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Tag: Winter Ridge

Interviews

Writer & Director Alberto Sciamma Discusses His Latest Film “I Love My Mum”

May 16, 2019
I Love My Mum Screenshot

Independent British comedy, I Love My Mum tells the story of mother and son who inadvertently get shopped in a container from their UK home to Morocco. Without money or documents and still in their pyjamas, they need to find a way back to the UK. The film is produced by the growing independent company, Camelot Films, the team behind 2018’s indie-thriller Winter Ridge alongside Amunet Productions. We spoke with Alberto Sciamma, the film’s writer & director, to find out what fans can expect.

Presh: The film takes the viewer through Morocco, Italy, Spain & France. What were your favourite locations to film in?

Alberto Sciamma: All of them were great locations; the sea and port in Italy, mountains and gorges in the Pyrenees, all the way from Marrakech to Tanger, even shooting in Tilbury was great fun. Each location presented a different set of challenges, but I was lucky to be working with two fantastic Producers; Alexa Waugh and Matt Hookings. Alexa coordinated all the shooting and travelling etc, and she managed to make it all work – it was nuts.

But the real beauty was that in each place we worked with great actors. In Spain with Aida Folch, who plays the ‘love’ interest to Ron; she is a natural and very incisive actor. Dominique Pinon and Tim Downie in UK; both such great actors and with very different styles of comedy. And Frank Laboeuf and Sara Martins in Cataluña, both brilliant at improvisation and both great to be with.

We shot all the time as we moved from place to place, it was non stop, always chasing the peculiar or the unexpected, we invited accidents to happen, so we could get the spontaneous feel I was after.

The movie is explosive and raw, and to capture that energy the shoot had to be the same, and it was; we were running away from the police in Morocco as Tommy French forgot his driving license in London, had accidents with the old Mercedes car he had to drive — and Kierston endured hours of cold water and jellyfish stings…

To captured some moments it was just me and Fabio Paolucci, our DOP, climbing endless mountains to get a few seconds of footage.

I guess each of us in the team remember one of the locations with special love — depending on where we got ill.

At one point in Morocco, everyone was down; how we managed to get those scenes done, well, that was a miracle — I mean; an actor had to hold the boom, sound had to assist the director of photography, and I believe our little dog was focus pulling… it got feverishly crazy.

Writer / Director Alberto Sciamma (DMovies.org)

How much of Ron & Olga’s journey is a metaphor of British peoples relationship with Europe? Or was that not a consideration in making the film?

Ok… that’s a big question, and I would rather go to Alton Towers… but here we go:

Sometimes we talk about Europe as if it was a single homogenous entity, and it’s not. Europe is fragmented and diverse. Just look at Spain where I was born, opinions and views and attitudes change from region to region. Europe as a solid entity does not exist, or does it?

Ron and Olga are out of their comfort zone, they are fish out of water; dropped from their British made sofa into a new universe. They have issues communicating and adapting to their new surroundings — but at the end of the day they don’t care, they plough on. That sense of self-absorbing attitude fascinates me — and let’s be real, you just need to go to Magaluz (Magaluf) for a few days to experience it, or hear plenty of politicians talk about the ‘continent’; that world outside that does not speak English.

But that same attitude is everywhere, it’s not British owned. That intrinsic animosity is universal, each country tends to look at the rest with that same sense of occasional mistrust. Regardless how much we hide it behind a veneer of worldliness and sophistication… we all can be prattish; insular people with the same preconceptions and insecurities.

But for me Ron and Olga are heroic! Protected by their Teflon like skin they walk the world, like crusaders, and I just bloody love it… it’s stereotypical but so what? Stereotypes are signals, basic iconography that simplifies the world outside; regardless of how ‘far-off mark’ such iconography may be – it tell us which toilet to use.

So, to answer your question. It’s their journey a metaphor for how we view and communicate with the ‘world outside’?… Benidorm anyone? Let’s go get legless, I’m paying…

Ron (played by Tommy French) & Olga’s (Played by Keirston Wareing) relationship is key to the plot. How did you go about getting the right chemistry between lead actors?

The chemistry happened naturally, it was there from the start. First, we contacted Kierston, she is utterly fresh and strong and very gutsy. Then, knowing Kierston was playing the mum, we looked for a Ron – and we found Tommy French. Or God sent him to us…

We put them together in a room and a second later I knew I had Ron and Olga. I remember I asked them to sing ‘Always Blowing Bubbles’ together… they did. It worked perfectly as they both sounded like strangled seagulls- that sort of high pitched sound they do… so I smiled, they were Mum and son!

You’ve mentioned how your own experience of growing up in Spain but living in England for most of your life serves as a lot of the inspiration for the film. Did you feel you identified more with Ron & Olga or actually the people that Ron & Olga meet as they travel throughout Europe?

I am Ron and Olga. I remember when I first came to England, many many years ago, I fell in love with the place, maybe because I couldn’t understand a single word and that sense of not belonging was actually quite precious, and still with me. But the character I identify more with is the little fluffy dog. He yaps and yaps drinks too much and drowns in the pool – only to be resuscitated by Olga at the end. Yep, I certainly identify with that little lost creature…

In ILMM there are no good guys and bad guys, it’s a naive movie, simple in its core and I hope sincere in its absurdity. I believe my experiences are embedded in all the characters, but not even intentionally, it just happens as you write it and shape it.

