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Screening to Take Viewers Inside British Film Industry


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact:  Carrie Weiland

Publicist, Toska Productions

Phone:     (434) 426-3352

E-mail:    info@toskaproductions.com

Date:       June 9, 2014

 


THE REEL BRITAIN TO SCREEN AT TRIBECA CINEMAS

Independent documentary examines British film industry


New York, NY – June 9, 2014 – THE REEL BRITAIN, an independent documentary short about the British film industry, will be shown Saturday, July 12, at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, New York, at 7:00 p.m., with doors open at 6:30 p.m.  The event also features a post-film Q&A, with an opportunity to speak with the director and creative team about their experiences and insights making the film.  The evening will include a post-discussion meet and greet with the filmmakers, with light refreshments to be served.  The event is free and open to the public and press.

“This film examines the challenges faced by the British filmmakers in an increasingly global market,” said director Serpahina Gonzalez.  “We look at both the triumphs and frustrations faced by the British film industry by speaking with some of its key players—directors, producers, actors, and critics.  This film has been a real labor of love for us, and we look forward to sharing some of what we’ve learned with our audience here in New York.”

The film features the insights of numerous prominent filmmakers in the British industry, including:

Ken Loach, director (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Kes, Bread and Roses);

Lord David Puttnam, producer (The Killing Fields, The Mission, Local Hero);

Tom Hiddleston, actor (The Avengers, Midnight in Paris, Only Lovers Left Alive);

Jeremy Thomas, producer (The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast, Rabbit-Proof Fence);

Jon S. Baird, director (Cass, Filth, Babylon);

Iain Smith, producer (Children of Men, The Killing Fields, Cold Mountain);

Tony Garnett, producer (Kes, Fat Man and Little Boy);

Elliot Grove, founder, Raindance Film Festival and British Independent Film Awards

 

The film’s running time is approximately 35 minutes.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://trbnycscreening.rsvpify.com/

 

THE REEL BRITAIN is the debut film of Toska Productions.  The creative team includes director Seraphina Gonzalez, producer Sherie Smith, editor Lindsey Qualls, and executive producers Kate Miller, Rachael Acks, and Jess Clark.  Full cast and crew are listed at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3763844/  To learn more, please visit http://www.toskaproductions.com

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London: Farewell

It feels wrong to leave London behind without saying goodbye, though I don’t have any other production notes for you.

I tend to take my last look at places through airplane windows with eyes so blurred by tears that the world is a soft smear of gray, green, and blue. This time was no exception.

As a city, London is the queen of my heart. I’ve seen her in every season, been there for the sake of tourism, for shows, for simple living, and just passing through. This is the first time I worked in London, and I worked hard. A city has a different face when you’re there for work, deeper and far less forgiving. It becomes part of the scaffolding of your life, if temporarily, both nurturer and antagonist.

This London, I loved best of all.

And it’s the same with people. When you live and work with others, there’s a sudden, unavoidable intimacy you gain. You have to do the “whose turn is it to use the bathroom” dance and become deeply concerned by the state of their blisters and stomachs, hour by hour. However temporarily, you become both less and more than a family, washing each other’s dishes and working toward a common goal.

It was a pleasure and a profound honor to share my life with Seraphina, Sherie, and Carrie for nearly two weeks. It says amazing things about their creativity, resourcefulness, and open heartedness that I wish it had lasted longer and I was still in that little London flat with them even now.

I dearly hope that this isn’t the last time we get to work together. We were fabulous, my darlings, utterly fabulous. I wouldn’t place money on any obstacle in our way. And our project isn’t done yet, not by a long shot. We did an impressive amount of filming in London, but there are still a few stragglers to collect, and a bit of filming to do in LA as well. And then of course, there’s a film to be cut from the whole cloth of hour upon hour of interviews.

I look forward to telling you more about those adventures as they happen.

