A year on from the release of the pilot season, BWNG Ltd & The British Blacklist returns with Season 2 of The Circle. Executive produced by the respective company’s founders Leon Mayne & Akua Gyamfi, the roundtable series brings together a dynamic group of British Black & Asian visionaries across Television, Film, Streaming & Audio to discuss their journeys, their creative process, the highs and lows, and the future of TV, Film & Digital.
Talent across the new season have current credits on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, CW, Audible, Film4, National Geographic and more.
A new year doesn’t only mean new resolutions that we’ll try
to keep but also a bunch of brand new, diverse, thrilling and exciting films.
We’ve selected ten films that will make from January the perfect start of 2020!
This latest film from director/writer/actor Taika Waititi
has been in UK cinemas for a few days and if you haven’t seen it yet, we
suggest you do. Waititi provides you with a unique view on the Hitler era in a
film that’s full of satire, spectacular A-list talent and incredibly promising
upcoming young actors. The chemistry between Waititi and young actor Roman
Griffin Davis is spot-on!
Jojo Rabbit is in cinemas now
Adam Sandler as a notorious and charismatic New York City
jeweller? It might seem like the next comedy from Sandler that might have an
extremely high predictability level. Nothing could be further from the truth
thanks to directors Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie. The brothers made from their
latest film a dark, humouristic, fast-paced and violent gambling/heist drama. While
you might feel some discomfort (not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing)
when watching Uncut Gems, the movie does only give Sandler the chance to
sparkle again, literally and figuratively speaking
Uncut Gems will be on the big screen from the 10th of January and available via Netflix from the 31st of January
While 1917will be released at the beginning of the new year, we dare to say that this movie from Sam Mendes will be the film with the best cinematography and editing of 2020. Mendes, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and editor Lee Smith make it feel like this film was shot in one take. Because of that magnificent element, you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with the two soldiers who have to deliver an extremely important message during the First World War. Esteemed actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, and Richard Madden are great as always but Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay are the ones that excel!
1917 will be in UK cinemas on the 10th of January
He already shone in Lucebut in Waves, Kelvin Harrison Jr. shows us, even more, why he deserves as many awards as possible. Together with great upcoming talent Taylor Russell and Alexa Demie, he tells the gripping story of a young family that’s being struck by loss, doubts and abuse. Luckily, there’s also a place for hope, love, and strong relationships. Director Trey Edward Shults can also rely on stunning performances from Sterling K. Brown, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Lucas Hedges. Waves is a powerful and emotional film portrayed by a strong cast.
Waves is in UK cinemas from the 17th of January
A Hidden Life
Director Malick takes us back to World War II by telling a
very emotional story of a couple facing the terrible sides of the war. Franz
Jägerstätter (August Diehl) is being looked upon with agony because he doesn’t
want to pay taxes or doesn’t want to fight for his country. The less he’s
involved in the war, the better. He and his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) live a
very sombre life but as long as they have each other and their children,
nothing can stop them. Until the war comes much closer than they want… This
results in a beautifully shot, highly moving and touching movie about love,
family and war.
A Hidden Life will be released on the 17th of January
The Personal History of David Copperfield
It was the openings film of the BFI Film Festival 2019 and
while you’re watching The Personal History of David Copperfield you’ll
understand why. The film isn’t only packed with A-listers such as Dev Patel,
Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, and Gwendoline Christie but also with a lot of
humour, wonderful moments and beautifully shot scenes. With David
Copperfield by Charles Dickens under his arm, director Armando Iannucci
turns the story about family, trying to survive and finding unexpected love in
a gorgeous and light-hearted movie.
The Personal History of David Copperfield is out on
the 17th of January
If you’ve seen The Witch from director Robert Eggers, then you know that he makes on-point, stirring, dark and thought-provoking thrillers. With his The Lighthouse, he delivers that again! Eggers can’t only count on the electrifying music from Mark Korven and the striking black/white cinematography from Jarin Blaschke but also on the spectacular chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. Both men put on a mysterious and dynamic performance and bring the twisted and sinister story of the lighthouse keepers Thomas Howard and Thomas Wake perfectly to life.
The Lighthouse is released on the 31st of January
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Tom Hanks as the beloved children’s television presenter
Fred Rogers. You probably don’t need more than that to buy a ticket for A
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. With her latest film, director Marielle
Heller honours the real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod
(portrayed by Matthew Rhys). While Junod is being renamed to Lloyd Vogel, the
story remains the same. A wonderful one about a unique friendship, family and
human emotions. Both Hanks and Rhys dazzle and because of that, the movie
became a heart-warming, lovely and charming one.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will be in UK
cinemas from the 31st of January
Queen and Slim
He was already nominated for an Oscar for his stunning performance in Get Out and put on strong performances in Black Panther and Widows. She is an amazing upcoming talent. Yep, Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith are making a great team as Slim and Queen, a couple whose first date isn’t going as planned. Their happy moments make space for darker and tragic ones. The result: Two young lives completely broken, two people living in fear and pain. Will their love for each other be strong enough to keep them together or will their disastrous past become too dark? You will get the answers to that question after watching this exciting Queen and Slim by director Melina Matsoukas.
Queen and Slim is out on the 31st of January
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
After multiple attempts to make this film, tragically losing
important cast members and experiencing financial problems, The Man Who
Killed Don Quixote premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. We can’t
imagine what a relief that must have been for director Terry Gilliam. His
“most cursed film in cinema history” tells the story of genius film
director Toby (Adam Driver) whose creative days are sadly behind him. The
production of his latest film about Don Quixote isn’t going great and the
passion for filmmaking seems to decline.
This is until he finds a student movie he made about Don
Quixote (Jonathan Pryce). This discovery is the beginning of a trip down to the
memory lane. Driver and Pryce bring their A-game to this film and lead co-stars
Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko and Jason Watkins wonderfully through a funny
and witty medieval story.
Catch The Man Who Killed Don Quixote from the 31st of January
Living in Crime Alley is the Batman fan film from writer / director, Rob Ayling. The short film follows a single father as he struggles to bring up his child, a huge fan of the dark knight, in downtown Gotham, known to citizens as Crime Alley.
Star Wars: Origins takes a unique look at where it all began. A thrilling action-adventure, this film draws inspiration from both STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES to tell an epic story based on Earth during WWII.
The film described as “the epic fan film that will change the game” comes from award-winning team and life-long Star Wars fans; writer/director Phil Hawkins and Executive Producer Gary Cowan of Velvet Film Production.
Filmed in the Sahara Desert, Morocco, Star Wars: Origins is the culmination of three years’ work and stars Marie Everett (What Happened To Monday, Netflix), Jamie Costa (Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade), Hadrian Howard (The Mummy, Mi Rogue Nation) and Philip Walker.
Patrick is a young filmmaker investigating a group of vigilante vegans. At first, they seem harmless, but when their de facto leader Steven faces a leadership challenge from hardliner Julie, the group starts to head down a much darker path.
In the wake of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, studios saw the huge amounts of money it was making, then went through their back catalogues to see what they could make their own shared universe out of. Soon, everyone had a shared universe. The MCU, The DCEU, the Monsterverse, and The Dark Universe.
The Dark Universe was to feature characters from Universal’s classic library of monsters, such as the Frankenstein, the Invisible Man and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. The first entry was The Mummy (After a failed start in 2014). It is also the only entry to have been released. 5.5 IMDb rating too harsh? Grab your map, get your notebook and ask whether The Mummy was really that bad…
“A new world of Gods and monsters”
This version of the Mummy switches out Brendan Fraiser for Tom Cruise, which, while not a bad thing on paper, turns this from a fun Indiana Jones- lite adventure flick, into Mission Impossible: Ancient Egypt. Cruise is playing Tom Cruise and all of the charm that comes with it. His character is amusingly outmatched, ill-prepared and mostly disinterested in the history and lore the film attempts to set up.
Sofia Boutella is also great as the eponymous mummy, and gives a stellar performance despite all the prosthetics and dodgy CGI surrounding her. Cast after her role in Kingsman, she is clearly the star of the show here. It’s a genuine shame she is sidelined as much as she is.
The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t really make much of an impression. Even Russel Crowe, as Dr Jekyll (yes that one) looks like he’s confused and bored by most of the exposition he gives. Crowe’s character is arguably the biggest problem, as his character bears little weight on the actual story, and exists simply to set up other films. What Marvel did in a post credits scene is instead done halfway through the action. It’s almost the cinematic equivalent of pausing the film, looking up the next few films, then pressing play again.
As some more generous reviews point out, there are some good points. The film sets up the protagonists as morally ambiguous originally, with no one entirely trusting each other, but this never really goes anywhere.
The film is largely a Frankenstein of several different ideas wrapped together. It’s horror routes are acknowledged, but not present enough to actually scare. It’s not as campy as the 90’s version, but the action is serviceable if uninspired.
Really That Bad? Yes
Cruise is game as always, and The Mummy herself is great, but there’s nothing here that is particularly memorable or noteworthy. The whole thing just feels rather soulless. It’s best ideas are used either in the first thirty minutes or not explored enough.