Olga (Played by Keirston Wareing) & Ron (played by Tommy French)

Are there personal stories from your own childhood and relationship with your parents that influenced the direction of the film?

All experiences affect what you write. I was once living with a friend of mine in his house, he lived there with his mum – he was in his forties. Circumstances of life took me there; from my house in London to a lovely inflatable bed on the floor, for quite a few months…

I remember arriving very very upset to their house, I opened the door and got in; in front of me stood his mom. Seeing me all shattered and sad and teary she stepped towards me (and please take into consideration she is a very large lady) and she said:

“you want to be sad about something you little prat?! Have a look at this then!” Suddenly I saw an endless landscape of Rubenesque flesh wobbling as she removed her nighty, like a magician revealing a rabbit. My sadness disappeared. I was saved. I realised I had met ‘Olga’ for the first time… Life’s a comedy, so I wrote it.

The film is intended to be a light-hearted comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with this in mind, how did you also go about referencing the current ‘refugee crisis’ within Europe in the film?

Ron and Olga suddenly become reverse-immigrants, utterly lost and trying to find their way back home, but Ron and Olga don’t look at the world with any Intellectual curiosity, they could as well be sitting at home arguing about silly stuff.

There is a scene in the movie in which Ron an Olga must cross from Morocco to Spain in an immigrants dinghy. It’s a difficult scene, a scene that walks a moral knife edge — but I felt it important as the scene is somehow a mirror to our attitudes. We tend to act as Ron and Olga do; we want to help but create chaos instead. The scene is as pathetic as our approach to such matters.

We need a concerted global effort to resolve such devastating human crisis, but you look around and you see a lot of posturing, here and in Spain and Italy and everywhere: as individuals, we talk about it, feel bad for a sec… and then go for a pint.

I Love My Mum (Official Trailer)

I Love My Mum is out in cinemas in the UK on 31st May 2019

Editorials

Advice For First Time Independent Feature Filmmakers

January 10, 2019

Making your first feature film is a pivotal milestone for a filmmaker. From getting the right cast to working with the right producer, it can be a very daunting task, particularly if you’re working with a limited budget. So, we spoke to filmmakers who have independently completed their debut feature film to get practical advice on what to do when making your debut independent feature film. Here’s what they said…

Dom Lenoir (Director / Producer) – Winter Ridge (2018)

The right mindset & getting into cinemas.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t achieve, set yourself a goal for the film you want to make and something that sets you on fire with passion and then comit to making it. Half the battle is just making a pledge with yourself that whatever happens you will keep going, every time you hit an obstacle you just take it one at a time and eventually you’ll have a film. And build yourself the infrastructure of a film before you even think about asking for money, when its ready to go and all you need is the funds then you are in a good place for investment.

Getting into cinemas isn’t nearly as hard as people think. The attitude is that if you don’t have Tom Cruise in your film it won’t fill seats, but you can target areas you have a base and market single screenings yourself and a lot of cinemas are receptive if you can guarantee some seats filled.

Winter Ridge (Trailer)

Winter Ridge is available to download and stream across all major platforms.

Jamie Noel (Writer / Director) – Lie Low (2019)

Getting the right location & filming with smaller crew.

Once I came to terms with the restrictions of a smaller crew and minimal kit, I was free to focus on the benefits. Sure, I couldn’t afford an Alexa, or an expensive lighting set up but by shooting with available light, a documentary size crew, a Sony A7s and a hand-held gimbal, we suddenly were so much more flexible and agile. We were able to capture more takes and grab coverage and cutaways on the fly, something that would normally add hours on to the schedule. Embrace your limitations, they will end up being the best ally you have.

Working on a micro-budget, very little was certain. It was especially hard to lock down locations. We had to stay malleable and adapt quickly when the ground shifted. Our main location changed weeks before shooting, this not only changed things in regard to the logistics of the production but also in terms of the tone of the film. You just have to run with it, every location will have something to offer if you’re open to it and fortunately, in the end, our final main location turned out to be a real gem.

Lie Low (Teaser)

Lie Low will be screening at film festivals later this year.

Andy Collier (Co-Writer / Co-Director / Producer) – Charismata (2018)

When is a script ready & raising money for your film.

I think you should never stop working on [the script]. Good actors should bring their own takes to a script right up to shooting (which may or may not be improvements but working through them is always valuable). The better question is when is [a script] ready to use as a basis for fundraising? That’s a “piece of string” question but I think you need to be 100% happy that you have a very solid script in terms of all of story arc, structure, characterisation/slick dialogue, themes, motifs. The structure is a huge one… rightly or wrongly, a huge part of the gatekeeping side of the industry (financiers, prestige talent agencies) is focussed on BeatSheet-type analysis so it will help you if the script broadly conforms to that so that reading it satisfies their expectations.

