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Film4 Receives 12 Nominations for the British Indepdendent Film Awards 2016

01 Nov, 2016 Productions Posted in: Uncategorized

Film4 received a total of 12 nominations for the British Independent Film Awards 2016, announced this morning.

Sasha Lane as in American Honey

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey received six nominations, there were three nominations for debut filmmaker Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us, two for Ben Wheatley’s recent LFF Closing Night film Free Fire, and one nomination for Susanna White’s Our Kind of Traitor.

Director of Film4 Daniel Battsek commented: “I’m thrilled for all our nominees whose work was recognised in this morning’s announcement, and very happy that those nominations are spread over four films from a variety of gifted filmmakers. The BIFAs are an important champion of British independent filmmaking, and we’re proud to have backed all of those nominated this morning. Good luck to everyone on December 4th, we’ll be cheering for you.”

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey received six nominations, for Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Arnold herself, Sasha Lane was nominated for Best Actress, Shia LaBeouf for Best Actor, and cinematographer Robbie Ryan was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Craft.

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Michael Fassbender & Brendan Gleeson in Trespass Against Us

Trespass Against Us secured three nominations: Best Actor for Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting Actor for Sean Harris, and The Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director for Adam Smith.

Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Free Fire secured two nominations: Best Director for Ben Wheatley and Outstanding Achievement in Craft for Shaheen Baig, for casting.

Our Kind of Traitor’s Naomie Harris was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category. As previously announced, Harris will also receive The Variety Award, which recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has made a global impact and helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK.

Winners will be announced at the British Independent Film Award ceremony on Sunday 4th December at Old Billingsgate.

FilmFear at HOME Manchester

11 Oct, 2016 Posted in: Uncategorized

Put a dark mark in your diary this Halloween as Film4 joins forces with HOME Manchester to bring the FilmFear season to the big screen, with five nights of special previews, spooky shorts and cult classics from Thursday 27th to Monday 31st October.

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THE FINAL GIRLS PRESENT: PREVIEW/ PREVENGE

Thursday 27th October, 6.10pm

A ruthless black comedy from Alice Lowe that follows a pregnant mother-to-be on a vengeful killing spree at the behest of her persuasive unborn child. Presented by feminist horror collective The Final Girls.

PREVIEW/ RAW

Friday 28th October, 6.15pm

A gruesome yet intimate tale of a teenage girl’s carnal and carnivorous awakening. Recently enrolled at veterinary college, Justine finds her carefully constructed personal identity coming under pressure from social and academic demands. As the stress mounts, Justine is compelled to bite back.

PREVIEW/ WE ARE THE FLESH (TENEMOS LA CARNE)

Friday 28th October, 8.40pm

A diabolical nightmare – endorsed by Alejandro Iñárritu and Carlos Reygadas – that delivers you into a world of taboo fantasy and dark magic, as teenage siblings find themselves spellbound by an ogre-like figure whose perverted rituals promise a cosmic climax.

PHANTASM: REMASTERED

Saturday 29th October, 11pm

Go down to the mortuary at midnight courtesy of the re-release of this surreal and delirious nightmare. The lethal silver ball has been polished up and launched back into the world in a 4K restoration by fan J. J. Abrams, ready for a new generation to figure out just what the hell is going on…

THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE (AKA DON’T OPEN THE WINDOW; LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE) (NON SI DEVE PROFANARE IL SONNO DEI MORTI)

Saturday 29th October, 4pm

This Spanish horror film from 1974 – set and shot in Northern England – sustains a creepy atmosphere as it follows a couple pursued by both zombies and an even more terrifying police officer. It may not have the reputation of the Romero and Fulci classics, but this living-dead tale still deserves to be unearthed. Screening from a 16mm print.

THE KEEP

Saturday 29th October, 8.40pm

Michael Mann’s stylised period horror yarn from 1983 may have a checkered history but it’s a must-see on the big-screen. A troop of German soldiers occupy a Romanian castle during World War II, unleashing both an ancient demon and a typically hypnotic Tangerine Dream score. Screening from a 35mm print.

