Page 1

THE EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL 2012

Universal Univer sal Film

Lovely Molly | Never To Late | The 99 | Tondor Beloved | Days of Flowers ISSUE 3 OF 2012

www.ufmag.org

The only free film & festival magazine in the world

RED TAILS

FILMMAKERS BLACKLISTED BY FILM FESTIVALS

BRAVE

killer joe

Matthew McConaughey

HOPE SPRINGS

FILM AND FESTIVAL NEWS AND REVIEWS FROM INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS THE WORLD OVER


Issue 3 of 2012

About UFM The Universal Film Magazine is a free magazine that delivers passionate and creative coverage about the global film and festival communities. The publication differs from the competition because it is totally free.

Universal Film Magazine Editor Creative Director

It is the mission of the Universal Film Magazine to uphold our uncompromising high standards in professional journalism with compelling stories that are unbiased and fact-based.

Proof Editors

We are committed to the advancement of the industry by providing the very best in-depth features and coverage that will have a positive impact in the world. We aim to give our readers motivational and inspirational stories that embrace the spirit of independent film and festivals and give them a voice in the media.

Photographer

Contributors

Editor-in-Chief

TYRONE D MURPHY DOM MURICU TODD VOLZ MICHELLE GOODE KATE SPATOLA PAUL PASTOR PAUL WOODS LANNAH SAWYER-DIGGINS KEVIN ANTHONY S DEAN KARYN LOUISE DANIELLE FREEDMAN LINDSEY KENNEDY MARGARET DANE RON GILBERT GAIL SPENCER PENNY NOBEL ROBERT LICURSI ZOE MOON KONRAD HOLLENSTEIN

Tyrone D Murphy Letters & E Mails Please Contribute Please send in your letters and stories editor@ufmag.org

Copyright Notice:

Questions and feedback: Universal film Magazine Email: info@ufmag.org Online: www.ufmag.org

All editorial content and graphics on this site are protected by copyright and international treaties and may not be copied without the express permission of Universal Film Magazine, which reserves all rights. Re-use of any of this site content and graphics for any purpose is strictly prohibited. All third party trademarks. product names and company names in the magazine are the property of their respective owners and or advertisers. DISCLAIMER: Readers should consult with a lawyer before solely relying on any information contained herein.

1

www.ufmag.org


Contents FEATURED STORIES:

11

SALT GRABBERS Director Jon Wright’s film “Salt Grabbers “at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2012

TO LATE 19 NEVER Writer & Director: Ido Fluk’s film “Never too

Late” at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2012

Red Tails P.3

DAYS OF FLOWERS 21 BAFTA winning Director John Roberts new film

“Days of Flowers” at Edinburgh Film Festival

23 VILLAINS Interview with Director Robbie Mofat about his new film “Villains” GATTU

33 Produced by Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) and directed by Rajan Khosa at Edinburgh 2012 LOVELY MOLLY 37 Eduardo Sanchez carries on the horror genre

he pioneered with “The Blair Witch Project” PLANET OF SNAIL 41 New film from Seung-Jun Yi one of Korea’s

Disney/Pixar: Brave

P.7

emerging directors

43

THE FILM FESTIVALS THAT ARE BLACKLISTING FILMMAKERS Is a Film Festival Organizers group on Facebook blacklisting filmmakers?

OF METHOD ACTING 53 PSYCHOLOGY Part 2 of Penny Noble’s close examination on

the psychological effects of Method acting ELEMENTS TO PR 65 3Danielle Freedman writes about the three ele-

ments to PR for your film. MOON MONTLY HOROSCOPE 67 ZOE Celebrity astrologist Zoe Moon gives her

monthly horoscope to UFM readers

Killer Joe P.27

ONLINE FILM DISTRIBUTION

71 An interesting look at online distribution by Robert Licursi, COO MediaGrinder, Inc GILBERT’S MONTHLY COLUMN 73 RON Actor, producer and journalist Ron Gilbert

writes about his exploits around the World

www.ufmag.org g g

P.43

2

Blacklisted Films


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Red Tails is produced by Lucasfilm and released by 20th Century Fox.The film is a fictionalized portrayal of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American United States Army Air Force (USAAF) servicemen during World War II

3

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

4

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“Red Tails” was directed by Anthony Hemingway from a screenplay by John Ridley, with additional material shot the following year with executive producer George Lucas as director and Aaron McGruder as writer of the reshoots. Red Tails is the first Lucasfilm production since the 1994 film “Radioland Murders” that is not associated with the “Indiana Jones” or “Star Wars” franchises. The film stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. (who previously starred in The Tuskegee Airmen, an HBO made-for-television film about the same group of pilots) in his first theatrical film in five years, and Terrence Howard (who had also portrayed a Tuskegee pilot in Hart’s War). Plot In 1944, after enduring racism throughout their recruitment and training in the Tuskegee training program, the 332d Fighter Group of young African American USAAF fighter pilots are finally sent into combat in Italy, although flying worn-out Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft. Chafing at their ground attack missions against trains and enemy ground transport, the Tuskegee Airmen recognize that they may never fight the Luftwaffe in fighter-to-fighter combat. The tight-knit group of Joe “Lightning” Little (David Oyelowo), Martin “Easy” Julian (Nate Parker), Ray “Ray Gun” or “Junior” Gannon (Tristan Wilds), and Samuel “Joker” George (Elijah Kelley) under the guidance of Major Emanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard), face a white military bureaucracy still resistant to accepting black flyers as equals. Strife develops between roommates and

best friends, Easy and Lightning, each of whom are battling their own inner demons; Lightning is a hot-headed and reckless pilot who takes too many risks, while Easy is an alcoholic prone to self doubt. After returning to base from a mission, Lightning spies a pretty Italian girl named Sofia (Daniela Ruah), becomes instantly infatuated with her, and starts a relationship. Meanwhile, Stance is able to secure a chance to “light up the board” when the Tuskegee Airmen are chosen to support the allied landings at Anzio, Italy known as Operation Shingle. There, they battle Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters led by a German ace pilot they nickname, “Pretty Boy” (Lars van Riesen), scoring their first aerial victories over the enemy, as well as destroying a German airfield. However, Ray Gun is injured during the battle and suffers impaired vision in one of his eyes. Ray Gun begs Easy to keep him on the flight roster who ultimately relents and allows him to keep flying. Bullard is then approached by the USAAF Bomber Command, who are impressed with the Tuskegee Airmen’s performance and ask him to use his fighters as Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber escorts due to unacceptably high casualties among bomber crews. Bullard accepts on the condition that his unit be supplied with the new North American P-51 Mustang. The tails of the aircraft are painted bright red and become the unofficial name of the outfit. Bullard noted that the flaw of previous escort fighters is that they would recklessly pursue German fighters at the cost of protecting the bombers, so he orders his pilots to stay with the bombers at all costs. Their first escort mission is a success, with

the 332nd downing multiple Luftwaffe aircraft without the loss of a single bomber. However, Ray Gun is shot down and captured while Deke crash lands and nearly dies. As a result of his injuries, Deke is discharged, and Ray Gun is assumed to be dead. Easy realizes it was his fault Ray Gun was allowed to fly, blames himself and spirals deeper into alcoholism. Lightning, worried about his friend, makes a deal with Easy; he will follow orders and fly less recklessly as long as Easy remains sober. Meanwhile, attitudes against the Tuskegee Airmen begin to change as they earn the bomber crews’ respect, even being allowed into the “whites only” officer’s club. Ray Gun is sent to a POW camp, where he is recruited by a group of POWs who are planning to escape. The escape attempt is successful, but some of the POWs are spotted by a guard so Ray Gun draws the Germans’ attention while the other POWs escape. One of the POWs manages to reach the 332nd’s base and informs them about Ray Gun’s sacrifice, assuming him to be dead. Later, Lightning finally proposes to Sofia and she accepts. The Tuskegee Airmen are then tasked with escorting the first American bombers to attack Berlin. However, despite their P51s having more than enough fuel for the trip, the 332nd is only asked to escort the bombers on the first leg of their journey due to propaganda reasons. But the fighter squadron meant to relieve the 332nd never arrives, and Easy makes the decision to stay with bombers all the way. They are then attacked by Pretty Boy, now leading a flight of revolutionary Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters. Despite being outclassed

5

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Easy is then forced to inform Sofia about Lightning’s death and consequently overcomes his alcoholism for good. At Lightning’s funeral, Ray Gun miraculously returns, having survived his escape from German captivity. Ultimately, the Tuskegee Airmen are awarded the Presidential Unit Citation in honor of their achievements. Production George Lucas began developing Red Tails around 1988, after hearing of the Tuskegee Airmen from his friend George Hall, a photographer. At the time, the film was scheduled for release in 1992, with Kevin Sullivan writing the screenplay and Thomas Carter directing. Lucas originally conceived of the film as a long, detailed narrative similar to Lawrence of Arabia, and as a trilogy, but after multiple script drafts, he decided to focus on the combat portion of the story. He compared it to Tucker: The Man and His Dream as “a story too good to be true”. In researching the film, Lucasfilm invited some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen to Skywalker Ranch, where they were interviewed about their experiences during World War II. Lucasfilm was also given access to the original mission logbooks used by some of the pilots. A

number of writers worked on the project until John Ridley was hired in 2007 to write the screenplay. Lucas held discussions with Samuel L. Jackson regarding Jackson possibly directing and acting in the film. Although Jackson praised the script, he did not commit to either role. Anthony Hemingway, a former production assistant for Lucas’ The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series, was ultimately chosen to direct in 2008. Pre-production began in January 2009, with location scouting having taken place in June 2008 in Prague, the Czech Republic, Italy and Croatia. Production began in March 2009 with high-definition Sony F35 cameras used for principal photography, which took place in the Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia and England over a period from August to December. While shooting in the Czech Republic, the actors also underwent a “boot camp” program, during which they lived in similar conditions to the actual Tuskegee Airmen. Harkening back to his early work on Star Wars where he had studied World War II aerial footage to create the space aerobatics performed by Rebel X-wings and TIE fighters, Lucas was familiar with World War II aerial combat. The Lucas template for photographing computergenerated imagery (CGI) dogfighting “involved lots of action, continuous motion, moving camera, streaks, loops and rolls, and all of the things aerial photography allows you to do in live action.” Aerial scenes in Red Tails involved actors sitting in gimbal-mounted cockpits (and mock-up fuselages and wings), in front of a green screen, rocked back and forth by production crew members. In or-

der to achieve a realistic reaction, actors were flown in actual P-51 Mustangs at the Planes of Fame in Chino, California, to experience the forces involved in dogfighting. Editing began while the production was in Prague. Avid editing systems were used simultaneously in a Prague studio and at Lucasfilm. A vehicle was fitted with a “technical center” so that the production could quickly move between locations. In March 2010, Lucas took over direction of reshoots, as Hemingway was busy working on episodes of the HBO series, Treme. The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder was brought in late in production, after Hemingway’s principal photography, to provide re-writes for the Lucas-directed reshoots. In April 2009, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Lee A. Archer Jr. was selected to be an advisor for Red Tails. He died in 2010 while the film was in post-production and the final credits bear a tribute to Archer. Lucas covered the cost of production with his own money, and provided a further $35 million for distribution. In an interview on The Daily Show on January 9, 2012, Lucas revealed that the long delay in the production of the film was because major film studios balked at financing and marketing a film with an “all-black” cast and “no major white roles.” He went on to explain that studios receive “60% of their profit” from overseas, and the studios feel there is no market there for films with all-black casts. Red Tails was the first film to use Barco’s Auro-3D 11.1 surround sound system.

6

by the jet fighters’ superior speed and 30 mm cannon, the Tuskegee Airmen are able to shoot down some of the Me 262s. Pretty Boy manages to get on Easy’s tail and is about to shoot him down, but at the last moment, Lightning attacks and kills Pretty Boy in a head-on attack. Victorious, but mortally wounded, he eventually crashes.


Universal Film Issue 3 - 2012

DISNEY PIXAR

BRAVE S

ome say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led. ~ Merida Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. Now, from Disney and Pixar, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition and challenges destiny to change her fate. “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and the headstrong daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric Witch (Julie Walters)

7

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“‘Brave’ is about a teenager’s struggle with finding herself, with creating her own destiny,” says director Mark Andrews of this 13th full-length feature from Disney•Pixar. “More specifically, it’s about Merida’s struggle in reconciling how the world sees her versus how she sees herself. True courage must be found on the inside.” “The main theme is being brave, finding the courage to let go. Merida is a very brave character—she climbs cliffs, shoots arrows, fights bears—but it’s really that bravery of the heart that’s the hardest.” ~ Mark Andrews, Director Mark Andrews, who brings a life-long passion for Scotland, Scottish history and action-adventure films to his role, served as story supervisor on the Oscar®-winning animated features “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille.” In bringing “Brave” to the big screen, Chapman, a long established storyteller with credits including “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King,” was inspired by her own relationship with her young daughter, as well as a love of Scotland. Infusing drama, authenticity and spirit in “Brave” is a phenomenal vocal ensemble comprised largely of actors with Scottish roots. Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire,” “No Coun-

www.ufmag.org

try for Old Men,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2”) brings heart to the tempestuous teenager Merida. Acclaimed Oscar®-winning actress Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense and Sensibility”) gives a transformative performance as the regal and proper Queen Elinor. Renowned Scottish comedian/actor Billy Connolly voices King Fergus, the jovial patriarch of the kingdom and a heroic warrior who longs for a rematch with the demon bear Mor’du that took his leg. Voicing the strapping Lord MacGuffin and his son, Young MacGuffin, is Scottish actor Kevin McKidd (“Trainspotting,” “Grey’s Anatomy”). Popular late-night talk-show host/actor Craig Ferguson (“The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Winnie the Pooh”), also a Scottish native, voices the boisterous, battle-ready Lord Macintosh. Glasgow native Robbie Coltrane (“Harry Potter” films) adds plenty of pluck to scrappy Lord Dingwall, and acclaimed British actress Julie Walters (“Educating Rita,” “Billy Elliott,” seven “Harry Potter” films) conjures up some vocal magic as the mysterious Witch. Directed by Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and the signature Pixar humour that audiences of all ages have come to expect. Based on an original story by Chapman, “Brave” was written by Andrews, Steve Purcell and Chapman and Irene Mecchi. The film is set for cinematic release on August 17th, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™.

8

for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all her skills and resources—including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, and discover the meaning of true bravery.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Free Spech Film Festival F

ree Speech: Not War! The Free Spech Film Festival’s Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 16th featured celebrity presenters and the 2012 Award-winning films. Filmmakers from 17 nations submitted movies about censorship, resistance, inequality, courage, change, and hope. Creative filmmakers from 17 nations around the world entered their work in response to the subject of Free Speech. The Festival was created and developed over a period of six years by founder and chairman, Margaret Chew Barringer. Over fifteen university students based upon their detailed research into the history of Free Speech, enrolled in American INSIGHT’s Internship Program, We know the essence of Free Speech is self-expression. “We are the ones who give words power, and our voices communicate our experiences to the world,” says American INSIGHT Board member, Jake Paine.

The film the Iranian gove

American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival is a goodwill, grassroots andsustainable program that unites celebrity judges, students, scholars, educators and the general public in conversations about the past, present and future of Free Speech. The mission of the Free Speech Film Festival is to promote Free Speech, Not War. Topics submitted in 2012 included censorship, resistance, inequality, courage, change, and hope. The Awards Ceremony took place at the American Philosophical Society in the Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA. The building is adjacent to Independence Hall, and across the street from the Liberty Bell. American INSIGHT’s mission is to produce, promote and distribute historical documentaries, and to broaden exposure to historical information through the use of emerging technologies. The Free Speech Film Festival is an American INSIGHT program developed to honor today’s global Free Speech movement. American INSIGHT is a nonprofit cultural institution that has featured Free Speech and the Spoken Word since 1983. This is a UFFO registered Film Festival www.uffo.org

9

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“Surviving The Dead’

By Director Howard J Ford

While I was lying in the dirt in West Africa suffering from severe dysentery as my lead actor from a Spielberg film I admired was steadily dying of Malaria next to me, having been held up by corrupt border police armed with AK47’s parting with so much cash to keep shooting that our entire crew had to go without food or water for in heat so relentless that our cans of 35mm were hot enough to have fried our food on, if only we had some; I could never have imagined all this pain would result in a film that would not only reach the number 1 spot in it’s genre in the US, but I’d also have a book on the shelves recounting all these traumatic happenings, and to top it all, a legendary writer such as Irvine Welsh would read that very book and actually call it a ‘must read’! But this is a strange world and an even stranger business. I was just happy to have survived the shoot! Howard’s book ‘Surviving The Dead’ is out now on Amazon and as an E-Book at www.surviving-the-dead.com and he has since been signed by a Hollywood based production company to direct a $6Million dollar supernatural thriller ‘Indelible’ in the fall.

ernment doesn’t want you to see...

n ordinary young woman on the backdrop of extraor dinary circumstances fearlessly pursues the cause of freedom in defiance of tyranny and oppression.

This film is centered on one ordinary yet courageous young woman on the backdrop of extraordinary circumstances, who has since become the symbol and face of this movement

From first time Director Nicole Kian Sadighi who has written and produced this award winning movie “I Am Neda” the true story of Neda Agha Soltan who fearlessly pursued the cause of freedom in defiance of tyranny and oppression.

News reports regarding Neda soon went viral across the globe through leading news outlets and online social media. Everyone from CNN, Fox, BBC, Reuters, AP, AFP, London Times, Life Magazine, the musical group U2 and President Obama commented and paid homage to Neda’s story - the girl whose face will always be remembered from YouTube.

June 2009 marked another turning point for Iranians, when mass anti-government protests erupted across major cities in Iran, following the June 12 rigged Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which came to be known as the Green Movement. These events provoked the government to declare war on its own people and the world became a witness to some of the most horrific acts that were shown daily through major news outlets as well as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube posting. Many innocent Iranians were, imprisoned, tortured, raped and killed for standing up for their basic human rights in nonviolent civil disobedience.

www.ufmag.org

She was one of the 2009 Time Magazines Person of the Year, 2010 London Times Person of the Year. Additionally The Neda Agha Soltan Graduate Scholarship is for post-graduate philosophy students at The Queen’s College, Oxford, with preference given to students of Iranian citizenship or heritage. Neda’s impact on the Green Movement in Iran which launched the Arab Spring in the Middle East, has made her the face and symbol of Iran’s freedom movement and with it a historical legacy that must never be forgotten.

10

“I Am Neda”

A


Universal Film Issue 3 - 2012

SALT

GRABBERS 11

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of2012

Directed by Jon Wright...

But strange doings are afoot: the crew of a fishing boat disappears, whales start appearing dead on the shore, a local lobsterman catches a strange tentacled creature in his trap. Soon it becomes clear to O’Shea and Nolan that there’s something big out there, and that it’s hungry. It’s time to rally the villagers, arm the troops…and head to the pub. Irish-born screenwriter Kevin Lehane wrote Grabbers in 2007 and the inspiration came to him whilst he was backpacking around the world the previous year. “While I was away travelling I kept getting bitten by mosquitoes and everyone gave me the advice to eat lots of Marmite, because the Vitamin B makes you - what I guess you’d call - ‘inedible’ to mosquitoes. I thought that was kind of fascinating, so I made a note of it. I continued on my travels, weeks passed and I was still being savaged and bitten every night, then one night while I was having a beer on a veranda on the Cook Islands I noticed a mosquito on my knuckle and I made one of those drunken jokes about hoping the mosquito got as drunk as me and flew into a wall and killed itself. That was it, the two things fused together and I made a note in my journal the next morning: ‘Get drunk to survive!’” As far as influences from other films are concerned, Lehane admits that Tremors was something of an inspiration with regard to tone, “Being sincere about the story and focusing on the characters and the charm of them and the place was a big influence, as were films like “Gremlins” and “Jaws”. But Tremors really was the benchmark film that I kept

www.ufmag.org

as he feels many recent films coming out ofIreland have, “I wanted the characters in this to be natural and clever and the solution they actually come up with is the smartest one you could come up with. It’s not about being Irish, it just happens to take place in Ireland and the characters just happen to be Irish. They’re just modern characters and no-one ever mentions them being Irish or pays much attention to it. The look is also very natural; it doesn’t look stylised or false. I wanted it to be like a clash of the serene with the obscene and sort of just play off the dichotomy of that. It certainly looks as good as I wanted it to be”. Tracy Brimm and Kate Myers at Forward Films received the script from Kevin’s agent. Myers and Brimm recognised that Grabbers was an ambitious project, but they loved the potential of it, “When we first read the script, we loved it because it had such an original voice and was a very entertaining concept” recalls producer Kate Myers, “and it had heart, and it’s something that’s really vital to the final film”. “There are references to other films but it’s original and this kind of film hasn’t been made in this part of the world before” notes Brimm, “it was ambitious because we were making something there’s no track record for, so in terms of financing that can be difficult. But it’s a universal story at heart and we knew we could make it in a contained way”. For Brimm and Myers, the key to giving a project momentum was bringing on board the right director from the start and they suspected this was exactly the kind of material Jon Wright would respond to, having worked with him on teen British horror, “Tormented”. And indeed he jumped at it. The journey from script to production was an unusually speedy one. The film went into production just over a year after Kevin Lehane met with Forward and Jon Wright.

12

O

n Erin Island, an idyllic fishing village off the coast of Ireland, the charming but somewhat work-shy Ciaran O’Shea, is tasked with greeting Lisa Nolan, a straight-laced young officer who has arrived from the mainland. Not that there is much for them to do, aside from dealing with the occasional drunk, and that’s usually O’Shea himself.


