Film4 confirms 6 titles selected for Toronto International Film Festival

19 Aug, 2014 Productions Posted in: Festivals, Toronto

Six Film4 films have been selected for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival – three of which will be world premieres.

The prestigious festival will see the world premieres of Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy and Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming, as well as the North American Premieres of Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Gerard Johnson’s Hyena and Yann Demange’s ’71.

Tessa Ross, Channel 4 Controller of Film and Drama, said: “We’re really delighted by these invitations. Toronto is always a wonderful place for unveiling British films and it’s very exciting to be premiering such a great range of work there this Autumn.”

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival will take place between 4th-14th September.

The titles:

The Riot Club

The Riot Club

At Oxford University the hottest invitation is to The Riot Club; a world where the bright, privileged and wealthy take their first steps in becoming the future masters of the universe. Miles and Alistair’s personal rivalry and jealousy ignite an evening where verbal pyrotechnics and vaulting ambition reign and eventually the wolf pack turn on one of their own. In the same vein as The Social Network, Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, based on Laura Wade’s play Posh, exposes the insecurities and viciousness of the young elite.

The Duke Of Burgundy

The Duke Of Burgundy

Peter Strickland’s eagerly anticipated follow up to Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga explores the intense relationship between two women. The Duke of Burgundy is a dark melodrama about an amateur butterfly expert whose wayward desires test her lover’s tolerance. Stars Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara d’Anna.

Second Coming

Second Coming

Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming follows a tight family unit navigating their way through family life as it breaks down in the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy. Stars Nadine Marshall and Idris Elba.

Mr Turner

Mr Turner

Mr. Turner, written and directed by Mike Leigh, explores the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner, played by Timothy Spall. Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.



In Hyena, written and directed by Gerard Johnson, Michael Logan, played by Peter Ferdinando, is a complex mix of high-functioning addict and corrupt police officer whose world is changing thanks to a recent influx of ruthless Albanian gangsters who are threatening to change London’s criminal landscape. Michael’s razor sharp instincts have always kept him one step ahead, but now his increasingly self-destructive behaviour and the sheer brutality of the new gang lords find Michael in a spiralling descent of fear and self-doubt.



A young British soldier, played by Jack O’Connell, is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971 in Yann Demange’s ‘71. Unable to tell friend from foe, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape.




Film4 FrightFest 2014 guest line-up announced

This year’s Film4 FrightFest guest list brings together the great, the grand and the gifted as over 100 filmmakers, performers, writers and producers from all over the world make their way to the Vue West End in London.


Robert Englund

He lit up the 1980s and 1990s genre landscape with one of the classic horror performances of all time as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Cue rounds of ecstatic applause for the one and only Robert Englund who will be attending the festival to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of that Wes Craven classic (screening on Sunday 24th August) and to launch the latest production in which he stars, The Last Showing, which screens on Friday 22nd August.

Festival co-director Alan Jones commented today “Englund is one of the genre’s originals and we are thrilled to host such an icon of fright.”

In support of the opening film The Guest, today’s hottest Scream Queen, Maika Monroe, will be present to celebrate the UK premiere of her tension-laden shocker. Monro is also the star of horror sensation It Follows and is rapidly becoming the go-to-girl for genre glamour.


Show Pieces

In a major coup for his legion of fans, Alan Moore will be introducing and talking about his short film trilogy Show Pieces with director Mitch Jenkins. Dubbed the best graphic novel writer in history, this is a rare public appearance from a national treasure.

Then there’s director John McNaughton who changed the horror movie forever with his once-seen-never-forgotten masterpiece Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. McNaughton is here to promote his unusual thriller The Harvest.

Essie Davis is currently winning a plethora of Best Actress awards for her emotionally complex and stunning role as the stressed out mother Amelia in the Australian phenomenon The Babadook. We are thrilled to have her with us as the Total Film Magazine sponsored guest of honour.

Other key directors include Nacho Vigalondo, who has three films on show – the epic crowd-pleaser Open Windows, his sci-fi comedy Extraterrestrial and V/H/S: Viral, Belgian filmmaker Fabrice Du Welz, for his extraordinary thriller Alleluia, Till Kleinert, director of post-modern slasher The Samurai, Starry Eyes directors Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer and the ever-popular Adam Green with his unusual offering, Digging Up The Marrow. From South America come Argentine director Adrian Garcia Bogliano with his werewolf winner Late Phases and Venezuelan director Alejandro Hidalgo with The House At The End Of Time.

