As some of you might already know, me and an old art school friend Tim Unsworth set up our 3D design company 'Bad Studio' three months ago . Hoorah for us!
Well, ever since, my world has been a 3D blur and my ever supportive girlfriend has become an animators widow. But, for all this hard work it has inspired me to make not one but two fully animated shorts. One is still in its infancy but the other is very much gathering speed. So here is a sneak peak of what's to come.
Check out the teaser trailer below and also feel free to check out our new company 'Bad Studio' at www.badstudio.co.uk.
The foxes are off to America again and this time they are bouncing all the way to the Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan.
The festival runs from the 29th July to 3rd August with 'Exercise' screening in the 'Shorts for Kids' programme on Wednesday 30th at 9:30am.
Another year, another Hamburg International Short Film Festival.
Whilst the festival were celebrating their 30th anniversary I was celebrating my 10th time at the festival and once again the experience was nothing far from amazing. Great friends, great parties and great films.
This year 'Exercise' made it's return to the festival for a second year running, screening in the sport themed 'Open Air' programme; 200 or so people, relaxing outside, drinking beer and watching films on a warm Hamburg evening. After a quick Q&A with festival director Sven Schwarz the excitable foxes opened the programme to the delight of the audience who 'Ooooo'd', 'Ahhhhh'd' and chuckled as they jumped around on the trampoline.
Staying briefly with the open air programmes, this year I attended the wonderful 'A Wall is a Screen'. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of these events do it! A selection of short films projected on existing walls or other surfaces in 6-7 different inner city locations. Every film chosen to be able to interact with the location where it is screened. This year was particularily special as ever film was projected in it's original format. 35mm, 16mm, U-Matic, to good old VHS.
Due to all the late night parties, 35ml bar and constant supply of legendary toasties made by Apollos and Jutta, I
sadly didn't get to see as many films as I would have hoped but from what I did see these are my festival picks. 'Subtotal' by Gunhild Enger, 'Demontable' by Douwe Dijkstra, 'The Claustrum' by Jay Rosenblatt, 'One Man, Eight Cameras' by Naren Wilks, 'Solecito' by Oscar Ruiz Navia, 'The First Time' by Anders Hazelius and finally my favourite 'Emergency Calls' by Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolaine.
'Something For Nothing' will be screening next at the 7th International Children’s Film Festival Krakow in Poland this coming June. More news to follow once the programme is live.
It has been so super crazy since getting back from the Netherlands that this is the first opportunity I've had to sit down and write about my recent trip to Nijmegen to attend the 6th GoShort International Short Film Festival.
I've come to realise two things about being a poor filmmaker. 1: You become unable to take a holiday that doesnt involved attending a film festival and 2: You have to have a super understanding girlfriend to put up with the first point which I thankfully do.
Now, my girlfriend Ali has been trying for 10 years to take me to the country where she lived for part of her student life, so when 'Exercise' was selected for the Youth Programme we had no better reason to finally introduce me to the Netherlands. The mini tour of the Netherlands began with Den Haag, a beautiful, picturesque city nestled on the north west coast of Europe. After a day of nostalgia, eating and drinking in Ali's favourite bars and cafe and visiting the houses she used to live, we headed out to Kijkduin to visit James Turrell's 'Celestial Vault'.
Amongst the dunes of Den Haag, Turrell has created a place to gaze at the sky; a bowl in the shape of an ellipse, 30 meters wide and 40 meters long. If you have never heard of James Turrell then shame on you. Make sure you do one thing today and google Roden Crater. The man is a stroke of genius!
Anyway... after only 36 hours in Den Haag we continuing Ali's magical mystery tour of nostalgia by heading off to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. After three days of visiting friends, cube houses, jazz bars, galleries, sculpture parks and eating our own body weight in food all of which was washed down with plenty of Brand beer, we jumped on a double decker train to Nijmegen to attend 6th GoShort International Short Film Festival.
It didn't take us long to realise it was going to be a hilarious and messy festival when the first thing my dear Russian friend Alexei said to us was "Have you seen the dead animals?" and promptly opened a cool bag containing said animals. Like all good filmmakers we jumped into the madness with both feet and the next 3 days became an alcohol fueled blur of parties and screenings of short films. My personal favourites have to be the harrowing documentary 'Shipwreak' by Morgan Knibbe, 'Z1' by Gabriel Gauchet, 'Pride' by Pavel Vesnakov, 'Marc Jacobs' by Sam de Jong, 'Demontable' by Douwe Dijkstra and 'Butter Lamp' by Hu Wei.