Universal Film Issue 3 - 2012

The actual creation of the grabbers was intrinsic to bringing Lehane’s vision to reality. London-based visual effects specialists, Nvizible were key partners on the film and producer Kate Myers pays tribute to their invaluable contribution, “Obviously digital technology has advanced so much, that’s what realistically makes a film like this possible, and for us, it was about our partners”. “I knew that Nvizible were going to be involved quite early on and I know I get pretty descriptive in my language, so the creature they’ve brought to life looks exactly as I’d written it, so I’m hugely pleased about that. I visualised the monster as a black spidery, slimy tentacled thing, like spaghetti rolling down walls and the guys just latched on to that and then director Jon Wright took it up a notch” notes Lehane. Cameras finally rolled in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November 2010 during one of the harshest winters the UK has seen in many years, “Ambitious is the recurring word of this production” laughs producer Tracy Brimm and it would be ambitious to film in Ireland and not expect rain, so the producers were prepared for that, but on their tight budget and tight schedule, they weren’t prepared for the massive December 2010 snow storms that hit the UK, “We were on night shoots and suddenly we had ten inches of snow and there came a point where we just had to say ‘we can’t carry on’” recalls Brimm. “The crew were just incredible but people were getting close to frost bite and we’d probably bought Belfast city centre’s entire stocks of winter and wet weather clothing!” With the film’s ending being quite open for a sequel, when asked if they’d endure another winter in Ireland, most of the cast and crew were attracted to the sequel being set in the Caribbean, “We’ve been thinking ‘exotic destination’ for the next one” jokes Brimm. “There’s definitely a hint at the end of the film that there’s room for a sequel” teases producer Kate Myers. Director Jon Wright On Humour “We paid very close attention to tone – it was always a big issue from the start, we wanted it to be very consistent. It is a funny film but, we never chased the laughs, we never break the reality of the movie in order to get a laugh from the audience. We try to make it believable and true to life, and that was something we worked really hard on. We’d test jokes – if something was funny we’d double check it to see if we have strained it or gone too hard after that, and as a result we lost a few of the jokes. If you look at one of my favourite mov-

ies, “American Werewolf in London”, for example, it’s actually not that funny – the laughs when they come are big hearty belly laughs, they’re almost the laughter of relief, but if you count the jokes up there aren’t actually that many. It’s much more concerned about maintaining a plausible world and having a realistic romance”. On Inspirations “Our modern day Gremlins are in the bar scene, but it’s different in that Gremlins had a spoofy quality to it, you had them breakdancing and a lot of little jokes that took you out of the reality of the film, which are great fun, but we’ve kept it quite realistic. We’ve worked out a little personality for every baby grabber you see in the sequence and I could give you a back story on what they’ve been drinking, what they’re thinking and I’m sure that’s something for the IMDB message board down the line – something the future film student can look back on!” On Paddy E ason, VFX Supervisor “Paddy is a visual effects genius. Paddy’s very bright and has a brilliant mind, and he’s probably, if I’m being honest here, the only person on set who actually understood exactly what we were shooting when we were shooting it, so he was my right hand man. In my view, visual effects supervisors should have a different credit nowadays, they should probably be called ‘director of visual effects’, or something like that, because the role has grown so much and they’re so involved in the actual creative decision-making of the movie, the framing and the energy of the scene and how it’s working. Paddy’s a good guy to have around, and he’s worked on some of the biggest movies in the UK - lots of the Harry Potters and Sunshine and he put his heart and soul into them. I think it’s fair to say Paddy loves Grabbers - it’s been a labour of love for him.” On Designing the Monsters “It was a collaborative process. We worked with a concept artist, starting out with an original sketch, which I asked Kevin to do. I knew Kevin couldn’t draw but I wanted him to show me his best representation of a grabber as he visualised it, which was basically a kind of a scribbled black star with lines coming out of it. I felt instinctively that the grabber shouldn’t be too complicated or too fussy – something that belonged in an H.P. Lovecraft world that was quite primal and you would just instinctively be frightened of it – a tentacled monster. A lot of modern movies tend to overcomplicate and over-fuss about things. I think we’ve gone for something simple and bold, stark and primal, and we’ve not been ashamed to have weird echoes of bits of the body you wouldn’t normally get in a mainstream film. Our mission statement when designing the creatures in Grabbers was that they had to be to-

tally convincing. This film is absolutely not a b movie, and so it is vital that the monsters never look like a special effect. Although the movie is a comedy horror, the characters within the story are always fully realised and whilst their actions are sometimes humorous, they are always believable. We had to make sure that the creatures would also abide by these rules or the audience would be taken out of the story whenever they appeared. The creatures themselves are like nothing anyone has seen before. A male adult grabber is an 8 metre high, many tentacled black beast with a huge retractable beak in the centre of its body that is surrounded by eight eyes on stalks. It is definitely an alien, let’s put it that way! The design of the monster is only the tip of the iceberg though. Also key is how these creatures move and react ergonomically to their surroundings. Our goal was always to create this fully believable 25ft intergalactic space monster and we knew instinctively when we had nailed it. This thing needs to be scary, and let me tell you, when you see a grabber slithering towards you; it triggers an instinctive mechanism within the human brain. Watching it on screen all you can think is ‘Get that thing the hell away from me!’” On What the Grabbers Are and Where They Come From “They come from outer space, we know they arrive in some sort of flaming meteor-like transport, but they remain quite mysterious. I’ve tried to view them with a kind of intelligence akin to what I always loved about Ridley Scott’s “Alien” - you had a certain sense that this thing was quite enigmatic and clever. The grabber is sneaky, and it doesn’t rush in, it sneaks, it grabs and it does a lot of thinking and pondering and it’s quite hard to draw it into a trap. I’d like to think that when people watch it, they’ll see a personality there and that it’s one of the big characters in the film. There are obviously different variations of the grabbers – there’s the big one who is the daddy if you like, there’s the smaller grabber who is the female, and there are the little squishy squashy grabbers who are the babies, and they all have different personalities – the babies are childish, so they’re not too bright, they like to muck about, so they have a different agenda again, and they’re hungry.” On Characters and Casting “With any film, there’s always the pressure to cast famous people because they help tremendously with the financing of the film. As a result, you see a lot of films and think, ‘Why’s actor x playing that part?’ They’re completely inappropriate for that role but somehow they’ve managed to get it. So, again it comes back to me really wanting to cast the right

13

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

people for the roles, and went through quite a long casting process and I stuck to my guns quite doggedly about getting people I thought were absolutely right for the characters. I think we’ve got a lovely ensemble of very talented actors who are having a lot of fun and are doing excellent work. I’m so pleased with the different faces and the different personalities we’ve ended up with. They feel like such a motley crew - there’s a shot where we pan across our band of brothers who are going into battle against the grabbers and they look like the most, unlikely rag-tag assortment of misfits that you could ever have, and I was quite pleased with that! It felt like a sort of drunken Irish “Kelly’s Heroes”! Richard C oyle CiarÁn O ’Shea

On his character “I liked O’Shea as soon as I read the script. I liked that sense of a man lost and washed up and away before his time and finding himself through saving his community. He rises to the challenge, steps up to the plate and becomes the man he should be and he finds love. It’s a great journey”. On researching and creating the character w ho starts off as a grizzled, borderline alcoholic “Well it’s true, we actors do spend a lot of time drunk and bemoaning the fact that we can’t get any jobs, so yeah, there was some real research going on”. On working with visual effects “As an actor, you can’t do it [a visual effects movie] half-heartedly and you can’t do it in any way self-consciously, you just have to throw yourself into it, otherwise it looks terrible. It’s quite difficult when you’ve got a tennis ball on the end of a stick with some crew member running around motioning for you to ‘look at this’… it’s quite ridiculous but quite fun actually. It’s the magic of the movies”. On the s tunts “I love doing stunts, so I did as many as Nick, the stunt co-ordinator would let me do. I did push to let me do more because I like doing them - I get a real thrill out of it. The most dangerous one was probably the pit at the end where we confront the grabber. It was winter, it was very cold and icy and your footing wasn’t very secure so Nick, the stunt co-ordinator, was very reluctant to let me do that more than twice but I wanted to get it right, and I think it works better for Jon the director with me

www.ufmag.org

think it works better for Jon the director with me doing it”. On working outside in I reland during the coldest w inter in years “It was bitter. I mean it – it was Baltic! But you just have to get on with it and as soon as they shout cut, you get inside some where warm”. On working w ith his co-stars “Ruth (Bradley)’s fabulous. She’s brilliant, she’s very funny and easy to work with, which is a joy. She’s got a great sense of humour, she’s great company, and I think she’s a terrific actress. I had a ball with the whole cast, David Pearse (Brian) was just hilarious, Pascal Scott (Dr. Gleeson) was brilliant, Lalor Roddy (Paddy) was terrific, Russell Tovey (Smith) was amazing and then we had Bronagh Gallagher (Una), who of course is a big fixture on the Irish acting circuit, she was terrific too. It was an absolutely magical job, partly because of the people involved. We laughed a lot shooting this movie, almost to the point where there was a lot of corpsing going on and we had to try and keep it together when the cameras were rolling. There were times when Jon would have to cut because we were just giggling too much”. Ruth Bradley Lisa

have when you’re drunk. It seemed like a great idea beforehand, then we did it, and I was sickened and I was like, I never want to do that again! Every time I have a drink now, I think God, am I doing that again, it’s horrible, all the things you do, just the mannerisms. It was certainly an eye-opener! The day after when Jon and I sat down and watched it, I said let’s get rid of the tape. He let me stamp on it actually - I stamped on the evidence – it’s gone! I hope he didn’t make a cheeky copy he didn’t tell me about it but I hope not, I would just die of embarrassment”. On the s tunts “I did my own stunts for the first time ever really. In the first week I said I wanted to try the stunts and there’s a whole sequence where Lisa gets dragged by the grabber so it was a full day of mental stunts and I was pretty black and blue afterward but I thought, if I can do this, I can do the whole film. I did ask Nick our stunt coordinator how the professional stunt people avoid getting black and blue and he said they can’t avoid it – it’s just their job!” On the highlights of the shoot “Pretty much every second of the day was hilarious, the whole thing was a highlight being surrounded by all those people and just having such a laugh. I particularly enjoyed hanging out of a JCB screaming obscenities over the hills - that was very liberating

On her preparation f or the role “We did some horrific research to prepare for it! Myself and Jon our director thought it would be an interesting experiment to set out with the intention of getting really drunk, just like Lisa has to in the film. The plan being, to film me drunk and see just what kind of different mannerisms you

14

On the script “I thought it was fun. It was in the tradition of the old school horror movies, like Jaws, Gremlins and Tremors. I liked the fact it was set on a holiday island, I liked that it was Irish, because it brought a lovely set of characters who fall into a communal peril, which is always fun to play”.


Universal Film Issue 3 - 2012

15

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

CANNES…Myth and Magic! T

Cannes Film Festival, I literally jumped for joy. Cannes is the “Alpha and Omega”, the “Be All and End All” of all film festivals. The floodlights! The Paparazzi! The red carpet! I would get to lounge on the French Riviera, the most sophisticate beach resort anywhere in the world. It was time to pack my bikini and brush up on my French! Ooh La La! The wonderful thing about idealistic dreams is that they can be realized, the sense of satisfaction has no comparison. As it is for many filmmakers, Cannes was one of mine. Yes, there is glamour galore and plenty of movie magic, but there was something else about that dream. Lots of work! Did I see that in my idolized daydreams…absolutely not! Although my festival pass allowed me into all areas of the ‘Palais de Cannes’, I thought I would spend all my time visiting the various pavilions or basking in the sun with directors falling over my screenplay and producers wooing my fa-

www.ufmag.org g g

vour. I set up my headquarters in the Canadian pavilion (good coffee) of the Carlton Hotel Lobby where everyone who’s anyone stays and hopefuls attempt to look important. I discovered after a day or two of orientations, workshops and reality checks that filmmakers need to use the time to network. After crashing back to reality that is exactly what I did. I spent my time trolling through the production company directories setting up meetings with companies and distributors. Oddly, most of the film deals are made in suites across the street from the film festival itself in various hotels where production companies and distributors usually take up their headquarters.

Another aspect of networking was getting into the “RIGHT” parties; a career in itself. Who you know, not what you know breathes the life into that cliché and one of the most important things I learned about working a festival was to follow up after the fact. This is actually the main reason for filmmakers to attend. Your

“Who-You-Know” list becomes extensive and useful for whatever future projects may come along.

I also spent some time in the Film Market where I received an education in world markets, distribution and trends over various platforms. This is where I started to truly understand the business of filmmaking. My original idea of a movie deal as a fuzzy kind of fairytale (write the screenplay and then magically everything falls into place right up to the night of the premiere) started to materialize into a business model of taking a product (the screenplay) from script to fruitionon-the-screen to distribution. After having my Cannes Film Festival bubble burst with the dusty subject of business I did actually attend a premiere with the Paparazzi lights flashing and the Stars arriving on the red carpet. The lights went down, the opening music and credits began to roll, and it was truly and unequivocally…Magic! by Margaret Dane

16

hen I got the message my screenW play had been selected to go to the


Universal Film

roy benson

Issue 3 of 2012

Post-production is, in fact, many different processes grouped under one name. These typically include: • Editing the picture / television program • Writing, (re)recording, and editing the soundtrack. • Adding visual special effects - mainly computer-generated imagery (CGI) and digital copy from which release prints will be made (although this may be made obsolete by digital-cinema technologies). • Sound Design, Sound Effects, ADR, Foley and Music, culminating in a process known as sound re-recording or mixing. • Transfer of film to Video or Data with a telecine and Color grading.

Film Technology Lectures Roy Benson Producer, Director, Writer and Editor. ...

R

Typically, the post-production phase of a film takes longer than the actual shooting of the movie, and can take several months to complete. Film editing

Film editing is part of the process of filmmaking. It involves the selection and combining of shots into sequences, and ultimately creating a finished motion picture. It is an art of storytelling. Film editing is unique to cinema, separating film-making from other art forms that preceded it (such as photography, theater, dance, writing, and directing). Although there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms like poetry or literature. Film editing is often referred to as the “invisible art”[citation needed] because when “lets look well-practiced, the viewer can become so engaged at the basic that he or she is unaware of the editor’s work.

oy’s career has taken him though the entire scope of the entertainment business as Producer, Director, Writer and Editor. Working on a one to one basis, he has gained ‘hands on’ experience from some of the most influential Producers and Directors in the business, and the many countries he has worked including; France, Spain, Germany, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and United States.

Roy has worked on the editing of some of the most successful films ever made, including 7 Oscar winner Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean, Dr process” On its most fundamental level, film editing is the art, Strangelove directed by Stanley Kubrick, and Yentl ditechnique, and practice of assembling shots into a corected by Barbra Streisand. Other major Feature Films herent whole. A film editor is a person who practices he has worked on the editing are: The Bedford Incident, film editing by assembling the footage. However, the job (also Directed 2nd Unit battle scenes on war ship sailing from of an editor isn’t simply to mechanically put pieces of a film Portsmouth to Gibralter), Saturn 3, The War Lover, Death Wish together, cut off film slates, or edit dialogue scenes. A film II, A Hard Day’s Night, The Wicked Lady, and An American editor must creatively work with the layers of images, story, Werewolf in London. dialogue, music, pacing, as well as the actors’ performances to effectively “re-imagine” and even rewrite the film to craft The Beatles asked him to edit their film Magical Mystery Tour, a cohesive whole. Editors usually play a dynamic role in the which led to editing a number of musical promo films, workmaking of a film. ing with Paul McCartney for some time. He was Post-Production Supervisor on the Goldcrest Films feature To End All There are several editing stages and the editor’s cut is the first. Wars, Until Death with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and worked An editor’s cut (sometimes referred to as the “Assembly edit” in Bangkok on Rambo with Sylvester Stallone. or “Rough cut”) is normally the first pass of what the final film will be when it reaches picture lock. The film editor usually Roy has lectured Film Technology at The New York Film Acadstarts working while principal photography starts. Likely, prior emy at Oxford University, The National Film & Television to cutting, the editor and director will have seen and/or disSchool at Beaconsfield Studios, FDMX at Cambridge Universicussed “dailies” (raw footage shot each day) as shooting proty, The London Film Academy, SAE Institute, and London Colgresses. Screening dailies gives the editor a ballpark idea of lege of Communication presenting special Stanley Kubrick the director’s intentions. lectures under the auspices of the Kubrick Archives. Post-production Post-production is part of the filmmaking process. It occurs in the making of motion pictures, television programs, radio programs, advertising, videos, audio recordings, photography and digital art. It is a term for all stages of production occurring after the actual end of shooting and/or recording the completed work.

Because it is the first pass, the editor’s cut may be longer than the final film. The editor continues to refine the cut while shooting is in process, and often the entire editing process goes on for many months and sometimes more than a year, depending on the film.

17

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

tribeca Film Festival and 100 Years of Universal

T

ribeca Film Festival is many things. Tribeca Film Festival has tried to be too many things. From the beginning, after the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, its intention, by co-founders Craig Hatkoff, Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, was to entice a return of businesses to the Tribeca neighborhood with a film festival boosting economic development for the area and the community. It was a good idea at the time because

film industry has always been a serious player as an economic development factor in countless towns and states in the last 100 years. The last decade has brought millions of dollars, along with radical change, to the original Tribeca Film Festival idea. Too much, too big – but that’s how the story can go in the business. Feast or famine, take the fame and money and run, because it doesn’t last. That’s the movie business, and film festivals are an integral part of the machine. Therefore, it was appropriate for one of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival’s first events – one of the most highlighted – to reflect a theme of cinema history, and then be followed by events that look towards the future. Over the years, more and more programs have been added under the Tribeca Film Festival “Tent Top,” one of which is “Tribeca Talks,” the panel discussions. Tipping their hat to a renewed interest in early cinema, the panel theme, “100 Years of Universal,” generated enough interest to fill more than half of the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) auditorium (which holds about 1,500 seats) on a Thursday afternoon.

Once the trailer of movie titles was over, however, the panel was a major disappointment, with an unprepared moderator who had no clue about Universal’s rich history. Robert De Niro was sitting and waiting for an intelligent question, and a silly Judd Apatow was throwing out lame commentary to cover the

largest East Coast studio. The facility became one of the largest employers of Fort Lee residents. It was considered the most modern and, for a short time, the largest studio in the country and in the world. Thousands of overnight sensations became movie stars, and an economic development factor created Fort Lee, a film town. The Fort Lee studio opened in the fall of 1915, a few months after Laemmle built Universal City in California. Universal Studios remained in Fort

ineptitude of panel host, Mike Fleming. It’s an unfortunate scenario that happens often at film festivals: theme programming and panel discussions are not given enough time, thought or proper research, and instead of being hosted by a competent moderator, the discussion is moderated by the festival director or a high-profile media personality. Universal is the last of three early cinema film studios that were established 100 years ago in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The other two were Keystone (Mack Sennett) and Solax, owned and operated by the first woman filmmaker, Alice GuyBlaché. Mark Dintenfass, who founded the Champion Film Company, became an executive in the new Universal Film Manufacturing Company founded by Carl Laemmle, and the Champion studio became part of the Universal. Jules Brulatour, a businessman who helped bring the film industry to Fort Lee, was also involved in the organization of Universal Studios.

Lee until 1917, when Laemmle shut down because it became too costly to operate both facilities. Universal City executive Samuel Goldwyn would lease the Fort Lee studio that eventually fell into ruin as the entire film industry moved out to California. The building was razed in 1963. Too big, too much, and too hard to keep up. Lessons learned, and only time will tell what will be in store for next year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It’s a great model for other film festivals to pick and choose what works and what doesn’t, because there’s a hell of a lot happening in a town that never sleeps. One thing that is certain: put together a well-organized, well-programmed schedule of film screenings and events, and they will come to check it out, one way or another. Here’s to the next 100 years. Christina Kotlar is a writer and blogger for Film Festival reViews and doddleNEWS. Historic information taken from the publications “Fort Lee: The Film Town” by Richard Koszarski and “Fort Lee, Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry”

www.ufmag.org

18

Laemmle bought the land to build the


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

NEVER TOO LATE Writer & Director: Ido Fluk..

fter spending eight years in the farthest reaches of South America, 30-year-old Herzl (Nony Geffen) returns home to Israel. With no ambitions or prospects for the future, he finds a job hanging posters across the country. Driving a 1985 Volvo, with a pile of dusty Israeli folk tapes on the dashboard and a worn copy of Robinson Crusoe by his side, a young man journeys across the Israeli landscape in a bid to come to terms with the memories of what he left behind. “Never Too Late” represents quality content for festivals that nurture challenging fare. The first Israeli feature produced with crowd-sourced funding, this minimalist indie is a good-looking, formally-rigorous and utterly engaging road movie that marks Ido Fluk as a writer to watch. As the protagonist drives his late father’s battered Volvo through varied landscapes rarely seen in Israeli cinema, he must come to terms with considerable emotional baggage as well as the contents of his father’s old suitcase. On his travels, which take him north to Safed and south to Eilat, Herzl also makes contact with an old army buddy who is now married to his sexy

www.ufmag.org

former girlfriend (Keren Berger), and a philosophical stranger (Eyal Rozales) whom he saves from drowning. But the contents of the suitcase dictate the last and most poignant stop. After his army service, 30-year-old Herzl spent eight years traveling throughout South America avoiding the expectations of his stern father (Ami Weinberg). His refusal to return home for his father’s funeral now haunts him, but it’s never too late to make amends... Or is it? Ever restless and lacking ambitions or prospects, Herzl accepts solitary work hanging advertising posters for a dating service with the slogan “Never Too Late”. As he crosses the country goesing about his daily routine, his memories of his father become so intense that they take on physical shape, which Fluk visualizes by having the older man ride and converse with his son. Fluk doles out narrative information sparingly, and sometimes not at all. Although some viewers may feel frustrated, those attentive to the film’s mood and detail will find it truly moving. Produced on a micro-budget, the film sports a mesmerizing score and an attractive

wide-screen created from the same digital camera that Danny Boyle used to shoot “Slumdog Millionaire” (a loan from an Israeli-American businessman who read about the production’s fund drive and wanted to help). Fluk, who studied at NYU, already has a second feature lined up with Christine Vachon’s Killer Films that is in the casting stage. “Never Too Late” has created a buzz in Israel. Deciding that the film was ready to be shot, and not willing to compromise the script or wait the many months it often takes to receive funding through the traditional streams in Israel, Ido Fluk turned to the public in order to raise the remaining capital. Understanding the power of the internet, Fluk created a Facebook group encouraging friends and acquaintances to each invest 100 NIS (roughly $25 US) in the film. The request created a frenzy amongst the Israeli film world as hundreds of interested investors began to support. The open call also provided unprecedented media coverage of a script in pre-production and attracted many skilled professionals in the field to donate their time.

20

A


Universal Film

DAYS OF FLOWERS

Issue 3 - 2012

by Tyrone D Murphy

T

he romantic drama stars award winning actress EVA BIRTHISTLE (‘Ae Fond Kiss’, ‘Breakfast on Pluto’), emerging talent CHARITY WAKEFIELD (‘Serena’), CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON (‘Brick Lane’) and introduces internationally acclaimed Cuban Royal Ballet dancer CARLOS ACOSTA in his first leading feature film role.

