Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ilkley's Coz Greenop - £30k debut Wandering Rose

****  Director Corrie Greenop will be in IGS to talk to students, and take questions, about his experiences in the film industry, from self-producing his debut feature and striking a US distribution deal after a successful pitch in Cannes, to getting offers for new productions. Lunchtime, Wednesday 25th March in K5. Feel free to bring cold food and drinks, but no hot food or drinks! ****
  • Corrie was a Media student here at Ilkley Grammar, who went on to film school and is now completing a MA centred on screenplay writing
  • He self-financed and self-produced his directorial debut, Wandering Rose, a horror movie
  • It was filmed in Scotland, following an offer of assistance from Scottish agencies and failure to get such co-operation from Yorkshire agencies
  • Shot in just 12 days, it was produced for a mere £30k!
  • The setting may have had aesthetic appeal but also presented practical challenges: the small cast and crew alike had to help out lugging the filming equipment around, not least up a steep hill or
    The US distributor changed the film title!
  • The film features another former IGS Media student, Theo Wightman (pictured below), whose own film-making talent can be seen in his Media productions The Cellar  and Party to Hell (a slasher film opening and trailer), as a cast and key crew member. 
  • Coz took the financial gamble of attending the Cannes Film Festival, highly prestigious but equally expensive, and this, along with a specially-arranged London screening, paid off with distribution deals in the can for DVD and VoD releases
  • The US distributor decided to change the film's name (see the IMDB entry); this may not be an accurate reflection of Coz's vision, but may yet pay dividends with enhanced sales...
  • Coz is now in talks with production companies to take on much higher budget projects
Please note: the BBFC rating is tbc; based on the US rating, this could be 15, but may end up as 18. The trailer below contains no graphic imagery, but does reflect the theme of horror, and could be considered as fitting the BBFC 12 rating.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2014 Exam: Downton Abbey/Cinema Hardware

Below is the script of an A-grade exam from an IGS student, analysing the representation of class and status in a Downton Abbey clip (it can't be embedded) and answering the British Cinema question:
The increases in hardware and content in media industries has been significant in recent years. discuss the effect this has had on institutions and audiences in the media area you have studied.

Here's the actual exam paper (click to enlarge or click here)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DIGITISATION Hinterland £8k budget 15 year-old camera...

Harry Macqueen (centre) and Ben Hecking on stage after their Ilkley Film Festival screening

HINTERLAND (Harry Macqueen, 2015)
DISTRIBUTION: Indie/arthouse/world cinema specialist Soda Pictures (digital); self-distribution deal with Curzon Pictures, linked to director/cinematographer Q+A appearances
PRODUCTION CO: Inheritance Films [Macqueen inherited £10k and decided to make a film with this!]

Thanks to Martin Pilkington, organiser of the Ilkley Film Festival, I got to see Hinterland gratis, and to speak to the debut director (and co-star/writer/producer) Harry Macqueen plus cinematographer (Director of Photography) Ben Hecking afterwards.

The film is archetypal arthouse; an essay on male diffidence with French New Wave part of the aesthetic: montage sequences, dialogue over fairly abstract shots, some non-linear strands. That's simplifying rather - both said their influences were just too numerous to really pin down; "unconscious osmosis" would amount for much of this. Richard Linklater was held up as a particular influence and, indeed, inspiration to all Indie filmmakers (and Macqueen noted how Linklater had similarly gone out and produced his debut feature for a very low budget). Both professed a love for and strong influence from this unheralded 1979 British Indie road movie, re-released on DVD by the BFI (Radio On, Christopher Petit):

(Read more on this film: IMDB; Wiki; ScreenOnline)

Both describe Hinterland as a road movie. It centres on the friendship, with clear undertones of desire for more, of a late-20-something man and woman, childhood friends, the woman a free spirit, the man seemingly a more sedate character.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Past exam questions

All the past questions are written in below

The 2014 AS exam clip, plus the Examiner's Report, is here - you can see the exam paper below.

Remember, its a 2 hour exam: 1st 30 mins view Tv Drama clip 4 times in 30mins then 45mins for essay on 4 technical areas (sound, editing, camera work, mise-en-scene) + 1 area of representation (from gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, social class and status, regional identity, physical (dis)ability); 45mins for British Cinema essay (the section is headed Institutions and Audiences).

There is only one question to answer. It will NOT mention film, as the question is intended for all Media students regardless of which industry option they have studied.
Here's how it appears, followed by a full list of past questions:

Answer the question below, making detailed reference to examples from your case study material to support points made in your answer.
Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.
You must choose to focus on one of the following media areas. You may make reference to other media in your answer.
•           Film
•           Music
•           [etc – 6 media are listed]

Here's what the key pages of the exam paper look like (from the 2014 exam):
Click to enlarge, or ctrl/CMD-click here.

2008 SAMPLE PAPER: Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry which you have studied.

JAN 2009: Discuss the ways in which media products are produced and distributed to audiences, within a media area which you have studied. 

TV DRAMA: AGE: Monarch of the Glen.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Working Title Warp 2015 Bafta success...Oscar to follow?

...Okay, the Warp 'success' is a little indirect - '71 lead Jack O'Connell (not his only film!) won a public vote for 'Rising Star', but lost out on Oustanding British Film ... won by Theory of Everything (multiple nominations - see this preview report), which WT and the NBC-Universal subsidiaries distributing it will hope may signal Academy success and that potentially lucrative Oscar bounce. Their lead, Eddie Redmayne, has won the Leading Actor Bafta, and it has also scooped up the Best Adapted Screenplay award. See full winners list here.

There are issues with the Baftas positioning themselves as a bellweather for and predictor of Oscars ... aren't these meant to celebrate and promote British success?
Many of Hollywood’s big names will be in attendance; it has become an article of faith that a paparazzi shot in London can be a key opinion-shifter for the all-important campaign to grab Oscar votes before polling finishes on 17 February.
The downside of this is that, over the past decade, critics have claimed that the Baftas have lost some of their cultural distinctiveness, and become a boiled-down version of the Oscars, with the same films and actors being nominated. This year, if awards go they way they are expected to, we are likely to have exactly the same winners in both.
“I think it’s a reflection of the ‘special relationship’,” says Leslie Felperin, film critic for the Hollywood Reporter. “There’s an inevitable overlap in zeitgeist that extends to politics and culture as well as film. It’s more than it ought to be, for sure. If you look at the Césars in France, for example, they are much more proudly French, and they fly the flag for their domestic industry in a more assertive way.” (Guardian report)
Theory got 10 Bafta nominations in total.

Bill Nighy's Working Title persona

I suspect I may have blogged this elsewhere, but a smartphone makes searching impractical. A good companion piece to the fierce animated satire of BBC3's Curtisland sketch, here it's Harry Enfield flagging up the inherent poshness of the ABC1 universe of Nighy's Working Title characters, from Love Actually through The Boat That Rocked to About Time. To be fair, notwithstanding the man's acting chops, this extends to other performances too - see his role as an upper crust businessman in TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet for example.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Gant Rule example 2015: Into the Woods

It doesn't work absolutely precisely, but the general principle can be clearly seen...
Into the Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014)
$50m budget, global box office by end January 2015: $165m. US box office: $125m. UK box office: £7.3m.
IMDB; the-Numbers; BoxOfficeMojo; Wiki; Charles Gant's UK column late January 2015; Ben Child's US box office analysis;

There is a greater multiple than x10 when comparing US and UK box office, but the general point of the vastly larger scale can be seen. There may seem a bit of a mystery then as to why there is less than x10 the screens, but this reflects the much higher ticket prices typically charged in the US (2800 screens v 500). The film is unusual in one regard though: around 75% of the global take is from the USA alone; this has been typically around 50%, but recently has been declining to nearer 40% as China's cinema industry in particular grows in scale.