Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shane Meadows – a very British auteur

With no apologies for repeating the point ... Remember the journals kept in the Lib?! They're packed with useful material for both halves of your Media exam - they are written specifically for Media and Film Studies students!!!
I'll pick out some key points from the article below in a separate post; how closely do these match up with the notes you'd take from this article? [I'll publish this after you've had a chance to try it for yourself!]
The article in question is "Shane Meadows – a very British auteur" from MediaMagazine 21, September 2008, by John Fitzgerald.

The full article is below:

Shane Meadows – a very British auteur
Early days
Meadows’ background is a vital part of the context to his work. Shane Meadows is in his mid-thirties and grew up in the Staffordshire town of Uttoxeter. He is from an ordinary working-class background and this has been the chief inspiration for all of his work so far. He studied photography and, after leaving college, his early short films were largely financed by his dole money. His first major short Where’s the Money Ronnie! was an interesting and inventive crime film. His first feature Smalltime followed working-class characters involved in petty criminal activities. On reflection the film echoes Paul Abbot’s Channel 4 television drama Shameless in both its themes and mise-en-scène.

Film student on impact of meeting Meadows

Remember the journals kept in the Lib?! They're packed with useful material for both halves of your Media exam - they are written specifically for Media and Film Studies students!!!
A man once visited my class at college. He was not Jean-Luc Godard or Martin Scorsese. He walked and talked and looked like a plumber from Nottingham, or any other ‘real life’ person that you could expect to meet. But he’d brought some short films in to show us; films he’d made – which made him a filmmaker. And they were good, too. They didn’t have any graphic matches, or symbolic meaning, or Odessa Steps, but they were affectionate, funny, moving and simple; makeable, even. The filmmaker’s name was Shane Meadows.
This is taken from an article ("Somers(town))" written by a final year degree student on the influence an encounter with Shane Meadows has had on him (MediaMagazine28, Dec 2008)
part of your exam asks you to reflect on your own consumption of film - and the whole issue of how British our cinema is, and to what extent it represents YOU, also comes into play here. The article raises some useful points which should help you to prepare some revision notes on this: your film consumption and how you feel about the representations of Britain/Yorkshire etc in British cinema.
[Meadows developed] familiar and welcome signatures: the presence of the diverse and excellent actor, Paddy Considine, the calm and unpretentious shot simplicity, the appreciative dedication to actors, characters and therefore stories, and the Big Arty Production company title that appears in the naïve Final Cut fonts to make me smile before each of his films begin. was a man – and not just any man, but a Bloke – who had made a film that was entirely natural and comfortable in its own low budget, digital, do-able and British body. Something that had seemed so far removed from my slick inspirations, now so easily rivalled them in impact, making me question what it was I really loved about the films I said I loved, and why I would want to make such films.
Meadows had expressed, with the casual openness of a man who isn’t sitting in front of twenty Film students, how his jaunt into the British mainstream with his third feature, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, had left him disillusioned, pissed-off and eager to return to the guerilla-shoot days of his first feature, Twenty Four Seven.
Then, last year, came This Is England (see MM 21). No hiding the emotion this time, on either the first or second trip to the cinema. This Is England, after Meadows’ matured but vengeful return to creative success, was a cut that had been getting deeper since the start of his career and, in coming closer to the bone than ever before, resulted in his most accomplished, personal and, ironically, commercially successful film to date. It seemed to solidify everything good about Meadows’ films; the affection and awareness he has for real life as he knows it or knew it, and his uncanny dedication and ability to portray it, whether through actors or setting, in such an ‘as it is’/’as it was’ way.

