Film4 Productions

Film4 at Sundance Film Festival

09 Dec, 2014 Productions Posted in: Festivals, Sundance

The selections for this year’s Sundance Film Festival have been revealed. Three Film4-backed films will feature at the festival, including two World Premieres.

John Maclean’s Slow West, starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee, features in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.

Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse will feature in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

Both films will receive their World Premieres at the festival.

Also featuring in the festival’s Spotlight selection is Yann Demange’s ’71, which last night won the Best Director award at the British Independent Film Awards.

The festival runs from 22nd January to 1st February in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.

Slow West Dir. John Maclean


A western set in frontier America at the end of the 19th Century, Slow West utilises Colorado’s dramatic landscape as a setting for the unlikely crossing of Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender), a wild and dangerous drifter, with guileless adolescent, Jay (Jodi Smit-McPhee). Here, in the dense and feral forests of the American West, where confrontation with a stranger would normally mean a duel to the death, Silas, instead of killing Jay, offers to protect him in exchange for cash. Jay has come to America to be reunited with the love of his life, Rose, a fugitive from their native Scotland. Silas’ true motivation, however, is as enigmatic as Jay’s is true-hearted. It is on his journey with this unlikely saviour, fraught with peril, betrayal and violence, that Jay is forced to question Silas’ loyalty towards him, as he realises all too late that America takes no pity on the innocent.

Dark Horse Dir. Louise Osmond


Dark Horse tells the larger than life true story of how a barmaid in a former mining village in South Wales bred a racehorse on her allotment that went on to become a champion. Jan had successfully bred dogs and birds and believed she could do the same with a different animal – though she knew nothing about racing and had never been on a horse. Convincing a handful of locals to part with ten pound a week for her scheme, she found a thoroughbred mare with a terrible racing record for £300, a stallion past his best, put them together and – against all the odds – bred a winner. It’s an audacious tale of luck and chance and beating the odds; a story of how a gaggle of working class folk from the Welsh Valleys took on the racing elite, broke through class and financial barriers, and brought hope and pride back to their depressed community. Dark Horse is an inspirational, emotional story with as many heart-stopping moments as any ‘jump’ race; it’s a story about dreams coming true.

‘71 Dir. Yann Demange

71 jack o connell

A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. 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-backed films take five awards at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards

09 Dec, 2014 Productions Posted in: Awards, BIFA

Five Film4-backed films received awards at the 17th annual BritishIndependent Film Awards which took place last night, including Yann Demange who took home the Best Director Award for ’71 along with Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard who received the Best Debut Director Award for 20,000 Days on Earth.

20'000 Days On Earth

Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, awarded Best British Newcomer at the London Film Festival Awards, was once again recognised for her role in the forthcoming Catch Me Daddy and took home the Most Promising Newcomer Award.


Best Screenplay was awarded to Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan for Frank. Stephen Rennicks took home the Best Technical Achievement Award for his music on the same film.

Jon with Frank and the band

David Kosse, Director of Film4, says, “We are thrilled that our filmmakers, in front of and behind the camera, have been honoured at this year’s British Independent Film Awards. Film4’s work with new talent is hugely important to us, so it’s very exciting that they have been recognised with these awards.”

Film4 Innovation Forum 2014

29 Oct, 2014 Productions Posted in: Behind The Scenes, Film4.0, Talent


Film4’s Innovation Forum 2014 partners with Creative Skillset and confirms storytelling as the focus of this year’s event.

Film4 Innovation Forum 2014

How can a filmmaker’s vision be protected and enhanced in the interactive age?
How do we respond to audiences that want to be increasingly immersed in story worlds within and without a cinema experience?
What tools from our expertise can we use to strengthen the bonds between storytellers and their audiences?

Following on from the success of last year’s event, Film4’s Innovation Forum returns on 18th November and will focus on storytelling; exploring how emerging trends and technologies can be embraced by filmmakers to help them tell their stories in innovative ways and connect with audiences more deeply.

The Forum brings together top filmmakers and industry professionals from across the UK at Channel 4 headquarters. It will once again be an opportunity for people to come together to share innovation work and examine how the UK industry as a whole can move forward together in these exciting new times. In partnering with Creative Skillset, the industry skills body for the Creative Industries, the aim of the day is to ensure that the forum is at the centre of a bigger learning journey for our participants as well as for emerging talent right across the UK.

In response to the theme of this year’s Forum, the keynote speaker will be Frank Rose, a leading thinker on digital culture. His most recent book, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, shows how entertainment and advertising are responding to overwhelming technological change and how storytelling forms such an important part of this change. Additional speakers appearing on the day will be announced at a later date and are all pioneering new forms of storytelling from the worlds of film, theatre, publishing and beyond and will share their learning with attendees.

This scheme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, which is funded by the BFI with National Lottery funds, through the Skills Investment Funds.