EVENT/ HARMONIEBAND PRESENT NOSFERATU WITH LIVE MUSICAL SCORE (NOSFERATU, EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS)

Sunday 30th October, 1.30pm

Nosferatu marked the first appearance on screen of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it remains the eeriest of the many film versions of the famous tale. With live musical accompaniment from European film festival favourites, HarmonieBand, this is unmissable.

PREVIEW/ THE GHOUL

Sunday 30th October, 6pm

A haunting psychological mystery from first-time director Gareth Tunley that occupies the mind of a character introduced to us as a detective investigating a double murder. Nothing is what it seems however, especially when occult forces start to influence an already fragile reality.

BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL: CULT PRESENTS: PREVIEW/ THE VOID

Sunday 30th October, 8.40pm

Direct from the Cult strand of the BFI London Film Festival comes a bizarre shocker that LFF programme Michael Blyth calls a ‘slice of retro terror…drawing upon the cool aesthetics of early John Carpenter and the gloopy practical effects of vintage Stuart Gordon’.

¡VIVA! SPANISH AND LATIN AMERICAN FESTIVAL PRESENTS/ DRACULA + INTRO

Monday 31st October, 6.10pm

Filmed at night on the sets being used by the better-known version starring Bela Lugosi, this Spanish language version of Dracula is considered by many as the superior version.

For full details and booking information, visit the HOME website

Daniel Battsek talk added to Film4’s four at BFI London Film Festival

05 Oct, 2016 Posted in: London Film Festival, Uncategorized

Four Film4 titles have been selected to screen at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, including Closing Night Gala Free Fire, a high octane action thriller from director Ben Wheatley, who will also give a LFF Screen Talk.

Head of Film4 Daniel Battsek will host an onstage conversation with Lady Macbeth director William Oldroyd as part of the LFF industry programme’s ‘Greenlighters’ strand, in which leading film executives discuss a film they love from the Festival programme with its director.

Channel 4’s On Screen Diversity Executive Ramy El-Bergamy will take part in a panel discussion at the LFF Black Star Symposium about the opportunities available to, and the obstacles faced by, black actors in the US and the UK.

Full details of Film4’s slate at the BFI London Film Festival:

Sasha Lane as in American Honey


AMERICAN HONEY (dir. Andrea Arnold)

European Premiere – Special Presentation

Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home runs away with a travelling sales crew that drives across the American mid-west selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard partying, law-bending and young love.

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UNA (dir. Benedict Andrews)

European Premiere – Official Competition

When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at an older man’s workplace, looking for answers, the secrets of the past threaten to unravel his new life. Their confrontation will uncover buried memories and unspeakable desires. It will shake them both to the core.

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TRESPASS AGAINST US (dir. Adam Smith)

European Premiere – Thrill strand

Three generations of the Cutler family live as notorious outlaws in Britain’s richest countryside. They spend their time hunting, looting and tormenting the police. In the midst of it all, Chad (Michael Fassbender) finds himself torn between respect for his father (Brendan Gleeson) and a desire for a better life for his children. With the law cracking down on his clan, the decision might not be his to make… Music for the film is an original score from The Chemical Brothers.

Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

FREE FIRE (dir. Ben Wheatley)

European Premiere – Closing Night Gala

Massachusetts, late ‘70s. Justine (Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues. Wheatley’s first US-set action picture is executive produced by Martin Scorsese. 

Kill List by Ben Wheatley

BFI LFF Screen Talk – Ben Wheatley

One of the most dynamic and original voices in contemporary British cinema, Ben Wheatley will give a Festival Screen Talk to discuss his career to date of six films (five of which were backed by Film4), encompassing off-kilter horror masterpiece Kill List, pitch black comedy Sightseers, medieval acid western A Field in England, 2015’s stylish JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise, and this year’s LFF Closing Night Gala Free Fire.

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BFI LFF industry event – The Greenlighters: Daniel Battsek & William Oldroyd

As part of a series of conversations at Picturehouse Central in which leading film executives discuss a film at the Festival that they love (but have no connection with) with its director, Head of Film4 Daniel Battsek will discuss Lady Macbeth with William Oldroyd. The talks give a unique insight into the kinds of stories exciting the people with the greenlight power, while giving us a glimpse into the creative processes of some of the world’s most remarkable new filmmakers.