So I thought about my list of moments and reasons for loving cinema, and the bag of memorized cool that would one day make me Quentin Tarantino, and I realized that, while cool is cool, telling an honest story about something you understand seems to make for the most affecting and timeless of all films. The moments that demonstrate the appeal of these films are harder to define. Not the thrill of a gun-fight or a famous line but a feeling of memory and empathy, triggered by something between a mother and her young boy as she tries to convince him to buy smart shoes instead of Doc Martens. Hard to define and harder to capture, but worth it if you can do it. And perhaps that’s why these films and these directors seem to stand out. Meadows made Dead Man’s Shoes because Clarke made Scum because Scorsese made Mean Streets because Truffaut made The 400 Blows. Each probably tried to be the other, but if you take your cues from a personal, honest and emotional filmmaker, your films are bound to end up, if not like theirs, at least personal, honest and emotional. And anybody can relate to that. 
...Although still described as the young hope of British cinema, at six features in, Meadows could be said to be reaching veteran status.
... Perhaps, due to its seventy-minute running time or its close proximity to recent successes, Somers Town has received a slightly more mixed response than Meadows’ other recent films, but I think it’s refreshing for an organic filmmaker like Meadows to allow projects to come to fruition how, where and when they feel right. A skinhead he may look like, but a bit of a hippy is what I think he really is. Better that than a yuppy, on a crane shouting down a megaphone at the latest car-chase-gun-fight-swear-smoke-sex-camera-angle…

The full article can be found below:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brit Brat Pack? 'YBAs'

Could the UK be set to provide Hollywood with a new golden generation? Seems unlikely, but Joanna Walters argues in her articles that this seems to be a developing story, the YBAs (Young British Actors) finding great success stateside...
(for anyone who doesn't get the reference, the Brat Pack were...'a group of young actors and actresses who frequently appeared together in teen-oriented coming-of-age films in the 1980s. First mentioned in a 1985 New York magazine article, it is now usually described as the cast members of two specific films released in 1985 – The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire – although sometimes other actors are included. The "core" members are Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy.
The actors themselves were known to dislike the label. Many of their careers peaked in the middle of the 1980s but declined afterwards for various reasons.')
The Young British Actors taking Hollywood by storm
They are young, handsome and very talented. And the American studios are fighting to sign them up
jack huston
Jack Huston at the Calvin Klein men's fashion show in February. Rex Photograph: Billy Farrell Agency / Rex Featu
They are the new generation of YBAs, but this cohort has no interest in shaking up the art galleries of London. Their reputations are being made on the west coast of America. They are the Young British Actors.
Hollywood is looking for its next matinee idols – this decade's DiCaprio, Pacino, Heston, Newman or Brando. A surprising number of the candidates are twentysomethings from the UK.
Eddie Redmayne, Toby Hemingway and Max Irons are just some of the names turning heads on Sunset Boulevard. When the Los Angeles Times listed "nine newbies" to Hollywood who merited close attention, five were Britons in their 20s – Redmayne, Hemingway and Irons, plus Jack Huston and Sam Claflin. With Andrew Garfield hitting the big time in last year's The Social Network, Robert Pattinson's success in the Twilight series and Jamie Bell about to star in the latest screen version of Jane Eyre, a golden age is at hand.

Peter Lennon: One-film Wonder - tales from the Indie edge

The Gdn's Pete Bradshaw reminiscences on his old mentor Peter Lennon highlights the still familiar tale of Indie filmmakers struggling to get their work screened; striking a distribution deal is even harder than getting the finance for production. In this case it was 1967, and, just like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh (both starting out themselves in this era) today, whilst critically lauded in Europe (Cannes in this case), he still couldn't get the film released...