Follow @Film4Insider on 18th November for full coverage of the Film4 Innovation Forum. Talks and materials will be uploaded to the Film4 blog at a later date. Click here to revisit 2013′s Forum.

Film4 Productions at TIFF 2014

18 Sep, 2014 Productions Posted in: Behind The Scenes, Toronto

We round up the enthusiastic reception of the six Film4-backed films which played at Toronto 2014, including the world premieres of The Riot Club, The Duke Of Burgundy and Second Coming.

The Riot Club


Left to right: Sam Claflin, Max Irons, Lone Scherfig, Holliday Grainger, Ben Schnetzer and Douglas Booth

Ahead of its UK release this week, Lone Scherfig’s Film4-backed adaptation of Laura Wade’s acclaimed stage play Posh received its world premiere in Toronto, and the dapper cast – including leads Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth – took to the red carpet. Critics praised these young stars, with The Telegraph’s Tim Robey writing that the film is “perfectly cast in its main roles [...] Sam Claflin has a hard, bitter edge to him – he’s a lone wolf, seeing what he can get out of this bunch, seizing his chances to pounce. Douglas Booth affects a raffish nonchalance that’s perfect for a character whose corruption and predatory contempt for women are papered over by a veneer of charm. And Max Irons, given range for a lot more doubt and self-awareness than Miles had on stage, is hugely impressive.”

The Riot Club is in UK cinemas now.

The Duke Of Burgundy

Chiara D'Anna and Peter Strickland introduce The Duke Of Burgundy

Chiara D’Anna and Peter Strickland introduce The Duke Of Burgundy

Director Peter Strickland took to the Bell Lightbox stage to introduce his third feature with a list of continuity errors in one hand (’11 minutes in, we’ve got a problem with a compost heap…’), and a recording of mole crickets in the other, giving the audience a taster of the unique viewpoint and amateur entomology that makes up The Duke Of Burgundy. Rave reviews followed in The Telegraph (‘hair-raisingly kinky’), The Guardian (‘this is not just a filthy movie. It’s a considerable work of art’) and The Hollywood Reporter (‘a constant delight’), and the film was included in festival season highlight round-ups in The DissolveLittle White Lies and Variety.

The Duke Of Burgundy screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Second Coming

Second Coming

Second Coming

Receiving its world premiere in TIFF’s Discovery strand was the directorial feature debut of playwright Debbie Tucker Green, starring Nadine Marshall and Idris Elba as a couple whose domestic life breaks down in the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy. Andrew Barker at Variety called the film an ”engrossing psychodrama” which offers “a fine showcase to a very fine cast”.

Second Coming screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall

Timothy Spall

After premiering in Cannes earlier this year to rave reviews and a Best Actor prize win for Timothy Spall, Mike Leigh’s biographical drama about British painter J.M.W. Turner travelled across the Atlantic for appearances at both TIFF and Telluride (as did Misters Spall and Leigh, as you can see above and below). NPR’s film critic Bob Mondello called it “a wheezing, growling, snorting work of art; every frame worthy of a frame”.

Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh

Mr. Turner will receive a Festival Gala screening in October at the BFI London Film Festival and goes on general UK release on 31st October.


Yann Demange

Yann Demange

Both director Yann Demange and future megastar lead actor Jack O’Connell attended the Canadian premiere of their Troubles-set thriller, which opened earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival. The film was screening in the festival’s Discovery strand, and critics squarely focused on both the first-time feature director and his rising star. In Vanity Fair, Jordan Hoffman wrote: “it takes a great deal of skill to shoot chaos in an orderly way, and Demange nails it. The first 30 minutes of the film are pure and direct, in a deceptively documentary-seeming style, but with a furious mounting tension,” and remarked that, paired with his breakout performance in last year’s Film4-backed prison drama Starred Up, “it is clear that O’Connell’s got chops”.

’71 screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October, and goes on general release in the UK on Friday 10th October.



The cast and crew of Hyena introduce the film (photo courtesy of Ben Roberts)

The cast and crew of Hyena introduce the film (photo courtesy of Ben Roberts)

A full entourage of cast and crew were out in force to back up director Gerard Johnson as he introduced the Toronto crowd to his compelling corrupt cops thriller, which Sight & Sound contributor Ashley Clark called “nasty, grimly funny, and stylish with a great, perma-ruffled lead turn from [Peter] Ferdinando”.

Hyena will be released in 2015.

Film4 unveils The Museum Of Important Shit

11 Sep, 2014 Productions Posted in: Documentaries

A collection of ordinary items with extraordinary significance launched in conjunction the film 20,000 Days on Earth featuring Nick Cave.

20000 Days On Earth

20000 Days On Earth

Designed as an online collection of objects that have changed people’s lives, and inspired by the notion explored in Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s film 20,000 Days on Earth that ordinary items can hold extraordinary personal significance, The Museum Of Important Shit will be the innovative digital home to a fascinating and eclectic assortment of ideas, memories and items of importance to people from all walks of life.

In addition, a wide range of special guests, including musician Nick Cave, actor Craig Roberts, actress and writer Alice Lowe, director Richard Ayoade, authors Joe Dunthorne and Jon Ronson, and broadcaster Edith Bowman will submit their own items and curate collections of objects from right across the museum.

Inspired by a moment during the filming of 20,000 Days on Earth and drawing on their experience in the digital sphere, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard were supported by Film4 to work with the BAFTA-winning content agency Somethin’ Else and together they have created The Museum Of Important Shit ( – an innovative online museum which will harness the power of user generated content to collect and showcase objects that have played a significant part in all sorts of people’s lives. Iain and Jane describe the moment the idea for the museum was formed:

“This whole thing started with an old piece of chewing gum. Seriously.

We were shooting the film and Nick told us this spine-tingling story. Nina Simone had been a nightmare backstage at one of her final gigs. But when she walked on and sat down, she took the gum from her mouth and stuck it on the piano, and… transformed. It’s one of those rare moments. Nick feels the gears of his heart change. It’s a feeling we’ve all experienced. A moment when your whole world changes.

Cut forward a few weeks, and we’re shooting another scene, this time sat in a kitchen on the edge of the world with Nick and his dear friend and bandmate Warren Ellis. They’re chatting and Nick asks Warren if he remembers the Nina Simone gig. Of course he does. “I have that gum” he says. And he really does. The next day he sends us a photo. It’s a pathetic looking dirty piece of gum, wrapped in a white towel. It’s shit, but it’s important shit. And that’s what this project is all about.”

Somethin’ Else has created an inherently socially-focussed multiplatform project using Twitter, the public will be invited to submit their own personal artefacts to the museum via Twitter. Users submit an image of the item and the story of why it is important to them, adding key tags to describe the object from the Museum’s own unique taxonomy. Browsing and discovery is also key to the project and users will be encouraged to browse items and collections via numerous routes and will stumble across all sorts of touching and unexpected stories as they go. Discussions about, and comments on, the items will develop across users’ Twitter feeds, introducing others to the Museum at the same time.

As with any museum, the element of curation is vital. In The Museum Of Important Shit Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard will act as Chief Curators of the museum. Themed collections will be created that link specific objects and people. Iain and Jane will also invite a number of special guests and creative icons to curate their own rooms in the museum.

Nick Cave says of the project, “I’ve been a great collector of stuff from the start, you know, as a child, with my marbles and bits of string in my pocket. To this day, I keep the writing and photographs and the random ephemera, thatover time, unexpectedly, collects meaning and significance. That stuff seems to be a kind of buttress that supports the soft tissue of my life. It feels connected to my soul in some kind of way. These physical things that define particular periods of my life, hold great importance to me. That stuff can unexpectedly reduce you to tears, because unexpected memory has that capacity. We all do it, I suppose, collect stuff, we all have our totems and touchstones that anchor us to our past. Stupid shit, in a way, but important shit.”

These sentiments resonate right across the museum and it serves as an innovative reminder that the strongest memories and emotions often come from the most everyday of objects. The Museum Of Important Shit is a cultural and emotional archive for and by the people that will feature collections unlike any other in the world, harnessing the myriad exciting opportunities that digital platforms give us all to share our stories with each other.

The Museum Of Important Shit further builds on Film4’s innovation work including Screen award-winning A Field In England Masterclass, the BAFTA-nominated Dreams of Your Life, the My ’45 site developed to partner Ken Loach’s documentary, and the groundbreaking Frank digital storytelling project.

Executive Producer Anna Higgs of Film4 says “What’s wonderful about this project is that the film and digital elements have developed completely holistically. The inspiration comes from Nick and from the film, but also from the wealth of digital experience that Iain and Jane have built over their careers, engaging fans and building new audiences. We can’t wait to see what a global audience contributes to the Museum.”

About the film:

20,000 Days on Earth is a bold vision of one of music’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, the iconic Nick Cave. In their debut feature directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard fuse drama and documentary by weaving a cinematically staged day in Cave’s life with never-before-seen verité observation of his full creative cycle.

The film, which won the Sundance Best Direction prize and Jonathan Amos the Best Editing Award in the World Cinema Documentary section, goes on general release on 19th September 2014 following a live satellite broadcast from London’s Barbican to UK cinemas on September 17 that will include a preview of 20,000 Days on Earth followed by an exclusive 60-minute live experience and Q&A featuring Nick Cave with special guests.

Featuring an original score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the film is produced out of Pulse Films by James Wilson (JW Films) and Dan Bowen, and backed by Film4, the BFI, Corniche Pictures, Pulse, PHI, and Goldin Films. It is distributed by Picturehouse Entertainment.