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BFI LFF Black Star Symposium – Discussion Panel

Channel 4’s On Screen Diversity Executive Ramy El-Bergamy will take part in a panel discussion at the LFF Black Star Symposium with David Oyelowo, Noel Clarke and Julie Dash about the opportunities available to, and the obstacles faced by, black actors in the US and the UK; the types of roles and the kinds of stories being told; the politics vs the reality of ‘colour-blind casting; and the differences between the film and TV sectors in the respective territories.

 

Rachel Hirons on Powder Room

08 Jun, 2016 Posted in: Uncategorized

As Film4 plays the network premiere of female-fronted comedy Powder Room starring Sheridan Smith and Jaime Winstone, Beth Webb speaks with writer Rachel Hirons about her first feature screenplay.

1. Your inspiration for Powder Room came from your own experience in a London nightclub. How did you expand a quick chat in the loo that you’d overheard into a feature length script?

Well before it became a feature film, it was a play, When Women Wee, which started life at the Edinburgh Festival. The play was set in a female toilet of a nightclub and is what Damian Jones (the producer) saw before asking if I could turn it into a film script. The play itself was more of a series of comedic sketches – the cast of 6 played 25 characters between them – depicting various women at all stages of love, life and intoxication, without much of a narrative or any judgment on their behaviour.

Oona Chaplin and Kate Nash in Powder Room

When it came to writing the film, I focused in on the characters I believed had the biggest opportunity for a journey over the course of one night and took it from there. The main character, Sam, was actually somewhat indistinct in the play. That potential for development and creative licence is what attracted me to her most. I was able to decide exactly what story I wanted to tell and dump it all onto her.

2. The screenplay mainly focuses on the relationships between Sheridan Smith’s character Sam and her friends. Did you draw on any of your own friendships when developing their stories?

Yes, of course. Sam is a woman in her early 30s who is fraught with the fear that everyone around her has got it made – whether they’re in great relationships, successful careers or have the confidence and security of having ‘found themselves’ – while she is perpetually stuck in an adolescent state, uncertain of what she wants and unsure how to get it. I think everyone feels like that – if not constantly then at certain times.

It’s easy to look around at your friends and colleagues and believe they all have it made: ‘she’s the beautiful one, she’s the successful one, she’s the one who married the perfect guy’. We all know people who ‘fit’ those categories and we define them as ‘having it all’. Of course no-one can objectively see themselves how they are and the tendency is to view ourselves as the one that doesn’t ‘fit’, so writing those characters was an embellishment and exaggeration of those traits – echoing Sam’s point of view. In reality ‘the successful one’ in your opinion will see herself as the one who ‘doesn’t fit’ and will have a nice, clean title for you – something that she wishes she was or had.

3. The Vodka Diaries is also based around a group of young women and their friendships. There is definitely a platform for female friendships in comedy that didn’t exist before – why do you think that is?

There’s a really unromantic answer for that in my opinion. It’s difficult to get any film away (funded, made, distributed) and with every film comes a high risk of loss for everyone involved, so you find that little risk is taken – people only want to invest in models that are proven hits. Comedy is, overall, the cheapest genre to make – there’s seldom any need for CGI, elaborate sets or period designs, as they are most often present day and heavily based in reality – so there’s less risk of loss, making them the ideal platform for ‘experimentation’ e.g. female leads, which in turn creates opportunity. Off the back of that, so many female-led comedies have proven a success which creates more demand and opportunity.

The film is based on Hiron’s play When Women Wee

In the more expensive genres – action and fantasy, for example – this change is less apparent because there has been less precedence that female leads can sell. But there is evidence of change even there, it’s just a slower progression.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced when developing the play into your first feature screenplay?

The biggest challenge that faces anyone writing their first screenplay: how the hell do I write a screenplay? As much as I’d love to answer this in a way that makes me sound like some innately gifted screenwriter – that would be a lie, unfortunately, and totally unhelpful to anyone reading this… The truth is, in hindsight, the main thing that got me through it was a (fairly sensical) assumption that I’d write something and then Damian would hire a ‘proper writer’ to re-write it how it ‘should be’…

I sat there – laptop on one side, Syd Field’s book on screenwriting on the other – and did my best to fit what I thought the story was into something recognisable as a film, with this imagined safety net that someone would ultimately ‘fix it’. I wrote it within a few weeks, which sounds impressive, but came from not quite knowing what I was doing. That naivety was actually a saving grace in the end, because if I’d known that was going to be the final script, I’d have been crippled by anxiety.