Farewell to Peter Lennon, whose only film was worth a dozen by a lesser man
In The Rocky Road to Dublin, the widely-admired Guardian journalist leaves behind a glorious film of enduring relevance

Peter Lennon
Peter Lennon, left, with the cinematographer Raoul Coutard in Paris in 1967. Photograph: Graham Finlayson
The death of Peter Lennon, Guardian journalist and documentary film-maker, causes a complicated kind of sadness. I met him first on joining the Guardian in 1999; he was at the paper on a freelance writing contract. Peter was funny, charming, and self-deprecating. He would occasionally participate in office discussions about how we should cover the Cannes film festival, without ever attempting to pull rank — as he was arguably entitled to do, given that he was a real live film-maker who had had something selected at Cannes.
Peter was the director of The Rocky Road to Dublin, a sensational movie anatomy of Ireland which was entered for the festival in the tumultuous year of 1968. The film grew out of a series of articles he had written based around interviews with priests, politicians, sportsmen and artists, and challenging what he saw as the Irish republic's reactionary complacency and dullness. It was shot by Jean-Luc Godard's cinematographer, Raoul Coutard, in an exhilarating hand-held style, and made Lennon, for a dizzying period, a brilliant fellow-traveller with the French New Wave.
Lennon was admired for his journalism, and for a sharp and witty collection of outsider-perspective essays about Paris in the 1960s entitled Foreign Correspondent. But it was as a film-maker – one who could have rivalled Frederick Wiseman or Albert and David Maysles – that he was really noticed. Why did he only make one film? What happened? His tale is part of the larger story of how being an independent film-maker is a back-breaking, heart-breaking business, and how building a career in the movies is subject to the awful tides of fate.
Lennon himself described how he experienced both good and bad luck as a film-maker. Elated by the response to his lid-lifting articles, and with a lightning bolt of inspiration, Lennon approached Coutard and asked him to be the cinematographer for his documentary movie version. Coutard shruggingly agreed with a "Ouais": he had recently fallen out, it transpired, with François Truffaut, who reportedly could not tolerate Coutard's bad temper, which was apparently caused by an attempt to quit smoking. The Frenchman resumed the habit during Lennon's shoot, so all was well, and Coutard made the film look glorious, giving it that ineffable zeitgeisty cool.
But it wasn't simply their expertise – Lennon's French crew had a cool detachment which Irish professionals might have lacked. With an Irish crew, every single daring aspect of the film might have triggered a furious personal row with someone, somewhere. With a shoestring movie, you rely on goodwill, people agreeing to be paid later, or not at all. And these were explosive issues.
The Irish establishment was frosty towards the film, but the movie's selection at Cannes (it was in the critics' week section) won them over – just a little. At Cannes itself, Peter's film was upstaged mightily when Godard and Truffaut stormed the stage just after its first screening and brought the festival to a halt. It was a curious omen.
And then? Well, nothing happened. Peter Lennon did not make another film. When The Rocky Road to Dublin was re-released six years ago, I wrote that he had been "cold-shouldered" by the Irish establishment, which was partly true. Irish cinemas wouldn't screen it, RTE didn't broadcast it, and it didn't actually get a full release until 2006.
But this, it seems, was not the whole story. Films need cash. Lennon's producer, Victor Hebert, though a generous and imaginative man, could not simply bankroll anything and everything, and Rocky Road, though a festival favourite, was no moneyspinner. Peter himself had a young family to support. He was enticed back to London by an offer to work for Harry Evans's Sunday Times. Journalism took up his time and energies. And here, again, is where the tides of luck and fate came in. Peter's film about Ireland was made in 1967, which was the right time for such a project. A few years later, "Ireland" meant the Troubles, the north, and the IRA. That was what producers and television companies wanted to hear about; Lennon did not find the subject congenial, and other subjects somehow did not suggest themselves.
Perhaps he did not have the monomaniacal career-ruthlessness you need. Hollywood calls it the "next job" mentality. While working on a movie, your every other thought is setting up the next movie – the next job. You have to keep an uninterrupted skein of engagements. If the thread breaks, you lose the momentum, and the phone goes quiet.
Well, it doesn't matter. Lennon, that superb writer and journalist, made a glorious film, The Rocky Road to Dublin, which was worth a dozen movies in the CV of a less distinguished man. It was such an energetic, punchy, daring film, not least in its challenge to the cronyist political establishment which infuriated the younger generation in Ireland – then as now. His film has something to say in Ireland in 2011, reeling from the Celtic Tiger comedown and badly let down by the same self-satisfied sort of politician whose back-slapping smugness was exposed in Rocky Road. It is available on DVD. Now is the time to watch Peter Lennon's masterpiece again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coens on using Final Cut for Oscar-nommed True Grit