The film has been nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature and the Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film. Directed by two-time BAFTA winner JOHN ROBERTS (‘Paulie’, ‘War of the Buttons’) with a score by Oscar winning composer STEPHEN WARBECK (‘Shakespeare in Love’), ‘DAY OF THE FLOWERS’ is written by EIRENE HOUSTON and produced by JONATHAN RAE. ‘DAY OF THE FLOWERS’ is a romantic drama about two strong-willed sisters, on a journey through Cuba, who find love and misadventure in the most unusual of places. Drenched in sunlight and with a fabulous Cuban soundtrack, the film is a colourful and wryly humorous tale of cross-cultural misunderstandings and lost illusions. ‘DAY OF THE FLOWERS’ will lift spirits and make hearts soar. The film has also been selected for the ‘Breakthrough’ strand of the London UK Film Focus (LUFF) to be held on from Monday 25th – 28th June 2012. The London UK Film Focus (LUFF) is an export initiative showcasing UK films to international buyers and selected film festival directors/ programmers. A film industry event pre-

senting the best UK productions to international sales agents and distributors. CARLOS ACOSTA rose from the streets of Havana to become the world’s most indemand and recognisable principal ballet dancer. He has performed with all the world’s leading ballet companies, receiving many awards and several box-office records including last year’s sell out performance at the 02 arena. ‘DAY OF THE FLOWERS’ is Carlos’ first leading role in a feature film after featuring in a short segment of ‘New York, I Love You’, directed by NATALIE PORTMAN. EVA BIRTHISTLE received many accolades for her lead role in KEN LOACH’s ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, including winning the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress. She has also twice won the IFTA Best Actor in a Leading Role (Film) Award. Her other credits include TOM SHANKLAND’s ‘The Children’, NEIL JORDAN’s ‘Breakfast on Pluto’, OL PARKER’s ‘Imagine Me and You’ and BRIAN KIRK’s ‘Middletown’. One of the brightest young talents emerging from the UK, CHARITY WAKEFIELD followed in the footsteps of KATE WINSLET by being cast as Marianne Dashwood in the high profile BBC adaption of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. In the US, producer DAVID E KELLEY (‘Ally McBeal’) cast her in the lead role for the NBC show ‘Legally Mad’ and most recently she has been cast alongside EDDIE IZZARD in the new NBC show ‘Mockingbird Lane’, directed by BRYAN SINGER. CHARITY is currently shooting SUSANNE BIER’s new film ‘Serena’.

CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON leapt in to the public eye with his starring role in SARAH GAVRON’s ‘Brick Lane’ and PENNY WOOLCOCK’s ‘Mischief Night’. He has also appeared in MIRA FORNAYOVA’s ‘Little Foxes’ and GURINDA CHADHA’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ and in television series including ‘Spooks’, ‘State of Play’, ‘Shameless’ and ‘White Teeth’. Director JOHN ROBERTS’ award winning films include the BAFTA winning feature ‘Paulie’ for Dreamworks (Best Children’s Film 1998) and the Academy award winning featurette – ‘This Boy’s Story’ (Channel 4 Films). The film’s talented personnel include Director of Photography, VERNON LAYTON (‘The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain’), film editors DAVID FREEMAN (‘The Full Monty’, ‘Ill Manors’) and JOHN WILSON (‘Billy Elliot’) with production design by ANDREW SANDERS (‘Spider’). EVA BIRTHISTLE, CARLOS ACOSTA, CHRIS SIMPSON, JOHN ROBERTS (Director) and JONATHAN RAE (Producer) will be attending the World Premiere screening at the EIFF.

Director Steven Spielberg

21

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

22

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

VILLAINS 23

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Directed by Robbie Moffat...

Sebastian, well educated but still a crook, has been to prison for fraud and deception. Younger, fitter and ‘in’ with Kitty, he wants Jackie out of the way so he can take over his patch. When a factory heist the two mobs commit together comes off well, they get away and rendezvous to spilt the takings. Kitty tips Sebastian off that Jackie, and his ex-boxer henchman Lenny, plans to deceive Eaton and his boys Rupert, Max and Stinker, and cut them out of their share. Kitty and Sebastian hatch a plan so they can keep the money for themselves, and as the story plays out in a chase through Newcastle and the wilds of Northumberland, Kitty’s duplicity multiples to the extent that everyone else pays a price for her double-dealing. Film Director Robbie Moffat has made over twenty feature films. His first feature film was made in 1999 called ‘Love The One You’re With’ which was nominated for best Scottish film at the Bowmore Scottish Screen Awards in 2000 . Robbie went on make many other films wanting to use the Scottish landscape as much as possible, a great example of this is in his films ‘Winter Warrior’, ‘The Bone Hunter’ and ‘Axe Raiders’ a trilogy set in the 575 A.D. In 2004 ‘Red Rose’ a film based on the life of Robert Burns won the best actress award at the Monaco International Film Festival. Last year Robbie was nominated for ‘The Johnny Walker Great Scot Award 2011’ for outstanding contribution to Scottish culture.

www.ufmag.org

How did you come up with the story for Villains? I was on holiday in the Canaries reading a book about Ava Gardner . I was intrigued to find out she had been in a film called ‘Killers’ in 1946. I decided I would like to make a British/ modern version with a similar style. How did the music contribute to the film? The music created the ambience I wanted for the film. I have worked with Pascal many times before. He always has a great understanding for what I am looking for and once again he delivered. Was there any part of the filmmaking which you found a major challenge? Yes, the baby was our biggest challenge. Although we had a real baby to filmsome scenes in London we had to get a hand-made real life baby doll for the rest of the shoot. What were your fondest moments when making Villains? The fact that we were filming in the North East. I know the area there very well as l lived there for many years. It was great to be back. Who is your favourite director and why? David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Client Eastwood. The are all independently minded with a strong vision of what they want to achieve. What keeps you motivated and inspired? I enjoy making films and coming up with new stories, the whole film process keep me motivated and alive!

24

J

ackie Shields, crook and villain, almost seventy, is at the end of this ‘working’career. In and out of prison for most of his adult years, he is a poor father to his daughter Kitty, and violent short-tempered with his girlfriend Nora. Kitty, mixed up and selfish, is a product of foster homes during her father’s times in prison. Despite her university education, she has not broken free of her father’s villainous underground world. She has become amoral, scheming, and duplicitous- the only way she knows how to survive. In flashback, we discover that she has a secret child by her father’s rival Sebastian Eton, but passes it off as Nora’s baby.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

TONDO, BELOVED: TO WHAT ARE THE POOR BORN? A film by Jewel Maranan

25

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Today, its notoriety is well known but its communities continue to expand, keeping its place as one of the most densely populated places in the Philippines and in the world. Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born? is an immersion into life before birth in the seams of Manila’s main international port. Virgie Simpron’s family feeds on the fishes that lurk under the industrial ships of North Harbor. Their alternatives are packs of tasteless gelatin found in the same waters. Their entertainment comes from imagining stories behind DVD inlays of Hollywood films and a tabloid article on Hillary Clinton and a rat’s ass. One morning when the fishes are dead, the sea’s color is that of milk and the ships’ clanging are unusually bold; uncertainty is born on the same floor where they eat, blood is spilt in

www.ufmag.org

the same bowl where they clean fish and an old weary nation is revealed. Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born? Is a full-length documentary about life before birth in the seams of Manila’s premier international port. It is a prelude to a continuing four-part documentary project, entitled Tondo, Beloved, about neocolonialism and contemporary life in Manila structured in the cycle of birth, youth, adulthood and death. Its production started in 2010 during the national elections in the Philippines, which seated the popular incumbent president Benigno Aquino III, and is scheduled for completion in 2013 after another round of national elections. Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born? was first screened at the Cinemalaya Film Festival and is scheduled for international release in 2012. It is self-produced with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Goethe Institute-Philippines.

26

ondo holds a unique place in Philippine culture and society. One of the nation’s oldest extant districts, its existence recorded as early as the 9th century, the current of national history is imprinted deep in its everyday grind.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

KILLER JOE OGLINE – twenty two year old CHRIS SMITH is a drug dealer down on his luck but things are about to go from bad to worse when he hires the unexpectedly charming hit man, KILLER JOE, to murder his own mother for her fifty thousand dollar life insurance policy. With barely a dollar to his name Chris agrees to offer up his younger sister, DOTTIE, as sexual collateral in exchange for JOE’s services until he receives the insurance money. That is if it ever does come in. SYNOPSIS. Does every life have a price? That is the question facing twenty two year old CHRIS SMITH (Emile Hirsch: ‘Into the Wild’, ‘Milk’), a small time drug peddler just struggling for a break. When CHRIS has his entire stash stolen by his very own mother, he must come up with six thousand dollars – and fast, or he’s dead. In desperation, he enlists the help of his father, ANSEL (Thomas Haden Church: ‘Sideways’, ‘Spiderman 3’) and together they plot a hostile scheme. The plan: CHRIS’ mother, a low life with no redeeming qualities, has a life insurance policy that would more than wipe out the debt. The problem: she’ll need to be dead for them to collect. Enter Detective JOE COOPER (Matthew McConaughey: ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’, ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ and ‘A Time to Kill’), a sultry hit man with all the charm and manners of a Southern gentleman. KILLER JOE is only too happy to take on the job but JOE won’t pull a trigger without his twenty five thousand fee paid upfront and in full. Des-

peration quickly turns to despair for the father and son, as they agree to JOE’s ‘kind’ offer to defer his fee in exchange for CHRIS’ attractive and seemingly innocent younger sister, DOTTIE (Juno Temple: upcoming ‘Dirty Girl’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘The Three Muskateers’). JOE will hold DOTTIE as collateral until the insurance money is collected and his fee is paid in full. It all seems so simple. It turns out to be anything but. JOE becomes completely and utterly infatuated with DOTTIE and she reveals herself not to be the sweet southern belle that everyone thought. Despite what can only be described as a questionable family situation, JOE is determined to be with DOTTIE at any cost and as their unlikely relationship grows, so too, does CHRIS’ regret. Letting his doubts get the better of him, CHRIS goes to JOE, intending the call the whole thing off, but he is too late. After coming to terms with the ghastly consequences of his plan to kill his mother, CHRIS goes about trying to collect the settlement and finally put an end to the mess he’s created. To his surprise, he discovers that he has been fooled. His mother’s boyfriend is actually the sole beneficiary of the insurance policy – not his sister. When JOE comes to collect his fee and make away with DOTTIE, he receives the less than welcome news that there is, in fact, no money. Now faced with an angry and increasingly sociopathic hit man, CHRIS would have been wrong to think that things couldn’t get any worse for his family. It all ends with a family dinner and a single gunshot.

27

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

28

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

WILLIAM states: FRIEDKIN ‘There’s a thin line between good and evil and there is the possibility of evil in all of us’. With his new project ‘KILLER JOE’, FRIEDKIN delights in exploring the more sinister aspects that lurk among our fellow mankind. From the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, TRACY LETTS, the film portrays those who are forced to face the truth about themselves in close quarters – and what happens when they’d rather not. However, it’s an entirely heartless reflection. Surprisingly, FRIEDKIN reveals: ‘I myself have felt all of the emotions in my films at one time or another. I was drawn to this project as it’s about innocence, vicand tenderness’. timhood, vengeance g In May of 2010, NICHOLAS CHARTIER of Voltage Pictures received the script for ‘KILLER JOE’ from Anonymous Content, the managers of BILLY FRIEDKIN. His interest was definitely piqued and not being one to shy away from controversial material, CHARTIER seemed tailor made to produce the project. When MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY became attached to the title role, CHARTIER became particularly intrigued as he has always been fond of McCONAUGHEY’s films, especially titles such as ‘A Time to Kill’ and ‘Amisted’. He also had been a huge fan of ‘To Live and Die in LA’, directed by FRIEDKIN in 1985. Given these existing elements, he quickly understood that ‘KILLER JOE’ was the perfect fit for him. Before McCONAUGHEY accepted the role, he realised that this film was not going to be your average crowd pleaser. ‘The first time I read the script, I couldn’t quite see my character clearly. Then I met with BILLY FRIEDKIN and his affection for the love story and blasphemous humour within the wickedly dysfunctional family, helped me reread it with a bone’.. tickle bone When McCONAUGHEY accepted the role, FRIEDKIN knew that the contradiction of the actor’s ‘nice guy’ image would benefit the film. FRIEDKIN states: ‘There are only a select few actors who could have played the part but there might have been very strong resistance from an audience if the actor wasn’t someone who had already established their relationship as a good guy, which MATTHEW has’. Following the success of ‘The Hurt Locker’, directed by KATHRYN BIGELOW, CHARTIER saw another great opportunity to work with a great director. ‘FRIEDKIN has an incredible sense of style and is an iconic master. He’s just brilliant’, states CHARTIER. Fellow producer, SCOTT EINBINDER, took notice of FRIEDKIN’s precise directing style from early on. ‘He knows what he wants and

how to get it. The most amazing part was definitely seeing his ‘two takes only’ rule. He really believed in allowing the actors to sink their teeth into their character. BILLY really wanted to try y to keep p the camera invisible and simply provide an atmosphere where the actors could do their best work in telling this story’. story’

toward casting such as EMILIE HIRSCH as Chris Smith, THOMAS HADEN CHURCH as Ansel Smith and GINA GERSHON as Sharla ‘Every day is exciting working with Smith. The most difficult role to cast BILLY; he’s so energetic and he’s so pasproved to be that of Dottie Smith, Chris’ sionate. It really feels like you’re part younger sister, whose innocence Chris of something’, articulates HIRSCH. ‘At callously disregards, Eventually the role the same time, he has this unbelievwent to starlet JUNO TEMPLE. FRIEDKIN able attention to detail, it’s incredfought hard for TEMPLE to play the part ible. You’ll be doing a scene and he’ll and subsequently won the actor’s be clocking every little detail, even admiration along the way. ‘Workwithin your own character. He ing with BILLY was extraordihas this extraordinary mind in “It all ends nary’, states TEMPLE. ‘I estabthat way, where he’s able to lished a deep amount of trust hold all the different parts of with a single in the director, which allowed production in his mind, every gunshot” me to feel comfortable, regardlittle tiny detail, while at the less of the scene. He made me same time having this strong feel like I was perfect for the role thrust and vision for this movie and I could just go for it. My perforin its entirety. He is a master and mance really benefitted from that beworking with BILLY was an extraordicause I wasn’t afraid to take a risk and to nary experience’. take your clothes off or even shoot your family!’ TEMPLE exclaimed. The ‘KILLER JOE’ team would soon face the challenge of casting actors who The next step for the producers would could keep up with the director’s debe choosing the perfect location. cisive style. EINBINDER also explains: Though the story was set in Texas, New ‘From my first meeting with BILLY, when Orleans proved to be ideal. p we discussed his vision of the movie, ‘Aside from the tax his interpretation of each character and rebates, our who he thought should be cast and why, started bringing the movie to life in a completely different way’. While CHARTIER spent that summer financing, FRIEDKIN was hard at work, casting the remainder of the film. The director’s clear, unique vision steered the film

29

www.ufmag.org


Universal U niversal Film Issue 3 of 2012

filming location had to reflect the mood and tone reflect set in the story and New Orleans has so many different faces it proved to be the perfect backdrop for this story’, explains EINBINDER. ‘I love New Orleans! I would happily move here. You get an incredible feeling of freedom and lust for life being here. It’s alive and electric’, declares JUNO TEMPLE. Editing took place in Los Angeles where BILLY breezed through his cut in six weeks and then hired STEVE BOEDDEKER from Lucasfilm to do the sound effects. BOEDDEKER’s credits include ‘X-Men’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘TRON: Legacy’. The film is scored by TYLER BATES, the composer of recent films – ‘300’, ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Conan, the Barbarian’. CHARTIER knew TYLER personally and called him asking if he would be interested in doing something a little different. ‘TYLER had done ‘The Way’ for MARTIN SHEEN and ‘300’, two very different movies; he’s also an extremely successful composer for games soundtracks, so I knew he could do something and interg original g esting’. BATES describes his

exp e rience working on ‘BILLY the film: gave me a near impossible challenge of imbuing the score for ‘KILLER JOE’ with a south-western attitude, but without the conventional use of guitars. It turned out that a plucked and bowed acoustic guitarviol accompanied by a tympani was the perfect foundation for what became a dark, headspace, minimalist score. The addition of melodica, marxophone and electric baritone guitar played through a talk box and completed our sonic palate. Each of these instruments requires a fair degree of physical effort to play, which made the creation of music for the film a rather visceral and tactile experience for me, to say the least’.

LETTS went into a great deal of detail with the producers, cast and crew about the story and its characters, so they could hear the influences directly from the horse’s mouth. He even went as far as to create an in-depth memo we could pass around to everybody involved on the production. BILLY notes: ‘We followed that pretty closely and it was an eye opener in terms of what was the driving force underneath everything we were doing. In my humble opinion, it’s that second level that makes the performance in this film so very rich and very real’. GERSHON elaborates on this when she states: ‘TRACY’s uniqueness lies in the creation of his super intense characters. It becomes an amazing piece for actors exploit’. As a result result, the filmmakers filmmakers to exploit’ were sure to cast actors who could really sink their teeth into their characters. UNO TEMPLE plays a young girl whose brother and father want to pimp her out to a professional killer while killing their wife and mother. Cinderella wants to get out of this family and the only viable solution she has is when she falls in love with her prince, a cop who’s also a professional killer.

ABOUT THE STORY From the beginning the qual“The Movie The movie is an actor’s dream. ity of the screenplay was asis an actors The dialogue-rich scenes and sured when TRACY LETTS’ well-rounded characters crepenned the adaptation of his dream” ated the potential for amazing own award winning play. On performances which seemed the stage, ‘KILLER JOE’ originally limitless’, HIRSCH notes. ‘I think premiered at the Steppenwolf that’s what’s so great about TRATheatre in 1998. Since then the play CY’s writing. You can have these moral‘KILLER JOE’ has performed in fifteen ly dubious and questionable characters countries and in twelve different lanand he still manages to maintain some guages since its original Chicago debut. kind of integrity in some corner of their It won top honours at the Edinburgh, souls. That is a very hard thing to do as Scotland Fringe Theatre Festival in ’94 a writer’. EINBINDER agrees: ‘BILLY saw and the played to sellout audiences at the characters as dreamers, all of whom London’s The Buck and West Theatre were searching for some sort of fulfilduring a four month run in which it won individument. Although problematic individu the Time Out Award as the Best Play of als, they each were rich and unique in 1995. In 1998 it found an off Broadway their own way. TRACY LETTS’ dialogue home at the two hundred seat Soho i off course, amazing is, i – but b BILLY fi fill lled d Playhouse. TRACY LETTS received a in the nuances and layers, which alPulitzer nomination for ‘The Man from lowed us to attract such a wonderful Nebraska’ and more recently won the cast’. 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for With it being such a honed stage play his screening family draand now adapted for the big screen, ma: ‘August: Osage the pacing ends up helping you find the County’. character living within you and to find the vitality within it’, explains CHURCH. ‘The audience may think they know where something’s headed but due to the organic nature of the relationships, it could go askew at any moment’.

www.ufmag.org

30

‘KILLER JOE’ is a pretty outrageous story’, says McCONAUGHEY. “This film was a departure from any project I’ve ever worked on before”


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

aves is the new transformational Movie by Woho!Productions, a peculiar love story between two people (Mar and Juan) who live far away from each other. They have never met before, but mysteriously they start perceiving each other through energy waves. Suddenly their lives reveal mirror-like behaviors. Waves adventures into the dimension of the unseen and follows the story of these two characters on their journey prior to their encounter, a roller coaster of emotions beyond time and space and surreal dimensions. The movie is inspired by the Quantum physics’ theory of entanglement, which contemplates the idea of a universal matrix of energy that links us all. The locations chosen by the Director Pilli Cortese are very contrasting: a gloomy London opposed to a paradisiac La Digue, a remote island of the Seychelles. Filming on the Seychelles may seem like a fantastic adven-

ture, “ but filming on a remote island is not always easy” says Pilli Cortese. To begin with, the Director almost got killed in a night bike ride on the island by crashing at high speed against a palm tree! “Let alone the Tropical virus” continues Cortese: “Yes! We got it! All of us and I mean ALL, apart from the costume designer. The bug will weaken you and you will want to die. But you won’t, because you need to keep shooting and the days are counted”. Waves is a film about connections, but not the ones we normally deal with in our daily routines. It really makes you wonder: what would happen if we could have more faith in our perceptions? While waiting for the release of Waves this coming Autumn in London, in the meantime you can visit their website: http://www.wo-ho-productions.com/ where you can also be part of the Waves movement. Be sure to check their Wavesbook page. More exciting interactive ideas for and from Waves’ supporters are expected in the coming weeks!

31

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

LEAVE IT ON THE TRACKS ason Becker: Not Dead Yet’ is a feature-length documentary telling the extraordinary story of Jason Becker, a musical prodigy and guitar legend, who has been battling with ALS (motor neurone disease) for 22 years. A paralyzing terminal illness with no cure, the disease has trapped Jason inside his body . Using an eye communication system invented by his father, Jason is able to escape these confines and release the music trapped inside his mind. ‘Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet’ is a story of dreams, love and the strength of the human spirit. The year is 1989 and all the dreams of Jason Becker, a down-to-earth teenager from California, have just come true as he lands himself the biggest rock-guitar gig on the planet. He’s on the cover of every music magazine and is being hailed by critics as a prodigy in line to become one of the all-time greats. Jason and his family have found the American dream and are about to start living it. One week from now, during an examination of his leg, their dreams will turn into a nightmare when Jason is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and given just 3-5 years to live. The condition, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is an incurable and fatal neuro-degenerative disease. In just a short time, victims become completely paralyzed while their minds remains 100% in tact; essentially trapping them inside their own bodies. In most cases, ALS affects people in older age but Jason was just 19 when he was diagnosed. There is neither a cure nor any real treatment available. Jason was diagnosed 22 years ago now and astonishingly, despite the majority of sufferers dying within 5 years, Jason is still going strong making him is one of the longest known survivors. FUNDING The crowd-funded project built up a very strong and supportive social network through Facebook, Twitter and online video channels such as YouTube and Vimeo. The project received donations from all over the world as far reaching as Argentina, Indonesia, New Zealand and Iceland, raising over $70,000 in less than a year. Fans’ blogs and the forwarding of news via these networks has also helped to promote the project all over the world. This truly is an independent film funded by a passionate and patient audience. For more information please contact:

www.ufmag.org

32

DOGWOOF GLOBAL 211 Hatton Square Business Centre 16 Baldwins Gardens |London | EC1N 7RJ | UK Tel: +44 20 7831 7252 Ana Vicente: ana@dogwoof.com Vesna Cudic: vesna@dogwoof.com


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

GATTU GATTU TO CHARM INDIAN AUDIENCES ON JULY 20TH

I

n a small town in central India, kids and adults are equally obsessed with kite-flying. The airspace is dominated by a black kite called KALI with mysterious origins. A street kid, GATTU dreams of defeating KALI but fails. He discovers that the local school has a roof – which will give him a vantage point. Impersonating as a student, he sneaks into the school and must now pretend to study. The only problem – he is illiterate! None the less, the little street urchin takes up the challenge – dreams are not impossible when the desire is strong! After winning over international audiences in film festivals, the film ‘GATTU’ will release in India as a children’s film but it has truly managed to wow fans of all ages across the world. Produced by Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) and directed by RAJAN KHOSA, and distributed by the Rajshri group, a name synonymous with family entertainment, ‘GATTU’ will now release in India on July 20th 2012. The movie stars MOHAMED SAMAD as ‘Gattu’, NARESH KUMAR as ‘Anees Bhai’ and BHURA as ‘Tiger’, the sheep and the music in the film is composed by SANDESH SHANDILYA.