I remember being on the set and watching the crew furiously working to get a particular shot to work and I was like ‘shit, sorry guys – you know I can just take that bit out if it’s easier’… It’s crazy that a thought you had when you were sat on your couch, by yourself in undies will ever result in a massive crew and expensive equipment to realise it later down the line.

5. You have a brief cameo in the film, did you spend a lot of time on set? It looks like it would’ve been a fun shoot.

Haha, that cameo – the beginning and end of my acting career. That wasn’t planned at all, obviously, and came about because I was on set that day (it was the club scene and they needed extras) and MJ Delaney (the director) thought it would be funny if I spilled wine on Sheridan. I actually wasn’t on set much at all – maybe three days? – and I only ever went there if there was a reason, like needing extras or a bit of an emergency re-write. The whole process was so fast (it was nine months from my first meeting with Damian to actually shooting the film), that there was little time for indulgence. There’s nothing funny about making a comedy.

Powder Room plays on Film4 on Sunday 12th June at 11.05pm

 

The KVB unveil Peter Strickland-directed video to new single ‘Never Enough’

01 Jun, 2016 Posted in: Uncategorized

Following the recent release of acclaimed new album Of Desire, on March 11th via Invada Records, The KVB have unveiled the video to single ‘Never Enough’, directed by Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, Bjork: Biophilia Live, Katalin Varga, Berberian Sound Studio)…

Speaking about the video, Strickland, the recent recipient of several Independent Film Awards, a London Critics’ Circle Film Award and a European Film Academy Award, stated: “As with many albums I love, The KVB’s Of Desire is something I regularly fall asleep to. I had three wisdom teeth taken out when the album came out and somehow the various nocturnal anxieties I felt when falling asleep to the album ended up in this video for Never Enough.”

In a perfect pairing, bringing a clinical and somewhat sinister air to the mesmeric, reverberating backdrop of ‘Never Enough’, Strickland’s facility for engrossing slow shots and seamless lighting aesthetic brings a further transfixing element to the new single.

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The KVB – having begun life in 2010 as a bedroom project for then Southampton-based Nicholas Wood to experiment with ideas around minimal electronica, before expanding with Wood’s partner and collaborator Kat Day and relocating to Berlin in 2014 – have long been fans of Strickland’s work; noting his use of haptic imagery, object-stroking slow shots and sensual colouring as particular favoured traits.

The productive pair have now released five albums since 2010, with their prolific work ethic also extending to the release of a number of tapes and EPs.

‘Of Desire’ became The KVB’s second LP on Geoff Barrow’s label, Invada Records. Barrow invited the band to record the album in his studio which the band did using what they describe as his “wonderful synthesisers”.

Their most fully formed record and considered in terms of dynamics, arrangements and instrumentation, taking in influences such as Death In Vegas, Scott Walker and Roxy Music, The KVB managed to create something that is at once familiar and yet inventive and original.

The album is self produced and was mastered by Sonic Boom at New Atlantis Studio. Lead single, “In Deep”, a song powered by a motorik beat and distorted blasts of icy guitars, Wood describes as being about longing. He adds, “there is definitely a romantic undercurrent to the record”. Day expands: “It’s about longing to be with someone and getting lost in a world that you create together.”

The album has a markedly cinematic quality, something the band are keen to explore further. A fitting appeal considering Invada is also home to some of cinema’s most engaging soundtracks of recent years, having released the scores to films like Ex Machina, Solaris, Hannibal and Nicholas Winding Refn’s brutal neon masterpiece, Drive.

Day, who studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, also provides all of the visual elements surrounding The KVB, from album artwork to video projections for their live performances. Inspired by artists such as CGI experimenter Ed Atkins and German filmmaker, visual artist and video documentarian Hito Steyerl, her work is rich in texture: immersive and alluring.