Useful not only to put into context the work you undertake here (with A2 moving up to Final Cut from iMovie at AS), but also as a detailed example and analysis of how even at the very top level, digital technology of the sort you are using in Media Studies in a West Yorkshire school is being used by legendary, critically acclaimed auteurs at the top of the Hollywood ladder!
We had to get the movie done in a very short period of time.  Final Cut Pro, because of its efficiencies and speed, enabled us to meet that deadline. - Joel Coen
This comes from Apple's site, so of course is part-designed as a plug for their software and kit, but still very insightful:

Straightforward storytelling is the last thing anyone expected from the Coen brothers, more famous for tight filmic twists and dark comic turns. But in their new feature film, True Grit, based on the classic novel of the same name by Charles Portis, the Coens deliver precisely that. The movie’s narrative line is as unwavering as its precocious hero, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), whose determined pursuit of her father’s killer in the post-Civil War Indian territories drives and directs the plot.
Making the film was anything but straightforward. The Coens, in their fashion, co-produced, co-wrote, and co-directed True Grit. They also co-edited the picture in Final Cut Pro, which ultimately gave them frame-by-frame control of its pace and direction. But before they got to the cutting room, the brothers chased the project far and wide with a trusted posse of veteran production talent.

Talk This Way

In writing the script, the Coens stayed very close to the novel. “It’s such a good story, a very simple and compelling story, about a young

Monday, March 14, 2011

CrowdFunding - raising finance for Indie films online

This may even be something some of you consider in the not so distant future...
Amongst the many changes digitisation and the rapid development of web technology has brought about is the creation of new means of attracting funding, not least for micro-budget Indie productions.

The Guardian article "Vinyl countdown: how crowdfunding helped tell the story of the last record shop in Teesside" is a good place to start. The filmmaker featured in this used

Related - see:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Digital piracy debate

There is no debate over whether piracy, rendered easy by the process of digitisation (light years away from the pre-web reality; each physical copy of a VHS tape lost image quality until you end up with a viewing experience comparable to watching a TV set outside in the middle of a snow blizzard).
What actual effect this has, the consequences, and the reasons (ease of access is just one aspect to consider) for the growing ubiquity of digital piracy, especially web downloads from illegal sources (eg BitTorrent); this is very much up for debate.
I'll add further links over time, but I'll start this post not with an article but one of the user comments on an article, an often invaluable source its worth skimming through when reading a story through a newspaper's website, in this case the Grauniad (the odd nickname often applied to The Gdn). It raises some useful questions very specifically focussed on the British cinema/film industry:
  • filmchap

    13 March 2011 3:22AM
    Er, no, I really don't think so! Liz Bales, who the hell are you? This 'Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness?', one things for sure you really have no clue about British cinema. I bet you couldn't even name one film by Mike Leigh could you? You know as little about British cinema as my mum. But I love her, so I put up with it. As for ITIPA? I don't have too.

    "Threatening the future of British film market"? No. I think you will find the conservatives did more damage when they axed the UK Film Council earlier this year. As for being given the opportunity to EVEN watch a British film on the big screen in this country, of course I would relish this but the multiplexes are more concerned with mainstream ticket sales and the studio pictures from Hollywood.

    At the beginning of this year I went to Curzon On Demand and downloaded 'In Our Name' (an excellent example of British film-making) starring Joanne Froggatt, did this film go on general release, no, of course it didn't, films like this are barely shown outside of London on the big screen. And Piraters are about as interested in pirating a British film as the industry is in screening them. Aside from The Kings Speech (thanks to a fat wallet of dollars from Weinstein) Piraters, like studio execs, go for numbers, and also like studios go for "bums on seats" After all, to download a film in under five minutes would require many people to be sharing the film. Hence, it would have to be popular and well publicised.