But for now it’s goodbye, however temporarily. My last look at London was the same watery blur as always, but I wasn’t searching for the city through my tears this time. I was trying to see through the roof of Heathrow, to a table in one of the horribly overpriced restaurants where my friends had hunkered down to wait for their flight. Even now, as I settle back into the routine of work and writing, fighting my way through Houston’s crowded humidity, I feel like I’m still looking. I hope I’ll catch sight of them soon.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 12

This was our last full day in London (tomorrow, we’ll spend the majority of our remaining time in Heathrow, which isn’t the most exciting prospect) and it ended up being non-stop gogogo.

I’ll admit, I was up way too late last night watching The Spirit of ’45 but the documentary just gripped me. It’s not one you just go in half an hour and call it good because you feel like you’ve got the gist. The film kept me awake for all ninety-plus minutes, and when it was done I felt like I ought to run out into the street and shout about how much bullshit capitalism is, quite possibly while waving a flag.

So yeah, didn’t sleep too well, and then I had to drag my butt out of bed a little more than four hours later so I could go pick up a couple more SD cards for the cameras; we were getting short on memory, and we had three interviews scheduled.

Our first interview was with Ken Loach, who is really a legend of British film. Quite literally everyone we interviewed up until today mentioned his name as a British filmmaker who had inspired them. We were all excited and a little bit terrified to meet him, I think. But as soon as he walked into the room, I felt like any subconscious expectations turned on their head. He was quiet, self-effacing, and rather grandfatherly. You can also sense in him a solid love of people and devotion to truth that plainly moves him to tell the stories he does.

For all his (mostly) soft-spoken words, Ken was quite impassioned when he spoke about the stories of ordinary people and their importance. He had quite a lot to say about what he sees as the problems in current American cinema (which often features a “pornography of wealth and a pornography of violence”), and questions of class (“don’t call them ‘Lord,’ it’s bad for them”). The only time I heard him raise his voice at all (which is really to say he spoke a bit louder; he certainly didn’t shout) was when we asked him about the negative reception some of his own movies (eg: The Wind That Shakes the Barley) received when they were perceived to show the ruling class in a negative light. Through it all, in listening to him speak I felt the same spirit that animated The Spirit of ’45.

There are  really no words to express the profound respect I feel for Ken Loach and his art.

After speaking with Ken, tea was necessary to calm down a bit. All the good the tea did was quickly reversed when last minute we were able to arrange to speak with someone from the BFI… unfortunately at the same time we were to be interviewing Nev Pierce. Two unit transformation, go go!

I stayed at the flat with Sherie to interview Nev, who was delightful. I regret I didn’t fully enjoy his company until the interview had officially ended, because I was too busy trying not to soil my shorts in terror at having to not only monitor the sound, but also be in charge of the big camera. I don’t think I brought shame on my ancestors, however.

Nev was just generally charming, and a bit different to speak with because he’s not a producer or director (most of the people we’ve talked to so far are one of the two). Nev is Editor-at-large for Empire, so he’s got a bit of a different perspective. What I found most interesting, however, was when we asked him which British filmmakers he’s found inspirational. He said that the reason he knows as much as he does about British cinema is because the love that American directors have for it really motivated him to learn more. It’s an interesting thought, and one that we’ll hopefully get a chance to discuss with some Americans in the near future.

And then I got to speak with Nev about superhero movies because why not. Since that isn’t relevant to the documentary, I’m just going to smile smugly to myself about it.

The first unit got back to home base not long after Nev had to hurry out the door (we made him late with our talking, I’m afraid) and let us know that the BFI filming went well. They pretty much focused on the good cultural work BFI does in restoring and archiving British films. I’m looking forward to seeing that footage at some point.

Then, finally, it was time for our last interview of the day and of the trip. We had Dan Poole, who is an actor and just co-produced and directed a documentary called Muse of Fire. (It’s about Shakespeare and I want to see it, appropriately enough, like burning.) Obviously, his experience with putting together a documentary and bringing it all the way into distribution was of relevant interest to us. He also had a bit to say about the torturous path of trying to get anything financed, which sounds like a never-ending nightmare.

