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Tag: independent film

Editorials

Why We Need To Support Independent Cinemas Now More Than Ever

June 10, 2020
Cinema

It’s been already more than two months since we’ve set foot in a cinema and it feels like an eternity. For the cinema lovers, there might be light at the end of the very dark tunnel as the lockdown is being eased little by little. According to the latest news, the 4th of July would the day cinemas could re-open their doors. While it seems that the multiplex cinemas will be able to open on that day (if still permitted by then), the more independent cinemas might not be as is shown by the recent survey from the Independent Cinema Office (ICO).

Social distancing rule

It’s understandable that the big cinemas want to be ready for a July opening because of the possible release of ‘Tenet’ and ‘Mulan’. Many big chains will likely follow the strategy of Vue which includes giving families the possibility to isolate their seats from others, mandatory online booking, staggering screening times, and enhanced cleaning. This is to make sure that the social distance rule is upheld. Well, it’s exactly that rule that prevents smaller independent cinemas from being able to open their doors in July as well. According to 41% of the venues, they won’t be able to let the audience back in when social distancing measures are still in place. The main reasons for that are the practicalities of the venue and the need for large audience numbers to survive financially.

There are still 59% who think they might be able to open even with social distancing. The most important steps they would undertake is the placement of hand sanitiser stations (91%), face masks for staff (83%) and gloves for staff (80%). However, implementing social distancing rules in cinemas can’t go on forever as it would only work for approximately three months it seems. Why? Because of a 20% increase in costs (additional staffing, PPE and additional cleaning, etc.) and the 50% loss in capacity.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Not opening before September

However, even with social distancing, it seems that we will have to wait until the end of the summer to visit independent cinemas. While some venues think they may open in July or August, the majority expect to re-open in September. According to 14% of the respondents, they sadly won’t open until 2021, in the hope that social distancing will be a thing from the past.

It’s no surprise that independent cinemas want to wait until social distancing rules are (almost) non-existent and until the spread is under control. “As a small community cinema run largely with the support of volunteers we have to put the welfare of all those involved first. Social distancing will be difficult to achieve and is unlikely to provide confidence for staff volunteers and audiences to return in the short term.” is a reaction of one of the 497 independent cinema workers (amongst of which were CEOs, directors, and managers) that participated in this survey.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Many difficult months ahead

Saying that the upcoming months will be a challenge for the independent cinema is such an understatement. The last few weeks have already proven difficult and the future doesn’t look any brighter (yet). According to the survey, the biggest concerns are the practicalities of reopening with social distancing measures (no surprise there) and the audience’s confidence levels and lack of admissions. In the IOC report was stated that “audience confidence for our elderly demographic is going to be extremely challenging to regain. I fear that it would be better for our long term sustainability if we were to remain dark and furloughed until the need for social distancing is no longer required.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

How to support independent cinema?

Sadly, we won’t be able to return to independent cinemas soon. However, there are many ways to support them. The majority of the respondents thinks that help from government is much needed and that reduced distributor terms would also help them to survive during and after this pandemic. An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of 2020 and a scheme for PPE would also be extremely helpful.

The audience itself can also play a big part in the survival of independent cinemas. First of all, there’s the UK Cinemas Fund that’s been created by MUBI, the online streaming service, and film distributor. The campaign aims to raise £100,000 to help support independent cinemas and film festivals across the UK, so every penny is vital in the survival of the film industry in the UK. There are also many cinemas for which you can buy memberships and e-vouchers to support them. One thing is for sure: Independent cinemas need our support so that they can come out of this pandemic ready to open and stronger than ever.

Also Read: UK Government Allows Film & TV Productions To Restart Filming, But How Practical Are Their Guidelines?

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Big Picture Film Club Presents: Discovery

February 27, 2018
Big Picture Film Club Presents: Discovery

Big Picture Film Club presents it’s latest film collection: Discovery. Be it love, family secrets or embarking on a journey of self-discovery, this collection of films tells the stories of individuals and their quest to unlock a part of their life that’s been missing for far too long.

First Look, Interviews

First Look: Winter Ridge

January 9, 2018

Big Picture Film Club’s First Look series takes a look at upcoming films that have grabbed our attention, with the aim of finding out more about the release and the creative minds behind the projects.