Dead Within

Dead Within

Additional directors travelling to the Vue West End to introduce their work are Milan Todorovic (Nymph), Luke Hymans (XMOOR), Jay Weisman (Shockwave Darkside 3D), Ivan Kavanagh (The Canal) Phil Hawkins (The Last Showing) Ben Wagner (Dead Within), David Campbell (Lemon Passage), Ate De Jong (Deadly Virtues), David Gregory (Lost Souls), John Shackleton (The Sleeping Room), Jeremy Wooding (Blood Moon), Jessica Cameron (Truth Or Dare), Alexandre O Philippe (Doc Of The Dead, Ollie Frampton (The Forgotten), Ed Boase (The Mirror), Adam Spinks (The Expedition), Simeon Haligan (White Settlers, Jorg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Matthew A. Brown (Julia) and Federico Zampaglone (Remember).

The stars of the films are out in force (with more to be confirmed) Pit Bukowski and Michel Diercks (The Samurai), Rupert Evans and Steve Oram (The Canal), The Last Showing stars Emily Berrington, Finn Jones and Malachi Kirby, XMOOR stars Nick Blood & Sofie Harkness, Deadly Virtues actor Edward Akrout, Shaun Dooley (Blood Moon), Leila Mimmock & Joseph Beatty (The Sleeping Room), Ashley C. Williams (Julia), Joshua Dickinson & Nate Fallows (The Mirror) and Emily Booth (Selkie)

Key producers also attending include Jan Harlan (The Shining), Alex Baranska (The Last Showing) Christian Arnold-Beutel (Shockwave Darkside 3D) Gallien Chanalet-Quercy (I Survived A Zombie Holocaust), Michael Vine (Blood Moon) and Gareth I Davis (The Sleeping Room)

Tickets for individual films are now on sale from or via the 24 hour booking line at  08712 240 240.

For full programme details visit:

Alan Jones’ FrightFest 2014 highlights

Film4 FrightFest’s Alan Jones on the horror festival’s move to the Vue Cinema and his own personal highlights of this year’s festival, running from 21st – 25th August 2014 in Leicester Square.

The Guest starring Dan Stevens

The Guest starring Dan Stevens

I’m not afraid to admit that Film4 FrightFest’s move to the Vue cinema Leicester Square has given me sleepless nights. I mean, we had everything at the Empire running smoothly… but their redevelopment plans meant we had to uproot ourselves and literally start from scratch. Because that’s what making our new home at the Vue has entailed – from management understanding what the FrightFest community is all about, to ensuring their staff were on board in terms of mind-set and approach. It took the Empire 12 months to fully appreciate our ethos and here we were again facing the same early questions like “What do you mean people queue up for 48 hours before the tickets go on sale?” and “But where do we put all these goodie bags?”

For die-hard FrightFesters though it’s par for the course on the 15-year long haul from the Prince Charles to the two Odeon West Ends and then the Empire. But this 2014 change is markedly different because for the first time the main films will be split over three auditoria, rather than just a massive one, with our much-loved Discovery and retrospective strands expanding into larger spaces. So we knew going into this August Bank Holiday’s event that we would have to ensure the programme choices were about as tip-top as we could get to help soothe any misgivings about losing the FrightFest essence. I think we’ve done that. Our line-up is always highly anticipated and the feedback so far suggests we’ve hit all the want-to-see bases. Hopefully job done and everyone can now relax in their new comfortable surroundings to watch the best examples of what the genre can offer.

The Samurai

The Samurai

Speaking personally, my list of absolute must-sees is topped by Till Kleinert’s superb The Samurai, which I keep describing to people as Dressed To Kill through a Jorg Buttgereit filter because I so want people to respond to its extreme slasher gore and playful homo-erotic subtext. Kleinert is such a horror fan, and it shows, and he’s already said he wants to attend the entire festival. Another stunner is William Eubank’s quite astonishing The Signal, which I found enigmatically mesmerizing and unusually resonant in thematic terms. Closing with an all-stops-out science fiction fantasy is unusual for FrightFest but when people witness the final five minutes, they’ll understand why we chose it.