The movie has already won awards at the presitigious Berlin Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). After screening at the Toronto International Kids’ Film Festival (TIFF), it is now slated to tour in festivals across China and Europe through the summer. About the change of release date, Director RAJAN KHOSA says: ‘I am overwhelmed at the demand for the film from all corners of the world and only just getting used to all the awards coming our way. I am happy that we have succeeded in making a movie full of hope and happiness’. ‘GATTU’ continues to make its presence felt in the international festival circuit, but we are most excited about the Indian release, the first CFSI film to be released all over the country. We pushed the release to July 20th as many schools have shown interest in the film and would help us get their participation in addition to parents who are always on a lookout for a film that it both entertaining and enriching.

filmmak-

CEO Rajshri Media adds: ‘We are proud to partner the CFSI and to be associated with a film that has been made straight from the heart. ‘GATTU’ is all about the flight of a child and the belief that dreams do come true. We will do our best to make ‘Gattu’s’ dream a reality on July 20th 2012, when it releases at select multiplexes and single screens across India’. Children’s Film Society India (CFSI) is a government body that produces, exhibits and distributes children’s cinema. Since its inception CFSI has given opportunities to young and imaginative film-makers and over the years some of the most delightful children’s content has been produced by the organisation.

During the release of the film, which is now after the vacation, we have a strong school outreach plan that will enable us to reach to lot more children throughout the country’, says NANDITA DAS, Chairperson, CFSI. RAJJAT A BARJATYA, Managing Director and

GATTU

33

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

34

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

NYC Doctor Produces Documentary on Children Affected with AIDS by Tyrone D Murphy

D

r. Brian Mehling is a successful orthopedic surgeon practicing in New York and New Jersey who has dedicated himself to making a difference in the world through his groundbreaking work in the application of stem cell therapy as well as his work to help children worldwide, including those affected by AIDs and war. As well as being on call for surgery, his endeavors range from developing new advances in stem cell therapy, producing documentary films, travelling worldwide for medical and charity work, to attending special events with world leaders and organizations, including the United Nations and amfAR. Universal Film Magazine caught up with Brian during the Cannes Film Festival amfAR event. UFM: Tell us what brings you to Cannes this year.

BM: I wanted to have dinner with Paris Hilton, and the fact that she liked my shoes made my night. Just kidding. I’m here to promote the sequel to my original documentary, “Tiny Tears,” which was shown at Cannes in 2008. The sequel, “A Smile For Bow,” will follow one of the children from the original film who is an orphan born with AIDS and facial deformation; we brought her to the U.S. to receive life-transforming treatments. UFM: As a doctor from New

York City, you spend much of your time working in other countries across the globe. Can you tell us about your efforts internationally? BM: I have created The Blue Horizon Hospital Project, which plans on developing 22 hospitals worldwide. Each hospital will provide expert nursing, patient education, preventive medicine, followup care and community outreach programs to meet the needs of the underserved. We have dedicated 5 percent of the hospital beds to charity care, with a special focus on meeting the health care needs of children orphaned by disease and war. There will also be a special emphasis placed on training the local doctors in the most advanced techniques, including stem cell therapy, as they work alongside the experts from the United States. UFM: What is the Blue Horizon Foundation? BM: The foundation was created to raise money for providing medical care to children affected by disease and war around the world. In addition, it specializes in the development of film documentaries to increase awareness of the key issues, and that’s what brings me to Cannes. UFM: How important was the need to bring awareness to the causes that you are involved with?

35

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“Tiny Tears”

www.bluehorizonhospital.com

UFM: Please tell us about the films. BM: “Tiny Tears” does not simply focus on children dying from this disease, but also on children living with it. It does not pass over their culture, but examines how each of the contexts into which they were born has played a decisive role in shaping the quality of their lives. The documentary does not ignore the help they have received, but shows how their lives are made possible by the kindness of those who have nurtured them. The sequel, “A Smile For Bow,” is in postproduction and will be ready for Cannes next year. One child from each orphanage we visited was flown to the United States to participate in Camp Dreamcatcher. After camp we follow Bow, the little girl from Thailand, as she undergoes a difficult and dangerous surgery to reconstruct her face. Bow was born with major facial deformations due to fetal alcohol syndrome. Doctors in Thailand refuse to operate on her because of her HIV status. They think she’s not worth it. We thought otherwise.

www.ufmag.org

UFM: How did you and Robert Corna get together? BM: Robert and I met at the Winter Olympics in Italy in 2006. We both missed the ski jump and began talking about his expertise, and I wanted to work on a film project to promote our projects. We started brainstorming and “Tiny Tears” was born. UFM: What was it like to work with him? BM: Robert is amazing and really committed himself to the project in a very personal way, and that made the film. Not to mention, he has worked alongside the likes of Mel Gibson, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee on films such as, “Gangs of New York,” “The Passion Of The Christ” and HBO’s “Rome.” He has directed three documentaries: “Tsunami: The Renewal,” focusing on volunteers in Thailand, “Mine,” focusing on landmine victims, and of course, “Tiny Tears.” UFM: It was great meeting you and we wish you the best of luck on all your endeavors. BM: Thank you and I look forward to seeing you here next year.

To find out more, visit www.bluehorizonhospital. com.

Universal Film Magazine supports this project

36

BM: Extremely important, because many of the problems children face in the world are not well known. I felt the best way to address this problem was to produce documentary films for an international audience. We formed the production company, Industrial Motion Pictures, and our first project was “Tiny Tears,” directed by Robert Corna and narrated by Danny Glover.


Universal Film Issue 3 - 2012

v o

l

y l e

o m

y l l

by Tyrone D Murphy

W

hen newly-wed Molly Reynolds returns to her long-abandoned family home, reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her new life. A malevolent force, whether her own haunted past or something supernatural, tirelessly seeks to overwhelm her. Alone and isolated in a centuries-old manor, she soon begins an inexorable descent into depravity. Somewhere in the house, in the terrible space between psychosis and possession, lies an evil that will pull Molly and all those around her into darkness and death.

With the exquisite and haunting “Lovely Molly”, Eduardo Sanchez takes the first-person video horror genre he pioneered with “The Blair Witch Project” and evolves it into a modern personal horror film with the raw, intimate character exploration that evokes memories of early Polanski films like “Repulsion” or “Rosemary’s Baby”. Ten years ago, “The Blair Witch” phenomenon changed film-making, marketing and the way consumers enjoy content. Although characteristically humble about being a cultural icon, Sanchez notes, “One thing in the Blair aftermath I liked seeing was it seemed to give permission to studios and other indie film-makers to experiment with first-person cinema where the characters shoot the entire film through video cameras period. I thought three in particular worked great: “Cloverfield”, “Rec” and “Paranormal Activity.”

In his own life, the culture-changing juggernaut of Blair allowed Sanchez and his producers Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale to spread their wings both personally and professionally. Over the last dozen years movies, TV shows, advertising and transmedia work became virtual side projects to the main business of getting married, settling down and raising children. Unfortunately none of these media projects were nearly as successful as Blair. This fact was neither lost on Sanchez, nor made it any easier for him to keep making movies. Sanchez considers the phenomenon that was Blair, and its influence on another first-person horror hit, “Paranormal Activity”.

“I was already writing “Lovely Molly” when “Paranormal” came out,” Sanchez begins, “and I have to confess: its success intensified the frustrations I was feeling at the time about being a film-maker.” “ I found myself looking into other careers, daydreaming about working at “Target” or “Toys R Us”. Jobs I could turn off after my shift. A job that didn’t control my feelings of self-worth the way film-making does.” “ I was feeling sorry for myself, becoming really negative. I began seeing a therapist and it really helped,” says Sanchez, candidly. “It gave me perspective. I was reminded how lucky I was to be able to make movies at all.” With Lovely Molly, Sanchezʼs film-making has matured and evolved; heralding a new era of first-person film-making. Sanchezʼs narrative approach for the film integrates a first- person video perspective into old-school genre storytelling for which the “master” perspective may be that of the house and anyone in it at any given time. There is no question that the film-maker has retained many of his favorite tropes. Both “Lovely Molly” and “The Blair Witch Project” feature harrowing, naturalistic performances by unknown actresses who won their respective parts after auditioning against hundreds, and both employ isolation as a film-making device and psychological metaphor. But However, with “Lovely Molly”, director Eduardo Sanchez puts the video camera not into the hands of an ambitious film student, but those of a young woman who acquired a camera to document her recent wedding. And whereas Blair was constructed entirely of footage shot by the filmʼss’ characters, “Lovely Molly” uses it sparingly, carefully weaving the video segments into a carefully delicately crafted and beautifully cinematic whole. “Mollyʼs camera is a documentary tool,” says director Eduardo Sanchez. “But itʼs also like a divining rod within the story. It helps Molly find her truth.” “ Recording everyday events or using video cameras like a personal diary, whether thatʼs on a phone or a web cam or whatever, is such an normal part of peopleʼs lives that itʼs almost weird that more films donʼt use first-person video,” he adds. “But because of our use of it in Blair, I think some people might look at our using it again a little more critically. And honestly, I was ready to try something new.” Inspired, he and his film-making partners at Haxan dove headlong into developing the film. One of producer Robin Cowieʼs first steps was to send an early draft of the script to Mark Ordesky, the former New Line executive and “Lord Of The Rings” executive producer, who was just starting his new venture, Amber Entertainment. “It was incredibly serendipitous,” explains Ordesky. “Jane (Fleming) and I had taken this leap of faith in starting our own company and this incredible script lands on our desks. A script from a group of guys I hadnʼt talked to in over ten years.” At the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, as New Line Cinema’s acquisitions chief, Ordesky had tried and failed to secure distribution rights to “The Blair Witch Project”. But a relationship was formed that transcended business. “We were the same kind of geeks,” says Ordesky. “We realized we had been obsessed with the same interests as kids. We ended up talking more about Dungeons & Dragons and “The Legend Of Boggy Creek” than we did about buying or selling movies. After losing out on Blair, I had promised myself I would work with them some day. To have this be our first produced film as independent producers is beyond awesome.” Based on the strength of that early draft of the script, Ordesky and Fleming signed on almost immediately and, in a matter of just a couple of days, the film went into pre- production with a definitive start date. “We immediately broke that rule of not using your own money,” admits executive producer Andy Jenkins. “We really went back to an old-school, DIY approach. We werenʼt going to wait on anybody. Not even investors. We just started making the movie.” It was another leap of faith but one quickly validated with the discovery of Gretchen Lodge, the young actress who would eventually portray the title character. “We conducted the first series of auditions ourselves,” explains Sanchez. “We saw hundreds of actresses, first online and then in person in New York.”

37

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“She’s the linchpin of the story. Absolutely the soul of the film,” says Sanchez. “If the Molly character doesnʼt work on every level, you simply donʼt have a movie.” “ With Molly and Tim, we come into their marriage after about a year,” continues Sanchez. “They’ve had to move into her parentʼs old house to save money. Molly thought she could put the memories of the horrible things that had happened there behind her. But sheʼs wrong. And then thereʼs the possibility that itʼs not just memories in the house but some ‘thing’, some force thatʼs haunting her.

www.ufmag.org

That ambiguity is what makes the story so compelling. Balancing those two realities completely hinges on Gretchenʼs performance.” The role was demanding in every way: an emotional roller coaster of incredible intensity with a character that fluctuates between terrorized victim and calculating predator. There were extensive make-up effects, lots of blood and a number of stunts for which doubles were not practical. Several scenes required full nudity and exposure to the rain and the cold. “I can relate to Molly as a character, to her loneliness, to the dignity she has in trying to retake control of her life,” Sanchez admits. “And I also relate to Gretchen as an actress putting herself in such a vulnerable position as a human being.” Maintaining that vulnerability depended on Lodge’s trust, not only in Sanchez, but in the entire crew. Giving an actress the space (physical and emotional) to dig into such a role can be challenging on the biggest of films. With “Lovely Molly”, as with most low-budget shoots, the crew was mostly young, inexperienced and working in mostly unpleasant conditions for very little money. The schedule was brutal.

road, the set was a stone house built by an Irish colonel at the end of the French and Indian War. With no trailers for cast or crew, the entire production was crammed into every nook and cranny of the house. Former slave quarters stuffed with years of trash had to be cleared for use as sets. The homeʼs original owner left behind a legend built on brutality, and every generation since had imprinted its own ghost stories on the rugged rock walls. Lodge and some of the crew experienced sensations of being watched and even touched in apparently empty rooms. It was a cramped, cold, and legitimately creepy location. The production of “Lovely Molly” faced a mix of challenges that could have yielded disaster... or inspiration. Sanchez and his team chose inspiration. “I’m coming into this with both eyes open,” concludes Sanchez. “And Iʼm allowing myself to be excited. Iʼm really proud of “Lovely Molly” and I think itʼs a film that’s going to resonate with audiences. I feel fortunate to have made it.”

And then there was the house. Sitting on a small hill at the end of a mile of rutted dirt

38

Lodge was the instant favorite of the film-making team.“We were stunned,” says Jane Fleming. “It was truly one of those revelatory moments when you see a star born. “Lovely Molly” was one of the first movies Gretchen had auditioned for, and her command of the camera in the audition was breathtaking.” Gretchen was everything I was looking for in Molly,” Sanchez says. “We knew we needed unknowns for the movie to work, but we also wanted the person playing Molly to have the total support of seasoned professionals who knew how to work on a fast- moving shoot. Alexandra (Holden) and Johnny (Lewis) were amazing supporting actors in every sense.” Lodgeʼs performance, which channels a woman at the end of her rope, had to be utterly compelling for “Lovely Molly” to work.


UniversalUniversal Film Film Issue 2 of 2012

Issue 3 of 2012

THE 99 UNBOUND

F

rom the heartland of America to the capitals of Europe and the Middle-East,.From the jungles of Indonesia and beyond; a young group of international superheroes battles a time-travelling megalomaniac in THE 99 Unbound, the new animated feature from Endemol UK and Teshkeel Media. Based on the acclaimed THE 99 comic book series, the film presents the origin story for the upcoming TV series of the same name. In THE 99 Unbound we begin to unravel the story of THE 99, as we first meet Dana (Noora the Light) and Nawaf (Jabbar the Powerful). Together they bring Noor Stone bearer John Weller (Darr the Afflicter) into THE 99, who realizes he has only discovered a small part of his stone’s power as he undergoes his transformation to a fully fledged ‘ 99 member.

Meanwhile, the enigmatic duo of Ramzi and Rughal, , spar over the mystical Noor stones,who covet the stones at any cost. But as the newly formed ’99 try and recruit a new stone bearer, technology wizard Miklos, we begin to understand that evil mastermind Rughal will stop at nothing to realise his ambition of world domination. THE 99 scramble together a plan and travel to Cairo to recruit Catarina (Mumita the Destroyer), whose Noor Stone makes her a fearsome martial artist. Formidable or not Cat cannot help THE 99 when they become trapped and Ramzi is held hostage. Summoning their powers the super-heroes unite to attempt a daring escape but they’ve underestimated the evil mastermind Rughal. THE 99 animated series will follow the adventures of the comic book’s superhero characters from around the world. Each character is empowered with a derivative of one of the 99 attributes of Allah; values such as wisdom, mercy, strength or faithfulness. The team works together to maximise their powers; Jabbar is a Hulklike figure of enormous strength, Noora has power over light, and Darr is both the cause and reliefof pain. Each member of THE 99 embodies one of 99 global values and hail from 99 different countries on six different continents. According to legend, 99 gems of power that were scattered across the earth hundreds of years agonow empower a select few with superhuman abilities. These

lost ‘Noor Stones’ are storehouses for the knowledge of Dar Al-Hikma, the largest library in the great city of Baghdad. If the gems can be contained and used for good, humanity may once again be able to usher in an age of peace and prosperity. Years of searching proved futile until now. Today the light begins to shine, bringing the promise and power of THE 99 to the children of the world. ABOUT DAVE OSBORNE (Director): Adirector for 20 years who has worked on on numerous animated television shows in UK and abroad. Among his most noted credits is the television series, Wiggly Park. In the last 10 years he has worked mostly, though not exclusively with CGI animation. He directed The Cubeez, one of the first animated series made in the UK using full CGI animation. Following The Cubeez Dave worked at Cosgrove Hall Films as a director on the series Shadow of the Elves. Additionally, he has directed 39 episodes of Friends and Heroes, which was broadcast on the BBC and in the United States. ABOUT PETER GRIFFITHS (Series Producer): Peter is an award winning animation producer whose experience includes multiple animation series made for the UK and US. Peter has further experience in interactive content and games including Dora the Explora, Angelina Ballerina, Postman Pat and Rupert the Bear.

39

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

Issue 3 of 2012

Leveson Inquiry

100 Ways to Pop Corn Americans eat over one billion pounds of popcorn a year with about 20 -30% eaten at the movies. Popcorn kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive “pop” results. A teacher friend said she would sit her elementary school class in a circle and place an electric popper in the center. She’d leave the lid off while the children guessed where the farthest popped kernel would land. Don’t try this at home, but the kids loved it. Although popcorn or maize, as it is known, was discovered by the Native Americans, there is evidence of it in Peru as early as 4200 BC. Some strains of corn are now cultivated specifically as popping corns. Commercial popcorn machines were invented by Charles Cretors in the late 19th century. Before that, most individuals would pop their corn in a wire basket over a fire. Cretors’ invention allowed for the corn to be popped in oil. This is still the

www.ufmag.org

favorite of most. Many more methods have been invented, such as air poppers, electric poppers and more recently pre-packaged microwave bags. Over the years there have been numerous ways to ‘finish’ off the batch. The most well-known is melted butter and salt. This version started being served in movie theaters as early as 1912. Still the favorite, but there are so many other ways to prepare this snack: Laurie’s Summer Pepper Corn Cook in canola oil until completely popped. Top with truffle oil, sea salt, summer pepper blend (white pepper, cardamom, ground fennel seed and star anise), and a small amount of brewer’s yeast. Hugh’s Gosomi Brocolli Popcorn Air-popped kernels topped with olive oil, Gosomi crackers, brewer’s yeast, powdered organic cheddar cheese, steamed broccoli flowerettes. He calls that dinner for his chil-dren. I like to make a caramel rosemary version by melting butter and maple syrup together with chopped rosemary.

Donna likes to add Pepper Plant sauce to the cooked corn, while Sally says the addition of chopped fresh garlic, butter and salt is the only way to go. There are literally hundreds of toppings for popcorn, but this method hits the jackpot: Fran says her grandma’s stuffed turkey popcorn is the best. Grandma says: “Place a couple handfuls of popcorn with some chopped celery, salt and pepper into the cavity of the turkey. Place it in the oven and the popcorn is done when it blows the ass off the turkey.” Some other toppings include brown sugar, melted caramel, melted chocolate, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, spices and herbs. Keeping the fat and sugar levels at a minimum will help make popcorn a healthier snack. One thing is for certain popcorn sure is the perfect thing to chomp on while snuggling up and watching a movie. Rosemary Febbo Mama Rose’s Kitchen www.roseskitchen.com KZFR 90.1 FM http://www.kzfr.org UFM loves these recipies!

40

100 Ways to Pop Corn


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

PLANET OF SNAIL by Tyrone D Murphy

Y

oung-Chan lost his vision and hearing due to a serious illness when still very young. He often describes himself as a ‘snail’ as he can only rely on his tactile senses, as slowly as a snail, to communicate with others. Being unable to speak other people’s language, he once believed he had been singled out from the world. But a woman of an angel walked into his life. Soon-Ho, as small as a little girl who is also disabled, changed his life dramatically. Being married to her, he explores the things he can neither see nor hear. The once lonely snail now goes sleighing, swimming and writes essays, poems and even a script for a play, translating every experience into his own unique words. Although he does not get discouraged easily, obstacles still linger around him. He cannot go anywhere without Soon-Ho who is his translator and guide. In a meeting with a social worker one-day, they realise they cannot be together forever and how vulnerable Young-Chang is without Soon-Ho. Young-Chan begins to learn to walk with a blind stick, precariously for the first time in 40 years, while Soon-Ho stays home, alone for the first time in their marriage. Swimming in the middle of ocean, Youngchan says; “I’m closing my eyes for a while to see the most precious thing. I’m closing my ears to hear the most beautiful sound. And I’m waiting in silence to speak out the most truthful words”

Young-Chang My name is Young-Chan and I am deaf and blind. Luckily, I was not born like this. I was able to learn to speak and remember what I have seen before I lost my vision and hearing. Unlike many of my handicapped friends, I refuse to be satisfied with what life I have been given. I believe I have a lot of potential not yet discovered. My dream is to write a book that no one has ever written before: A snail’s encyclopaedia, the world through the eyes of a blind and deaf man Soon-Ho is my wife. I haven’t actually seen her with my own eyes but I know she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She has become my lifeline ever since she came into my life. She is my arms and legs that take me to school, to the gym, to the sea and everywhere I want to go. She is the eyes and the ears of me that sees, hears and translates for me. I cannot live a day without her and feel sorry for that I cannot do much for her while she has spine disability and often gets sick. I come from a planet of snails where people communicate by touching each other. We call ourselves “snails” because we cannot hear or see and our lives are as slow as the snails. Now I live on earth where time runs so fast which makes me hard to follow the life of the earthmen. When I first came to the earth, I was desperate because there was nothing I could do. However, an angel came into my life and I discovered a beautiful world that I can read under my fingers. Everything around me

started changing. Hopes started replacing despairs and I started challenging for my long delayed dream. Now my heart is full of hope and I know their will be so much more I can do in this world: The reason for my life. Director/Cinematographer Seung-Jun Yi is one of Korea’s emerging directors in the world documentary scene. Among a dozen TV length documentaries and shorts, Seung Jun directed Children of god (2008), a story about the children living in the crematorium of Nepal, which has travelled the world including Hotdocs and is being distributed worldwide. His interest in filmmaking has always focused on the life of, the so called unseen minorities, which has become his signature style of filmmaking. With his new feature length documentary ‘Planet of Snail’ Seung Jun teamed up with world class creative talents from literally all over the world including a Lebanese editor and a Finnish sound designer let alone the international funders and broadcasters. Yi’s experiments on this ambitious project in every aspect of filmmaking broadened his view on documentary as a filmmaker. Producer Min-Chul Kim was born into a family that runs a record shop, a video rental store, and a photo shop altogether in a-bit-ofeverything store in a small village of Korea. Thanks to the rich cultural environment of the family business, the country boy spent his teens with American and Hong Kong noir films while

41

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

“In the beginning there was darkness and silence. The darkness and silence were with God. When I came into existence, they came to me.”

watching his father developing black and white negatives in his kitchen turned dark room. He worked for film and TV productions to survive whilst living in Amsterdam studying communication management. After a number of jobs including party promoter, literary agent and running a one-man production, he is now an independent producer based in Seoul and Amsterdam while mixing and crossing not only genres but also media and industries. Min-Chul’s producer filmography includes Bong-Nam Park’s 2009 IDFA mid-length competition winner Iron Crows.

www.ufmag.org

42

cente: ana@dogwoof.com For more information please contact: DOGWOOF GLOBAL Ana Vicente: ana@dogwoof.com


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Filmmakers blacklisted film festival organizers " behind the screen" Part 1 - by Tyrone D Murphy

Horror Movie “The Killing Games”

T

he first systematic Hollywood blacklist of filmmakers was instituted on November 25, 1947. The Hollywood blacklist, as it is generally known, was the list of actors, directors, musicians, screenwriters and other entertainment professionals who were denied employment in the field because of their political beliefs or associations, real or suspected. Artists were barred from work on the basis of their alleged membership in or sympathy toward the American Communist Party.