    The films that get pirated and downloaded illegally are mainly the ones with 50 million dollars spent in promoting them, ones with screener copies floating about, and very rarely are these British films, but almost always US productions.

    Its a sad state of affairs that British film is neglected in this country and I for one will look at every opportunity available to me in seeing a British film upon its release. I know will be visiting Curzon On Demand again to watch Ken Loach's Route Irish. And as I don't live in London any more, will this film come down to cinemas in Torbay, Devon? Not on your nelly! Nor do I think this film will suddenly become available to download illegally (in under five minutes? No try five months and by that time I would have bought it on Blu-ray.
    So thank heavens for Curzon on Demand!

    After reading this article its Liz Bales who poses more of a threat to British cinema simply because of her blatant misunderstanding OF British cinema. Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness? You send shivers down my spine. Imbeciles.
Many of the other comments are equally disparaging about the level of journalistic quality, which I'd largely agree with, although some are a bit harsh. Rewriting press releases is what, if you graduate beyond fetching cups of tea, you might find yourself doing if you ever got some work experience at a local paper - investigative journalism is time-consuming and therefore expensive. This is something I did at my local paper as a teenager many moons ago; it seems reasonable to expect better from a 'quality' broadsheet! Now here's the article referred to:
Illegal movie downloads 'threaten the future of British film market'
Moments Worth Paying For campaign launched to make legal viewing easier for online audiences
  • The Observer,
  • Article history
  • The Social Network - 2010
    The Social Network has been one of the most popular illegal downloads
    Illegal downloading is threatening the film industry's ability to operate in Britain, a leading expert in digital copyright has warned. As watching illicit copies of new films becomes increasingly commonplace, Liz Bales, director-general of the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, is pinning her hopes on new technology which will make legal viewing easier and help to stem commercial losses estimated to be running at about £500m a year. "It is a global issue," said Bales. "In some countries it has reached the point where it is not possible to offer competitive legal services. In Spain, for example, the market has been decimated by digital infringement." Bales believes there is room for optimism in the prospect of "cloud-based" internet services – virtual storage technology that will allow individual film fans to set up a "digital rights locker" through which they can watch legally selected films on a domestic device of their choice. Research has shown that many copyright criminals go to illegal sites simply because they are easy to use, allowing films to be downloaded in high-quality formats and watched in widescreen on domestic television sets. News last week that Warner Bros and Facebook are to join forces to distribute films directly over the internet – just as websites such as LoveFilm, Netflix and Apple TV already do – is likely to add to confusion in the marketplace about the legitimacy of different film sites. Many older viewers are unclear about the legality of sites such as Blinkbox, SeeSaw and IceFilms. As a result, broadcasters, film studios and distributors are increasingly worried that their audience of users who are prepared to pay to download their films legally will continue to shrink, destroying the domestic market. For most film fans, the choice between waiting months to pay or becoming a copyright pirate is not too appealing, so the entertainment business is trying to help. Bales's organisation, which was set up in 2004 to represent the film and television sector, launched a £5m campaign last month to help make their point. The campaign, called Moments Worth Paying For, is fronted by the comedian and writer Reece Shearsmith, of The League of Gentlemen, and was prompted by research that found that one in three users regularly visit illegal sites first. At the centre of the strategy is "", a site set up last year by the UK Film Council and funded by the National Lottery. Supported by advertising revenue, it offers a free service that tells users where to find the film they want on TV, on DVD, on a download site, on Blu-ray and even in the cinema. It will be a hard battle to win, however, especially with users such as 25-year-old law student Steve, who has illegally downloaded films for a decade. "It has got much easier now," he admitted. "You can download in less then 10 minutes now – in less than five minutes sometimes. Ninety per cent of my collection comes from my friends. You could call me a cheapskate, but I still go to the cinemas and I still buy DVDs." When Steve wants to see a blockbuster – such as Inception, Toy Story 3 or Avatar – he waits for the British cinema release, but he has recently downloaded The Social Network and The King's Speech. "The King's Speech was poor quality and quite pixilated and a banner kept coming up saying the film was intended for review purposes only. Most of the stuff is good quality now and if you wait till it has actually come out on DVD, then you know the copy you download will be good quality." Last month the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, asked industry regulator Ofcom to develop techniques for blocking websites that infringe copyright law. The minister said he had "no problem" with blocking access to websites, despite online censorship concerns from critics, but he added: "Before we consider introducing site-blocking, we need to know whether these measures are possible." Ofcom is expected to report back in the spring.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