Winter Ridge is a crime-thriller set in the fictitious English town of Blackrock (filming took place in North Devon). The central plot of the film revolves around a team of detectives tracking down a serial killer targetting the elderly.  Winter Ridge even made it’s way to the 2017 Cannes Film Festival picking up distribution later in the year. The independent film has managed to bring together a remarkable cast: Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones, Les Misérables), Alan Ford (Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and Olwen Catherine Kelly (The Autopsy of Jane Doe). The crew behind the camera are as equally with the film overseen by award-winning director Dom Lenoir and producers Nancy Bressolles (Rise of the Krays) and Chris Hardman who has worked on films such as Avatar, Star Wars and Kingsman.

We were able to have a Q & A with Director & Producer Dom Lenior to find out more about Winter Ridge, what to expect and when the planned release is for…

Finance is always a big issue when producing an independent feature film, how did you go about funding this film? What challenges did you face in doing this?

Dom: It has been a case of building up a track record and work ethic over quite a few years as individuals and through Camelot. We funded the film largely through the British SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) tax incentives and with private investors. We came to them having formed a relationship on previous projects and due to the quality of work or various shorts we had made prior, as well as a slate of films for the future, we put forward a visible track record in quality and a ready to go film. Having attached cast, high-level crew, and sales estimates definitely smoothed this process over as well and for a cinematic independent film felt like a better route than funding bodies.

How have you been able to put your own spin on the crime thriller genre and what were your sources of inspiration for the film?

Prisoners and Insomnia were big influences and inspiration in terms of the mood and feel of the movie. The initial inspiration came from the writer Ross Williams whose family had suffered from degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s. The idea was to create a film that was an exciting psychological thriller format but touched upon some of the difficulties families face with someone suffering from an illness. My main goal creatively was to create a film that didn’t feel overly British cop and small close-knit town but something more ominous and isolated. This involved taking a lot of mood influences from Scandinavian and American Detective shows and bringing a really cinematic and atmospheric approach to the visuals, music, characters and setting.

Winter Ridge touches upon how do you go about tackling the subject of Alzheimer’s in a way that is authentic and does not trivialise it?

Mostly the aim was to look at Alzheimer’s in a sense of showing some of the situations and problems sufferers have gone through. We tried to not place too much judgement on any course of action and if anything I think the film hints that there are no easy answers and it is more about shining a light on some of the problems people and their families face.

The film has a crew (both behind and in front of the camera) that have worked on numerous big budget films – how did the film crew and cast come together?

A lot of the connections have come through Camelot; Matt and I have worked with a number of the cast and crew also. This has been something that has naturally developed through years of collaboration on ambitious shorts, meeting them on high budget films and we are lucky enough to have people at that level who believe in both our work and our approach to films enough to have continued collaborating.

How was the experience of screening at Cannes?

We released our teaser trailer at Cannes which received a really good response from the market, within a day we had already sold a major market and interest was high to see the film.

What do you hope people take away from this film?

Reconsidering their views on life and death, how we relate to our families, and how far we will go for the people who are in danger or we love.

Winter Ridge is slated to be released in late spring both in the U.K and internationally. We will continue to keep you updated on the release of the film. Watch the behind the scenes trailer below.

Winter Ridge – Behind the scenes Trailer

We are proud to release the official behind the scenes trailer for Winter Ridge. Please share the love. Excited to bring you more updates very soon!Dom Lenoir Matt Hookings Nancy Bressolles Chris Hardman Joao Cerqueira M Bulman Arşehit Benjamin Thompson Becky Hall Katie Cresser Gabriella Kovago Abby Shaw Niina Topp Ollie Reynolds Michael Mckell Justin Mc Wanny Paddington Olwen Dolphin Paris Noeleen Comiskey Liana Harris Chelsea Marie Tim Cullingworth Hudson Claudia Archer Di Mitchell Paul Saunderson Morgan Williams Matthew Newcomb Nikita Baron Martin Ross Martin Challinor Lesley Anne Webb Polly Hootkins Ross Owen Williams Janna Fassaert Nathaniel Kast Dom Lee Ian Pirie Ella Road Joss Wyre Jimmy TheBee Bennett Jim Maidment Irene Gómez Irene Maffei Doug Templeton JC Prince Alistair Ager Conrad Ford Rebecca Pendarves Marie Lacey Adrian Gwillym Jamie Chambers

Gepostet von Winter Ridge am Sonntag, 3. September 2017

Interviews

First Look: “Anti Matter” by Keir Burrows

October 11, 2016

 

At Big Picture Film Club’s First Look we take a sneak peak at a film’s premier screening, or trailer, and give you a glimpse of what to expect and what to look out for! This week’s First Look is Worm by Keir Burrows.

