Film4 Productions

First poster released for Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner

22 Jul, 2014 Productions Posted in: News

Ahead of the film’s release on October 31st, here’s a look at the first poster for Mike Leigh’s Film4-backed J.M.W. Turner biopic, starring the Cannes Best Actor-winning Timothy Spall…

Mr Turner poster

Mr. Turner will be released by eOne on October 31st, find out more about the film and watch the trailer here.

Film4 short film marks award-winning playwright’s directorial debut

10 Jul, 2014 Productions Posted in: Short films

Francesca Annis stars alongside Larry Lamb, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Fielding and Anna-Maria Nabirye in Lucy Kirkwood’s directorial debut The Briny, a Film4-backed short film which has just wrapped filming in Suffolk.

The Briny is the first film from Olivier award-winning playwright and screenwriter Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica, NSFW, The Smoke). She directs her own original script which tells the story of Maureen (Annis), a woman who believes herself to be suffering from a sympathetic pregnancy to the Royal baby.

Eva Yates, Senior Development Executive at Film4, says: “Our shorts slate epitomises what Film4 exists to do in finding new voices in British film – giving distinctive creative talent the chance to take their first steps into filmmaking with full support from industry professionals. The calibre of cast and crew for The Briny is testament to Lucy’s originality of vision and great potential as a filmmaker as she brings this poignant and surreal story to life.”

Allon Reich of DNA Films, says: “We all loved Chimerica and are thrilled to be producing Lucy’s funny, touching and cinematic short film at DNA. We are sure this is just the start of her career as a writer and director for the big screen.”

In preparing for the shoot, Lucy Kirkwood shadowed Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) on the set of the Film4-backed Youth, currently shooting and starring Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda.

The Briny is produced by Alex Kendall and Teresa Moneo of DNA Films, with Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, and Joanne Smith executive producing alongside Film4’s Eva Yates.

Cinematography is by Charlotte Bruus Christensen (The Hunt, Far From The Madding Crowd, Anton Corbijn’s upcoming Life). Production design is by Alison Butler (Liam & Lenka, Cherry Tree Lane), Costumes by Holly Waddington (Ginger & Rosa) and editing by Hazel Baillie (In Our Name, Black Mirror).

Film4’s current shorts slate also includes screenwriter and playwright Sean Buckley’s Polar Bear, produced by Inflammable Films, due to shoot this summer and ahead of which Buckley spent time shadowing Justin Kurzel on the set of Macbeth; and Bat for Lashes musician Natasha Khan’s filmmaking debut Gotcha, produced by Cowboy Films, currently in development due to shoot later this year.

Film4’s supports a small number of short films each year, enabling creative talent to gain invaluable experience of the filmmaking process from start to finish – from acquiring knowledge and familiarity on set and fostering relationships with key crew, to cultivating ideas and developing their visual style. Past Film4-backed shorts include Paddy Considine’s BAFTA-winning Dog Altogether, which became the genesis of Tyrannosaur; Andrea Arnold’s Wasp, her latest feature American Honey is due to shoot later this year; Chris Morris’s BAFTA-winning My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117, which preceded Four Lions; Sam Taylor Wood’s BIFA-winning Love You More, ahead of her feature debut Nowhere Boy; and John Maclean’s BAFTA-winning Pitch Black Heist, his first feature Slow West is currently in post-production.

A collection of Film4’s shorts are available to view online - with further films including Andrea Arnold’s Wasp, Jesse Armstrong’s No Kaddish In Carmarthen and Daniel Mulloy’s Baby scheduled for release on the Film4 site in 2014.

Live satellite preview of 20,000 Days On Earth

10 Jul, 2014 Productions Posted in:

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s Film4-backed drama-documentary about the iconic musician Nick Cave will receive a gala preview at London’s Barbican Hall on 17th September, followed by a unique live performance, with 150 venues UK-wide linked in via satellite.

A live satellite broadcast from London’s Barbican Hall to 150 UK cinemas on September 17th, this red carpet gala preview of 20,000 Days On Earth will be followed by a unique 60-minute live experience that includes a live performance with Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and Barry Adamson and a Q&A with the creative team behind the film including directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and special guests.

