Monthly Archives: February 2014

BAFTA INTERVIEW – ROB HARDY (DP of The Invisible Woman, Blitz)

Really interesting post on the art of cinematography. Enjoy.

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Pride and prejudice: the Oscar link between Dallas Buyers Club and Twelve Years A Slave

Interesting piece here from Dominic Wells

London, Hollywood

Okay, so having now seen Dallas Buyers Club, it’s going to be a closer Oscar race than I thought for Chiwetel Ejiofor in Twelve Years A Slave. The Academy has loved a physical transformation ever since De Niro piled on the pounds for Raging Bull. Here the famously pec-tastic Mathew McConaughey slims down alarmingly to play a straight rodeo roughrider afflicted with HIV.

The two films are intriguingly similar, in that each uses a Trojan Horse to smuggle a minority subject into the hearts of majority film-goers. If Solomon Northup had not been a free man illegally sold into slavery, but born into it instead, it might have been harder for the audience to identify with his plight. If Ron Woodruff had been a gay HIV sufferer, he might not tug on the heartstrings of Middle America.

But apart from McConaughey’s gutsy, livewire, enormously affecting performance, Dallas…

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February 24, 2014 · 12:19 pm

Have #SpecialNeeds #Kids? Shut Them Up! #Malaysia #TCK #Autism

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Winners and Losers

Who hasn’t been watching the Winter Olympics? As a Brit, it will come as no surprise to learn that I was glued to the telly when Lizzie Yarnold slid to victory in the ladies’ skeleton bob event. It was a fantastic, triumphant moment and much of the country enjoyed it intensely. I’ve been keeping an intermittent eye on the curlers too; surely either or both of the British men’s and women’s teams will succeed in clinching a medal of some sort?
Without question, my favourite event at the winter games is the ice dancing. Again wearing my patriotic colours, I have to say a few words in praise of Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland who danced fantastically to a medley of Michael Jackson songs, Nick Buckland having undergone heart surgery only a few months ago. Nevertheless, the night belonged to Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who secured the gold medal by a comfortable margin following a mesmerising and intensely romantic performance to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade (a piece of music of which I’m particularly fond). Huge congratulations to them.
Much as I enjoy watching it, I’m no expert on figure skating and find it hard to make much of a judgement on the technical aspects; they all look fantastic to me. What I love is the grace and elegance of the dancers’ movements and the speed and sense of freedom they convey as they glide effortlessly around the rink. I would happily give them all medals, although of course that would defeat the purpose of the games; it’s a competition after all, and there have to be winners and losers.
International sport is no longer the preserve of gifted amateurs. Even to consider competing, as well as a natural aptitude, you must be prepared to train with utmost dedication and intensity, often for many years, often at the expense of any semblance of normal life. To be the best out of a world population of roughly seven billion, that’s what it takes. What this means in practice is that the margin between success and failure is continually narrowing. These days, the margin of victory is usually measured in millimetres or microseconds.
It’s easy to forget that those that come fourth or fifth are still pretty damned good at what they do, and will have put in just as many hours of intense training as their more successful rivals. So does coming fourth (out of seven billion) mean that you’ve failed? Or should the years training, sacrifice and preparation be regarded as a meaningful end it itself? It would be nice to think it’s all about the journey rather than the destination, all about achieving a personal best rather than an outright win, but I doubt many would be convinced by that. I’m thinking about writing too, of course. Is it enough to write just for oneself and one’s friends? Is it enough to keep trying to improve while recognising that you may never make the breakthrough that takes your writing to a professional level? And at what point do you throw in the towel and admit that it’s never going to happen? As for athletes, so for writers, it comes down to psychology – sheer bloody-minded determination, an uncrushable will to persevere and pick yourself up and keep going regardless of the fact that the odds are so dauntingly and overwhelmingly stacked against you. After all, some do win. Some do make it.

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Crossing the Border – My Arizona Film Scout

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Where to begin?  After two amazing weeks of travelling Arizona as research for my feature film, ‘Anchor Baby’, I’m home.  What did I discover about the world of my story?

Accompanied by my friend Doris,  we flew into Phoenix, then down to Tucson, then south to Nogales on the border, in search of the reality behind the events I had written in my feature length drama.

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Every day in Arizona, I fell in love with the landscape. Everyone had said it but I just wasn’t prepared. It’s beautiful.

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I must have taken a thousand photos.  None of them will make it into my movie but all are sketches for the world I want to describe.

I did a photo shoot in the mountains around Phoenix with a ten year old Mexican girl.  In my story the girl crosses the desert to find her Mum and so we took some shots…

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Monday Prescription – 6 Checklist Points for Your Film

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How 2,000 film-makers – and Chris Jones – made 50 Kisses

Really looking forward to this – well done to everyone who’s been involved with it!

London, Hollywood

The London indie film scene has never been stronger. With digital cameras and Kickstarter funding, sharing resources via Facebook or networking in pubs, film-makers are doing it for themselves. I’m old enough to remember one other DIY period as exciting as this. It was in music, and it was called Punk.

Like all underground movements, the Britpic scene has no official leader. But if you were to choose the Svengali, the Malcolm McLaren of film, it would be Chris Jones. The charismatic founder of the Guerilla Filmmakers’ Masterclass and the London Screenwriters’ Festival has, through his courses, blogs and breakfast seminars, motivated and connected more film-makers than anyone in Britain.

And now he has Frankensteined together a patchwork feature film that unites all this untapped talent. I was the sole journalist to sit through a special preview with Chris last week, and I was blown away.  The film is called

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February 10, 2014 · 7:13 pm