Anti Matter is a sci-fi noir take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. The film centres around, Ana, an Oxford Physics PhD student, who makes a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough – creating a ‘wormhole’. Things take a dramatic turn for the worst after her first experiment. Writer and director, Keir Burrows, excels in creating a tense environment where anything is possible, and everything is subject to question. As we follow Ana in her journey of understanding, the film aims to explore the questions – what makes us who we are?

Following the screening at Raindance, we had a brief chat with Keir, to find out more abut this intriguing film…

Big Picture Film Club: What was the inspiration behind Anti Matter?

Keir Burrows: Anti Matter started off as a short film script – what is now much of the opening act – wherein I wanted to see if I could bring an audience on a real-time journey of scientific discovery, trying to evoke the same responses in them that the scientists might be feeling as they slowly realised they were inventing a wormhole generator. After writing the short I realised I had the foundation for something bigger: I’d created a world and a means where I might explore some really interesting, I guess philosophical questions, about what makes us human, is there more to us than matter, this sort of thing. Ahh, I can’t say too much as it gives away the plot!

BPFC: In the spirit of science-fiction, the film creates a wonderful story based on pushing the limits of science as we know it. However, stylistically the film doesn’t feel like a fantasy / sci-fi film – was this a conscious decision?

KB: I guess it was a conscious decision in so far as we were working within the limits of our budget. The story, the ideas in Anti Matter, are quite big – this isn’t some single-location, chamber piece of science fiction. It has some scale. With a much bigger budget we might have set it in space, or the future, I don’t know, given it more traditional sci-fi flair. But we couldn’t, so instead we tried to go the other way, use the ancient architecture of Oxford, the simple garrett laboratory, conversations in dark pubs and so on, to tell the story.

Once the science is set up, we then make the film about people, and relationships, and the failing human mind. If you think of a movie like Inception – which is pure science fiction – Inception, that story could have been made on a micro-budget, with no-name actors, without the train in the middle of the city and everything scaled down, and it still would have been absolutely amazing. It was great not because of its budget or its wonderful cast, but because of the stunning concept and the smart storytelling. I’m hoping (ha!) that people enjoy Anti Matter in the same manner.

BPFC: The film deals heavily with quantum mechanics and particle physics – did you have to consult anyone for this?

KB: Did a crap-ton of research. Genuinely, I have a dozen fat books on these subjects – quantum mechanics and the like – weighing down my shelf. My wife is like, your movie is done can they go now? Hell no they make me look smart! So no, it was mostly self-navigated. I did both Chemistry and Physics at A-Level, so I had some basic grounding, it wasn’t a completely foreign language. Then with the writing it was a process of knowing where I needed to end up, using the internet to understand the questions I needed to ask, then delving into the journals to make sure I was being coherent. The sole aim being that every step of the journey my scientists take, everything they do, is logical and scientifically comprehensible, even if by necessity it’s all pure fiction.

BPFC: How has the feedback of the film been?

KB: Amazing. Ah, we’re glowing. Raindance was great, audiences really seemed to enjoy it – it’s nerve-wracking as all hell watching with a roomful of strangers, but it was very well received. Unexpectedly we’ve had a whole lot of really good reviews. I wasn’t expecting reviews, not from a film festival, and not as positive as this. Kudos to the whole team!

BPFC: What are your plans for the film moving forward?

KB: So we’ve had distribution offers, which we’re firming up, the hope is 2nd quarter next year, but I’ll let you know more when things are more concrete. And we’ll keep submitting to festivals of course – they’re always so much fun, getting to see Worm on a big screen. It’s what I started making movies for – that moment the lights go down, the score kicks in, the audience engages. It makes it all worthwhile.

BPFC: Who are your filmmaking inspirations?