The screening of 'Exercise' was on the final day of the festival and what a delightful screening it was. I love screening films to children. They have such a wonderful outlook on films and the screenings and Q&A's are always exciting and unexpected. Where else do you get the audience standing up and dancing to the song on your film?
I have to say that GoShort is one of the best film festivals i've attended in years. In festival terms, GoShort is a young festival, a mere 6 years olds, but you would never know it. It's so well organised and the programming is so strong you would think it had been running for 20 years. A truly spectacular festival, run by even more spectacular people.
Quick festival update. It's been a busy few months for 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' on the festival circuit with screenings on home soil as well as France, Germany and Netherlands.
Last month 'Something For Nothing' had it's second screening in France. After it was seen at the Festival Européen du Film Court de Brest back in November it was selected for the Ciné Manivel European Short Movies event in Bretagne. In the same month 'Exercise' screened in Germany at the 20th International Short Film Week Regensburg as well as screening closer to home in Birmingham at the Flatpack Film Festival.
This weekend 'Exercise' gets it US Premiere at the 16th Annual BAMKids International Film Festival in New York, USA. These foxes are getting to travel more than me!
It's Valentine's Day and although I personally think that it's a load of commercial tosh I thought I'd share this tragic love story.
Back in early January the guys at Bruizer called in a team of people, including myself, to make a chain reaction film in the amazing Hush House on Bentwaters airfield in Suffolk. The aim to show how far Bruizer will go to get the perfect shot.
Watch what we made by clicking here
Couple of bit of news to start the month. 'Something For Nothing' has been selected to screen at the Directors Lounge that runs during the Berlinale Film Festival this February. For anyone out in Berlin for the festival my film is screening on Saturday 15th, 9pm in Space A.
Also my short ‘Where There's Smoke’ is screening in an art gallery as part of Nottingham Trent University’s ‘In The Making’ exhibition. An event celebrating 170 years of the NTU School of Art & Design, where I graduated from back in 2002.
Just a quick update on the current and future festival screenings for 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise'.
I've just got back from the Curzon Soho where 'Something For Nothing' screened in the 'Youth of Today' programme as part of the 11th London Short Film Festival. A wonderful programme of coming-of-age shorts including my personal favourite 'No Kaddish in Carmarthen' by Jesse Amstrong.
Also for the past 19 days and the 12 days following, 'Something For Nothing' is screening before feature films in 16 art house cinema's across the Netherlands. I feel really privileged for the rare opportunity to get my short film screened before so many talented feature film makers. Thanks to all the guys at GoShort for making it possible. You can find out more about GoShort's 'Get the Pre-Feature Back' campaign on their Facebook page.
While I'm mentioning the folks at GoShort, it seems the appropriate time to mention that 'Exercise' has been selected for the youth programme at the sixth edition of the Go Short International Short Film Festival, Nijmegen. The festival runs from 9th - 13th April and I'm really hoping to attend so you might hear more about this great festival soon.
But before I get ahead of myself I should mention that 'Exercise' is screening at the 16th Annual BAMKids International Film Festival, New York in February and then the 20th International Short Film Week, Regensburg in March.
More about these festivals in the coming months.
A quick update on my screening dates for both 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' at London Short Film Festival.
'Something For Nothing' will be screening as part of Youth of Today at the Curzon Soho, on Sunday 19th January, 12:30pm. This is a programme specially selected by the LSFF team showcasing shorts about growing up and coming-of-age in our difficult times.
Exercise' will be screening as part of Lo-Budget Mayhem at the ICA, on 10th January, 11pm, A programme specially selected by the LSFF team showcasing 29 out-there gems from bad taste depravity to bizarre animation in just over 100 minutes.
Hope to see you all there!
This weekend my two excitable fox cubs will be bouncing into Nottingham for the Bang! Short Film Festival.
'Exercise' will be screening on Saturday 30th October in the 'Crash Bang! Wallop' programme. There are two screening of this programme; one at 1pm and a second at 3pm. Make sure you come along and support this fantastic festival.
Got back late last night from the wonderful zwergWERK Film Festival in Oldenburg where 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' were both screening.
As always, in Germany, we were looked after like kings by the fantastic festival team who had organised 4 days packed with wonderful films. My highlights were 'Stew and Punch' by Simon Ellis, 'Wildnis' by Helena Wittmann, 'Anacos' by Xacio Bano, 'My Father Looks Like Abdel Nasser' by Farah Kassem (which was part of the focus on Libanon programme) and 'Out of Erasers' by Daniel Wirtberg who was this years retrospective filmmaker.
zwergWERK Film Festival is a great example of why you should always make time to support, and more importantly, visit the smaller festivals. When else do you get the chance to stay in real peoples homes, help collect your lovely hosts child from Kindergarden, get a personalised walking tour of the city, help build a cinema screen, have breakfast in one of the festival teams homes, drink in a 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' themed bar with friends and all this before you've been in the country 24hrs. Heres to short film festivals!