I must also mention our terrific opener The Guest, which is one of the best horror thrillers of the year and features a break-out performance by Dan Stevens that I can only liken to the one Julia Roberts had in Pretty Woman. No, honestly! And for those who loved Inside, but thought Livid was a disappointment, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Among The Living will restore your faith in French shockers with its daring concept and wonderful studio backlot setting. Must mention Home, Housebound, X Moor and Doc Of The Dead… too many, in fact, to do justice to. Best people just come along and find out for themselves.

Find out more about FrightFest 2014 and buy tickets



The Body Politic: Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

04 Jul, 2014 Posted in: Edinburgh, Festivals Site Editor Michael Leader reports from the Edinburgh International Film Festival…


Taken out of its previous pride of place in the middle of the city’s turbulent festival months, the Edinburgh International Film Festival now grants the rare pleasure of experiencing one of the UK’s most beautiful cities out of season. Or, in this case, in the full flush of an unseasonal heatwave, which when conjoined with the pre-solstice evenings creates a time-warp of sorts.

Ever experienced that feeling when you escape the outside world and watch a film in the morning, and wander out afterwards into daylight half-dazed and wholly refreshed? Imagine that, only after a late-night screening of The Green Inferno, made even later by an anecdote and film recommendation-filled Q&A with director Eli Roth. As much as I’m looking forward to experiencing Roth’s bad-taste Amazonian cannibal splatstick again with the Film4 FrightFest crowd in August, there’s simply no beating a saunter down Princes St – Edinburgh’s spinal thoroughfare – as the sunset cooks the Castle and the Scott Monument atomic tangerine to set a film into sharper focus.

At their best, film festivals can make it feel like you’ve fallen off the edge of the Earth into a realm where cinema is both language and currency. For a city so engaged in political discourse as the Scottish Referendum looms, can you judge Edinburgh’s film festival for indulging in a bit of wilful escapism? Traces of an interplay between political disillusionment and cinematic release are found in the genre fare of Gerard Johnson’s Film4-backed bent-coppers drama Hyena, which opened the festival in supremely stylish and grimy fashion, and Bong Joon-Ho’s long-delayed dystopian adventure Snowpiercer, but it’s a theme that finds fullest form in Edinburgh’s more modestly budgeted world premieres.

Life May Be

Life May Be

Filmmaker and critic Mark Cousins acts as one of Edinburgh’s guardian angels, and this year he brought with him a new film, Life May Be, an epistolary essay film made in collaboration with London-based Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari. Told over a succession of video letters between the two directors, often featuring a mix of voice-over, montage and home video footage, the dialogue develops quickly from a conversation between critic and creator (Cousins uses a liner-note piece written for a recent DVD release of Akbari’s work as a starting point) towards a rather intimate discussion about identity and exile.

As with Cousins’ deep-dive ruminations on cinema, The Story Of Film and A Story Of Children And Film, Life May Be is delightfully uncompromising in its intellectual tone, but endearingly so, especially once the two filmmakers gel into a poetic double act, Akbari building a new life in a new city, Cousins uncovering endless connections and resonance while jetting from film festival to film festival across the globe. Reclining on a hotel room sofa, snaffling Sour Cream & Chive Pringles, Cousins riffs on the taboo of nudity, the covering up of ‘the most beautiful thing we have’, while disrobing across jump cuts. ‘My body is my country, and it’s constantly changing,’ Akbari concludes, casting off the dead skin of the past in a protracted bathing sequence. In typically rapturous response, Cousins responds with a montage of transcendent images of waterfalls, soundtracked by holy choirs, emblazoned with the question: ‘Mania – are you bathing for Paradise?’

Hide And Seek

Hide And Seek

Paradise, in a way, is the goal of four young adults in Joanna Coates’ assured debut drama Hide And Seek. Fleeing London for a rural cottage, they form a commune based on free love and free play, with nightly bed-swapping and a rota of parlour games making up their strings-free routine. Like Life May Be, the film sets the taboo of nudity in its sights, indulging in unhurried sex scenes that frame wanton intimacy as social rebellion.