WOMEN Actresses and Hollywood expectations limitations

[NB: the term 'actress' has become controversial, with many arguing the term 'actor' is preferable as otherwise we're in effect singling out women for differentiation, not men; I use it here for clarity + succinctness!]

Debra Winger quit Hollywood when a much in demand actress; the extracts from an article on this give you some insight into the issues facing women in Hollywood (see the blog posts on fem. dirs + editors too)

Debra Winger was one of the highest-paid actresses in the world during the 1980s thanks to performances in films such as Terms of Endearment and An Officer and a Gentleman. She also had three Oscar nominations for best actress under her belt. Then, at the age of 40, she retired, causing shockwaves through the film industry. 
"I look at women in Hollywood, my age or a little older, and some of them are creating the problem themselves," she says. "They do not accept their age, physically. They start doing things to their face and body which are designed to make them look less than their real age. They feel pressure to constantly play women who are younger. I don't think it is worth trying to look 10 years younger through surgery. It is too high a price to pay." 
"I had this reputation for being 'difficult'. But would a man have suffered the same accusation? He would probably have been admired for speaking his mind and be called a 'perfectionist'. There have been several men who have been able to appreciate the difference. Richard Attenborough, who directed me in Shadowlands, springs to mind. He is not a sexist and treated myself and Tony Hopkins as equals. 
"An actress in a film starts every day with an hour and a half in front of a mirror, with hair and make-up and costumes. That is unnatural - too much unnatural attention. I was never too confident about my beauty, to tell the truth, and that puts you on edge. As a result, I would not do many interviews and would always seem to regret them when I read the result. It made me very cautious." 

If you come across any articles on how actresses are treated, please add details (including a link) as a comment below!

Winter's Bone as eg of Indie budget-raising

In an insightful article on Debra Granik's Oscar-nominated Winter's Bone, we get useful info on working as a female director, and the lengths she personally went to to achieve verisimilitude (a sense of realism) in her movie (find much more on fem. dirs here). We also get a sense of the struggles facing Indie productions - and the pressures to give into commercial considerations once a higher budget is offered:
The top films at Sundance picked up 14 Oscar nominations this year, more than ever before, thanks primarily to Winter's Bone and The Kids Are All Right, which also got four. Does this mean it's a golden age for independent film? "Oh God, no, that would be premature." Raising the film's $2m budget was a struggle. Signing a distribution deal was a triumph in itself.
Now that it's brought in $6.4m at the box office in the US alone, Granik is hot property. Studio financiers who have apparently not seen her films, or at least not digested what makes them good, are suddenly keen to throw money at her next project. She wants to make a movie about bomb-sniffing dogs that return from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, centred on a family coming to terms with the death of their son, but the people who own the rights can already hear patriotic strings swelling in the background.
"They want to see completeness, tied-upness, the dad healing. They said to me: 'With the money that we're offering you, you can have 500 people at the Purple Heart ceremony at the start of the film.' I told them that I wasn't going to have a Purple Heart ceremony, and they said: 'Well, how do you show that the loss of his life was meaningful?'" She wonders if becoming a bankable, Academy-endorsed director will make it harder to do what she does best, without studio interference.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Kings Speech budget: role of co-production + distributors

