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Split Focus at the BFI. No.4: Lucy Moore and Joe Tunmer

Posted October 31st, 2008 by Ben

I bet you thought I was dead!

Well, perhaps I was but appropriately for Halloween I have sprung back to life like a Creature sliding off a slab and I am currently in hiding in the snow bound wastes of Hertfordshire. There have been reasons for my silence on this frequency, some interesting, some less so, none to be revealed for the time being – especially since I have great and important news… I too have created a Monster.

But, as all good and avid readers of the original book will tell you the Creature, far from being a lumbering mess with a bolt through it’s neck, is a thing of beauty – perhaps a thing of perfection. More specifically it is the 4th in my series of increasingly irregular BFI showcase screenings and it is made up of equal parts of the filmmakers Lucy Moore and Joe Tunmer.

For those of you unaware of the Split Focus screenings, this event is a unique chance for me to bring to your attention two cinematic artists whose work I think you should be aware of. Not a mere greatest hits compilation but a chance to really get inside the heads of two people who are right on the brink of brilliance.

Lucy Moore is something of a first for Split Focus in that she is more writer than director. I think it’s very hard for a writer to really stamp their mark on a short film, especially in a world where so much of the kudos and attention goes straight to the director. But I think it’s also uncommon because so much writing for short film is lazy and make-do which is why it’s always been a delight to watch anything that Lucy has written. You feel in safe hands – you get told a story.

A member of the Royal Court Theatre young writer’s programme for five years before turning her attention to screenwriting, her first script Gone was made as part of the Digital Shorts scheme in 2004 and won the BBC New Film makers award. Her next short Undone, which she also directed, was selected for the Cannes Online film competition in 2006 and screened at festivals in France, Italy and Canada. In 2005 she wrote an original drama for Channel 4′s ‘Coming Up’ strand entitled Heavenly Father which was pick of the day in Timeout.

Her first feature script Lullaby is currently in development with Miramax and she is developing a horror project with Hammer Films called 6 Sunnyside Road . She has recently been commissioned to adapt Daphne du Maurier’s short story The Apple Tree for the BBC and is working on an original TV series idea for Hillbilly Films/Talkback Thames. She is represented by Tally Garner at Curtis Brown.

By contrast the first thing that strikes you about Joe’s films is his gift for the image. He has a strong background in commercials and music videos and has the synesthesiac’s gift of freely translating musical and visual emotion. However whilst, for instance, I’ll never forget the purple he uses in his film “Mockingbird”, what really makes the piece a success is the sublime performance he gets from William Houston and the bedrock of yet another damn fine script.

Joe has written and directed a number of short films which have been funded by the UK Film Council, Warp Films, BBC and Meridian, and have screened and won awards at Cannes, Aspen, Edinburgh, Palm Springs, and Bristol Brief Encounters amongst many others. They have also sold internationally, screened theatrically, and been distributed on DVD. He has also directed commercials, virals and made music videos for artists such as The Pipettes, Animal Collective, Gomez, Cornelius, Simian Mobile Disco, Frightened Rabbit, Múm, Brakes, Elisa, Emiliana Torrini, Help She Can’t Swim, Royal Treatment Plant, Radar Brothers and Barringtone.

His first two feature projects are in development, after receiving support from the UK Film Council, Screen South and The Script Factory. He was recently awarded a place on the Skillset/Film London/BFI LFF Think-Shoot-Distribute scheme for emerging talent, and is also a part of the Guiding Lights mentorship scheme, with Stephen Frears as his personal mentor. Joe is represented by Giles Smart at United Agents.

So we have a writer who can direct and a director who can write and we have some of the most compelling and visually arresting films you’ll find on a screen… but, and this is the nice bit, we also have two old friends who have worked together for years and who have had a hand in each other’s films in more ways than one…

Hard Facts:
BFI Studio on the Southbank at 6.30pm (7pm start) on Monday 10th November for films, talking, drinking, more talking and quite a deal of inspiration.

Admission is free but space is limited so please RSVP to james@shootingpeople.org – if your name’s not on the list then we will resort to cliché.

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