Following this exclusive event, Picturehouse Entertainment will release Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days On Earth, the award-winning feature about musician and author Nick Cave, on 19th September in cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

“Its really exciting to be working with the Barbican on this intimate and exclusive event. Screening into over 150 cinemas across the UK, this is the perfect platform to launch a truly amazing film. Picturehouse Entertainment continue to spearhead innovative and unconventional release strategies designed to maximise their films’ ability to reach the widest possible audience,” said Picturehouse Entertainment Director of Programming & Acquisitions Clare Binns

“We’re very excited to be working with Picturehouse, Nick Cave and Iain & Jane on this unique event – it promises to be a very special experience, and it should also deliver a genuine insight into the creative process behind one of the most ground-breaking music films of recent years” said Barbican’s Contemporary Music Programmer Chris Sharp.

Tickets go on sale to Barbican members from 10am on Thursday 10th July, and then on general sale from 10am on Friday 11th July. For more information, visit the Barbican website. and


20,000 Days On Earth had its World and European Premieres at the Sundance and Berlin Festivals earlier in the year to great critical and public acclaim, winning the Sundance Best Direction prize and the Best Editing Award for Jonathan Amos in the World Cinema Documentary section.

The film 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 delves into Cave’s artistic processes, unpicking the stuff that makes him tick. We meet those who have affected his life, personally and professionally, including hilarious moments shared with his regular collaborator, the multi-instrumentalist and epic beard-wearer Warren Ellis; actor and friend Ray Winstone; and Kylie Minogue, with whom Cave duetted on his mainstream hit single ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’. These voices from the past revisit Cave in daydream-like scenes as he sits behind the wheel driving through his adopted hometown of Brighton, England.

The film constructs a narrative and cinematic reality that seamlessly blends performance and storytelling with emotional truths. Avowedly neither a music documentary nor a concert film, 20,000 Days On Earth still contains electrifying performances. We see a song grow from the tiniest of ideas sketched out by Cave in his office to a monstrous epic performed by the peerless Bad Seeds on stage at Sydney Opera House. We also witness Cave open up to psychoanalyst Darian Leader as he discusses how his early years continue to inform his work, and later join him on a journey through his personal archive. This category-defying film possesses the same frankness and wry humour that run through all of Cave’s work, and pushes the form into new territory, exploring universal themes and celebrating the transformative power of the creative spirit.

First-time feature directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard were inspired by a line in Cave’s songwriting notebook, in which he calculated being alive for 20,000 days. Cave’s story is both extraordinary and strikingly universal. It takes us deep into the heart of how myth, memory, love and loss, shape each and every one of our lives, every single day.

20,000 Days On Earth continues Picturehouse Entertainment’s innovative partnership with Film4 following the successful releases of The Imposter, The Stone Roses: Made of Stone, A Field In England and The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, with the recently announced Dark Horse and Thomas Quick set for 2015. A bespoke and unique digital partner project for the film, commissioned by Film4 and developed in collaboration with the filmmakers, Picturehouse and Pulse Films will be announced soon.

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.

20,000 Days On Earth will have its UK Premiere as part of the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House on 13th August.


Hyena: set visit

19 Jun, 2014 Productions Posted in: Edinburgh, Interview, Talent

Gerard Johnson’s follow up to his cult hit Tony is a dodgy coppers crime thriller set in West London – but it’s a world away from the likes of Guy Ritchie, Catherine Bray reports.

“This little one’s quite friendly, the little one in there.” Gerard Johnson, director of Hyena, is showing me snakes of all sizes contained within tanks in the basement of an extremely grubby former funeral parlour in West London, near Ladbroke Grove. “This one… he’s not so friendly.” He indicates a chunkier python type you wouldn’t want to tangle with. Upstairs, I’ve already taken a gander at a head on a stick, dripping blood. The severed head is of course a fake – that’s the magic of movie-making. But the snakes? The snakes are very real.

Peter Ferdinando stars in Hyena

Peter Ferdinando stars in Hyena

I’m on set for Hyena, Gerard Johnson’s follow up to his cult Dalston serial killer film Tony. This time Gerard’s swapped East London for West, but he’s remained faithful to his lead, Peter Ferdinando, who is almost unrecognisable from one film to the other, having lost about two stone of his usual weight to play Tony, and now deliberately piled two stone and a half stone on to play the lead in Hyena, for a four and a half stone difference. Think Christian Bale in The Machinist versus Christian Bale in American Hustle. As producer Jo Laurie puts it: “Peter approaches his work with as much authenticity as he can possibly put into it.” Gerard is a bit more blunt: “He’s got a big gut this time,” he chuckles, “but yeah, he’s a chameleon.”