Blacklisted Film Director Barry J Gillis UFFO was a member of this forum and strongly objected to such activity, although the filmmaker was unknown to us at the time. We at UFFO believe that it is fundamentally wrong to blacklist anyone, and even more so when such an act is based on gossip or a comment with no evidence to suggest the allegation is true.

Prior to this incident there was strong opposition and hostility in the group towards UFFO and our remit of best “the entire business practices, which at times reached an almost cast,crew, fever pitch. Over a period of almost a year, objections Some were blacklisted simply because their names distributors were made by a few members of the group, about came up at the wrong place and time. Even during the and financiers everything related to UFFO. This included posts we period of its strictest enforcement – the late 1940s made about new member festivals joining UFFO, the through the late 1950s – the blacklist was rarely made now suffer” new UFFO magazine, and changes to the organizational explicit and verifiable, but it caused direct damage to structure. the careers of scores of American artists. The blacklist was effectively broken in 1960 when Dalton Trumbo, an unrepentTo emphasize the hostility faced by UFFO by a small number of ant member of the Hollywood Ten, was publicly acknowledged members of this group, the following comments will sum it up. as the screenwriter of the films “Spartacus” and “Exodus.” Amy Ettinger is one of the forum’s members, and is also the Director of the Scottsdale International Film Festival. In a thread Fast forward sixty years, and the dreaded blacklist is re-emergabout UFFO, she remarked, “Hope it goes down in flames with ing, this time via the Film Festival Organizers (FFO) group on no takers.” Another comment, by Matthew M. Foster, Director the social networking site, Facebook. Recently, a Canadian of the Dragon*Con Film Festival, read, “And I second Amy. The filmmaker, Barry J. Gillis, was purportedly blacklisted within faster this dies the better. No good can come of it and so much this closed and secretive group. A post on the group’s Facetrouble.” It’s plain to see that UFFO was resented and was later book page alleged that one of the festivals represented in the harassed. FFO group had received threats of violence from Gillis. UFFO was later banned from the FFO forum for trying to bring According to Gillis, his ordeal began when he submitted a horsome sanity to the situation, and to stop filmmakers being ror film to the Edmonton Film Festival. A month before the blacklisted. A small number of the group, including the modofficial selection process began, the festival informed him that erators, have no interest in listening to reason, and resented his film was not selected; he was told that the film “The Killing any opposition to their biased beliefs. Games” is “too violent” for the Edmonton Film Festival. Frustrated that his film was rejected far too early, Gillis explained, Some of the forum members feel so comfortable and pro“I wrote to the Edmonton Film Festival a number of times and tected there that they can post anything at all. After UFFO was was completely ignored.” Out of frustration, he again wrote to excluded from the group, another thread was created by the the festival, saying that he was “at war” with them. Gillis has moderator, Jon Gann, which contained a torrent of abusive told UFFO, “The context was a war of words, and they knew comments in relation to UFFO and the blacklisting of Gillis. this.” We have seen the correspondence between Gillis and It also included a video that contained extremely offensive, the Edmonton Film Festival and although the correspondence racist/anti-Jewish and homophobic content, posted for the clearly demonstrates Gillis was annoyed there was no threats group’s entertainment by Charles Judson, a programmer of the of violence. Atlanta Film Festival.

The blacklist re-emerging

43

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Kerrie Long is a small-time filmmaker who took the reins of the Edmonton International Film Festival in 2004. In a recent article on Canada.com she is described as red-haired and feisty. She has been quoted as saying, “I had to get home to milk 40 cows, and I also helped butcher cows and chickens; I became a certified cattle inseminator at the age of 17.” Can this really be the same person who is “very … very afraid” because of an email from a filmmaker to the director of the Edmonton Film Festival? In stark contrast, Barry Gillis is a filmmaker who has made several films and works in the Canadian wilderness, in the oil industry. It all began for Gillis when he contacted the Edmonton Film Festival. He said, “I thought I would receive support from a festival in a city I lived in.” According to Gillis, “I wrote to the Edmonton Film Festival a number of times and was completely ignored … There were no threats or anything at all like that to even suggest a hint of a threat of violence. Although I am passionate about filmmaking and was annoyed at the way I was treated, I am not violent. I later wrote to the festival and apologised for my rude emails.” Sometime later Kerrie Long wrote this reply to Barry Gillis: “What a delightful surprise! It takes a big soul to articulate such a thoughtful response to a very negative situation. I applaud you and welcome your apology.” The Edmonton Film Festival’s unique jury system may provide a clue as to why Kerrie Long could decide to refuse Gillis’ film a month before the official selection announcement. Instead of a jury made up of industry professionals, like most other juried festivals, the Edmonton Film Festival Jury is run by Kerrie Long herself, together with Sydney Mould (an assistant festival programmer) and Vincent Brulotte, a 17-yearold intern. This would appear to be the only likely explanation. Recently the local Breakfast TV show in Edmonton, Canada which was a major sponsor of the Edmonton International Film Festival also had problems with Kerrie Long and have withdrawn their support from the festival.

www.ufmag.org

In the case of Gillis, it would appear that Kerrie Long’s actions was a deliberate attempt to convince the other festival organizers on the forum to blacklist Barry Gillis, perhaps because she was annoyed that Gillis ruffled her feathers in same way. Her comments posted to the group appear to have indeed blacklisted Gillis, and may have damaged the careers of everyone who was involved with Gillis’ horror film, including the cast, crew, financiers and distributors. Although the incident also led to UFFO being excluded from the forum because of UFFO’s objections to their blacklisting the filmmaker. Jon Gann, the forum moderator, issued a statement. Here is a snippet, in which he dramatically explains his actions by allowing and supporting the blacklisting of Gillis: “The thread concerned banning a filmmaker after making a credible violent threat against a festival programmer – a behaviour so horrific, unprofessional, and frightening – that it is understandable (and I believe, justified) to ban ANYONE from an event. Film festivals are not a right, but a public forum that is curated, organized and produced by an organization or individual for the benefit of an audience. NO ONE should be subjected to such outright hate – filmmaker or organizer alike.” The comments made by Kerrie Long and the followupfollow-up comments from the select few in the group that supported Gillis’ blacklisting have now been removed from the forum by Jon Gann and the other moderators. So it would seem that all we have left to judge the facts of this travesty is Jon Gann’s own public and very dramatic statement, which contains distortion of facts and even complete fictions. Gann has not only attempted to excuse his own actions, but has spoken out in support of Kerrie Long and taken an active part in blacklisting Gillis. Jon Gann’s statement includes this: “It Is my hope that anyone who reads this Jon Gann’s statement includes this: “It Is my hope that anyone who reads this note investigate the situation before jumping to conclusions – since as is the case with all tales there are two sides to the story”. Despite inviting members of the forum to investigate the situation “before jumping to conclusions,” Gann and the other moderators removed the damning comments, so there was no evidence to make it possible for anyone to know the facts or to investigate the situation.

We took a snapshot of the complete thread, which is published alongside this article. This is the smoking gun that clearly demonstrates how easily someone can be blacklisted, and the outright hostility towards filmmakers or to anyone who speaks out about unfair practices is apparent. Although we at UFFO attempted to bring some semblance of sanity to the forum, the hostility of the group toward UFFO and Barry Gillis was so great that, even with no proof or evidence of wrongdoing by Gillis, they proceeded to blacklist him, and banned UFFO from the forum. We must now ask, how many other people, filmmakers or otherwise, have been blacklisted by this group? The result of being blacklisted can be that blacklisted filmmakers suddenly can’t get work. The complete lack of regard by Kerrie Long and the other festival organizers for filmmakers’ careers and legal procedure is reprehensible, and must now be stopped. We contacted all of the moderators and some of the festival organizers involved in the blacklisting of Gillis so we could present two sides to this article, and they have ignored our requests. Although they have had the opportunity to comment on the issue and/or apologise for their behaviour, Jon Gann created another thread on the forum in which he informed the group that they do not need to make any comments. Such behaviour brings back memories of days gone by, when the “Hollywood Ten” – the movie industry professionals convicted of contempt of Congress – were placed on the “blacklist” of authors, actors, and directors and were refused work by the studio heads. James F. Byrnes, the secretary of state (1945-47) under Harry Truman and chief legal counsel for the studios, advised the film industry to deny that there was a blacklist, because blacklisting was illegal. Film festivals and filmmakers are one community, not two; this is what we believe and promote at UFFO. We need to bring awareness to the filmmaking and festival community of how destructive wrongful accusations and blacklisting or cyber-bullying can be. The activity in this particular case not only affects the filmmaker, but the entire cast and crew of a movie. The potential losses to movie financiers and distributors can also be catastrophic.

44

If we look closely at the evidence on both sides of this issue, it would seem that all is not what it seems. Comments made by Kerrie Long seem to infer that she is a helpless, terrified victim of a disgruntled horror filmmaker (“His actions since then make me very … very afraid”). These comments have certain a ring of drama to them; incidentally, the similarity to the tagline on Barry J. Gillis’ film poster (“Be petrified … very petrified”) is uncanny.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

This is the thread on the Film Festival Organizers Group on Facebook Kerrie long - Edmonton International Film Festival

I apologize for repeating the thread about filmmaker feedback (It’s WAY down the line on this page) . We gave verbal feedback to a ‘filmmaker’ yesterday •Who lives in our city -- as a courtesy . .. BEFORE our offcial notification date in August. Let’s just say his actions since then make me very, very afraid. Please ... if ANY of you receive a feature length, horror film from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada message me and I’ll tell you whether it’s the same guy or not. He’s crazy! Like • Comment Unfollow Post •Wednesday at 9:34pm near Edmonton, Alberta Mitch Davies Co Director The Fantasia Film Festival That doesn’t sound good at all. Just tried to message you, but it doesn’t look like your account allows non-friends to contact you through it. Could you message me details? Wednesday at 11:04pm • Like Helen Stephenson, Executive Director, Prescott Film Festival Sorry you had to go through that. .. • Wednesday at 11: 49pm • Like Matt Marxteny (Programmer) The Red Rock Film Festival So sad that a few filmmakers cannot handle criticism - no coincidence that a lot of these filmmakers do not get into Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, SXSW and cannot understand why .On a lighter note, a few years ago a filmmaker did not make it into our festival. We thought the filmmaker would have a sense of humor and invited their cheesy film to screen at our ‘bad dnema night•. They entertained the idea. To our surprise, they submitted their new film later on and the new film got in! What a trooper -a true filmmaker. Filmmakers make note: it’s not about winning or being the official selection; it’s all about contacts and getting recognized. What was the age of this filmmaker? I know several school teachers from the ‘90s and more recently who can’t stand that they can never tell their students the truth about how their students are doing. Yesterday at 10:23am• Like

Kerrie long - Edmonton International Film Festival

Thank-you ALL for your support and words of encouragement. I’m grateful to have this private space to share. The saga continues ... today he EMAILED the Chair of Board to ‘Declare WAR on EIFF’. His exact words. We’re discussing now with our lawyer to determine if that’s enough to alert the police. In truth, I am very afraid right now ... I remember watching his movie, thinking ‘What kind of person thinks up these horrible acts of torture?’. Will keep you posted. Yesterday at 5:01pm • Like

Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization

What you are now doing is fundamentally and profoundly wrong. You are hijacking this filmmaker’s career Perhaps you may have had a bad experience with a filmmaker or perhaps you may be in the wrong. We do not know this without seeing the evidence or all the facts (we only have your word). In saying that you are in the business of taking submissions from filmmakers and sometimes festivals do get one that could be considered “flakey”’ We cannot say this for certain in this case as we do not know the whole story. Relating the content of the filmmakers film to emphasize your own predicament and stating that you are afraid of a horror filmmaker because they make horror films is simply nonsensical when there is no evidence at all to support this. You web site has a section explicitly geared at horror

filmmakers and has the following to entice submissions. “EDGE OF NIGHT. This series is lovingly tailored to the more ‘adventurous’ festival-goer. Bizarre, scary, or just plain shocking” In addition, despite stating he is at war with the EIFF or on some sort of vendetta, the posts you have made here have dearly been made in an attempt to blacklist the filmmaker. This is completely out of line and unacceptable. You have a duty to protect all the filmmaker’s reputations and private and personal details who submit films to your festival. Perhaps you should confer with the volunteer Board of Directors for the EIFF before you make any further comments. If you have a genuine complaint against a filmmaker then why not what the rest of the world does do, report this to the authorities. I would strongly suggest that this groups administrator should really not allow this type of retaliation against a filmmaker when we have no idea of what has transpired and we are not in possession of the facts 59 minutes ago • Like

Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest

How odd that I find myself disagreeing with you Tyrone, respectfully. I think a filmmaker who is abusive and threatening to one fest based on a rejection could quite possibly react the same way with another festival. All she is doing is warning people about an abusive individual. Some people have thin skin and dont appredate that kind of thing. You run a film festival, right? So you’ve said? Maybe you dont mind abuse from makers but I can see that some fest organizers may want to avoid such situations. (I on the other hand tend to get into it with them, as you can probably imagine ... . ) 51 minutes ago • Like

Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization

Ah, Jeff my ond friend! Interesting as you are always the one to disagree (as always) This is a serious issue. We have not seen what this filmmaker has said, not one word! We also know that are some festival directors who have attacked the filmmaking community to fend off criticism of a shoddy and/or scam operation. What I am saying is you have a duty to protect a filmmaker’s reputation as a festival and not blacklist them in such a way, it’s just not right!. In any event such an attack is as bad if not worse than the alleged offender. So who is worse here? the filmmaker who is annoyed and retaliating or the festival director who is annoyed and retaliating ? What I am saying is you have a duty to protect a filmmaker’s reputation as a festival and not blacklist them in such a way, it’s just not right!. In any event such an attack is as bad if not worse than the alleged offender. So who is worse here? the filmmaker who is annoyed and retaliating And yes1 (you do make me smile) I really could see that you would be over excited and eager to get into it and be argumentative with a disgruntle filmmaker. We all cope in our own way.

Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest

I’m gonna hold my tongue and see if any of ourcolleagues care to comment before debating further . 35 minutes ago • Unlike • iJ 1

Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization

Okay Jeff1 I understand you are hesitant. Good call! Another important point to factor into this issue that must be considered is the Law. If this filmmaker is in litigation with the EIFF and this does seem very likely then it is paramount that the subjudice rule in Canada that restricts comments on an on-going case

45

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Charles Judson - Alanta Film Festival If a festival organizer uses the words afraid and has to go so far as contacting other festivals, I would take that seriously. When we ran the 20 10 48 Hour Film Project one of the filmmakers who didn’t win any awards emailed all of our judges. He sent a very long, nasty and accusary e mail, the judges were all cool with it and shook it off Right now we have to manage one of our volunteers who in 2008 started exhibiting odd behivour and ion a film shoot in 2009 got into a fist fight and he stormed off another local film shoot in anger never to return. He hasn’t got into any psychical altercations since then, but his constant threats to sue us and shut us down and actions in general keep us on the alert. Every time we have someone new on staff and he contacts them it’s a major hassle. He still taunts me personally as least once a month and often a weekly basis. He sent me yet another cryptic tweet just this week (I had to unfriend him on FB) 9 m1nutes ago • Like

Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization

I would agree if there was any evidence at all, but there is no threat here in this case, just a blacklisting exorcize insofar as I can see. We somehow have gone on to former volunteer you have had problems with. A question, why not apply the law to stop this former volunteer? Also , you are aware of some festival directors have been making threats to film-makers also? 2 minutes ago • Like Charles Judson - Alanta Film Festival How do you know there’s been no threat? about a minute ago • Like Kerrie long - Edmonton International Film Festival Oh my. I didn’t mean to cause a stir. Your points are all duly noted. I really believed this to be a SAFE place to share. Lesson learned. about a minute ago • Like Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization How do you know there has? (re Charles) a few seconds ago • Like Charles Judson - Alanta Film Festival So a film festival opinion should live in fear instead and just let the threats escalate? This could all blow over, which it does 99.99% of the time. But if someone genuinely feels afraid for their safety, they should act on that. Again, Someone’s life is not worth a filmmaker’s career. And a filmmaker should never make statements that can cause any on to believe they may be in harm’s way, even if the threat turns out to be empty. It’s not only dumb career wise, but potentially a good way to go to jail a few seconds ago • like Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest Kerri I support you and hope that you do feel this is a safe space for us to talk about our work. we just have to put up with this interloper who looks for things to get hot and bothered about

www.ufmag.org

. his mission is to protect all filmmakers from evil film festivals. hes like the NRA, always on the look out for a slippery slope. there was a time, on the WAB film festival directors board, that fest organizers could discuss INTERNAL issues amongst themselves without a self appointed defender of makers having to turn the attack on those who just want to talk about their day. Tyrone, seriously, this is not a court of law, this is a water cooler. chill out. 19 minutes ago • Like Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization Jeff, I can always rely on you to say something like that. I am not a self-appointed defender of anything. Interloper is an odd word, it would seem you are getting hot under the collar again Jeff, please refrain from personal attacks and childish remarks. This is also my working day and I do have an opinion. 15 minutes ago • Like Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest do you not even care what kerrie said “’ really believed this to be a SAFE place to share. Lesson learned. • id rather you not stifle discussion here. stay your opinion and move on please. i would hate it if people felt they couldn’t talk about our work here because of you. 12 minutes ago • like Quinten Bendigo Iraq International Film Festival Listen here buddy! (Mr Murphy) I support Kerrie long and the comments made by Jeff Ross. We are in business to make money and not to be pandering to filmmakers complaints about how we operate, most of the complainers are just whiners and sore losers, we get them all the time. Also, I have looked at this UFFO and I for one do not intent on supporting best business practices, also I will say what I dame well please here and anywhere else so you can take you high and mighty morals and remember that old saying (where the sun don’t shine) . I will not be allowing this “Whack job filmmakers” film to go through selection at our festival, any filmmaker who is dedaring war on a festival should be blacklisted by the festival community and I will be telling all my contacts about this nut case. Also,(this is the interesting bit) are the same Tyrone D Murphy who was an officer in the French Foreign Legion and worked as a counter surveillance operative for Hughes Aircraft, a company owned by the CIA. (I am also a former investigator Mr Murphy and I have looked at your background) 18 hours ago • Like Matt Marxteny (Programmer) The Red Rock Film Festival Wow, a lot of comments here. I think none of us understand what the abusive nature was in this case. We had a questionable filmmaker once that boasted about their “violent acts” and simply called the police, and left it like that. We just figured Hollywood would love them like they do domestic abusers, paedophiles, drug addicts and all the others ... 13 hours ago • Like Quinten Bendigo Iraq International Film Festival Mat you are a crazy kid! 13 hours a o Like Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization We are not talking about someone’s life, this is an extreme view. All of a sudden now this filmmaker is a potential murderer. This all reminds me of the movie “’ 12 angry men”, how quickly we all judge someone and how we take someone word for everything simply because they say so. Should you not know all the facts before you join in on this little blacklisting operation? Both you and I do not know the full story here, if someone has a problem go to the Police. We all love films, that’s what we all have in common and yes they are a few nut jobs but from all walks of life. As a former fraud investigator and surveillance

46

that may affect the outcome is strictly adhered to. Kerrie Long’s comments have really attacked this filmmaker’s credibility as not just only a filmmaker but his mental state1 Kerry even said “he’s crazy”. So we must all be really scared of this crazy horror filmmaker because she says so. Come on Jeff! she is dearly attempting to blacklist him among other film festivals. How would you feel of someone was attempting to blacklist your festival among the filmmaking community because you had an issue with them. So when you look at it from both points of view1 then you know it is wrong! Why just recently I was asked not to comment on wrong doing on this group when I was accosted by an individual with a dubious track record. As Jon Gann said at the time1 this is not the place!


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

specialist I lived with threats many times, I know what it’s like to receive a real threat and also know what veil threat is. But what I have seen here today is disgusting, so quick to judge. You are behaving like a jury in a kangaroo court, this guy is guilty, no consideration for his or her career, his or her own circumstances, no real thought or consideration if there may be something else going on here. Why not reserve judgement and not blacklist this filmmaker 8 minutes ago • like Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization I would like to ask the admin to ask this person to refrain from this kind of hostility and abuse From Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest today : you showed your true colors with that last exchange, mate. have you noticed that no one in that group every takes your side in anything? four people told me they just block you so they dont have to read your posts, but i wont, because i want to be able to continue to expose your bullshit whenever neccessary. youve done a good job of proving to all the folks on that list that you do not have their interests at heart and are just a troll. every one now knows which side your on, so good job there, nicely done. we know exactly what to expct from tyrone murphy in any given conversation. if you want to actually have an impact on the opinions of the people you are your org are tying to influence, you might want to count to 10 before letting fly another 200 word antagonistic post. Like • Comment Unfollow Post • 24 minutes ago Quinten Bendigo Iraq International Film Festival Well done Jef 21 minutes ago • Like

These are the moderators of Film Festival Organizers Group on Facebook Jon Gann: Festival Director DC Allience & DC shorts Film Festival Kerrie Long: The Edmonton Film Festival Anna Feder: Festival Director Boston Underground Film Festival Jane Sage: Manageing Director Ashland Independent Film Festival J’aimee Skippon-Volke: Festival Director at Byron Bay International Film Festival Sarah Beresford: Festival Director Eco Focus Film Festival

Below A poster from the 50s encourageing blacklisting

Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization please stop making comments that are hostile and meaningless 20 minutes ago • Like Jeff Ross - SF Indie Fest tyrone, please stop making comments that are hostile and meaningless 20 minutes ago • Like Quinten Bendigo Iraq International Film Festival gettig to much for you Mr UFFO man? 19 minutes ago • Like Jon Gann Moderator and DC Shorts Film Festival And this is NOW CLOSED. I am done moderating. Tyrone - this is a safe space for fest organizers to talk and discuss openly with one another and not judge. If you cannot follow this simple rule, you will be removed. Jeff- stop fanning the fire, please. 9 minutes ago • Like • .6 1 Tyrone D Murphy Universal Film & Festival Organization I would agree with that Jon , which is why I commented on Kerrie’s post which was judging film-makers and others jumping on the bandwagon and basically blacklisting a filmmaker. I am saying that judging in such a way is wrong also but now I cannot comment on this, I am not judging but question someone else judging. As Jeff is a moderator here he is really out to cause trouble 4 m1nutes ago • Like Quinten Bendigo Iraq International Film Festival Kick him off! 3 minutes ago • Like END

47

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

hope springs OPE SPRINGS, A David Frankel film is starring Meryl Streep (in her first role since her Oscarwinning ‘The Iron Lady’), Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, will open at cinemas across the UK and Ireland on September 14 through Momentum Pictures. Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couples specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her sceptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough – the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place. HOPE SPRINGS reunites Streep with David Frankel, director of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Television producer and writer Vanessa Taylor (‘Alias’, ‘Game of Thrones’) wrote the script, her first for the big screen

49

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

50

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

UFFO UNIVERSAL FILM & FESTIVAL ORGANIZATION “promoting best business practices for film festivals” www.uffo.org

51

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

www.ufmag.org

52

Issue 3 of 2012


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Scenes of The Method-ological Nature by Penny Noble

53

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Contuined from last edition

I

n my previous article, “Scenes of The Method-ological Nature: ACT ONE,” I explored the conception of the Method as an acting process/system by Constantin Stanislavki (18631938), how it related to other ideas from the humanistic movement of the time, such as the development of person-centred counselling by Carl Rogers (1902-87), and how it developed into what it is today. I suggested that there are two strands of Method actors today. Strand 1: An actor works from his or her own experiences and feelings. Strand 2: An actor finds the experiences and feelings of a character by living as closely as possible to how they live/ lived or would live. I imagine many of our best and most believable actors fall into Strand 1: They courageously use their own feelings and experiences for their work and so show us truthful and highly emotive performances. A very direct example of this can be seen in the film “Self Made,” by Gillian Wearing. She employed the services of Method acting coach Sam Rumbelow (http://actingclasseslondon.co.uk/) to help her participants “delve into their own memories, impulses, anxieties, fears, fantasies and inner resources to create a series of individual vignettes” (http:// selfmade.org.uk/), using the Method acting techniques of “basic relaxation” and “sense memory.” The contributors were all lay people with no previous acting experience. The process was like a form of therapy in which they either played themselves or used a character through which to express their own emotions and transformative work. The result effectively combined psychotherapy and performance in an exceptionally powerful film. The Method is still being used to teach at the Actors Studio in New York and Hollywood (http:// www.theactorsstudio.org/). Many big name actors are alumni and/or have taken part in James Lipton’s personal and insightful interviews on the acting process, “Inside the Actors Studio,” for acting

www.ufmag.org

students and interested public alike, broadcast by Bravo TV. There are also well-known examples of directors using the Method. As Alison Steadman explains in “About Acting,” Mike Leigh asks his actors basic questions about their characters and encourages them to be that person in private with him and then later in public. This allows the actor to grow into the character by living life’s daily activities as that character would. These ways of working can engender psychological effects on the actor. I will explore several of these below. Some of my thoughts and ideas on this subject have been gleaned from discussions with clients as well as workshops or other events. As much of the material, even if expressed in public, is by nature personal, I have kept many of these sources anonymous to protect their privacy. Psychological Effects and Issues: Living The Character’s Life In his book, “The Transpersonal Actor,” Manderino reinterprets Stanislavski’s acting process. He looks at actors “introjecting” their characters and likens it to the character possessing the actor; the actor can summon the spirit of someone with the qualities needed for the part they are playing; the character takes the person over, leaving indelible marks on the actor’s personality. An actor can constantly think of or be around the person they are seeking to emulate and that person can get inside and under their skin. It’s such a high level of empathy that the actor literally feels and experiences as the character would feel. Actors who work this way describe being out of themselves – losing themselves even. Method actor Daniel Day-Lewis is known for staying in character throughout an entire film shoot and

54

ACT TWO...