KB: So Anti Matter is inspired in a big way by Chris Nolan’s work, definitely. The sort of stories I aspire to tell are big, complex tales, entertaining but with a human core, which is what he does. Visually Nolan as well, and David Fincher, whose mastery of every aspect of the entire form just blows me away. So aye, stylistically those two inspire me the most. John Carpenter for the way he stokes and manages suspense, Tarantino for his flair and wicked sense of humour, Danny Boyle for the glorious eclecticism of his career, Terence Malick for the poetry, Cuarón for the adventure, Innaritu for the soul, Kurosawa, Leone… Ah, there’s too many!

You can follow “Anti Matter” on Facebook, or visit Keir & Dédé Burrows’ film production website: http://www.castironpictures.co.uk

Interviews

Graham Higgins: A new take on London’s East End.

November 23, 2015
Graham Higgins

Big Picture Film Club held a screening of psychological-thriller, Mile End [@MileEndMovie], earlier this month. We had a brief Q&A with the film’s writer, director and creative architect, Graham Higgins.

Big Picture Film Club: What inspired you to create MILE END?

Graham Higgins: The idea for MILE END was inspired by real events when a jogger tried to high five me in the street and it started me thinking, what could have happened if I’d got to know him? I go running by the river in Limehouse, in east London where I live. I find that running is very liberating. It frees up your subconscious. So as I was running, this story which is very psychological would just come to me, and I would rush home and write it all down.

BPFC: Not to give too much of the plot away, but MILE END plays on the duality of the main character – what inspired this direction?

Graham: That’s the main question at the heart of the film – the enigma about the parallel lives of the two main characters. These two unemployed guys meet by chance while they’re out running and they become running mates. And they develop a bond, which is quite strange.

Many of us will have experienced that uncanny feeling when someone says something, the same thing we have just been thinking ourselves, and it’s curious how people can have the same thoughts at the same time. You could say it’s coincidence, but perhaps there is something else going on – something spiritual or an affinity between us that we don’t really understand.

During the story, three people are killed in strange circumstances and the film poses the enigma: what happened to them? The answer lies somewhere in the psychology of these two guys, and it’s up to the audience to decide what has happened.

BPFC: What aspect of the film do you think would surprise anyone who sees it?

Graham: MILE END is unique in that it’s my very personal take on what I call the ‘stranger danger’ thriller. People will be familiar with the genre from movies like ‘Single White Female’ where an innocent person meets a dubious stranger. But I’ve given it my own slant, which is to create a story that is deliberately ambiguous. People do find it refreshing that the film keeps them guessing and enjoy trying to figure out what has happened.

It’s also a very different take on the East End of London. There are no gangsters. It’s about an office worker who lives on the fringes of London’s banking zones, the City and Canary Wharf. He loses his job in the recession and goes running while he’s trying to get back into work.

The cinematography by Anna Valdez Hanks really captures the unique beauty of that washed out London light by the Thames, and also the ominous presence of the banking district of Canary Wharf which looms over east London. The music by Ed Scolding is very clever, you don’t feel like you’ve heard it before. One of the reviewers described the film as “beautiful and unsettling” and audiences have found it surprising that a film can have both those qualities at the same time.

BPFC: What are your plans for MILE END moving forward?

Graham: We’re currently submitting to international festivals, talking to distributors. The film premiered at Raindance where it was nominated for Best UK Feature, which was a great experience, so we’re looking forward to more festival screenings. We plan to have a limited theatrical release in independent cinemas next year and then digital release after that.

BPFC: Do you have any projects in mind for the future?

Graham: I have two other feature scripts I’ve written, set in east London. So the three films will be a loose ‘Limehouse’ trilogy. I’d like to make those over the next few years. I also have a drawer full of ideas for other features and a few books I’d like to adapt.

BPFC: How was the feedback from the film?

Graham: Amazing. Reviews have been really positive, picking up on the financial crisis theme, and also saying how “absorbing” and “compelling” the film is. The central performances by Alex Humes and Mark Arnold have rightly had a lot of praise.

One audience member described the film as “full of charm and darkness”, and I think audiences have really found it intriguing and gripping. It’s what I would call a European-style psychological thriller, and people have definitely come out feeling very affected by it. The suspense really ramps up as you go deeper into the story and you do notice audiences going very quiet as they’re drawn in.

 

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Graham Higgins [@GrahamHi], and the entire cast and crew of Mile End. Look out for future screenings!