In real life, the director and his method acting muse are cousins, and were apparently close growing up, but as Gerard remembers it, Peter knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor, while his own directorial ambitions developed much later. “But when I did want to do my first short, it was like, well, the natural person to ask is my cousin and we just grew from there.” It’s a successful partnership thus far that looks set to grow with both men’s burgeoning careers.

Peter Ferdinando starred in Tony

Peter Ferdinando starred in Tony

Like Tony, Hyena is concerned with life on the margins outside of polite society. But where Tony was about an unassuming Dennis Nilsen type, Hyena is more concerned with those in positions of underworld power, from corrupt cops to Albanian drug lords. The concept is neatly encapsulated in the title: “Hyena, in Greek, means pig. So, this is a film about pigs, really.” That’s pigs as in police, but also pig as in male chauvinist – and of course hyena has other connotations too… “Yes, there’s also the pack mentality and the nocturnal aspects of the hyena. It’s one of my favorite animals. It’s all about these different packs. So, we’ve got the Albanians, we’ve got the police, we’ve got the Turks. They’re all in their own little packs.”

Despite the dodgy gang culture, Hyena is not a Guy Ritchie geezer caper, nor yet a wham-bam action flick. Through street casting and research Gerard is striving for a greater degree of accuracy: “What I was very afraid of is films like Taken, that have painted a very unrealistic portrait of Albanians. For a start, they don’t cast real Albanians in the parts. They cast Serbs, Croatians, and then just say that they’re from Albania.” Most of Hyena was street cast, with more experienced actors like Stephen Graham (This Is England) and Neil Maskell (Kill List) rounding out the cast.

Hyena, by Gerard Johnson

Hyena, by Gerard Johnson

It’s not just with the cast that the filmmakers are hoping to shake up conventional movie wisdom – as Jo notes, “A big thing for Gerard is to put London up there with Paris and New York – London doesn’t really get that kind of cinematic treatment as much, that loving eye.” In every sense, there’s a bit more craft to Hyena than we’ve come to expect from the genre – you won’t find any Apprentice-style stock footage of the Gherkin here. And ironically, you won’t necessarily find all that much footage of those snakes I liked so much – apparently so much has been shot, the team will need to think carefully about what exactly makes the final cut. Some of the horrors of Hyena, like the underworld violence it depicts, will remain hidden behind closed doors.

Hyena premiered last night as the opening night film at the Edinburgh Film Festival and will open in the UK in October.



Timothy Spall wins Best Actor for Mr. Turner at Cannes

24 May, 2014 Productions Posted in: Awards, Cannes, Cannes, Festivals, News

We’re delighted to report than Timothy Spall has taken the Best Actor prize at Cannes 2014 for his portrayal of the titular character in Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall has won the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s much-lauded biopic Mr. Turner, which is proudly backed by Film4. Tessa Ross, Head of Film4, said: “Huge congratulations to Tim for this wonderful, well-deserved recognition from the Cannes jury. Mike has done something truly exceptional with this beautiful and evocative film, at the heart of which lies an astonishing central performance from Tim Spall. We’ve seen such an exciting range of British talent and work showcased on the Croisette this year, and to have a British actor take home this prize is an honour the whole industry can celebrate.”

Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic is his fifth film to be selected in competition at Cannes Film Festival, with his previous Palme d’Or win being awarded for his 1996 feature Secrets & Lies. Alongside Mr. Turner Film4 had two other films selected for this year’s Cannes: Mike Leigh’s Jimmy’s Hall played in competition, whilst Daniel Wolfe’s debut feature Catch Me Daddy was selected for Director’s Fortnight.

Film4 also unveiled a slate of films at the festival, including Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, Todd Haynes’ Carol and Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette. Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. It develops and co-finances films with an annual budget of £15 million and is known for working with the most innovative talent in the UK.

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady; critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This Is England, Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers and Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant; and the most successful British comedy at the UK box office, Ben Palmer’s The Inbetweeners Movie. Recent releases includes Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, David Mackenzie’s Starred Up and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank.