Film4 Productions

Producer Mark Herbert’s Top Five Stone Roses Tracks

With The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone premiering on Channel 4 this Easter Weekend at 10.50pm on Record Store Day – Saturday 19th April – producer  Mark Herbert shares his top five Stone Roses tracks


1. Don’t Stop

This is apparently Waterfall in reverse but for nearly 20 years I did not know. When I heard Reni play it live and saw his octopus hands make it look easy playing this rhythm, I was in awe. I love Mani and Reni at the end.


2. Breaking Into Heaven

I spent so long waiting for the album, stuck it on and thought “what’s the frig is this?”, then when it kicked in, I was in love with it. I’ve grown to love all of it and was blown away when I heard it for the first time live at Finsbury Park this year.


3. Mersey Paradise

Under 3 minutes of bliss. John’s dreamy guitar intro lulls you in & then the rest of them punch you in the under carriage.


4. Where Angels Play

“Ok, let’s fly she says, this carpet’s made for two.”

What a wondrous poetic line sung in proper Northern from Ian. Up there with “You taste of Cherryade” from Sally Cinnamon. They seem so simple, but the best art does. And both are dead romantic.


5. I Am The Resurrection

When making the film, you think you will tire of hearing the songs. Never did. When the crowd threw the green cushions at this performance last year in Lyon,  it made the hair stand up on the back of my thinning head as much as when I first heard it at 18. It was also played last at my brother’s wedding party this year and the dance floor went mental (in a quaint pub in Peaks)


Click here to buy The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone on 2 disc Collector’s Edition DVD or Steelbook Blu-Ray now

Watch the trailer for The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone:






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


Frank: a Twitter prequel

03 Apr, 2014 Productions Posted in: Behind The Scenes, Online

Commissioning Executive Anna Higgs on creating a prequel to Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank via the most natural storytelling medium possible for the character involved: Twitter

The @JonBurroughs83 Twitter handle is a digital prequel to Frank. It’s the main account in a really exciting storytelling project that we’ve developed over the last year. We’ve taken Jon, who is the lead character in Frank, and expanded his life out beyond the film and started his journey before the events of the film itself. We didn’t want to create a new platform or an app, but instead wanted to really think about the natural digital spaces that Jon – as a young man in the UK who wants to connect with people and start making his own music – would live. Taking our lead from the film, he would obviously be engaged with Twitter and YouTube, but also with popular platforms like Spotify, This Is My Jam and Instagram, where people can visually chart their lives. We started to build up a set of platforms where his work and his life could live, and over the last six months we’ve been slowly building that universe.

"My boss put this poster up" - Jon tweets about work

“My boss put this poster up” – Jon tweets about work

So Jon has been tweeting about his mundane life in a place he nicknames Humdrum-on-Sea, from the amazingly boring office that he works in and how he tries to liven up his white bread lunch sandwiches by making album covers out of skittles, all the way through to his first amazing light-bulb moment when he spent a weekend in Camden and heard the Belle and Sebastian song ‘Judy and the Dream of Horses’, which switched something on for him and made him feel like he could have a go at being a musician himself and start to explore that world. Yesterday he dropped his first track on the internet and people are responding at the moment, so it’s really interesting to see him start to feel that there are people out there that can listen, but maybe some of those people aren’t listening and he’s starting to get a bit desperate.

New Order's Blue Monday in Skittle form

New Order’s Blue Monday in Skittle form

His activity online is really agile, but it’s built on a really crafted story arc with a precise journey that will mesh with the film, and I hope this new approach to storytelling will have two outcomes. One is that if you connect with him before the film that you can come to the film with a richer sense of who the character is and where he’s come from, so you can perhaps dive into Lenny’s film in a deeper way from the outset. Alternatively, if you don’t engage in advance but see his handle appear during the film, you can come out of the cinema and then really fall down the rabbit hole and go into six or more months of Jon’s back-story of tweets, pictures, song choices and feel what he’s been facing with people misunderstanding him.

Ever since I joined Film4 when Frank was in development, it felt like a film that really stood out. The extraordinary storytellers behind it – Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan and Lenny Abrahamson – had done an amazing amount of work in terms of the research behind the characters and their world. Added to that as a real slam-dunk no-brainer was the fact that the character of Jon, the lead in the film, uses Twitter and YouTube and blogging within the film as part of his communication with the world while he’s making an album with Frank (Michael Fassbender) and the Soronprfbs (Frank’s unpronounceable band), so it just felt like a perfect fit: Jon is a native to Twitter.  He had to have a life there in our real world.

Jon with Frank and the band

Jon with Frank and the band

For me, the key was making sure that the filmmakers felt really empowered by exploring this sort of digital storytelling, that they felt like that they could lead a process where we expanded out the world of the film, because bringing a character out of crafted, honed film full of subtext and nuance is a really delicate thing to do. We had to ensure that the digital creative worked with the character and with the story, and that was possible with the amazing research that Jon and Lenny and Peter had done. Creative strategist Hugh Garry (@huey) felt like the obvious candidate to me, not only because he’s a really well-established and incredibly expert digital storyteller, but also because he’s got a really brilliant combination of music and film experience. He worked at Radio1 and 6Music on their digital side for a very long time and had been doing a lot of filmed content with the likes of Shut Up And Play the Hits, so he had the perfect combination of experience.

I can’t wait to see Jon’s world on social networks grow and hope the audience out there really enjoy his journey!

Frank is in UK cinemas from 9th May. Follow Jon on Twitter at @JonBurroughs83 or on Instagram here.


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.