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

for doing whatever it takes, almost, to live the life of that character in preparation for the work. Examples include living on prison rations and behind bars for his role in “In The Name of The Father,” and living without modern day conveniences and building his own house for “The Crucible.” (http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2008/03/01/did-thejoker-kill-heath-ledger/) He makes few films, which may also indicate that his recovery time between characters is long. Committing to that degree to a character who is so separate from himself would understandably require time to shake it off. In 1989, Day-Lewis played Hamlet for the National Theatre. During the scene in which Hamlet sees his father’s ghost, Day-Lewis collapsed and had to leave the stage. Officially, it was attributed to exhaustion, but rumor had it that he had actually seen his own dead father’s ghost. He has not acted on stage since. There is speculation that Heath ledger’s work to portray the Joker – living in isolation for three months, lack of sleep, and taking on the Joker’s mannerisms and appearance, may have contributed to his death (http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2008/03/01/did-the-jokerkill-heath-ledger/); and that Jack Nicholson, who puts a huge amount into all his roles, contemplated suicide as a result of the same character. (http://www. brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jack_ nicholson.html) Christian Bale lost weight for “The Machinist,” whilst Robert DeNiro and Charlize Theron both gained weight for their roles in “Raging Bull” and “Monster,” respectively. (http://voices.yahoo.com/ christian-bales-weight-loss-machinistthis-66659.html?cat=40) All describe changes in manner and mood as a result. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams used Method for their work on “Blue Valentine,” the highly emotional story of a couple falling in and out of love. To prepare, they made home movies and really lived together with the child of the story, and then needed time to separate in order to perform the falling out of love sequences. Williams described how difficult it was as it all felt so real; she didn’t want to fall out of love with Gosling, having loved him in such a real, though simulated, way. Director Derek CianFrance, described how he had them get to know each other “live” on film. Ryan Gosling is known for using Method in other roles too. Kacey Ainsworth and Alex Ferns talked about needing to listen to hard rock music to dispel the effects of playing scenes of domestic violence between their characters Little Mo Slater and Trevor Morgan in “Eastenders.” Other actors talk about being in a bad

way for many months following playing, for example, psychologically challenged or violent characters, feeling that their bodies have changed and that they have inappropriate internal responses to people outside of the work situation that they can identify come from their characters, and from which they have to stop themselves reacting. Several actors describe how it is hard to recover from some characters; that at drama school, actors are taught how to get into character but not how to disengage from them – how to return to themselves or “de-role.” Christopher Eccleston: “I believe that I do switch off, what I’ve learned with television, film and stage is that you never quite switch off. I think if you spend a couple of hours, or an entire day, replicating somebody else’s emotions, you may well be having a conversation as Chris Eccleston, but that character is still around, and that’s not a mystical thing, or a pretentious thing, it’s just you’ve been playing with your chemistry set of your emotions, and as we all know, they kind of work despite us. So I don’t think I ever switch off. I’m usually – when I’m on stage, I’m thinking back to what – the key moments of the scenes I’ve just done and how that can influence what I’m gonna do later.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ entertainment-arts-17487480) Some actors do seem to go even further and lose a sense of their own reality – not sure who they actually are when out of character, or get very stuck playing the role of the celebrity expected of them by their public. Use of Own Life Experiences Life experience is our greatest teacher, and whatever comes from that experience is most true for each of us. Creative people, and many in other professions, talk about it as having provided tools for their work. It therefore stands to reason that when we use that experience we are going to be believable and convincing. But what does that actually entail? As a psychotherapist, I have worked with many survivors of abuse. Almost all of them have something in common: they are also highly creative. That creativity is often born as a coping strategy to keep them sane in an awful situation; it helps them survive. But with it they can also thrive. What of the experience of abuse itself, especially if by a parent? Most children still love their parents whatever has been done to them. Those conflicting feelings can be used for a role if the actor feels comfortable doing so. It is natural to block emotionally unresolved events and shut off the emotions

that go with them. If using their own experiences, actors need to resolve these feelings enough to enable their use for a character or they may risk a trauma on stage. The stage itself is not a safe space for dramatherapy or psychodrama, though the use of these to help someone in his or her therapeutic process is highly valuable. As Jones describes, an actor’s interpretation is like a psychological projection. We project unconscious impulses or desires onto others as though they are the originators of those feelings rather than ourselves. An actor will do that with a character whether the feeling is good or bad. Jones goes on to describe two interesting examples of this from the theatre: “Clare Higgins in an RSC rehearsal of Hamlet: ‘Mark took the knife out and threatened me, a lot of things clicked … I was not expecting it … It triggered something that had actually happened to me in my life, which he could not possibly have known.’ “The distress of the memory was used within the rehearsal and creation of the role of Gertrude, which Higgins was developing. The personal connection and distress was mostly channelled into the creativity rather than looking to engage directly with the memory and experience of being attacked. The therapeutic aspect of this lay in the way in which the drama evoked a powerful personal issue of trauma from the past. Even within the theatre context Higgins says that she found the expression of the memory and working it into the role freeing and cathartic. “Brian Cox projected his own fears into the role of Lear. The role amplified his own unexpressed feelings. Even when the role was “dead” to him he is still left with the unresolved projection and stuck.” In Brian Cox’s case, he shared with Lear a fear of rejection and isolation in old age. He used this to create a relationship between himself and the character. He explored this for Lear but not for himself. So he was left stuck with the feelings, without any insight as to how to resolve them for himself. I am sure this made for an impressive performance, but it illustrates the possible dangers of using experiences and feelings of which you are unaware. Use of Self: Open and Vulnerable Most creative people come out with their best work when they allow themselves to be vulnerable – giving open access to all their feelings, experiences and emotions, taking away all the blocks. I recall feeling very concerned, when on my training as a therapist – during which many of my own issues were stirred up – that I would not be in a fit state to be the best therapist for another person. My concerns related

55

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Dame Judie Dench always seems to share something so special of herself in her roles to the point where she is tugging at her audience’s heart strings. In “The Many Faces of Dame Judi Dench,” director John Madden talks about Dench’s work with Billy Connolly on Mrs. Brown, particularly their first scene together. Connolly knew there was a line he had to get right and it took him a few times to hit it correctly, so Dench was going through the emotions over and over. How does she do that?! Dench herself talks about this private little person within her who does all the work. We can tell this person is highly emotionally articulate and intuitive. Dench herself feels she must keep her private or else that intuition will disappear. Directors try to protect their actors from going through difficult feelings too many times. In the accompanying episode of “Doctor Who Confidential,” “Doctor Who” director, Graeme Harper, talks about using Catherine Tate’s first take in the devastating scene from “Doctor Who: Journey’s End,” in which her character, Donna Noble, realises she has to not only leave her journey with the Doctor, but also lose all memory of it and him. It’s crushing – almost worse than death. And CatherineDonna’s emotional reaction is arguably one of the most powerful and emotional events in the whole series. Noomi Rapace invested in title role Lisbeth Salander, for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series of films, to such an extent that she got all of Lisbeth’s body piercings and tatoos, and she bravely also lent her own insecurities and neuroses to her character. Noomi describes “vomiting” Lisbeth out of her while everyone else was enjoying the wrap party. “I always try to put my characters as close to my life as I possibly can, but it’s a high price because I know it will take over sometimes.” Trust To delve to these levels of subconscious feelings and highly charged emotional expression, actors need to be able to trust their fellow actors and crew (on a film or

www.ufmag.org

television shoot) to the nth degree. This trust should be developed in rehearsals if possible. Otherwise there is a kind of leap of faith – as though trusting for no reason other than they need to feel it in order to produce their best work. On film the camera “invades” the actor’s personal space. Actors and directors of photography (DOP) talk about the high level of trust needed for an actor to effectively have the DOP and the camera right up in their faces to pick up every nuance of the most sensitive work. It’s not an easy thing, especially on film, where so much is going on around them. Actors are not always looked after to enable this if the director is not sensitive enough to the conditions the actors require. Without trust, problems will arise. Any actors who have difficulties in trusting due to life experiences are going to find sensitive work like this very hard. It’s not only others the actors need to trust. They need to trust themselves to produce their most instinctive work, rather than trying to secondguess themselves, and so blocking what comes naturally. Stage Fright and Reclusiveness Many, though not all, very well-known and experienced actors suffer from stage fright or performance anxiety. Impressively, the audience often has no idea what is going on for them. Somehow they hide it and convert that energy to something electric in their performance. Kristin Scott-Thomas: “The first time I went on stage in London, I have never been so scared in my life,” she says. “It was Three Sisters, and I thought I was going to die, I just had so little faith in, in – myself, I suppose. But every time you do something, and it works, you’re getting braver and braver. Because the one thing I am is brave. I mean, I may have been terrified, but I still did it. I didn’t run out. I didn’t fall over. I didn’t pretend I was sick! All of these things that were going through my head. What if I faint right now?” She laughs. “I am quite a worried person. But the braver you get, the more interesting it becomes, and the possibilities become wider, and,” she pauses, “well, you’re less afraid of making a complete fool of yourself, I suppose.” (http:// www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/dec/21/ kristin-scott-thomas-films) Simon Callow talks about how his grandmother was one his first inspirations as an actor and he acted out scenes with her when he was a child. She has been on stage herself briefly but was too nervous to continue. Sadly that is the case for many. And unlike Kristin Scott- Thomas, some never find the courage to combat it. For her it got easier over time. For others it may get worse. Singer Annie Lennox has talked about needing hypnotherapy to overcome stage fright she felt when

trying to come back to the stage after a period away – she then came up with her own technique: “F… It.”(http://www. contactmusic.com/news/annie-lennoxshares-stress-relieving-tips_1260871). This performance anxiety can often be a kind of cover for a deeper problem, some highly traumatising previous event or life experience. It can also lead to, or be a part of a general, constant anxiety. And for some, the stage fright, or public attention and exposure, just becomes too much and they become reclusive. Examples include ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog, and also rumoured Daniel DayLewis, Marlon Brando, James Stewart and … Greta Garbo: “Ironically, her wariness of the spotlight only made her that much more appealing to the media. ‘I feel able to express myself only through my roles, not in words, and that is why I try to avoid talking to the press,’ she once said during a rare statement to reporters in a plea for privacy. In 1941, at the age of 36, Garbo announced a ‘temporary’ retirement; it would last 49 years, until her death in 1990 in Manhattan, where she lived by herself — she never married and bore no children.” (http://www.time.com/time/specials/ packages/article/0,28804,1902376_190 2378_1902442,00.html) Self-Esteem, Self-Belief, Failure and Rejection For many, becoming an actor or public performer is about a search for validation from the audience or public. Often, though not at all always, the desire to do this work is about boosting a low self-esteem, and trying to gain belief from others as self-belief is lacking. This can work, and if the performer is good, can become very rewarding for themselves and others, but reliance on external validation in this way can be a risky and dangerous business. Actors often suffer from self-doubt and lack of confidence. Billie Piper talks about having to “concentrate like hell on stage” to “fight the inner negative voices.” Actors work hard to build their confidence in a healthy way so they feel it internally rather than seeking it from outside. For those who have not had the healthy parental encouragement that tells them they are a good person just for being who they are, that is difficult. That said, all encouragement needs to be grasped firmly and valued. There will always be more failure than success, and numerous rejection letters all the way from drama schools to agents and jobs. Statistics vary but at any one time as many as around 88 percent of actors are unemployed. Dealing with the high level of rejection

56

to being too involved in my own process, too vulnerable to hold them, and not enough in control of the situation. But in several instances, my being in that state enabled the best work I have ever done in that role. Clients felt helped to explore at the same depth of emotion, allowed themselves to let go, be fully open and not worry about being out of control. And from somewhere I still had that solidity and holding to safely contain the process. The use of self to that extent by any artist usually produces their best work. It may drive them a little nuts but it’ll be brilliant and true!



Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Kenneth Williams, Sir John Betjeman and Maggie Smith conveyed the problem for actors of the critics beautifully in one of the “Parkinson” programmes. When allowed a word in edgeways, Maggie Smith expressed the view that there is always an element of truth in the critique and so it can be helpful. Kenneth Williams disagreed, as he felt critics are almost always too negative. “A critic should convey some sort of affection and love for his subject to the reader.” John Betjeman said that he believed the bad comments and the good ones were just flattery. “I never can believe that I’m any good at all,” Kenneth Williams went on, “all artists need reassurance from the outside of their own worth, they haven’t got it within.” “Artists … may appear to be people of power and strength, but in actual fact the reverse is true; they are the most vulnerable people in the world.” (http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=JkUyDr97NU4) As Christopher Eccleston says failure is all part of the process. On television and film someone will tell you when a take is good enough. However, “Theatre is about failure and living with failure over a period of time, so it’s very different. It’s much more difficult I think.” (http:// www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainmentarts-17487480) Actors are at their best when relaxed – nerves get in the way of their flow. Some talk about it being better not to know when they are being assessed or having an audition, otherwise it is far too nervewracking. A great way of dealing with this is to be able to see any “failures” as gifts of learning and convert them into a kind of positive activation energy to do different or “better” rather than a block. Feeling like a Fraud and Perfectionism Along with their self-esteem and selfbelief issues many actors – as well as others – feel like frauds. Any moment they will be discovered to be totally talentless, false or worthless. Kristin Scott-Thomas expressed this in a recent interview on “BBC Breakfast” interview on 18th April 2012, and also earlier in her career following the disaster of her first big break at age 26 in the film “Under the Cherry Moon.” “It’s all a fluke, what am I doing here, they’re going to find out in a minute.” Her usual voice resumes: “That actor thing, the fraud thing, the fear of be-

www.ufmag.org

ing found out. I had that in spades. So, well, this was just proof that I was rubbish, basically.” (http://www.guardian. co.uk/film/2009/dec/21/kristin-scottthomas-films) Often actors – and again many of us – catastrophise a situation, making it far worse than it actually is. In a way, this relates to the fraud feeling Kristin Scott-Thomas describes. She may not be perfect – none of us is, of course – but she takes that feeling and turns it into being absolutely rubbish, which is certainly not the case. The majority of actors are perfectionists – their work is only good enough if it is perfect – they’ll expect over 100 percent of themselves! Unlike a sportsman, a performer can never “win.” There are no clear goals or finishing posts to tell them they have perfected their performance; it’s a constant pursuit. Yet often the imperfections produce the most amazing work. Depression and Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression Many actors are completely healthy mentally and physically and are highly talented and natural in their work. Strange, and perhaps controversial, as it may seem to say this, in my opinion there are also some mental health conditions, from which some highly successful “big name” actors and other performers have suffered, which I think enhance their natural abilities and make them truly phenomenal. One such condition is bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. I see it as a condition, which provides people with extremes on the emotion scale; the highs can be excitingly high and the lows can be devastatingly low. Stephen Fry explored the effects of the condition – in my opinion highly justifiably so – in his personal documentary “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.” He talked about a breakdown he had had on stage and how this was part of his own bipolar disorder. He also went on to explain how the disorder also enhanced his work giving him supremely high energy and enthusiastic creativity, which enabled high levels of productive work. The “downs” of the condition have the opposite effect. Fry interviewed others with the condition including Jo Brand, Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie Fisher and Robbie Williams. Fry asked fellow sufferers if they would choose to switch off a button that would turn off their bipolar if such a button existed. His own reply to himself, in spite of the trauma and difficulties it could cause, was no. It is part of who and how he is. I know both poles can be difficult to manage but I value extremes of emotion in people and what that can contribute to their work and expression creatively.

ence itself can make somebody a bit bipolar. There is elation on stage or screen and then a post-performance depression. Many have spoken publicly of this, including Mark Rylance, Robbie Williams and those close to Lenny Henry. Chemically, an adrenaline rush from fear and the excitement of the performance crashes down when the adrenaline stops. Depression can also result in a “naturally reactive” way as a result of some of the issues mentioned already – the criticisms, rejections, unemployment, etc. Multiple personality disorder is diagnosed when someone has the ability to split into various distinctive personalities to cope with stressful experiences. It often results from traumatic life experiences such as childhood sexual abuse. It is rumoured that the gigantic personality Robin Williams has been diagnosed with this. It may actually be bipolar disorder in his case. They are both potential responses to similar childhood traumas. I have worked with highly creative people with this condition. I am sceptical about whether playing a wide range of characters could trigger this, as postulated by some. I also feel that an actor would need to integrate his or her personalities so they had easier access to them for use in their work. Anxiety and Sensitivity Another common set of actor issues comes directly from the fact that they are highly sensitive individuals. They need to understand the entire range of human emotions and be able to express that to convince us to believe in the experiences of their characters. Concurrent with that sensitivity can come acute selfconsciousness and insecurity. Again Kristin Scott-Thomas is an admirably honest case in point: “The comment is typical of Scott-Thomas: modest to the point of masochism. When she can’t remember a word she is reaching for, she groans, ‘I’m an actress and have no brain.’ She has a nervous, selfconscious habit of appending her own comments with ‘she says,’ as in ‘You’re too young to have seen “A Handful of Dust,”’ she says in a very grand dame kind of way. Anxiety pulses through our conversation. ‘I just get really worried about things. I think it’s my stage of life, isn’t it?’ she asks. ‘Is it middle age? I’m just worried about people. I have a kind of Rolodex of worries.’ She mimes flicking through it. ‘Which one shall we have today? It’s my nature. But then I worry about that too. It upsets me.’” (http:// www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/dec/21/ kristin-scott-thomas-films)

In my opinion the performance experi-

58

and unemployment is not easy. And the constant bombardment of evaluations, judgements and critiques, both of their professional and their personal qualities from “director… colleagues… audience… critics… arts and gossip columnists,” can be tough. Even success isn’t always the answer as “the more you succeed the more there is to lose.”


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

As already explored a little in my previous article, Marilyn Monroe also had a wealth of sensitivities and psychological issues – some acknowledged, many speculated on. She was portrayed superbly by the beautifully sensitive actress Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn,” a film which illustrates how Marilyn may well have been. These three actors are/were phenomenal, in my opinion. And they are just three examples. Marilyn Monroe is known to have had psychotherapy. She may have been a survivor of abuse in childhood. Holding such a sensitivity of emotions both in themselves and being a sponge for others’ feelings takes a lot of strength. Another industry in which sensitivity of emotional expression is a high asset is the world of modelling. As Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model” competition shows us, the models need to be able to “smize” – to show all they are feeling in the eyes – and are encouraged to be honest and open in their emotional expression. Yet at the same time, too much fragility is considered to be a problem. Top models need to be strong, and not crack under the high pressure of perhaps an even more highly critical and demanding industry than that of acting. Angelea Preston had all the sensitivity from challenging life experiences but was possibly too fragile to handle being a top model. (It is rumoured she would have won the “All Stars” season but was disqualified.) Lisa D’Amato, on the other hand, won; she was healed enough from her abusive childhood to have the strength to handle herself under pressure, and yet still had access to her emotions from that traumatic time. Fear and Avoidance As many directors and actors will tell you, panic and fear are requisite parts of the job of acting. That discomfort provides an energy and vulnerability to the work, and opens an actor up to being truthful to the audience, especially if that audience is a camera. What is that fear? Mainly of exposing themselves – which is, of course, exactly what they are doing if they are acting well – exposing their hearts and souls. For many, that is scarier than exposing their bodies. I have already written about the fear of being found out to be a fraud. If, as a result of being uninteresting, or worse, unpleasant, an audience is not going to like them, then for that actor the show is literally over. Even more than that, there can be a fear of finding out something that they don’t like about themselves. It’s a fine line between love and hate, in the same way as the desire to act and fear of acting are close companions.

Acting can also be an escape from the person they perceive themselves to be, so to do the opposite and use that same person for the character, as Method acting asks, prevents all means of escape. Method actors “use themselves in their entirety, withhold nothing, especially those most intimate areas of themselves the rest of us spend our lives trying to keep well hidden and protected” and to do so to “such an intense and intimate degree.” Actors, like the rest of us, often want to retreat to the safety of being in control, yet risk and danger are the keys to the depths of the essence of the work. They may try to develop a thick skin, but that can make them “insensitive and unavailable.” Those who do remain vulnerable are potentially in a “permanent state of raw nerves.” A good balance of challenge and encouragement – together with a safe space in rehearsal, which allows for personal difficulties to be accepted and worked with – is the ideal for actors to explore and develop their characters, in a similar way to the therapy experience for a client. Even under these conditions, and quite understandably, actors can develop or use avoidance tactics to prevent their emotional and psychological self-exposure, and sabotage the work. Such tactics include the use of humour, being a know-itall, being teacher’s pet, avoiding conflict, weeping, suffering, being competitive, or even performing a kind of self-destruction. Alfreds explores all these in “Different Every Night,” in a detailed and helpful analysis of how those exhibiting these behaviours can be helped by their director. These are all natural human strategies of self-protection, which crop up more intensely in response to a perceived threat such as that from the Method acting process or counselling process, which both require deep exploration of the self. If actors can overcome their own defences, the whole process can be empowering and can enhance their own lives as well as produce wonderful performances. Coping Strategies Performers and other celebrities are well known for using various different types of addictions to cope with the stresses and pressures. Though of course, these aren’t really coping strategies but more like avoidance – hiding or numbing the pain, trying to enhance their energy – and are very often self-destructive. Examples include eating disorders and heavy use of drugs or alcohol. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are often, in addition to an attempt at claiming control when feeling out of

control, a self-image issue. The pressure is on, for young female actors especially, to look good and be slim to the point of skinniness. Fortunately, it seems “plus size” is becoming more acceptable. Billie Piper poignantly describes her experience of anorexia in her autobiography, “Growing Pains.” She hid it from everyone and lost friendships through competing with them and pushing them away. She found numerous ways to justify it and claim she was in control. Her goal became to tick off the number of hours without food even though she was very ill and desperately needed to stop. She was angry with herself and talked about being “consumed by the lack of consumption.” As she says, “Anorexia is a vapid soul with only itself as focus.” We are all too aware of the reliance of other performers on drugs or alcohol. Amy Winehouse was highly successful with her distinctive singing voice and highly personal lyrics but, as those same lyrics testify, her personal life was not the success she needed. She was so real and so exposed to the world. Maybe that contributed to her use of drugs and alcohol. Tragically, as we know, she was finally detoxing, but it seems was killed by a reaction of her drug/alcohol-abused body. (http://uk.eonline.com/news/amy_ winehouses_cause_of_death/271628) River Phoenix was a very promising young actor. He died of a drug-induced seizure. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ River_Phoenix#Death) Sadly, there are many other famous examples and many also not so famous. Actors speak of using drugs to deal with the terror of auditions or stage fright, and using alcohol to extinguish adrenaline rushes. Both the work and the coping strategies can affect their personalities. Another very effective coping strategy, to which many of us can relate, is the inner critic. He/she is very good at preventing any good work by blocking relaxation, openness and blackening our light. Effect on Real Life Actors can become so “obsessed” with the work that they can forget to live their real lives. Or they become so cut off from those they love because the work is their great passion. Of course, the work can become so much their passion too that those involved in the work – fellow cast or crew – become their passion. Nothing necessarily wrong with that unless it is also an escapism from real life, and once they get to know the real other person, the passion dies. As Billie Piper discusses, success can lead to bad behaviour and selfishness, which can isolate and so lead to loneliness. The latter can be highly destructive.

59

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Actors need to stay young within themselves, but that can lead to other issues in real life if they don’t also grow up and mature. This idea is delightfully played out in television series “Slings and Arrows,” about a troupe of Shakespearean actors. Lead actress Ellen Fanshaw, played by Martha Burns, is so unable to be adult that she cannot deal with her financial affairs. Another possible, though not necessarily very troublesome, issue is also explored in “Slings and Arrows.” Artistic Director, Geoffrey Tennant, played by Paul Gross, looks at who his “private audience” may be, with the help of a therapist. Whom is he doing this work to impress? The answer is often a parent. Actors need to take breaks and holidays. It is tiring work! It’s important to eat, drink and sleep healthily, and generally develop a good work/life balance – and deal with jobs being very temporary, and the grief process when they finish. Effect of Real Life It probably goes without saying that anything tough going on in an actor’s real life can impact on their acting work. The same is true for all of us! That said, an actor could use that if it feels safe for them to do so and not too raw. Stanislavski warned that “physical tiredness paralyses our actions, and is bound up with our inner life.” And Barkworth: “Confidence and concentration go hand in hand” – need to work on that confidence if it’s an issue – “Do remember to forget … anger, worry and regret” – you can’t worry and think clearly. Psychotherapy Different types of counselling and psychotherapy may help with all of the above Acting is, by its very nature, emotional, and as already noted, good Method actors make themselves constantly vulnerable. This takes tremendous courage and involves emotional and psychological exposure of raw and truthful emotions. They make friends with their own feelings in order to be able to use them as collaborators in their work. It is to these qualities that audiences respond. Psychotherapy can help to stretch an ac-

www.ufmag.org

tor’s emotional muscles, and help with self-understanding and awareness by getting in touch with buried experiences and feelings. It can also help the connection between feelings and the expression of them. For some, life may have provided a multitude of experiences leading to a wide range of feelings. The natural self-protective response may be to bury these. This has been the case for many I worked with. One particular client wished to work on her emotion memory so she could safely use her own experiences and feelings for her work, and have it be a choice to do so without trauma. In her case she decided it would just be too much and decided to work in another artistic area. That is totally understandable. It is not an easy process, though the rewards of realising your full potential on stage/screen or in the real world really are highly life-enhancing. I think it is also important to note that many stars have a great deal of support through management, agents, personal assistants, etc. Sadly, these people can become “Yes” men, and don’t challenge their star when needed – when it could stop them on a self-destructive path. A good therapist, and the best agents, also have elements of this in them, and will provide tough love in addition to enthusiastic and encouraging care. Many feel a stigma around looking for help or admitting they have an “issue” or psychological problem. I would like to suggest a reframing; this is about performance and life enhancement rather than “fixing” or problem solving. And it is natural and not at all shameful to ask for help.

man beings, that this is how it feels to be alive.” (http://www.timeout.com/london/ theatre/article/3411/interview-christopher-eccleston) And I’d like to give the last words to Mike Alfreds: Acting is about being “childlike: child’s enthusiasm, endless energy, readiness to play, unfettered imagination, perennial innocence, healthy naivety (lack of cynicism), curiosity ...” and acting is an “ordinary human impulse” and “extraordinary phenomenon.” Penny has been writing original plays for film, television, theatre and radio since the early 1990s and has completed around twenty-five plays – both single drama; short and feature-length and series episodes - as sole writer and collaborated with others on additional projects. She is writing a novel, blogs, short stories and developing other ideas for different media. Her writing has been shortlisted and earned critical acclaim. Penny is an accredited humanistic counsellor. She has worked with performers and others on the presenting issues described in this article as well as developing and implemented ‘Character-Centred Counselling’, which assists actors work on character development. She sees her writing and counselling work as facilitating each other in relation to her creativity and understanding of the human condition and so in helping others.

website and email: www.pennynoblepsychotherapy.com pennynobletherapy@gmail.com

So Why Act?! I am aware that all of the above could be very off-putting! Some actors have/may experience(d) one or a few of the above. But by no means all will at all, and acting is an invitation to do a job, which arguably involves the most wonderful qualities of being a human being ... Simon Callow: “Oh, it is a wonderful job, acting, a lovely and a terrible way of earning a living – terrible because of the unending potential for rejection, wonderful because at its best it’s a glorious celebration of what it is to be human. It’s the most natural thing in the world – every child does it – and the hardest, because the innocence of that childish instinct is elusive. But, boy, is it worth the effort.” Acting is also about something so special and important to all of us as a social, sharing species. Christopher Eccleston: “Now I’m older I’ve realised acting’s just a desire to communicate with other hu-

60

Performers often experience social anxiety. The extreme of that, reclusiveness, has already been mentioned. As an INFP (http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/intro.asp) myself, I like social experiences in smaller doses. I get the impression that for many actors, they are kind of over-socialising with all the connection on stage, with the audience, press, etc., so much that it becomes too much and they want that retreat time.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

A Rock'n Roll Edge

Eyefish: Connecting people to reduce Production Costs and Carbon Emissions

There was a time when Gods were walking our Earth creating huge dough. I am talking about music stars of course, making a song or an album to reach millions and millions. Well, they still reach millions, but the money flow has certainly drained out. So, what has happened? The Future had come and hit the music business fundamentally! Remember the eighties and nineties? One song or album could do it for you or your band…millions of dollars on your bank account and a more or less consequence free life…destroyed hotel rooms, insanely beautiful groupies, free drugs and alcohol and in the news constantly. Now? Download is everywhere, the sales have broken in massively and music stars are simply not rich music stars anymore…for the most part at least. Is it fair to say Youtube and the New Media have created phenomena like Justin Bieber or that fat Star Wars light saber kid fighting with himself? The fat kid is gone, but it looks like that Bieber dude is here to stay. Hypes like him will only work with consequent cross media promoting on the “merchandise”, they need to be visible everywhere anytime on every location…you can´t take a dump anywhere without hearing, seeing or being bothered with those Hypies. So, where does this leave the fan? The New Medias are in every part of our lives flooding our daily routine with a constant stream of news and mind blowing facts. It pretty much depends how “true” you are coming over as a Hypie, if you don´t, you will be gone faster than Bieber can say “I did Selena”. One part of music has more devoted fans than others, take a look at the Rock and Metal business…those festivals are more than successful, the Wacken Metal Open Air attracts 75,000+ each year, it has been sold out for six executive years. Metal bands are still Gods for their fans, and they are giving them value! Not only an image or a pretty face but a way of living, a Rock´n Roll lifestyle so to speak the fan can have a part of. One band that is doing this expertly is the German Dark Metal Band ATROCITY. They took a great leap with their new DVD called “Die Gottlosen Jahre” (The Godless Years), which was just released. They did not only film their 25 Year band anniversary concert in Wacken last year, but also put a 3 hours episode movie on it, interviewed 80 Rock and Metalstars and had the World Premiere of the DREATH Sidestories on the DVD! THAT is what I call value! That is what I call devotion to the fans! Take a look industry, that is how it´s done – period!

Eyefish: Connecting people to reduce Production Costs and Carbon Emissions Eyefish is promoting a new approach to television production, the open sharing of information for the common good of the television production community, fostering local talent and services around the globe and a reduction in the environmental impact of television programme making. Recent figures show that up to that 70 per cent of a TV production’s carbon dioxide emissions are due to the transport of staff and equipment. As governments come closer to making carbon footprint calculation law, the TV industry needs to be ready to address this new legislation. Eyefish founder, Eric Huyton is a lighting cameraman with over 25 years experience working in the industry. He says that Eyefish has found a way of “helping productions reduce their travel miles whilst taking the risk out of using “unknown” local services. Recent success stories include an Eyefish cameraman filming in Argentina who sourced a high definition lens from a locally based Argentinian camera operator recommended on Eyefish - it saved the money of the extra hire and courier costs flying one from the UK. Another UK based production found an experienced documentary cameraman for a 5 day shoot in Sweden. Not only did it save on travel, but the cameraman spoke fluent English and Swedish, and as well as translation services he also “fixed” the shoot. A French company visiting the UK used Eyefish to find a local fixer to set up their filming trip. Eyefish aims to extend beyond carbon footprint reduction and the knock on savings to your budget. The website will eventually lead to the transfer of skills and experience to developing countries, building-up local TV and film industries. Countless production teams film in the UK every year and Eyefish is here to connect foreign producers with home-grown talent. By allowing easy access to talented people around the world, we can help to reduce your production costs and your carbon footprint. It’s good for your budget, good for crew and good for the planet too! For more information see: www.eyefish.tv

by Konrad Hollenstein

61

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film

Production hub

Issue 3 of 2012

Interview with katherine Diomond MArketing Director

atrina Diamond is Marketing Director of ProductionHUB, the online marketplace that connect users to production professionals, services, equipment & news. Katrina is responsible for marketing and partnership development, strategies, tactics, media relations, advertising, overall brand management, social media efforts and assists in business development initiatives. UFM: What is the history or background of this business? 14 years ago, our Founder / President John Pokorny started ProductionHUB as an online version of production guides (since many were outdated by the time they were printed). This was before social media and before smartphones—obviously a lot has changed since then, and we realized that stagnant directories were essentially dead. Instead, we wanted to showcase profiles, which are living, breathing (constantly updated) portfolios of work, so people can get hired directly from their profile. UFM: What makes your business special? Every day we get people work & equipment rented. And everyday we help connect, agencies, businesses and studios to qualified companies & professionals for

www.ufmag.org

production work. Indie filmmakers and summer blockbusters alike crew their production and find equipment through ProductionHUB. They post jobs, buy & sell equipment in classifieds, promote trailers and find film festivals to submit their work. Also, more than ever, businesses are realizing the value in video as a marketing tool—whether online, as training tools, commercials / PSAs or at special events. We are always here for them, helping connect them to the production companies & pros on our site who can get the job done. UFM: What do you love the most about what you do? It’s refreshing constantly running into people at festivals and conferences who say, “ProductionHUB! I’ve been looking for you all day to say thank you for getting me that last gig.” It makes you feel really good to know that you are making a difference in people’s lives. UFM: Are there any tips that you could tell customers that would improve their experience when they visit? Actually, yes—while most people already recognize the value in our site and searching our profiles (by category, keyword or

location), we have another service, called the Request Engine, which caters to the busy professional who doesn’t have time to sift through profiles. It’s kind of like a concierge service for production: simply submit your free request & qualified, available people and companies will respond directly to you. No more calling and waiting for the phone to ring. UFM: What is by far the most soughtafter service your company offers (and how has it been affected by the economic instability of the world economy?) Obviously, the job board became increasingly popular as the economy suffered. What I didn’t want happening was too many people fighting in vain for the same jobs. So, as the Director of Marketing, I made it my personal goal to increase employer relationships and grow our job board service. The last few years it has steadily grown—up 45%, and this year we are on track to blow it out of the water (meaning there are definitely enough jobs to go around, so make sure to check back every day!) www.productionhub.com

62

K


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 2012 T “The first Carmarthen Bay Film Festival 2012 took place in Llanelli on the West Wales coast in the United Kingdom”

he first Carmarthen Bay Film Festival was a great success. Kelvin Guy, the president of the first Carmarthen Bay Film Festival says “I was overwhealmed at the amount of films submitted to our festival, the quality of the work was outstanding and I would like to everyone who submitted films and attended our very first festival in Llanelli, Wales UK, It has been a very successful first year for the festival and we hope to go from strength to strength. We do need the support of you the film-makers and fans to make the festival an even bigger success next year. So please spread the word. The festival is all about encouraging and supporting independent film making and cinema in Wales, the UK and Internationally. The festival is and will always be, a champion of independent film! Our motto is “This Festival is honest”

Festival Winners Feature Film- Over 60mins - Ham And The Piper - Mark Norfolk Documentary Over 30 - Dinorwic Slate Quarry - Jason Jones Short Documentary - Spirit of the Coliseum - Llinos Griffin Welsh Language Film - Llais Yr Andes - Llinos Griffin International Comedy - The Future -Venetia Taylor International Short - To The Last Drop - Bill McMahon Student Short Film - Closed Doors - James Button Short Film - Hawk - Capture Production Comedy - Gin And Dry - Capture Production Welsh Based Short - Girl Abducted - Sally Martin Directors Award For Future Star - Jed Darlington-Roberts Screen Play - Carmichael: Villain - Samantha Louise Platt Best of Festival - Spirit of the Coliseum www.carmarthenbayfilmfestival.co.uk

63

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Above left: UFFO Volunteers - Above Right Festival Executive Director Tyrone D Murphy Below Left: Iesten Jones Festival Director - Below Right Kelvin Guy Festival Founder and President

www.ufmag.org

64

Below: Kelvin Guy Festival Founder and President with the wining film-makers


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

3 elements to PR by Danielle Freedman here are three elements to PR for T your film. Here is a brief overview of the services Freedman PR can provide. PR Pre-Production Activity - Devising and creating the press pack which includes: imagery taken from the shoot, cast and crew biographies, a film synopsis, press release information about the film’s content, and other useful information such as running time, format, distribution and release details. - Distribution to the media (usually 2 two weeks prior to filming) and telephoning them & arranging interviews with principal cast & and crew. -Website design for the film production, acting as a source of knowledge about the company and associated personnel. This can be a one-page website or multiple pages with links to your company website. Poster design as the main source of imagery used for press promotion and as a backdrop for the website. -Social media strategy which will generate key interest and act as a feedback resource. Production PR Activity - Utilising the press packs to generate interviews with industry press and regional/national media, arranging for photographers &and journalists to attend pre-agreed shooting days. - Arranging principal photography whilst the shoot is taking place and arranging a behind the scenes shoot, where interviews with key crew members and members of the principal cast talk about their experiences on set. - Establishing YouTube and Vimeo accounts to run trailers and teasers on the internet about the film’s forthcoming release, generating interest &and directing traffic to the website and social media accounts. - Following up media interviews and sourcing articles, generating continued press interest.

- Sending out DVD trailers of the film to tease members of the press who have not picked up on the project. This teaser trailer can also be used at a later date for film festivals to generate screening interest with potential distributors.

REAL LIFE STORIES OF STRUGGLE AND COURAGE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Post-Production PR Activity - Mailout of completed film to film review magazines, websites and associated industry press/media - Compiling interviews for use as a marketing tool for sales agents at film festivals. - Organising for the film to be shown at key UK & international festivals. - Arranging and coordinating interviews & any and recording associated media interest generated from the film’s screening at the festivals. -Organising local and national UK screenings of the film for cast, & crew, potential distributors/sales agents and potential future sponsors. The screening can be in accordance with/attended by UK film bodies/professional organisations. Not included: Theatre hire for screenings, film photographic print (imagery) should the film be picked up for a theatrical release, website costs, website management/maintenance, blog design/maintenance and social media maintenance. If mailouts are included in the promotion package then these will also be rechargeable to the client at cost. If you are located outside of the Northwest area please make an allowance for travel expenses and overnight accommodation. All of the above will be chargeable separately on an invoice. You may wish to budget for potential additional costs (as outlined above) in your film’s overall budget, along with any additional PR activity &and advertising you may wish to undertake for your film’s promotion at each festival.

THIS IS OMAR, A TEENAGE REFUGEE FROM SOMALIA.

A LIFE ON HOLD

IS A NEW FILM ABOUT OMAR’S LIFE IN A REFUGEE CAMP IN TUNISIA. WATCH AT AMNESTY.ORG/REFUGEES

CHILDREN OF THE JAGUAR

AN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY IN THE AMAZON JUNGLE TAKE ON THE COMBINED MIGHT OF THE GOVERNMENT AND AN OIL COMPANY IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND THE RAINFOREST THEY LIVE IN.

WATCH AT BIT.LY/JAGUAR-TRAILER

Find out more: avproduction@amnesty.org

65

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Breaking and Entering: by Lindsey Kennedy

admitted to myself that being a general punch bag for a narcissistic fantasist with too much pocket money is, in fact, souldestroyingly futile. Instead, I taught myself to edit, took a storyboarding course and decided it was finally time to revisit that childhood dream of becoming a film director.

Being pretty clueless with no industry ties or contacts, it was clear that I was setting myself up for many years of abject poverty, general disappointment and yapping at the heels of low-budget indie outfits who may or may not turn out to specialise in donkey porn for an East Timor niche market. These facts I was prepared for. Others I was not. For those of you considering embarking upon a career as a teeny tiny unappreciated minnow in a vast nepotistic ocean, here are my top four nuggets of wisdom to help prepare you for your glorious quest. 1. Beware the Mentals. My first job, as an Assistant Director on a short film, consisted of disaster management for a delusional egoist who had cast himself and his family members in a film about a man who has an affair that costs him his marriage. In the process, he screwed up his own marriage so resoundingly that I spent most of my time providing counselling and tissues to his distraught better half. He then asked me for feedback on his next project: a short film about child molestation. This he described, with characteristic modesty, as the most powerful, unflinching work about this issue ever to be conceived. In fact, it turned out to be a sick, incomprehensible and utterly offensive tirade that included lengthy ‘stage directions’ debating the existence of God before inexplicably giving way to an

www.ufmag.org

eight-page poem dedicated to Elizabeth Fritzl. My gentle suggestion that this was, perhaps, not the most sensitive way of approaching the subject matter led to a torrent of abuse telling me that (1) our friendship was over, (2) I was ‘a silly little girl’ and (3) he hoped I would live out my days in perpetual terror of my own children being abused, as just reward for failing to recognise his insurmountable genius. 2. It’s All About the Hierarchy. Film is second only to the military in its rigid upholding of professional hierarchies. It is probably no accident that the Director of Photography on the last feature film I worked on still carries the bullet wounds from a previous stint in the Italian Special Forces. Occasionally, on small, no-budget shorts, everyone pulls together in mutually respectful collaboration and harmony, suffusing the set with joyous enthusiasm that prevents you caring that the shoot has run over by seventeen hours, you haven’t eaten since Tuesday and your last tube left last week. Most of the time, however, being at the bottom of the food chain, your main purpose is to lurk miles from the action in the freezing cold, luring wild animals away from the set by feeding them strips of your own flesh, whilst somewhere far away a psychotic 1st AD screams hysterical abuse down a walkie talkie because you forgot to remind her to tie her shoelaces and the Focus Puller’s sandwiches are cut into the wrong geometric shapes. If you can stick out the ritual humiliation for long enough, you may be rewarded with your very own minion to torment – and one day, maybe even a whole crew to bully, threaten and cajole. This is called ‘making a film’.

3. The FilmIdustry is a Breeding Ground for Misogynistic Halfwits. When I was nine, my grandfather told me that I couldn’t be a film director because I was a girl and girls don’t get to be film directors. Having never found this biological quirk to have been much of a hindrance before (and bearing in mind that my grandfather was also an alcoholic who would frequently call at 4am to garble lines from Macbeth over and over until someone hung up on him) I decided not to set too much store by his gin-addled career advice. Alarmingly, it seems he was a little bit right. For the first six super-keen months, I found myself at industry networking events where I was variously told that I ‘don’t look like an editor’ that ‘women aren’t really seen as directors’ or, at best: ‘You mean you want to be a producer?’ It used to be said that behind every great man is a great woman; behind every great director there is, necessarily, a formidable producer. Producers, as the allorganising, multi-tasking, non-limelightstealing backbone of film-making are, according to this patriarchal logic, singularly permitted to be women. For other roles: girls – expect to fight tooth and nail for every tiny grain of respect, and to have any beginner’s gaps in your professional knowledge attributed to that glaring lack of a penis between your legs. 4. Do It for Love. Not for Money. There’s nothing like that magical feeling when it all falls miraculously into place, better and more beautifully than you ever imagined it would. Sadly, that feeling is rarely the herald of any real world pecuniary relief. So don’t get carried away just yet: you might still need that day job to pay the rent.

66

over a year ago, following a string J ust of disastrous graduate jobs, I finally


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

ZOE MOON ASTROLOGY JUNE MONTHLY FORECAST 2012 ARIES

TARUS

GEMINI

A trip, media, publishing, marketing, legal, ceremonial, or educational matter peaks by the 4th, big celebrations or endings! An entire new Luck cycle begins this month on the 11th opening the doors to new ideas, meetings, talks, writing opportunities, agreements, and decisions that expand your horizons, bring happiness, and help you prosper in the year ahead. You may also see luck come through siblings, neighbors, moves, new vehicles or electronics. The New Moon on the 19th gives you the fuel behind all of this to seed new intentions in any of these areas so start fresh now

Big financial matters, sexual attractions or issues, reproductive needs, or divorce issues hit a high note by the 4th. This will be a time of achievement or endings in these areas. A brand new Luck cycle begins on the 11th opening up the best year in over 12 years to increase earnings, expand your income making ideas, make purchases, or deal with possessions. The New Moon on the 19th gives you the strongest two week window to really kick this off with a fresh start so target this time to go after money or make a major purchase.

You hit a high note with a romantic or business partner, agent, attorney, specialist, advocate, competitor, or opponent by the 4th. This may be about their big moment, about the two of you achieving a goal, and for some relationships there will be an ending. If you are solo it may be about putting your single life behind you. A huge new Luck cycle begins on the 11th which is happening in your sign! This is the best news you could get because for the next year you should find it so much easier to find happiness and prosperity and to expand on personal levels in ways beyond your normal experience. You have a New Moon on the 19th which will help you launch new desires, image, identity, or physical goals, so stretch your wings and go after what you want.

FOLLOW ZOE ON TWITTER: HTTP://TWITTER.COM/ZOEMOON LIBRA SCORPIO SAGITTARIUS You should see a writing project or agreement, big talk or meeting, decision or idea, short trip or vehicle, sibling or neighbor interest, or local activity hit a peak by the 4th. This should be a time of celebrations, achievement or endings. A brand new Luck cycle kicks off on the 11th that will open up huge opportunity for you to expand through travel, education, legal matters, media, publishing, marketing, publicity, and ceremonies in the year ahead. This is the best it’s been in 12 years and the New Moon on the 19th is your 2 week window to seed this in the right way, begin in the 2 weeks ahead to seed in these areas.

Your personal income, a purchase or possession will be the area of major culmination on the 4th as you reach your goal, celebrate, see a source end, or wrap things up. You enter a brand new Luck cycle on the 11th that is going to open up big opportunities to expand over the next year in areas of sex and intimacy, reproduction, power, divorce, and any high financial arena such as loans, inheritance, settlements, insurance, bankruptcy, taxes, alimony, child support, commissions, royalties, or a partner’s money. These are your growth areas, the best you have had here in 12 years, offering protection, happiness and prosperity. The New Moon on the 19th is giving you 2 strong weeks to start it off right.

You are personally reaching a high point on the 4th as you reach your goal physically or personally, end some issue that has been bothering, or celebrate the image, identity or personality peak. A new Luck cycle begins on the 11th as your ruler moves into the chatty sign of Gemini for the next year and opens up major opportunity for you through romantic or business partners, agents, attorneys, specialists, advocates, and dealing with competitors. This is the best open door you have had here to reach happiness or prosperity through others in 12 years and the New Moon on the 19th gives you 2 strong weeks to seed your new beginning here.

67

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

ZOEMOONASTROLOGY@GMAIL.COM OR CALL 818-613-6067 LEO VIRGO CANCER You reach a powerful peak at work, with services, a co-worker, employee, health matter, or pet by the 4th. This will be about achievements, recognition or endings. A brand new Luck cycle begins on the 11th that will take you into big new opportunities in the year ahead through film, music, art, psychic, spiritual, or magic interests, through retreats, hospitals, dealing with addictions, research, investigations, or love that you keep private. This is a year-long trend that has not been this strong in 12 years for you in these areas. The New Moon on the 19th kicks off any fresh starts you would like to make here with cosmic support so initiate in these areas over the next 2 weeks.

By the 4th you will see a major high point with a lover, child or creative project as you reach your goal, receive some form of recognition, celebrate, or wrap things up. A bold new Luck cycle begins on the 11th that is going to open huge opportunities to expand, find happiness and prosper through friends, groups, the internet, astrology, charities, and pursuing your own aspirations. This is the best it’s been here in 12 years and you have a year to open up in these areas. The New Moon on the 19th gives you a boost from the universe to do just that so be proactive in the 2 weeks forward.

Home matters, a celebration in the home, renovation, roommate, family member, move, real estate deal, or interest in land hits a high point on the 4th as you wrap things up or achieve your goals. A new Luck cycle kicks off on the 11th that is going to open up the best career opportunities to expand, more happiness and prosperity through career, pursuit of ambitions or goals, through reputation, with fame, and in dealings with authority figures, than you have had in 12 years. You have a year to broaden your life in these areas and the New Moon on the 19th is helping you get it going, plan accordingly.

FACEBOOK: HTTP://FACEBOOK.COM/ZOEMOONASTROLOGY PISCES CAPRICORN AQUARIUS

www.ufmag.org

A high point is hit by the 4th with friends, social occasions, group activities, the internet, astrology, charities, or aspirations. You will be celebrating or noting the achievement or endings. A new Luck cycle kicks off on the 11th that is going to show you major growth and potential for more happiness and prosperity than you have seen in 12 years. This cycle will last an entire year and it comes through true love, kids and creative projects. The New Moon on the 19th is your 2 week open door to these fresh starts in love, with kids or your creative potential.

A career high point comes by the 4th or you may note that there is a celebration or ending with a boss, authority figure, dad, an ambition or goal you have been working on, or around reputation or fame. A new Luck cycle begins on the 11th in your home base that will last for a year. This is the best growth period you have had here in 12 years and it will help you expand, find happiness and prosperity through what you do at home, in moves, with real estate, family, mom, roommates, renovations, and towards your sense of security. The New Moon on the 19th is in these areas and gives you 2 strong weeks to seed those fresh starts.

68

Time behind closed doors, at a hospital or other institution, dealing with addictions, strategies or development, on a film, music or other artistic project, with a spiritual pursuit or clandestine affair, or in research or investigations reaches a peak by the 4th. This will mark an ending or celebration. A new Luck cycle begins on the 11th that is going to help you expand and find happiness and prosperity in the year ahead. This comes to you through work, services you offer, co-workers, employees, health, and pets so look for ways to open these areas up, they are growth oriented. The New Moon on the 19th gives you fresh starts in any of these areas.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Pre Cannes Event in London

Simon Manley

Photography: S Dean & Karyn Louise

PILLI CORTESE

ANDREA CRISTINA, KATIE RICHMOND, ANNA JOHNSON

Michele Kellerhals (Exec. Producer), Luciano Marigo-Spitaleri (Color Grader), Elena Dapelo (PR and Marketing), Maurizio Di Antonio (Lead Actor), Anthi Giannopoulou (Make Up and Costume Designer), Pilli Cortese (Director and Producer), Claudio Napoli (DoP), Max Spera (PR and Marketing).

Pre-Cannes Red Carpet Film Business Social Event organised by Paola Berta on the 2nd of May 2012, Sheepish PR & - Beverly Hills UK Film Society and Events www.sheepishproductions. co.uk

Normski Anderson

69

TYRONE D MURPHY, PAOLA BERTA, JON DEVO www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

EMMA CONY & JOHNY PACH

VALERIA BANDINO

M

left SUZANNE KENDALL, ROBBIE MOFFAT below MARK ELIE & SHIRLEY GRANA

Natasha Goulden www.ufmag.org

70

above ANDREA CRISTINA, ANNA JOHNSON, HOWARD J FORD

ASIVE Films third feature film to date is set to shock and entertain, in equal measures. A fast growing and eclectic bunch of industry professionals that simply do things their own way and it looks like they are set to continue to do so. With films in 2010, (The Dinner Party) and 2011, (Speed Date) being followed by ‘Consequence’ in August of 2012, it looks like this small, but dedicated group are not deterred by evaporating budgets, tight deadlines and a whole host of other obstacles, but they seem to revel in it and almost wouldn’t have it any other way. Producers Paul Dewdney and Trevor Clarke are not your stereotypical producers, as they get involved not just in producing, but in every aspect of production and can often be found set-building, driving, marketing and occasionally, cooking for a full crew! It’s this ‘can do’ mentality that sets them apart from the recognized and more traditional production companies that are finding the going a bit tough of late and will certainly stand them in good stead for the future. Director and founding member of MASIVE Films, Si Wall, speaks highly of his producers. “It’s a blessing to have people that support you, but to support you fully, to allow you to make the film that’s inside your head and to believe in you so much, that you are not asked to make compromises; There are not many film directors who can say this. Without them both, Consequence wouldn’t be the film it is, if at all”.


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Online Film Distribution: Friend or Foe? by Robert Licursi, COO MediaGrinder, Inc. Companies like the age-old philosophiM uch cal question, “Which came first: the

chicken or the egg?”, filmmakers and technologists have something new to ponder: “Is innovative technology driving business, or is business driving the need for new technology?” Over the last decade, we have seen innovation that makes it possible to film, edit, and distribute content via webcams, laptops, and smartphones. The question that many film industry professionals are asking themselves is whether or not to embrace this trend. This alternative form of approaching filmmaking, marketing, distribution, credits, ownership, optioning, and all of yesterdays’ norms are changing daily. The real issues behind this “Social Filmmaking” are monetization, dilution of content value, major studio business model overhauls, and ensuring that technology is creating value to our industry. The playing field between major studio productions and anyone with a HD camera is rapidly reaching equilibrium. Festivals, such as Tribeca, have embraced social media. It’s been over a year since a Tribeca Panel “Digital by Design” discussed using Twitter as a promotional distribution platform. During this Q&A, Tom Lesinksi, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment stated, “I think the social media sites are real destinations for video consumption. That technology will create even more opportunities for movie consumption in places you would have never guessed.” Twitter has also played a key role in marketing Kevin Smith’s Red State, said John Sloss, managing partner and founder of entertainment law firm Sloss Eckhouse and founder of Cinetic Media. Smith has 1.8 million followers on Twitter, he pointed out. “He has been saying this to me for years -- that he doesn’t have to work for the studios, because he works for his public,” Sloss said. “A number of people have 1.8 million followers on Twitter, but I always say, with regard to Kevin, he is the first person those 1.8 million people think about when they wake up. They are really devoted to him.” Sloss said his firm oversees the windowing for Red State. Conversely, according to Miramax CEO

Mike Lang, “What’s holding back digital content usage and availability for now are such issues as consumers not being sure if digital content will work on all devices.”

REAL LIFE STORIES OF STRUGGLE AND COURAGE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Delivery platforms and devices must be easy to use and interoperable. Additionally, Lang suggested, content must be available at a reasonable price and accessible anywhere. Without that, “I don’t see how as an industry we will ever really drive a digital purchase economy,” he said. “Digital by Design” Tribeca panelists were asked how Hollywood views the new shift. “Digital indeed is a great opportunity for Hollywood, but it won’t immediately make up for lower home entertainment financials near-term,”panelists said. Already, though, VOD is becoming a key part of deal-making in the indie film sector, according to Sloss. At Sundance this year, many movies were sold with VOD in mind. “That’s the business that IFC and Magnolia are in where they can back-stop their purchases, knowing that they’ll get a VOD number on it, and they can offer a certain amount of money,” Sloss explained. “And I would say 80% of the transactions that took place at Sundance this year were driven by that model.” So, back to the question: is film production driving technology, or is technology driving how films are being approached? Furthermore, is the overwhelming content being produced and distributed through consumer-based online portals diluting film value, lowering production quality, and threatening current economic models? These trends are gaining momentum, yet both sides have valid concerns. Your opinions, thoughts, and ideas on this issue would be of great value. As a followup to this article we respectfully ask for you to share your thoughts and ideas with us. The more input of your important opinions we gather the better we will be able to present data, which will keep you ahead of the curve while preparing your next project. Please send us your feedback to: editor@ufmag.org

THIS IS OMAR, A TEENAGE REFUGEE FROM SOMALIA.

A LIFE ON HOLD

IS A NEW FILM ABOUT OMAR’S LIFE IN A REFUGEE CAMP IN TUNISIA. WATCH AT AMNESTY.ORG/REFUGEES

CHILDREN OF THE JAGUAR

AN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY IN THE AMAZON JUNGLE TAKE ON THE COMBINED MIGHT OF THE GOVERNMENT AND AN OIL COMPANY IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND THE RAINFOREST THEY LIVE IN.

WATCH AT BIT.LY/JAGUAR-TRAILER

Find out more: avproduction@amnesty.org

71

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

CANNES…Myth and Magic! Cannes Film Festival, I literally jumped for joy. Cannes is the “Alpha and Omega”, the “Be All and End All” of all film festivals. The floodlights! The Paparazzi! The red carpet! I would get to lounge on the French Riviera, the most sophisticate beach resort anywhere in the world. It was time to pack my bikini and brush up on my French! Ooh La La! The wonderful thing about idealistic dreams is that they can be realized, the sense of satisfaction has no comparison. As it is for many filmmakers, Cannes was one of mine. Yes, there is glamour galore and plenty of movie magic, but there was something else about that dream. Lots of work! Did I see that in my idolized daydreams…absolutely not! Although my festival pass allowed me into all areas of the ‘Palais de Cannes’, I thought I would spend all my time visiting the various pavilions or basking in the sun with directors falling over my screenplay and producers wooing my fa-

www.ufmag.org

vour. I set up my headquarters in the Canadian pavilion (good coffee) of the Carlton Hotel Lobby where everyone who’s anyone stays and hopefuls attempt to look important. I discovered after a day or two of orientations, workshops and reality checks that filmmakers need to use the time to network. After crashing back to reality that is exactly what I did. I spent my time trolling through the production company directories setting up meetings with companies and distributors. Oddly, most of the film deals are made in suites across the street from the film festival itself in various hotels where production companies and distributors usually take up their headquarters. Another aspect of networking was getting into the “RIGHT” parties; a career in itself. Who you know, not what you know breathes the life into that cliché and one of the most important things I learned about working a festival was to follow up after the fact. This is actually the main reason for filmmakers to attend. Your

“Who-You-Know” list becomes extensive and useful for whatever future projects may come along. I also spent some time in the Film Market where I received an education in world markets, distribution and trends over various platforms. This is where I started to truly understand the business of filmmaking. My original idea of a movie deal as a fuzzy kind of fairytale (write the screenplay and then magically everything falls into place right up to the night of the premiere) started to materialize into a business model of taking a product (the screenplay) from script to fruitionon-the-screen to distribution. After having my Cannes Film Festival bubble burst with the dusty subject of business I did actually attend a premiere with the Paparazzi lights flashing and the Stars arriving on the red carpet. The lights went down, the opening music and credits began to roll, and it was truly and unequivocally…Magic! by Margaret Dane

72

hen I got the message my screenW play had been selected to go to the


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

ron gilbert

column Now back to the present day and his film ,”Wilde Salome”, where we are drawn into this very creative actor’s quest to share his theatrical vision of a play/film combo... His life intertwined with Oscar Wilde and King Herod and so here is his journey in the play, the movie of the play and a documentary. He shot this production in 5 days and adds footage about the controversial life of Oscar Wilde We now we have this finished film which has not been released but should be. One of the actors Jack Maxwell sent me an email asking me when will it be released. Hopefully soon. Meanwhile Al is getting rave reviews as Shylock in the theatrical production on Broadway in “The Merchant of Venice”. Thanks Al, I share your vision.

Marina Abramovic “The Artist Is Present” captivates the audience In all honesty ,I must say that I was not familiar with the career of the incredibly creative artist, Marina Abramovic, but after seeing this documentary I would be the first in line to see her live in action.

Actor, producer and journalist Ron Gilbert ..

I

finally had the privilege of watching “Wilde Salome,” the film version of “Salome” aka “Salome Maybe?”, directed by Al. In a similar fashion which he explored in “Looking for Richard”, Al digs into the depths of an Actors Studio member to give audiences the internal life of how he works. Scraping the surface and peeling the layers which make him the actor he is today. Always working from the inside to reveal the inner workings of the play and how to share this. Lucky us.

The advantage audiences will have in seeing this documentary is that the film explores her 40 year career and traces her roots in Yugoslavia, where she was raised by communist parents in a home where love did not exist. with her mother but she mentions that her grandmother on the other hand poured affection and supported her which allowed her to evolve into the artist she is today. Audiences will actually feel like they are watching through a window Marina and her performance art as the film reflects this in flashbacks.

Director Matthew Akers(who is also the DP) along with co-director Jeff Dupre followed Abramovic for a year prior to the biggest show of her career,as she pre“lets look pares for her March-to-May 2010 retrospective at the So he begins rehearsals with the actors holding the at the basic Museum of Modern Art, organized by MoMA curator scripts because he feels that the words of playwright Klaus Biesenbach, the show includes key Abramovic process” Oscar Wilde are the most important and will allow the pieces performed by her and her 12-year partner, audiences to focus on them. Estelle Parsons is the direcGerman performance artist Ulay who appears present tor of the play while Al is the director of the film version. day and discusses his relationship with Abramovic Very When he did this on the New York stage he created controversy much ground is covered in this documentary in which which is what plays are all about .Conflict and more conflict Marina shares from workshops at her Hudson Valley home and where does it take you. He continued this journey in Holwith an ensemble of performers As I watched her techniques lywood by doing another production of the play at the Wadsit reminded very much of Stanislavsky’s Moscow art Theatre worth Theatre in Westwood but the only difference was that and the famous teachers Vakhtangov and Grotowski and their he wanted it to be filmed at the same time which created many work. At the MoMA show we see Abramovich seated in a chair problems. Al likes to push buttons. I will now share some of my and facing an audience member in silence and rarely moving. info about Al that may not be known. In the 1960’s in New York They have lined up for hours to get a chance to face her and City there was talk about this actor who was very talented and are thrilled to be able to do that. as we see the direct opposite the word spread around the acting community. This started the of all her other works where there was always powerful movesaga of Al Pacino. His first off-Bway play was “The Indian wants ments. the Bronx” written by Israel Horovitz with co-stars John Casale and Matthew Cowles which I saw . I watched this drama which What we view first hand is a fully committed artist who relenttakes places at a bus stop with 2 New York thugs and an Indian, lessly pushes her body to the limits of endurance, and beyond Was Al an actor or was he a thug ? Why? Because he was real. and she will make you laugh,cry and happy to be present. I grew up with and knew guys like him and he was the picture My words are not enough to describe this ,you see the docuimage of them, So Lee Strasberg the legendary artistic director mentary. HBO Documentary Films produced by Jeff Dupre, of the Actors Studio suggested that Al work on the ShakespearMaro Chermayeff. Co-producers, Francesca Von Habsburg. Exean play “Richard the 3rd “. Some 30 years later he directed ecutive producer, Sheila Nevins, Stanley Buchthal, Maja Hoffthe documentary “Looking for Richard”. So this kid from the mann, David Koh. Directed by Matthew Akers. Co-director, Jeff Bronx whose grandmother lived on my block in East Harlem Dupre. and where Al spent a lot of his youth while attending the High School of Performing Arts while I was a juvenile delinquent... With: Marina Abramovic, Ulay, Klaus Biesenbach, Davide Al and I were never really close but we shared the screen in Baliano, Chrissie Iles, Sean Kelly, Arthur Danto, David Blaine, Godfather 1 and Dog Day Afternoon and I would see him at James Franco. The Actors Studio and I owned peanut machines in Knobby’s his Uncle Steve’s bar., http://marinafilm.com/view-trailer

73

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

Allience of womans Filmmakers he Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival produced by Alliance of Women Filmmakers is going into its ninth year and has showcased hundreds of films made by women of diverse backgrounds from all over the world. In addition to premiering films made by women from around the world the organization produces an annual Filmmaker Symposium during the festival with panels and workshops presented by entertainment lawyers and industry executives. Our 2012 seminars were presented by Women of Warner Bros (WOW) and featured Warner Bros. distribution executives. Alliance of Women Filmmakers is proud to welcome WOW back for their 2013 Filmmaker Symposium. The Alliance of Women Filmmakers’ mission is to empower women filmmakers to create diverse roles for women, as well as educate and inform audiences of social, political and health issues impacting women globally. The Allience currently has two core programs, the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival and the Filmmaker Symposium. In 2004, we launched a one-

www.ufmag.org

day screening event that highlighted films made by women residing in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Today the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival spans an entire week and features films of all genres made by women from around the world.

the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which was founded by Shelly’s husband to help women achieve their own filmmaking dreams. The film was followed by a reception and silent auction, with proceeds donated to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation.

Many films showcased at the festival have gained exposure and gone on to receive distribution and win awards. God Sleeps in Rwanda, presented in the 2005 short documentary category, was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 for Best Documentary Short Subject. The festival’s 2007 opening film Open Window, directed by Mia Goldman, was picked up for distribution by Showtime. Damages, presented in the 2008 feature category, was picked up for TV distribution in Ireland and nominated for an IFTA award.

The 2010 centerpiece presentation, Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy, was introduced by a representative from Partners in Health (PIP), a charity that provides medical care and social services to countries in need. The representative educated the audience about PIP and gave an update on the Haiti crisis and Partners in Health’s PIP fundraising relief efforts.

In addition to showcasing women-made movies from around the world, the festival has created awareness and raised money for organizations that support women’s causes. The 2010 festival opened with Serious Moonlight, written by the late Adrienne Shelly. The film’s director, Cheryl Hines, introduced the film and informed the audience about

The 2011 festival kicked off with Pink Skies, a documentary that covers an incredible all-female skydiving team, “Jump for the Cause,” and the journey of 181 women from 31 countries to create a World Record All-Women’s Skydiving Formation. Ticket sales from the opening-night screening and reception were donated to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Los Angeles County.

74

T


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

75

www.ufmag.org


Universal Film Issue 3 of 2012

The great content shift — the demand for content anytime, anywhere — has set in motion a kaleidoscope of infinite consumption options with unlimited business models. But only if you shift focus and work with the right players. Broader-casting® professionals are leading the evolution by collaborating across screens and delivery platforms, embracing the opportunities created by today’s disruptors, like advertisers, techno-savvy visionaries and, increasingly, just about anyone with an online channel and a following.

FREE Exhibits-only Pass Use code PA01

NAB Show,® the world’s largest media and entertainment event, is the place to leverage shifting players as part of your paradigm for success. Here you’ll discover game-changing strategies and emerging technologies designed to address today’s — and tomorrow’s expectations. Turn shift in your favor and evolve in a marketplace that moves forward with or without you. Register now!

CONFERENCES April 14–19, 2012 EXHIBITS April 16 –19 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada USA

www.ufmag.org

76

www.nabshow.com


Universal Film Magazine issue 3 of 2012  

The Universal Film Magazine is a free magazine that delivers passionate and creative coverage to the global film and festival communities. T...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you