After bidding Dan a fond farewell, I wish I could say there was champagne and partying to celebrate the official end of our filming in London: In just ten days we filmed 15 interviews and 4 red carpets. But to be honest, we’re all too darn tired to expend the energy on feeling victorious. We managed to get ourselves packed up and fed on some excellent Indian take-out. Now I think the true reward will be an early and hopefully peaceful night, since it’s off to Heathrow bright and early tomorrow.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 11

Today was another one interview day, and then some more night exteriors. Since the interview wasn’t scheduled until late afternoon/early evening, I got to go for a run this morning, all the way down to the Thames and then a little along the bank. (Some day, I want to go to the crappy town where I’m not the slowest runner. London is definitely not that town.) It was an absolutely gorgeous day for it, with a cool breeze giving the river’s surface some texture, plenty of sun, and a few fluffy clouds drifting along.

Even better, I got to go on a little extracurricular trip to the BFI bookstore with our lovely director. I managed to escape with only seven books, and four of those totally don’t count because they’re bound screenplays. (No really, they don’t count. It’s a rule. Look it up.)

Our interview of the day was Julian Petley, who is a professor of screen media at Brunel University. Julian’s area is media regulation, particularly censorship, which is a topic important to filmmaking. He had a lot to say about the 2011 abolition of the UK Film Council (its former responsibilities were rolled onto BFI and BFI had its budget cut as a bonus) and other programs dismantled by previous governments. He also spoke at fascinating and worrying length about problems with British journalism and the connection to the proposed censorship of the internet in this country. Another subject we touched on was the problem of distribution, which is something that deeply affects films (and controls if they will ever be seen!) but is often forgotten in the discussion.

And then we all went and had dinner, so we got to speak with him even more. About horror movies, among other things. Julian is the only one of our interviewees who has had much time for extra discussion, and I loved every minute of being able to speak with him. He’s intelligent and ferocious (in a particularly British way).

After bidding goodbye to Julian, we did some more night shooting, this time at Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. We waited for it to get a bit late before heading out to the locations so there wasn’t quite the normal crush of people there. It was still crowded, for certain, but if nothing else we only had two random people getting up in the shot and waving. Not bad, I guess.

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We’re getting down to the wire! Tomorrow is going to be absolutely crazy–we have three interviews scheduled, like we did on our first day of shooting. Going out with a bang, I suppose. I should try to get to bed since we have an early morning, but I’m going to try to watch a bit of The Spirit of ’45 to get ready for tomorrow before I crap out entirely.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 10

Only one interview today as well, but it was really the interview to end all interviews: Lord David Puttnam.

Name doesn’t ring any bells? Try thinking about Chariots of Fire or Local Hero or The Killing Fields; he produced these and many more.

This was an amazing interview. To begin with, we met Lord Puttnam at his offices. Not quite in Parliament, but one of the buildings across the street. We had to have all of our belongings scanned, and were photographed for our visitor badges. (Carrie even managed to photobomb mine.) Just the whole security process wound us all up and left us nervous, because it did underline the idea that we were going to meet with someone important.

Lord Puttnam himself is avuncular, eminently accessible, and jolly. He breezed in the door to the room where we’d set up and really put everyone at ease. We chatted a bit about tattoos while I was getting him wired for sound. And he was wearing lilac-colored socks and a very nice pair of black patent leather oxfords.

In a week plus of fascinating interviews, his still stood out. As one might expect, he was incredibly well-spoken and thoughtful–but also extremely hopeful. He has a lot of hope about the state of the art and where things might be going in the future. Though not everything was hopeful; he told us that he was glad he’d gotten out of the industry when he had because more and more, he’d been asked who would be starring in a given movie, when he feels that’s really one of the last questions that needs to be answered. (And here I think now about how movies are often referred to as “vehicles” for particular actors, which makes me wonder if they’re falling down on their job being the vehicles of a darn good story.) When we asked our standard question about what makes British film distinctive, he said it was the internal values. The specific value he named for us was fairness; the British are always very concerned with what is fair, even if they don’t necessary then act on it.

I could really go on and on about his interview. Let me just say you ought to look forward to seeing the finished documentary even more than you were.