The pop-up film festival will project a bitesize film programme, every lunch hour, at 1pm from Tuesday 22nd October to 1st November at the Bridewell Theatre (St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ – Tuesday – Friday – For audiences aged 18+ only).
[TUE 22 OCT] BETTER UNITED: At a time of national disunity, these short films explore the value of community to find common ground, work together & get stuff done (or simply have a good natter over a decent pint!).
[WED 23 OCT] ABOUT US: The stories we tell about people & places reveal a lot about us. But how do our stories get out there & who gets to tell them? These shorts show how stories can both define us & set us free.
[THU 24 OCT] FRAME BY FRAME: There’s more to animation than princesses & talking animals (well, we’ve got a cute ninja deer, but you know what we mean?). These animated shorts tell bold stories of both fact & fiction.
[FRI 25 OCT] UNCONVENTIONAL U: A celebration of difference for everyone who has ever come out, come of age or simply come alive. These shorts channel the fierce spirit to be yourself in an age of increasing conformity.
[TUE 29 OCT] SMARTPHONE: These shorts were all made on smartphones, showcasing the potential of the camera in your pocket to create a mini-masterpiece (& we don’t mean your cat “playing” the piano…).
[WED 30 OCT] LONDON STORIES: Life in London is a collage of constant choice & change. These shorts look at how the city is evolving & how the choices we make affect our lives & (possible) futures.
[THU 31 OCT] HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Join us this Halloween for a lunchtime lineup of short films with extra bite. These twisted tales will send shivers down your spine…
[FRI 01 NOV] THAT FRIDAY FEELING: Start your weekend early – & celebrate the end of our first pop-up! – with a flip-out fantastic programme of joyous shorts that will lift your spirits & send you back out with a smile.
Tickets are available now at sbf.org.uk/whats-on or they can be booked over the phone (020 7353 3331 MON – FRI) and in person at the Bridewell Theatre box office.
Tickets cost £8 in advance or £10 on the door. Every ticket comes with some free popcorn and a limited edition movie zine (while stocks last).
LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY pops up at the Bridewell Theatre in the City Of London (St. Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8EQ) from Tuesday 22nd October OCT to Friday 1st November. Film programmes screen on Tuesday – Friday at 1pm and last 50 minutes.
Bring your own lunch and / or buy a drink and snacks at the venue bar 30 minutes before each film begins. Please note that latecomers cannot be admitted.
All audience members must be aged 18 or over as some of the films address adult themes. Audience members are encouraged to bring some photo ID if they look younger than 20, just to be sure.
Now in its sixth year, B3 Media is looking for artists for its 2019 edition of TalentLab – an innovative creative development programme aimed at BAME artists, writers, creative producers, and filmmakers in the UK who are ready to take their careers to the next level.
They are calling for applications from individuals with a strong story to tell, and a track record in film, visual arts, theatre and digital storytelling. B3 Media is hoping to find 20 candidates with ideas to participate in a series of development labs in September 2019. From this initial group, up to 6 projects will be commissioned. The selected filmmakers and artists will receive mentorship and development support between October – November 2019 with an opportunity to present their work at B3 Futures creative showcase in central London in November 2019.
TalentLab is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme, and the University of Nottingham’s Horizon / Mixed Reality Lab. B3 Media is a leading media arts network that understands the importance of representative storytelling. TalentLab helps diverse artists take their careers to the next level by transforming raw ideas and stories into outstanding projects capable of garnering widespread acclaim through a programme of workshops and bespoke support. The programme also enables participants to gain greater exposure and recognition in their fields via carefully curated networks with a list of industry mentors.
(closing date for applications is Midday Tuesday 27th August)
Recent industry reports by Directors UK and ScreenSkills have highlighted ongoing challenges with increasing ethnic representation in creative fields, particularly media. Directors UK notes that no major broadcaster made a significant improvement on diversity from 2013 to 2016 while only 2.2% of UK television programs were made by BAME directors. ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) 2012 Census found that just 5.4% of the creative and cultural workforce come from BAME backgrounds making up over 10% of the population. By nurturing BAME talent, B3 is helping to remove those barriers and create new role models for the next generation.
Big Picture Film Club recently held its latest Big Picture Talks event featuring none other than investigative journalists, Ben Zand ( BBC’s World’s Most Dangerous Cities) & Seyi Rhodes (Channel 4’s Unreported World).
You can watch parts 1-7 of the event where both of our guests discussed a variety of topics, from their biggest challenges to ethics when making a documentary.