There is one downside to going to a wonderful festival like Festival Européen du Film Court de Brest... at one point it comes to an end and you have to go home.
Brest is a shining example of a festival that knows how to do it right. They show great films, it's really well organised and they take care of all their directors and make them feel like part of the family.
This year I was very honoured to have two films in the festival programmes; something I was told by the festival director Massi, doesnt happen very often. 'Something For Nothing' was in the 'Brest Off' programme while 'Exercise' was in competition in the 'ONVI' Programme.
On arrival in Brest (thanks British Film Council for paying my travel), I barely had time to check into my hotel and drink a cold beer before I was whisked up on stage to introduce one of my films to one of the largest crowds I've ever seen at a festival. The Grand Theatre, where I was stood, holds an eye watering 1200 people. Throughout the week the madness never stopped. When I wasn't in one of my remaining three screenings, I was either watching other filmmakers films, doing radio and TV interviews or drinking beer and wine.
Out of all the screenings I saw these are the short films that stood out for me.
'Cloro' by Laura Plebani (Italy), 'Moritz and the Woodwose' by Bryn Chainey (Germany), '37º4S' by Adriano Valerio (France), 'Yolanda' by Monsieur Moo (France), 'Sand' by Joost Van Ginkel and my favourite of them all 'Whale Valley' by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson (Denmark).
Sadly the festival had to come to an end but hopefully I will be back next year to party some more with the fantastic festival team that looked after us so well.
Next stop zwergWERK Film Festival, Oldenburg!
It seems that 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' are incapable of being in a festival on their own.
I am please to announce that they have both been selected for the London Short Film Festival in January.
The full programme will be announced on their website in December.
I am please to announce that 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' have both got into another film festival.
They are both in competition at the zwergWERK Film Festival in Oldenburg, Germany this November.
Having known about this festival for many years now, I am very excited to be finally flying out to Oldenburg in a few weeks after attending Brest European Short Film Festival where both films are also screening.
'Exercise' will screen in "International Program 4: Something With Animals"
Saturday, November 23, 19:00h
'Something For Nothing' will screen in "International Program 5: Let's Play"
Sunday, November 24, 11:00h
The festival runs from 21st - 24th.
I am pleased to announce that 'Something For Nothing' and 'Exercise' have both been selected for the 21st Ozu International Film Festival in Italy.
'Something For Nothing' is programmed in the "Ozu Kidz" competition whilst 'Exercise' is programmed in the "Ozu 2 Short" competition.
The fox cubs are continuing their world tour this November with 4 more screenings of 'Exercise'.
"Exercise' is screening at 27th International FilmFest Braunschweig in Germany, 13th Flensburger Short Film Festival also in Germany, Bang! Short Film Festival in Nottingham and finally in 28th Brest European Short Film Festival in France where 'Something For Nothing' is also screening.
What a fantastic month I've just had at the 57th BFI London Film Festival. Press screenings, opening and closing galas, networking events with the BFI and British Film Council and lots and lots of drinking (I mean networking) with great filmmakers friends, new and old.
The programme this year was very strong and I took full advantage of my festival accreditation seeing 19 feature films including 'Captain Phillips' and 'Gravity'. My highlights include 'We Are The Best' by Lukas Moodysson, 'Youth' by Tom Shoval, 'The Spectacular Now' by James Ponsoldt, 'Enough Said' by Nicole Holofcener and Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska'. Sadly I missed out on seeing 'Under The Skin', 'Ida', 'Locke' and 'Selfish Giant' but I've heard nothing but great things about them. I guess I'm adding them to my endless list of films to see.
Also 'Something For Nothing' got its UK Premiere at the festival, screening in the 'Thrill: Bizzare Ride' programme. Many thanks to Simon Young for a great short film programme and all the cast, crew and friends who came along to support it.
Both screenings were great experiences, if not very different ones. The first screening was in NFT2, an intermate screening of just over 100 people who were all in a jovial mood helped along by a few beers I suspect. The next screening, the following afternoon, was a tad more reserved. After us nervous filmmakers introduced our films, we joined the 300 other people in screen one of the Hackney Picturehouse to watch our shorts on the HUGEST screen. Having always made long (ish) live-action short films I have to admit I was concerned how such a short, simple idea would translate to an audience but I'm really pleased by how well it was received. Next festival stop Brest European Short Film Festival in France.
I am incredibly pleased to announce that 'Something For Nothing' has been selected for the 57th BFI London Film Festival in October.
It will feature in the 'Thrill: Bizarre Ride' programme. Screening times are as follows:
Date: Friday, October 18, 2013
Location: NFTS 2 / National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Locations: Hackney Picture House, Hackney
My foxes are off into the woods. I am delighted to announce that 'Exercise' has been selected by the lovely guys at Whirlygig Cinema for the In The Woods festival at the end of the month.
Now in its 8th year, Laurel Collective and friends are putting on their very special one day festival in an enchanted secret woodland location, just one hour south of London. 'Exercise' will be shown on 31st August as part of their weird and wonderful late-night programme called 'Cinemagic Mushrooms', with funny animals and psychedelic offerings.
I'm a big advocate for cinemas showing more short films before features so you can imagine my delight when the wonderful Wouter Jansen at Go Shorts International Short Film Festival asked if he could show 'Something For Nothing' before feature films in 16 arthouse cinemas across the Netherland for a whole month.
So if you are Dutch or by any chance in a cinema in the Netherlands in January you might see my film. Let me know if you do!
I am happy and extremely honoured to annouce that I have two films now screening at 28th Brest European Short Film Festival.
My fox film 'Exercise' will also be screening in France this November as well as my new short film 'Something For Nothing' (see earlier post).
It will be screening in competition in the new 'UFO' (Unidentified Filmed Objects) programme.
Well I was right! My fox cubs had another two festival screenings up their furry sleeves. And this time I didn't even have to enter my film. It was invited. Hooray!
First 'Exercise' will be first screening at the 37th Open-Air Filmfest Weiterstadt which will take place from 15th - 19th August 2013. Filmfest Weiterstadt is a well-established event in the calendar of German short film festivals. Some years ago the press started to call Weiterstadt the "Woodstock of Film Festivals".
'Exercise' is screening Saturday, August 17th at 10:30pm.
'Exercise' will then be screening at 22nd dokumentART European Film Festival in October. The festival runs from 18th - 22nd Oct 2013. More details to follow.
I'm so happy to announce that my new short film 'Something For Nothing' has been selected for the prestigious 28th Brest European Short Film Festival this November.
At the moment I know very few details bar that my film is programmed in the section Brest Off "J'aurais voulu être un criminel" which translates as "I should have been a thief". More news to follow.
My uber short film 'Exercise' is already surprising me by how well it's being received on the festival circuit. Since having its world premiere in at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival it is being considered to screen before feature films in cinemas across Germany and has already been included on a DVD of short films which you can buy here.
I am now pleased to announced that 'Exercise' has been selected for two more festivals and has been nominated for an award!
It is screening first at the Green Screen International Film Festival, Germany in September where it has been nominated for the
Wild Laugh award. Fingers Crossed! The festival runs from 5th - 9th Sep 2013.
It is also screening again in Germany at the 18th Schlingel International Film Festival in Chemnitz, Germany. This festival runs from 14th - 20th Oct 2013. I have a feeling that this little film has more surprises up it's furry sleeve. Lets wait and see!
This was my eighth Hamburg International Short Film Festival and probably one of the best. Going to Hamburg is like going to see family and friends now. Everyone is so welcoming, the festival is brilliantly organised and the parties are legendary. After a week here you'll never want to leave... but your liver might!
This year I was honoured to have two films in the festival, both of which were World Premieres. 'Something for Nothing' was screening in their new Youth programme and my experimental documentary 'Exercise' was screening in the Mo & Friese section for children four and over.
Although my screening of 'Something for Nothing' was great fun I have to admit I found my screenings of 'Exercise' the most rewarding. Screening a film to 200+ four year olds was a completely new experience for me. They bring so much energy, fun and excitement to the screenings with most of them having never been to the cinema. You can also never prepare for the sort of questions you might be ask. My first Q&A question was "How old are you?" followed quickly by "How old are the foxes?". When I told them the foxes were 6 months old every child in the cinema wanted to share their age with me shouting out "I'm 6... I'm 4... I'm 4 also!" Such a wonderfully cute audience!
I was also lucky to have an incredibly unique screening experience when 'Exercise' was programmed in a screening for partially deaf and blind children; with the blind children provided with an audio description (in minute detail) of each film. When the screening finished a blind girl, who had travelled 2 hours to visit the festival, told us that she was so excited that she could now go home and tell her friends that she had been to the cinema.