After the interview we headed back to home base to stow our equipment and were put in a holding pattern for most of the afternoon. Then I ordered us in some Chinese delivery and there was an unfortunate incident that involved “crispy fried seaweed.” Take my advice. Do not trust this stuff, ever. You might as well drink cooking oil straight out of the bottle.

We were hoping to make it to BFI tonight in time to catch a film or at least hit the book shop, but neither of those things were to be. Instead we sat in the coffee shop inside the building and waited for the rain to please act a little less schizophrenic (random periods of extremely heavy rain, heavy enough to hear it approaching and cause dismayed shouts of “Look out!”) whilst drinking tea. Apparently today was the 50th anniversary of the National Theater, and so we were quite randomly treated to a fireworks display.

BXNo_mIIEAA3hYSThe walk home was thankfully not as rainy as it could have been. I think we might take another shot at the BFI tomorrow, when things will hopefully be open. But I relished the chance to have another night walk through London. I miss this city desperately whenever I leave.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 9

Yes, you might have noticed that I missed a day. That was because Sunday was a day of rest. Or, if you’re me, a day of going out with my friend the random Swede and getting a bit hammered at the pub. Carrie took over and blogged yesterday, so if you haven’t read that yet, you ought to.

Today was Monday, and as Monday is wont to do, it saw us getting back to work. We had one interview today: Jeremy Thomas. We went to him at his HanWay Films offices, where we interviewed him as he was ensconced comfortably on a blue couch that was perhaps the lowest to the floor I’ve ever seen that particular furniture go. I took my turn holding the boom mic, which proved more challenging than I’d like to admit because of my chronic shoulder problems. I might be the spider-wrangling designated man of our temporary household, but I guess I can’t win them all.

The thing that struck me most about Jeremy Thomas’s interview was he was perhaps the first British film industry person with whom we’d spoken who didn’t feel there was a direct and detrimental conflict between Hollywood and the British film industry. We’re going to have some excellent diversity of opinion in this film, about which I’m very excited. (One of Jeremy Thomas’s very relevant recent projects is the film Only Lovers Left Alive, which had a significant problem finding British investors.)

After we’d finished with the gracious and fascinating Mr. Thomas, we went back to home base for a few hours to let the worst of the rush hour tube and foot traffic calm down. Getting home was a real adventure, and even moreso for me since I was trying to wrangle a large duffle bag containing an expensive piece of rental equipment. Not something I want to do again, if it all possible.

Once it had gotten nice and dark outside, we ventured to the South Bank area to do some exterior shooting.

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It felt like a perfect autumn evening to wander a bit, then pause while the digital camera recorded. As we walked along the bank of the Thames, I spotted an older gentleman sitting on a park bench, his shoes off and set next to him. He paddled his stocking feet in the night breeze like it was a cool stream on a summer’s day. I really wanted to join him.

I’m perhaps a bit more well-traveled than your average American because I’ve been very lucky, but London is still the love of my life. I like her best of all at night, and she did not disappoint.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

Dispatches from the Press Pen

Today is an off day for the crew of The Reel Britain.  We had planned to spend it shooting exteriors, but alas, the weather has not cooperated.  I have a severe cold, so I have been ordered by our director and the rest of the crew to stay home convalescing, no doubt out of concern that my voice (which at this point sounds like that of an alcoholic chain-smoking tranny) and pallid complexion might scare away our upcoming interviewees.  So with this enforced break in the action, I thought now might be a good time to tell you about our red carpet experiences over the past few days.

First up, on Thursday, was the red carpet for “The Invisible Woman,” held at the Odeon West End.  Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes and adapted by “Shame” scribe Abi Morgan from the book by Claire Tomalin, the film is about Charles Dickens affair’ with a much younger woman, played by Felicity Jones.  We had been approved the day before to cover this red carpet, so I had time to prepare questions in advance and review them with our director, Seraphina.  She would wield the camera while I conducted the interviews.  It created a slight dilemma, however, as we had a sit-down interview already scheduled during the same time frame with Jon S. Baird, director of the brilliant “Filth,” which manages to be simultaneously delightful and harrowing.  This interview also presented a bit of a technical challenge, as it was the one we had designated to be live streamed.  We decided to split into two units, with Seraphina and I attending the red carpet for 12 Years, and our producer Sherie and executive producer Rachael handling the Baird interview and live stream.  While this had us all feeling understandably jittery, we needn’t have worried— Sherie and Rachael handled it like pros.  “Improvise, adapt, and overcome”: a mantra often used by the U.S. Marine Corps, but that is just as applicable, as it turns out, to filmmaking.