Two methods for UK producers [For raising money]:

  • Package the script with a well-made lookbook (or at the very least one sheet) and a sensible business plan starting from sales projections given your genre and attached cast, and reverse engineer the budget to hopefully ensure break-even… and take that to the main markets (AFM, Cannes, Berlinale) and get meetings at the booths of as many sales agents, distributors, financiers as possible. And expect to get a lot of very encouraging responses in person that will 99.9% of the time fizzle out to nothing.
  • Get the same package and try to get rich individuals to invest, using EIS or SEIS as a sweetener. Finding rich individuals can be difficult if you don’t know any, but angel investors or equity crowdfunding platforms can be found on the internet. Depending on where you shoot, there are often soft money schemes available. In the UK, HMRC will reimburse you 20% of audited UK spend, provided you get all the necessary admin done properly. Soft money can’t be used for production or usually even post-production budget (it takes a long time to arrive)… but it’s valuable for back-end costs etc.

Charismata (Trailer)

Charismata is currently available in the U.S and will be available in the U.K later this year.

Sheila Nortley (Writer / Executive Producer) – The Strangers (2019)

Things to consider in pre-production & post-production.

I’d say one of the key things to consider in pre-production is post-production. You’d think it goes without saying but when filmmakers are first starting out a lot of the focus is on just getting through the shoot and getting the footage. It’s so important to get your post-production team in the loop as early as possible so that they’re not having to fix problems which could have been avoided but rather the shoot has been shot and delivered in a way which is not only the most efficient and convenient for them to be able to crack on but also the best way for the film overall. This also includes budgeting properly for post and not going ridiculously over budget during the production and then trying to cut corners later.

'I'm a writer, a mother, a Muslim'

Sheila Nortley says she's a 'born and bred Londoner' with roots in Ghana. She spoke to us about her latest film, The Strangers.

Gepostet von BBC News Africa am Montag, 13. August 2018
The Strangers (Behind the scenes – BBC)

The Strangers will be screening at festivals later this year.

Mark A.C Brown (Writer / Director) – Guardians (2018)

Choosing the right producer & working on a limited budget.

On Guardians we had no money so my choice of producer was based on getting someone not for raising money but for their ability to use the resources we had at our disposal. So Fred Fournier was the man. We had worked together on many short projects and he had worked in several different capacities on each from sound, script supervisor, continuity, camera and editing. And he did a few of the scores. So his knowledge of and ability to communicate with pretty much every department was invaluable, saving us time, money and a fair amount of embarrassment for me as I knew very little technical stuff at the time of shooting.

Guardians (Trailer)

Guardians will be released on Video on Demand later this year.

That concludes our advice from filmmakers! Look out for updates regarding the films featured. Big Picture Film Club would like to thank all of the filmmakers involved for their contributions.

Reviews

Review: Winter Ridge [Spoiler Free]

June 14, 2018
Winter Ridge Film Poster

Winter Ridge is a crime-thriller set in the fictitious English town of Blackrock. The film also serves as the feature-length directorial debut of British film director, Dom Lenoir.

The central plot revolves around a young detective who is torn apart after his wife ends up in a coma while tracking down a serial killer. The serial killer specifically targets vulnerable and elderly, with this particularly heinous and insidious motive setting the tone for how the film plays out.

One of Winter Ridge’s key strengths lies in the pacing of the film. Especially with crime dramas, if the pacing is too slow and filled with unnecessary plot points the film becomes unnecessarily convoluted; however if the story moves too quickly it doesn’t allow for the necessary nuances that are needed to make a complex, yet entertaining drama. Winter Ridge has a lovely blend of action, dialogue and suspense to keep viewers engaged throughout the with the story, even having all it’s key suspects very much in the picture until the final act.

Many of the films most touching moments are the scenes with Alan Ford (who plays pensioner, Dale Jacobs). His portrayal of a grandfather with Alzheimer’s was gripping and the film’s sub-plot highlighting support for those with Alzheimer’s was handled with the right duty and care that the topic warrants. Lead actor, Matt Hookings (who plays Detective Ryan Barnes), along with the supporting cast, are a well put together a mix of established industry heavyweights and new emerging actors.

As a relatively small budget independent feature, what the film may have lacked in the scale of its production, the team have made up for in location and shot selections. The result means we have a film that has some traditional elements of a British police procedural drama, but with elements of contemporary American crime thrillers thrown in for good measure.

If you like crime thrillers, this film is for you.

Our Rating: Fresh

Winter Ridge will be released in UK cinemas in September.

 

Interviews, Podcast

Episode 007 The Big Picture Film Club Podcast ft Dom Lenoir & Matt Hookings

April 2, 2018
Dom Lenoir Matt Hookings with the Big Picture Film Club Crew

Director / Producer, Dom Lenoir and Actor / Writer Producer, Matt Hookings join us in the studio to talk about the upcoming theatrical release of their latest feature film Winter Ridge. We also discuss the lengthy process that goes into creating a film from writing to release – all of which they’ve packaged into a short course for those who are looking for support and guidance. Winter Ridge will be screening opening night (13th April) at London Independent Film Festival, tickets and more info available at liff.org.

Listen to the full podcast here alternatively, you can watch the whole episode on our YouTube channel

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