This is a brief extract from a longer article worth reading for insight into the economics of the 'British' film industry:
For some years now a movie's prospects outside the US have played a key role in assembling the financing and distribution. Central to this is the international pre-sale, whereby a company licenses distribution rights to a forthcoming project in return for a portion of the budget. In this regard kudos is due to FilmNation, the New York-based company run by the vastly experienced former Weinstein lieutenant Glen Basner. FilmNation handled international sales on The King's Speech and ensured it ended up in safe hands outside the US. To date the movie has grossed more than $130m outside the US, bringing worldwide ticket sales to around $245m.

Using YouTube video to pitch for $45k horror

If you've got a spare $45k you can get this into production...
The detail from the YouTube page is added below

thepaperboatman | Aug 30, 2010 | likes, 2 dislikes
COST TO MAKE: $45,000

Synopsis: Professor William Seabrook, an obsessed American researcher, uncovers what he had
been searching for the last five years of his life-- an ancient meteorite made of pure
diamond that landed on a desolated island in Zambales, Philippines a hundred years
ago. But the local pirates he hired to help him uncover the treasure want the diamond
for themselves and betrayed the Professor. Unbeknownst to the pirates, the diamond
contains microscopic alien virus. Despite the warnings from the Professor, the pirates
keep the diamond. The pirates die after contracting the virus and their body resurrect
into mindless flesh-eatiing creatures.

And so they remain on the island, undead, hungry for flesh, thirsty for blood...

In a not so distant town roam the Grave Bandits, Romy and Peewee, two orphan
kids wanted by the law for making a career out of stealing precious belongings from the
dead. As they try to escape the townspeople, they end up on the desolated island and
discover a greater foe: The undead, lots of them! The Grave Bandits hide in a cave
where they meet Maiya, a beautiful native girl and Professor Seabrook.

Trapped on an island and left with nothing to defend themselves, the Grave
Bandits formulate a plan to escape and battle the undead using
improvised tools. But a diamond the size of a tangerine is hard to resist, just
when things are going according to plan, they discover greater enemies
amongst themselves. Will the Grave Bandits become our unlikely heroes or will they
ulitmately succumb to greed?

The Grave Bandits is a feature length horror-adventrue film filled with twists and
dark humor. It's a film no horror fans can afforrd to miss!
Running time: approx 1 hr 45 min.

Fan trailers of movies they WANT made!

[Cross-posted from my Teaser trailers blog]

Interesting phenomenon (which can provoke some fierce criticism on YouTube; the Alien 5 trailer has 3 times as many dislikes as likes): franchise fans creating fake trailers for films they want to see, and labelling them 'official':

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Paddy Considine

Shane Meadows' muse is branching out on his directorial career, having etched out a considerable reputation through films such as Dead Man's Shoes (and the less impressive, albeit dirt-cheap, quickly shot Le Donk...).

The Sundance film festival has long been a platform for independent American cinema, launching the careers of directors as diverse as Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky and the Coen brothers. Lately, though, things have been changing. As the event pays more and more attention to European film, the British have begun to infiltrate the brunches and gifting suites that spring up every year in Park City, Utah. In 2008 it was James Marsh with his vertiginous doc Man on Wire, in 2009 it was Duncan Jones with his philosophical sci-fi parable Moon, and last year Chris Morris became an unlikely Sundance hero with his biting jihadist comedy Four Lions.
This year the honour fell to Paddy Considine, for his dark, blue-collar drama Tyrannosaur. Though the film features serious brutality – notably (unseen) violence against animals – which often raises the temperature in the US, the actor's self-penned debut as a features director went down a storm with audiences and jury alike, winning a prize for its two leads and a directing award for Considine. (source)

More Gdn articles

Duncan Jones' Moon: $5m UK sci-fi

$5m budget
$10m global box office (£700k UK, $3.3m USA)
Produced by Stage 6 Films
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group acquired distribution rights to the film for English-speaking territories.[3] Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group was considering making Moon a direct-to-DVD release; however, after Moon premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, Sony Pictures Classics decided to handle this film's theatrical release for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.[12]
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 185 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10 [Wiki]

KEY POINT: Like Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010, $800k), digitisation has opened up even sci-fi to low-budget Indie producers. Genres such as horror have always been accessible to Indies, but until CGI SFX became accessible to anyone with an Apple Mac convincing sci-fi hasn't been a realistic possibility for Indies. Both Moon and Monsters (which won director Edwards the director's seat on the big budget studio production Godzilla: $160m with a $0.5bn take!). Moon had a much larger crew than Monsters, and required extensive set-building, helping explain why its budget was around 10-times higher - but still in the low budget range of, say a Warp or a WT2 production. Strong word-of-mouth and various festival and other awards helped boost box office takings. A slick website further boosts its prospects of DVD/Blu-Ray sales (the long tail?)
A critical hit.

The official site launch page - its a slick production; see next shot

Wiki, IMDB, RottenTomatoes, Official site, YouTube vids. There is a longer list of articles etc further down.

See full list on the Wiki; despite its low budget, Moon was a multiple award-winner

Consider this from the amctv blog:

Next question:

Why do idiotic films like Transformers and Wolverine get put into thousands of theaters while really excellent science fiction movies like Moon don't show up anywhere?
The short answer is that Transformers and Wolverine are "tentpole" pictures -- i.e., the sort of movies that studios spend millions on in the hope of making millions from -- so naturally they're going to be screened far and wide as well as promoted in a screaming haze of advertising, while Moon -- starring Sam Rockwell as a schmoe on a 3-year moonbase stint -- is sort of the exact opposite: A small movie, made for roughly the cost of Transformer shoot's craft service budget and without the help of a major studio. Moon was never destined to get onto 4,000 screens on opening day.
Now, this avoids the implicit question, which is why studios choose to spend millions and millions on movies based on toys and comic books and not on movies that grownups might not be embarrassed to be seen coming out of in the first place. The answer to that is actually the solution, which is that if you want studios to make those sorts of movies, go out of your way to see them in the theater, rather than just waiting until they wash up on Starz or HBO. It's not that humans are getting stupider, it's that people interested in entertainment that doesn't EXPLODE aren't going into theaters. So, you know. Go.

If you haven't seen this I'd highly recommend it: you'll be astonished for one thing at its cinematographic quality, and the convincing nature of its set, when you're aware of its production budget: $5m (which would merely pay for a quarter of a Hollywood A-lister's basic fee for a movie!). There are some great behind-the-scenes features on the DVD too, showing you how this was achieved.
The one caveat to this is that it helps being the son of David Bowie, even if you have changed your name from Zowie Bowie.
This enterprising directorial debut, working wonders on a modest budget, consciously sets out to operate in the manner of psychological SF movies of the 60s and 70s about the experience of being in outer space: films such as 2001, Outland and Alien, where being on Jupiter or the Moon has become an accepted way of life. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, the sole operator of a plant mining Helium-3 on the Moon to provide energy for Earth. His only company is a computer called Gerty (voiced with slyly condescending concern by Kevin Spacey), and he's nearing the end of his three-year stint. One day, Bell has an accident driving a motor vehicle, and after coming to he discovers he has a doppelganger. Is this figure a clone or his real self? Is he the victim of some conspiracy operated by his callous capitalist employers in league with Gerty? A gripping, thoughtful, extremely claustrophobic movie, its director Duncan Jones, is a onetime graduate student of philosophy. Moreover, he was once known as Zowie Bowie and is the son of David Bowie, no stranger to the world of outer space.
(Philip French for The Observer)
Some links for further reading: 
Peter Bradshaw review (3/5) in Gdn
Gdn profile of DJones (2009)