Follow Mile End on Twitter: @mileendmovie

Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub

Interviews

Naeem Mahmood: The Man Behind The Camera

October 16, 2015
Writer & Director, Naeem Mahmood

Fresh from our screening of Brash Young Turks, we spoke to  the charismatic director, Naeem Mahmood to get the scoop on what drives and motivates him.

Big Picture Film Club: What got you into filmmaking?

Naeem: I grew up in West London and in my teens I got involved in street crime. I found school uninspiring and a waste of time. I’d bunk off and make short films with my brother using a battered home video camera, recruiting actors from the local neighborhood. That was my escape.

BPFC: How did the idea for Brash Young Turks come about?

Naeem: I saw a lot of poor films coming out of the UK with the same old faces, stereotypes, and cliches. Either pointless films about the monarch or the rugrat that never ventures beyond the council estate. I wanted to make a film with a lot more ambition, swagger, style, and substance. One in which it’s young protagonists, who are from the wrong side of the tracks, aim high and are not afraid to break out of the box and carve out their own identities, hook or by crook.

BPFC: Describe the filmmaking process for Brash Young Turks?

Naeem: It was like going to war! I set my sights high despite the limited budget and lack of resources. I didn’t want to make a film set in a room with a couple of actors, I wanted to create a world, portray London in an almost fantastical light. This meant having to hustle in order to get the glamorous locations, stylish costumes, fast cars etc.

BPFC: How has the feedback been for Brash Young Turks?

Naeem: People have never seen a film like this in the UK. There’s been a lot of talk about the bold “hyper-sensory” nature of the film, the larger than life characters and bright colours. Audiences have found it refreshing to see a British film that follows it’s own path and doesn’t conform to any stereotypes.

BPFC: What advice do you have for budding filmmakers? 

Naeem: Stay focused in a world of distractions. Distractions are the enemy of your creative talent. Eliminate them.

BPFC: What’s next for Trailblazer films? 

Naeem: We’re gonna amp things up with a hyper-stylized, raucous crime thriller entitled ‘Us.’ It’s time to raise the levels!

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Naeem Mahmood, the cast of Brash Young Turks and Julian Glover for giving a wonderful Q&A at our last event.
Follow Brash Young Turks twitter: @BrashYoungTurks
Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub

Interviews

Q&A with Simon Baker, Director & Producer

July 24, 2015
Simon Baker

Following a successful screening of Night Bus, at the launch of the Big Picture Film Club, we caught up with Simon Baker, director & producer of the independent feature-length film.

BPFC: What first got you into video production / directing?

Simon: I first started playing around with video cameras when I was about 16. I went to film school in the 90’s, and got a job a runner when I left, I worked as an editor for a few years before getting a break as music video director and went on to commercials/ short form content.

BPFC: What was the inspiration behind Night Bus and how difficult was the production process?

Simon: The inspiration was two-fold – firstly I had a few experiences on Night Buses that I always thought would be good material for a drama, and secondly, as an (aspiring) indie filmmaker, I needed a simple idea, preferably a single location idea – when the two came together it seemed perfect.

BPFC: Which one of your projects has been the most fun to work on?

Simon: I have to say Night Bus as it’s the only time I have been able to do whatever I wanted.

BPFC: What is your favourite British Independent film (and why)?

Simon: Too many to say – and also these days it’s unclear what exactly defines “Independent”. I’ve always been a huge fan of British realism, from Mike Leigh to Ken Loach, Shane Meadows. One of my favourite films has always been Mike Leigh’s “Naked”, but there is so much more.

BPFC: What is the best piece of advice that you could give to people interested in becoming a filmmaker?

Simon: Get stuck in – film can be quite daunting, as it relies on so many other elements and people, rather than other creative mediums which are more self-sufficient. But don’t let that put you off, pick up a camera, get out there and shoot something – these days cheap cameras are incredibly good, and you can edit/finish at home – something you could never do when I was young. The more you practise and experiment the better you will become. Don’t just sit around talking about it – do it.

BPFC: What projects do you have lined up for the future?

Simon: I am working on the follow up to Night Bus – it’s called “90 Minutes” and is set on Hackney Marshes, a film about football that’s not about the football. I’ve written the script and am exploring production options right now.

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Simon Baker and everyone involved in the making of Night Bus.

Follow Simon Baker on twitter: @elcardinale

Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub