in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. As their anniversary celebrations grow closer, they delve further into their past, leaving their future in question.

Life (Dir. Anton Corbijn)

Life is inspired by the true story of a friendship that developed between Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) and actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) when Stock was commissioned to photograph the actor for LIFE magazine in 1955. Stock was 26 and old before his time, when into his buttoned-down world came fledgling star James Dean, a free spirit who would change popular culture from suits to jeans and from matinee idols to teenage heartthrobs. The assignment, which took the pair on a photographic journey across the US, from LA to New York and on to Indiana would change Stock’s life and provide the world with some of the most iconic images of the age.