If this wasn't enough to top off my week, I was informed that 'Exercise' has been included on the 15th Mo&Friese Children's Film Festival DVD and is being considered to be screened before feature films all over Germany.
This year I managed to see 7 of the 8 international screenings.
My highlights including:
'Skinninggrove' by Michael Almereyda, 'Pouters' by Paul Fegan (which won the audience award), 'The Runaway' by Jean-Bernard Marlin, 'Fucking Suburbia' by Jeff Otte, 'The Date' by Jenni Toivoniermi, 'Stew and Punch' by Simon Ellis, 'Undress Me' by Victor Lindgren, 'Da Vinci' by Yuri Ancarani, 'Koch' by Artykpai Suiundukov, 'Animals I Killed Last Summer' by Gustav Danielsson and finally 'Dad's Stick' by John Smith.
In other programmes highlights were:
'Hopfrog' by Leonid Shmelkov, 'I Am Here' by Karsten Krause & Francesa Bertin, 'BigShot' by Maurice Huvelin and 'The Wild' by Helena Wittmann.
Overall, all the guys at Hamburg Film Festival did themselves proud. Great films, great parties and great people.
Here's to next year!
I'm happy to announce that 'Where There's Smoke' and 'Something For Nothing' are now represented by Shorts International for worldwide sales.
Shorts International is the world's leading short movie entertainment company with the world's largest catalogue dedicated to short movies. They bring the best short movies to audiences in the United States, Europe and Asia whether they are in movie theaters, watching cable television, using their iPads or online.
I'm over the moon! My new short films, 'Something for Nothing' and 'Exercise' are both premiering at the 29th Hamburg Short Film Festival as part of the 15th Mo&Friese Kinder Kurz Film Festival.
Considering they were two films that started off as experiments and were made for a bit of fun I couldn't be more pleased.
The festivals run from 4th - 10th June 2013. More news to follow.
Last month I got to opportunity to work with Rowland Kimber at Ivory and the guys at DLKW Lowe on a docu-style film for the fantastic charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.
We had two wonderful days (despite the weather) with the collectors from Bath and London who generously volunteered an hour of their time to help raise money and awareness for Marie Curie. Once shot and edited the lovely guys at Smoke and Mirrors (Dan Moran in particular) were kind enough to do us a grade. Watch it here
I can't believe Berlinale Talent Campus has come and gone. And what a fantastic week it was in Berlin. Seven days of lectures, masterclasses and partying... ummm I mean networking events that I'm only just getting over a week on.
Now in it's 11th year, the Talent Campus is such a well oiled machine, bringing together 300 incredibly talented filmmakers from 96 different countries, all run by people who welcomed us warmly to cold, snow covered Berlin.
My highlights of the week have to be the talk by Mr Robocop himself Paul Verhoeven, the Q &A's with Ken Loach ('Kes' & 'Wind That Shakes the Barley'), scriptwriter James Manos ('Sopranos' & 'Dexter') and Lucrecia Martel ('The Headless Woman & 'The Swamp') who's generosity with their experience, directing techniques and advice was truly inspiring and humbling, and the fantastically insightful masterclass with editor Susan Korda. If that wasn't enough the excitment continued with dinner at the British Council with Ken Loach himself and Valentine breakfast with world renowned director Wong Kar Wai ('In the Mood for Love' & 'Happy Together').
I couldn't say enough great stuff about Berlinale Talent Campus and the filmmakers I met and partied with over that week. If you have an opportunity to attend the Campus, don't pass it up. I'm just upset I can't do it again.
Happy New Year everyone. Lets give 2013 a good kicking hey!
This year already promises to be a good one. 'Where There's Smoke' is still going strong picking up another festival screening at the Akbank Short Film Festival in Turkey
In February i'm off to Berlinale Talent Campus for a week of networking and masterclasses with 300 up-and-coming filmmakers from across the globe.
And finally my new short film 'Something For Nothing' is finally finished. This film originally started off as an experiment to see if we could build a set in two days and shot the film in one. So, after dusting off a uber short script I had on the shelf which required only two actors and zero dialogue, away we went. The whole process is one i'd recommend to all filmmakers. There is a real lack these days of really short shorts. Most films on the festival circuit are ten minutes plus and you rarely see shorts under five minutes. I'm very intrigued to see how my five minute short film is received. They are either going to love its quiet simplicity of not. Only time will tell.
Also I'd like to take a moment to thank all the cast and crew for their incredible generosity. Like the title, so many people did 'something for nothing' to help make this idea become reality. I'm truly humbled by everyone's help.
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