Shot through with sun-kissed cinematography that highlights the country idyll, the film attempts to dig deep into issues related to today’s (white, middle-class) youth. What they’re hiding from is never explicitly stated, although it’s hinted that disappointment, disillusionment and grief are somewhat responsible. What they’re seeking, however, are those deceptively difficult ideals that seem so easily attainable when viewed through youthful eyes. Why play according to the adults’ rules if it makes so many people so unhappy?

Hide And Seek, though, is a children’s game, but while this fringe existence cannot last forever, Coates wisely stops short of the real world encroaching on the commune. She also resists the urge to take a genre route, and rather plays with the audience’s expectation that things will go awry, focusing more on the conflict between intellectual commitment and neurotic impulse, and the glacial shifts of feeling between the four quixotic commune dwellers. What does it say for the festival, or even national cinema, that the film went on to win the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film? Let’s take a stroll down Princes Street and mull it over.

Sheffield Doc Fest 2014

26 Jun, 2014 Posted in: Events, Festivals, Opinion, Review

Catherine Bray on her top picks from the 2014 Sheffield Doc Fest: Best Film, Best Talk, Best Q&A, Best Panel and Best Party.

The Millennium Gallery

The story of Sheffield Doc Fest is one of growth. The festival has expanded exponentially in its 21 year life span, from a gathering for mainly hardcore British documentary enthusiasts to its present status as one of maybe the top three documentary focused film festivals in the world. My favourite thing about Sheffield however, is not its size, but the variety. Like SXSW, it plays host to a bewildering array of panels, talks, masterclasses and mixers, in addition to the expected films. It makes it difficult to compile a Cannes-style top ten – you’d be comparing apples and oranges. With that in mind, I’ve picked a favourite from each category instead…

Best Film: 112 Weddings

112 Weddings

The potentially twee concept of catching up with couples several years after he shot their wedding videos is anything but in the capable hands of Doug Block, who achieves a fine balance between questioning the institution of marriage itself, gently unveiling weaknesses in certain relationships, celebrating the people who make marriage work, and exploring why it so often doesn’t. It’s a clear-eyed film that comes across as neither cynical nor rose-tinted.

Best Talk: Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry's In The Best Possible Taste

Managing the nifty trick of making a huge event for a massive audience feel intimate and engaging, An Evening With Grayson Perry (plus Q&A chaired by Channel 4 Deputy Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lee) was by turns funny, illuminating and touching. If you’ve yet to encounter Grayson Perry’s particularly piquant brand of social insight mixed with a dissection of our tribal signifiers that occasionally borders on pitiless, do check out In The Best Possible Taste on 4oD.

Best Q&A: Steve James

Life Itself

One of the most personal post-screening Q&As unfolded in the humble surroundings of the Library Theatre, after Life Itself, a documentary unfolding the late film critic Roger Ebert’s life in parallel with his final months. The film itself left many in the audience wiping away a tear and as a result, this Q&A had a different tone to most: less industry-focused, more personal and clearly full of people still feeling the gap in film criticism that Ebert’s death has left.

The Crucible

Best Panel: International Distribution Strategies

Bringing together senior figures from every stage in the distribution chain, this panel at The Crucible, chaired by Film4’s own Anna Higgs, provided a comprehensive look at the challenges and opportunities opening up in international distribution as a result of changing digital landscapes. Click here to see our Storify of the panel!

Best Party: Dogwoof’s 10th Birthday

Dogwoof are the distributor for docs in the UK, so it felt only fitting that they celebrated their tenth year with a huge party featuring the Dressed Like A Girl dancers and a stage invasion. Happy birthday Dogwoof!

And finally…

Personal highlight: Beyond Clueless with live score

As well as being at the festival for Film4, I was lucky enough to be attending as a filmmaker, with the first feature I’ve produced, Beyond Clueless, getting its UK premiere in Sheffield’s biggest venue, The Crucible, with a live score from the composers, brilliant pop duo Summer Camp. Obviously I couldn’t rank a film I’d worked on alongside my other picks – there’s a small chance I might be biased – but equally it was such a magical evening, I didn’t want to leave it out entirely! If you’d like to know more about the film, check out or listen to the title track below: