18-11-15 / BREST RETROSPECTIVE / FLENSBURG PROGRAMME / BRASS HEAVEN
In other news, a programme I curated for Flensburg Short Film Festival in Germany screens tomorrow. The brief was to compile films specifically concerning British humour and/or aggression, with the playlist being Carolina Giammeta's Not Coming In, Johnny Barrington's Tumult, Sami Abusamra's Love Me Tinder, my own film Soft, Olly Williams' The Fly, Duane Hopkins' Twelfth Man, Christian Cerami's Black Sheep, and Joel Vietch's I Love You So Hard. Big thanks to all these filmmakers for taking part.
Brass Heaven has scooped more screenings, having just appeared at Interfilm Berlin and Leeds Film Festival, with Sleepwalkers Film Festival in Estonia imminent. Not too shabby for a film I'm only sending on request (the two exceptions, where I actually submitted, were rejected). I recently found a small write-up about the film on the BFI website here.
21-10-15 / MUSIC VIDEO FOR CJ MIRRA
23-09-15 / EUROPEAN FILM COLLEGE / FLATPACK TALENT MODULE / ENCOUNTERS
A few days later I visited the European Film College in Denmark's Jutland peninsula, for two days of guest lecturing. Quite the eye-opener, this one. To namedrop previous guests Thomas Vinterberg, Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer, my being invited to this fantastic place was clearly something of an honour. Arriving late at night to the sound of chirruping crickets, beneath a "ahhhhhh" blanket of brilliant stars, it wasn't until the following morning that I saw the surrounding hills and forest. One hundred and fifteen students board in these grounds for eight months, living and breathing filmmaking. Only two weeks into their year and the sense of community was already apparent. I can only imagine the spirit that develops as the course goes on.
My first lecture, unexpectedly energising for me, lasted three whole Earth hours. In the evening, I screened Jonathan Miller's 1967 version of Whistle And I'll Come to You and Mike Leigh's 1976 classic Nuts In May to mixed reactions. I love pairing these titles as they dovetail beautifully in terms of eccentric [British] character study, despite being poles apart in tone and intention. The following morning I presented a selection of some favourite short films, with further yak about said films' relevance, not without a dash of regret at running out of time. The EFC students are a bright and enthusiastic bunch and I genuinely can't think of a better option than this place for anybody considering a film school route.
After a quick stint in London's Pineapple Studios to cast dancers for an upcoming BBC job, it was off to Birmingham to speak alongside old pals the Blaine brothers at a Talent Module event hosted by Flatpack Film Festival and Creative England. The Blaines and I talked about career-type-stuff for a couple of afternoon hours, then everyone relocated to a nearby screening venue to have our films forced upon them. Lucky to have a good, warm crowd again. It was smashing to catch up with Ben and Chris, who I have only been in cyber-touch with for too many years, and who are now blazing a trail with their feature debut Nina Forever. Looking forward to seeing it.
02-09-15 / RETROSPECTIVE IN SÃO PAULO
In no particular order, film highlights for me were Victor Lindgren's I Turn To You (Sweden), Truls Krane Meby's World Wide Woven Bodies (Norway), Ursula Meier's Quiet Mujo (France/Bosnia), Leonardo Mouramateus' The Party And The Dogs (Brazil), Vitor Medeiros' The Day I Remembered The Trip To Bicuda (Brazil - featuring the most painfully realistic sex I've ever seen on screen), and Isabel Joffily's Portrait Of Carmen D (Brazil).
Rua 25 de Março (March 25 street) was as edgy as they say, and while I managed to do some filming without incident, I'd say I was lucky. The marketplace was packed and the atmosphere quite literally electric with the crackle of tazers on sale (!), and depressing shouts of "Self! Self! Self!" as vendors thrust selfie sticks into my vicinity. Signs forbidding phones and cameras in the Metropoltian Cathedral didn't stop one vain little man from taking shameless pictures of himself. With one foot up on the step, using a big tablet because it wasn't on the forbidden list, he posed with Jesus right in front of a class of school kids. What is wrong with these people?
The non-vomiting record was reset AGAIN, in a very public way, after a smack of food poisoning from a random lunch buffet. The less said about that the better, but it definitely compromised what would've been a brighter dawdle around the city's street art. A small kink in the grand scheme of things. A dismally uncomfortable flight home with British Airways, but Graham the attendant looked like Ferris Bueller's dad, so that was good.
26-06-15 / PROJECTS UNDERWAY
17-06-15 / 'WORLD WAR CUP' SHOOT / HAMBURG SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
Hamburg was mint, as always. Plenty going on for me, with four screenings of Brass Heaven (learned the cost of featuring white text on white clouds for certain projectors), plus an open-air screening of Telling Lies and Stew & Punch. Managed a nomination as barman for a certain Russian's barmy karaoke party without my ears weeping. More images from Kent and Hamburg on Instagram, and for any Hamburgers out there, a Best of the Festival programme including Brass Heaven screens at St. Pauli FC's stadium on the 29th of this month.
Must mention the short documentary Symbolic Threats by Mischa Leinkauf, Lutz Henke and Matthias Wermke (Germany), which won both the Audience Award and the German Competition. In 2014 the filmmakers climbed up the Brooklyn Bridge in the dead of night and replaced the American flags with white ones, leaving the NYPD and the public bamboozled and paranoid. Well worth seeking out.
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