When we arrived for the red carpet, we were somewhat confused by the fact there are actually two Odeon theaters less than a block apart— Odeon Leicester Square and Odeon West End.  I was reminded of “Best in Show,” when Parker Posey’s character describes meeting her future husband: “We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks, but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other.”

Once we got the locations sorted, we proceeded to the media check-in.  This begins typically about an hour and a half prior to arrival of the talent.  Following check-in, each outlet is assigned a spot inside the press pen; the better-known organizations get prime positions closer to the beginning of the carpet.  Being fairly low-profile (but nonetheless thankful for the opportunity to participate), we were near the end of the line.  Prior to the arrival of the talent, a representative from the company managing the event will ask which attendees you would like to interview; the standard answer is “Everyone we can,” with the understanding our wish might not be fulfilled.  But we were still able to interview producer Gaby Tana, original author Claire Tomalin, screenwriter Abi Morgan (a personal heroine of mine), and supporting actor Tom Hollander.  To ensure the proceedings are conducted in a timely fashion, a press minder will politely pull at your sleeve to indicate your time with a particular interviewee is up.  By the time Ralph made his way to us, those of us at the end of the line had been grouped into clusters of three outlets apiece and each allowed one question.  Or that was the plan, anyway.  We had been told by a kind gentleman from BBC Radio that generally, journalists at U.K. red carpets are more collaborative than their competitive U.S. counterparts, and that it was generally considered sporting to allow colleagues to share the sound from your interview, as long as their mics (hopefully) stayed out of frame.  Well, as luck would have it, we were clustered with the one outlet that proved the exception to that rule.  Ralph walked up and stood in front of me, as I was at the center of our little cluster; the journalist to my right asked the first question, and then, as I opened my mouth to take my turn to speak, the journalist to my left asked a question, followed by another, and then another.  First lesson of the press pen: Don’t hesitate.  If an attendee positions themselves in front of you, seize that moment immediately, or you will lose it.

Despite that, however, we still got in some great questions about the British film industry and its particular challenges and advantages, which hopefully will make it into the final cut of our film.  The next day was scheduled to be a day off, with no interviews planned.  We had applied to cover the red carpet for “12 Years a Slave,” which has already received considerable Oscar buzz, but were told demand was so high we shouldn’t expect to be approved.  I had begun to feel under the weather the day before, with a sore throat and runny nose, so I was glad for the opportunity to rest (and rest I did, for ten hours, like the dead).  I was awakened, however, by a gentle tug of my foot.  It was Seraphina: “Carrie, wake up!  We got 12 Years a Slave and we have to be there in two and a half hours!”  This, obviously, left little time to get ready, aside from my frantic attempts to make myself presentable.

With scant time to prepare, Seraphina and I decided most of my questions from the day prior could feasibly be used for this event as well, though unlike with “The Invisible Woman,” we hadn’t been informed in advance who would actually be there.  After check in, however, tip sheets were distributed with the names and photos of those in attendance: director Steve McQueen (whom we had fervently hoped to book for a sit-down interview), actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, and… Benedict Cumberbatch.  Upon sighting that last name and photo, Seraphina and I looked at each other incredulously.  Neither of us had even considered the possibility he might be there; we had both assumed he was too busy and too high-profile.  We then set about considering potential questions for each person; generally because you’re not guaranteed more than one question, you want to lead with your best, but have at least two follow-up questions prepared as well.  Benedict ended up being a late cancellation, but we were very pleased to get in two questions with Steve McQueen, three with Lupita, and one with Chiwetel, all of whom gave exceedingly gracious and thoughtful answers.

The next night was the red carpet for “Only Lovers Left Alive,” with producer Jeremy Thomas and actor Tom Hiddleston scheduled to attend.  Seraphina was out scouting exteriors, so this time Rachael handled the camera while I interviewed and Sherie managed producing duties.  I woke up feeling like death; thus many prayers were said for my voice to hold up.  And for me not to sneeze or snot on anyone wearing a suit.  It’s typical for the talent to be fashionably late, and in this case they were even more fashionable than usual.  Tom’s arrival was signaled by the deafening squee of the fans across the red carpet, who turned out to be quite a well-behaved lot—no pushing or shoving that I observed.  Jeremy proceeded to the photographers’ pen at the end of the carpet and then entered the theater, forgoing interviews, perhaps to give the media and fans more time with Tom, who as expected was in great demand.  This time we were positioned closer to the middle of the press pen, but were still clustered with one other outlet—the lovely folks from XTV (xtvonline.co.uk) of the University of Exeter, who provided us with great company and conversation while we waited.  I got in our one question for Tom, shared audio with the XTV folks, and then we packed up to meet Seraphina for dinner.  Easy peasy, nothin’ to it, right?

Several times during this trip people have commended my “bravery” for stepping up to conduct red carpet interviews.  I suppose it could be a little intimidating, but only if you let it.  I am fortunate for the perspective provided by my usual job, as a 911 dispatcher.  From it I’ve learned to separate myself from my emotions in order to focus on the task at hand.  Adrenaline can be useful, but fear is not.  I am reminded of a lesson from one of my favorite movies, Albert Brooks’ oft-overlooked “Defending Your Life”: That one of the primary tasks of our little human lives is to master fear, and that we cannot truly live until we have done so.  I also believe we always have a choice of perspective.  Either we can be frightened by a new challenge to the point of paralysis, or excited by the opportunity.

Of course, it also helps that I have been fortunate to work on this project with women of such amazing intelligence and enthusiasm.  Their commitment continually inspires me to contribute the same.  There’s no way I would even think of letting them down.  I am also aware that our backers have invested their own money and interest in this project.  I have a duty to them as well, to see that their faith is well-founded.  Come hell or high water (a very real possibility this rainy Sunday), that obligation will be met.

 

Carrie Weiland

Publicist, The Reel Britain

London: Day 7

Today was also a short day, which I appreciated. It meant I got to take a nice long run in the afternoon. And then I got lost while out on my run, because London. I ended up doing about 3.5 miles and had a nice wander around the area (dodging pedestrians and trotting very slowly past the tiny but very green parks), so no complaints there. I’m incredibly grateful for the maps that have been posted around some of the larger intersections for tourists, otherwise I might still be out there because I did the smartest thing ever and didn’t take my phone with me. (The best thing about these maps is that the “you are here” symbol is an arrow oriented to point the way you are currently facing as you read the map. This is genius.)

Thankfully, I made it back to the flat in time to peel off my disturbingly sweaty bandanna, drink a bunch of water, and then get all dappered up for our last red carpet of this round of filming: Only Lovers Left Alive. Things got started a bit late at the red carpet, but that was cool since we were standing next to the crew from XTV Online. After agreeing amongst ourselves to not be the kind of jerks that steal other peoples’ questions, we had a lovely conversation while we waited for the only person giving interviews–Tom Hiddleston–to get to us.

Each team got to ask Tom one question, so it went by extremely quickly. As you’d imagine, he was gracious and nice, and told us why in particular the LFF is important to him.

(And I still can go through life saying I haven’t met Tom Hiddleston, since I was hiding behind the camera the entire time. I get designated to operate the camera, you see, because I fulfill the valuable function of being the tallest person on our crew.)

After Tom had been whisked away in to the Odeon, we hung around for the next arrivals, the director and producer for Broadway Idiot. We were able to speak with Doug Hamilton (the director) and Ira Pittelman (producer) at relative length considering it was a red carpet. While of course their documentary isn’t a British film, they were happy to answer questions about being in London and the LFF, as well as what challenges they faced putting their production together. This is actually Ira’s first film, though he’s done quite a few Broadway productions.

Then to celebrate no more red carpets, I had some excellent Chinese food. And now I’m sitting around and blogging, wishing I could officially divorce my feet. What have you done to me, London? I only want to love you.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 6

Today was a relatively short day, work-wise. We had some much-needed rest in the morning, and woke up to news in the afternoon that we’d gotten approval to film the red carpets for 12 Years a Slave and Locke. Excitement! We split up into our two units again; I was with the second unit at the Locke red carpet.

Interesting thing–Wikipedia claims that Locke is American. We spoke with Steven Knight (the director), Guy Heeley (producer), Paul Webster (producer), Andrew Scott (actor), and Tom Hardy (you know who he is) and all of them were of the opinion that it’s a very British movie. And in fact, basically everything about it, from cast to creative team to location is British. The only thing that wasn’t is the money.

Which really comes back to one of the central questions of our film, now doesn’t it? What makes a movie British?

Since it was a red carpet, we obviously didn’t get to spend a long time talking to anyone, just a couple minutes each. But I think they were all a bit surprised what questions we did ask, and despite the rather hectic environment we got some very well-considered and thoughtful answers. Tom Hardy was very intense.

(Tom Hardy was also shorter than I expected, but let’s be honest… when you’re acquainted with someone by watching them on a giant screen, it really just kind of ruins your perception of proportion for all time.)

The first unit apparently did fantastically at 12 Years a Slave. They got to speak with Steve McQueen (director), Chiwetel Ejiofor (actor), and Lupita Nyong’o (actor), all of whom were gracious with their time. I’m really looking forward to seeing the footage, since apparently they gave great answers.

One more red carpet tomorrow!

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 5

Gee, guys, what are we going to do today? The same thing we do every day, gentle readers, try to take over the world interview some amazingly creative people!

We bounced cheerfully from bed at first light–no, I lie. We crawled pathetically from our sleep caves at first light and caught a taxi to the London offices of the Raindance Film Festival. The lost sleep was well worth it, though, since we got to speak with the founder of the festival, Elliot Grove. The man is an eloquent and arresting storyteller, both on and off film. He described to us how he discovered his love of film, and I’m not going to spoil it here because I couldn’t possibly recreate his words well enough. I look forward to sharing it all with you at a later date in the documentary.

Elliot also has some utterly fantastic visions of where cinema might go in the near future, becoming more interactive with the audience via apps or in-theater controls. It sounds like some very exciting stuff. (And from the perspective of a writer, we’re starting to see a revitalization of the choose your own adventure idea because the internet makes it so much more flexible and multidimensional, so I totally dug how he was thinking.)

After that, we got ready for a whole new adventure in our filming trip–splitting into two units. We received approval to be on the red carpet for the premiere of The Invisible Woman, but at the same time had an interview scheduled with Jon S. Baird, director of the recently released movie Filth. (For my own somewhat profane take on the movie, you can see my blog.)

I was in the second unit, which interviewed Jon. Jon was very friendly and incredibly sweet, and patiently explained to us in several different ways the similarities and differences of English and Scottish film (both of which fall under the umbrella term of British, at least for now). He also came back to the point, again and again, that new filmmakers can’t focus on just one funding source, that they need to get out there and keep working and not give up until they take what they need, because nothing comes of sitting around and waiting to be given approval. It felt like a pep talk straight to the heart.

And then, once we’d asked all of our documentary-related questions, I quite literally got to ask him, “So about Filth. You seem like a nice person, Jon. Why would you do this to me?” It was an incredible experience getting to spend a few minutes speaking with him about his movie, because the more questions I asked, the more facets to it that I saw.

Meanwhile, the first unit was off at the red carpet, and apparently managed to speak with each of the people who were there for The Invisible Woman. Since it was a red carpet, it wasn’t exactly the time for an in-depth interview, but at least they got to ask each person one question. I can’t wait to see their footage from that.

As of right now, there are no interviews set for tomorrow. I think we’ll be out and about shooting some footage of London, but that’s only after we all get a nice lie-in. I feel like we’ve really earned it.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi