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Just another Saturday night…

Posted December 11th, 2014 by Kelie Petterssen

A Dark and stormy chain of events from the minds of Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are back for DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand release in Sin City 2 : A Dame To Kill For (starring Bruce WillisJoseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Eva Green and Lady Gaga) on Monday the 15th December.

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Shooting People and Lionsgate are giving you the chance to win a framed Frank Miller print and a Sin City deluxe box set for the best 1 minute short themed around the phrase:

“It was just another Saturday night…”

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Up to 10 DVD and Blu-Ray copies of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For are available to win if you miss out on the top spot.

To enter, tweet us the link to your film followed by #SaturdaySin by 29th Dec 2014. Videos can be uploaded to Vimeo, Youtube or any other online video platform that can be linked to Twitter.

The entries need to be in the Sin City 2 style. Get a feeler and some inspiration from the trailer below.

The Penalty Q&A: Docs Docs and more Docs.

Posted December 2nd, 2014 by Kelie Petterssen

I went down to Reel Nice Studios, in the depths that is the maze of London Bridge, to speak to the lovely One for Ten team about their upcoming feature The Penalty. This documentary explores the criminal justice system in the U.S  on a deeper level than has been before; lifting the lid on the human cost of the death penalty.

They are currently crowdfunding for their feature on Kickstarter here – where you can watch the trailer and find out more behind the scenes on programme. I promise you, you will be persuaded.

Laura Shacham, producer of The Penalty and Will Francome, one of the co-directors were more than helpful. They really believe in their project and hope others can see how valuable what they are trying to spread to world is. They also have some pretty good tips on documentary filmmaking, crowdfunding and sourcing. Check out our Q&A below and see for yourself.


 So, what made you want to make this documentary?

What was so interesting about this topic? What was shocking?

What was an interesting learning curve for documentary making from this project?

What were some of the challenges you faced as independent filmmakers?

The Penalty team have been using a series of crowdfunding campaigns to help raise money for their project. Now, crowdfunding is not everyone’s cup of tea – some filmmakers love the idea and others feel very strongly against it. Laura and Will were able to weigh up some pros and cons.

One for Ten also have good tips on how to find and build relationships with sources.

What is the nature of documentary filming?

One of the hardest parts of documentary filmmaking is staying objective. One for Ten raised some interesting points about how to try and stay impartial but also highlighting how and why there could be a lack of objectivity in mainstream channels…

What do you want The Penalty to achieve?

Why should people care about the death penalty?


One for Ten are currently crowdfunding to finish their project-hopefully from these snaps you can see how valuable the discussion is, as well as how the project has introduced contemporary techniques to documentary filmmaking that can lead to greater things. An interactive web series? I would never have thought of that…

Shooters in the Pub Christmas Party

Posted November 23rd, 2014 by Xenia

Hi Everyone,

It’s finally that time of year again, so put on your best Christmas jumper and join us at the Shooters in the Pub Christmas Party for some free drinks, mince pies and a short film screening by Shorts on Tap.

Shorts on Tap is a free monthly event that showcases films by up-and-coming and established filmmakers, this December they’ll be screening Christmas films by Shooting People members.

After the screening you can join us at the bar for Shooters in the Pub to network with your local film creatives – actors, directors, writers and more. Anyone who is interested in or who works in film can come along, so feel free to bring a friend.

We’ll be meeting on December 2nd from 7.30pm at the Hackney Picturehouse, Hackney Attic, 270 Mare Street, London, E8 1HE.

Please RSVP or join the Facebook event to say you’re attending.

If you’re a bit of a scrooge, here’s a few brilliantly bad Christmas jumpers to get you feeling festive:

Matt Damon, looking adorable.

Matt Damon, looking adorable.

Justin, being Justin.

Justin, being Justin.

This guy, just chilling.

This guy.

See you there,

Xenia
SP

Last Goodbye: Nichols through the ages

Posted November 20th, 2014 by Kelie Petterssen

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Winner of all four major US Entertainment Awards – Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy. So far only 12 people have acquired all four…

 ‘Any good movie is full of secrets.’ – Mike Nichols

Certainly a statement that rang true to me when I first watched ‘Closer’ (2004). Nichols definitely knew how to portray the nature of secrecy – and how enticing that was. On the evening of Wednesday 19 October, Hollywood said goodbye to one of their most recognised directors Mike Nichols. At 83, he died suddenly after suffering a heart attack.

Nichols has quite a reputable career, with a portfolio of classic and memorable films:

whos-afraid-of-v-wolf-wpHis 1966 rendition of Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ marked his film directing debut. Its controversial language and content caused somewhat of an uproar – Nevertheless it won five film awards and a second Academy Award for Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor, paving the way for Nichols’ long and prosperous career.

The-Graduate-WPOne of my personal favourites, ‘The Graduate’,  released in 1967. Definitely a film I can identify with (the not- knowing-what-to-do-after-you-graduate bit, not being seduced by a bored housewife). Regarded as one of the most ground breaking pieces of cinema in the 60s , Nichols’ ability to convey complex emotions in a raunchy/funny way earned him his first and only Oscar as a Director.

the-birdcage-wpIn 1996, Nichols’ worked with another one of Hollywood’s late legends, Robin Williams. A comedic take on every engaged person’s favourite moment: ‘Parents, meet my future in-laws’. Although, most situations may not be as flamboyant and quirky as this. The cast won the ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast’ award from the Screen Actors Guild Awards 1997.

This is just a snapshot of some of the defining films he made. Of course, there are many others which have shaped his career.

“He has an eye and an ear and a heart for the truth.” – Natalie Portman 

Just goes to show that for over 50 years, he had been making films we can trust in. He will be sorely missed.

Behind the Scenes Jurassic Park

Posted November 6th, 2014 by Xenia

Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a long running favourite of mine (and probably of every other kid ever), its theme tune never fails to make me all nostalgic.

Today I came across these behind the scenes snap shots of Jurassic Park, showcasing some of the late great Stan Winstone’s enthralling work as a film special make-up effects creator.

Here are a few for you to gawk at, plus some amazing behind the scenes footage of velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus with their puppeteers:

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Member News – Grierson Award Winners and BIFA Nominees

Posted November 5th, 2014 by Xenia

The Grierson Awards celebrate documentaries by up-and-coming and established documentary filmmakers, we’re proud to say that several Shooting People members were shortlisted by Grierson with five members taking home awards.

Ben Steele from Blakeway Productions was awarded Best Documentary on Current Affairs for ‘Dispatches: Hunted’, Best Historical Documentary went to ‘The Iraq War: Regime Change’ directed by Paul Mitchell, and Louise Hooper has been awarded Best Entertaining Documentary for ‘Our Gay Wedding: The Musical’. Best Newcomer Documentary went to ‘Last Chance School’ whose executive producer is member Ruth Kelly, and Series producer Grace Reynolds was awarded Best Documentary Series for ‘Educating Yorkshire’.
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Seven Shooting People members have also been nominated at the British Independent Film Awards.

Three members are nominated for Best Debut Director including filmmaking duo Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard for ‘20,000 Days on Earth’, as well as Daniel Wolfe for ‘Catch Me Daddy’.

Iain and Jane are also up for Best Achievement in Production and Best Documentary, alongside long time Shooting People members Orlando von Einsiedel and his company Grain Media with ‘Virunga’.

Virunga is a documentary about endangered gorillas on the Congo. Leonardo DiCaprio has come on board as the films Executive Producer and the film has also partnered Netflix on the its release, set for November 7th.

The Kármán Line by Oscar Sharp and Emotional Fusebox by Rachel Tunnard are both nominated for Best British Short and lastly, Blue Ruin by Jeremy Saulnier is up for Best International Independent Film. Blue Ruin has been nominated across various festivals and also won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees.

Xenia
SP

Best Halloween Movies Available to Watch Online

Posted October 29th, 2014 by Stephanie Walton

Teen movie spectacular The Craft follows a group of outsiders as they take over the school with dark magic.

Possession (1981) – not for the feint hearted. All we can say is be prepared for the messy, bizarre and down right terrifying.

Who hasn’t had a Carrie like nightmare with the whole school pointing and laughing at you? Our number 1 unforgettable classic, a must over Halloween weekend!

Nightmare before Christmas, Tim Burton’s finest work (along side Edward Scissor Hands of course) this film can also be seen in our best Christmas movies list.

If you’re spending halloween with some children, I’d opt out of The Human Centipede 2 and go for Hocus Pocus instead. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and one of the nuns from Sister Act it’s an absolute family hit. Personal favourite character is the guy whoose moth is sewed closed – and even he’s taken it lightly.

Remember Rob Zombie, as in the White Zombie front man? He directs horror movies too, the best of which is House of A Thousand Corpses – suitably weird for kicking off a house party.

House of Wax – available on youtube in a convenient 12 PARTS. Totally worth it if you want to watch Paris Hilton do some really good acting.

Last but not least – Stanley Kubrick’s epic, chilling and probably deeply scarring The Shining, based on the best selling Stephen King novel of the same name. If you haven’t already seen this watching it will probably change your life.

I’d Advise You Not To Listen To Advice.

Posted October 27th, 2014 by Ben

Or at least that’s what I’d say to Joel and Ethan Coen if they read Dan Selakovich’s recent post about directors not editing their own work. I’d say the same to John Sayles and indeed to Steven Soderbergh.

The Coen’s failing again as editors.

Of course just because Joel and Ethan are capable of being nominated for an Oscar for their editing and their directing on the same film (twice), it doesn’t mean you will; in exactly the same way that just because Dan feels The Bourne Supremacy out grossed its predecessor editorially as well as financially, it doesn’t mean that all director-editors will make the same mistake. All comparisons are odious, a poetic truth that skewers just about every aspect of the previous sentence.

More odious (but still fun) are sweeping generalisations. I wouldn’t actually urge you not to listen to advice, just not to swallow it whole. I quite agree that Dan should write a book and his post is full of brilliant techniques for surviving the edit of a film. Read carefully and you’ll see that none actually preclude a director from editing. Dan says “An editor has to know film grammar, screen structure, acting, directing, as well as the tools that we are known for; pacing and emotional impact.” but I hope it doesn’t surprise anyone to learn that a director needs to know all of this as well.

Steven Soderbergh about to ruin another film.

This argument always boils down “distance”. That magical quality a director apparently loses during a shoot but an editor seems to maintain during an edit. This over simplification is obviously bogus. Indeed one of the arguments for a division between “editor” and “director” is that after leaving the editor to do their cut the director now comes in with clear eyes – so they now must have a “distance” that the editor has lost? Or does the editor still have to save them from themselves, poor addled creatures, blinded by the mess of the shoot?

Shooting a film is, by necessity, a process of constant abandonment. It’s the hardest part but, like all deaths, it’s hard because it’s forced on you. You plan a scene, you script, storyboard, design, rehearse, tweak, panic, breathe deep, call action, try and let it flow and then five or fifteen takes later you’re pulling up sticks and in all but the most exceptional circumstances you will never do it again. It’s history. You move on, your consciousness deluged by the next set-up. There is tidal quality to a shoot that washes you clean. It isn’t the romantic baggage of “that perfect shot” that confuses things in post, it’s the fact that the edit defies time. In the edit every recorded moment can run backwards and forwards ad infinitum and with no escape save perfection. This is when you need some of Dan’s techniques for getting through the material, for seeing it clearly, but don’t be fooled – these are an editor’s demons not a director’s.

Oh God, who let David Lean get hold of the bloody rushes!?

It saddens me to see people posting after Dan, smugly setting up camp around the “truth” that it’s never a good idea to let a director cut. Though built on great practice, his argument suffers from editorial ego. All editors (especially me) think of ourselves as saving the director from their own failings. To edit a film is to seem to create it, to take false ownership of the material and imagine yourself as the final, and most vital artistic force. After all, you alone can control time and you alone have solved all those needless mistakes the humans made on the shoot.

Don’t fall for it. Of course editors think they’re special. And of course some of them are. That’s the whole tricky but brilliant thing – everyone’s different and no one has a label detailing their contents. Good advice never narrows your outlook beyond the bounds of human ability. Experience trumps innocence every time, except every time it doesn’t. If you’re thinking about editing your work as a director, or if you’re sick of editing other people’s mistakes and want to make your own – don’t let idiotic dogma hold you back. But do explore the steps Dan outlines as his process, it’s a great working model.

Member News – DiCaprio joins Virunga as Exec Producer

Posted October 21st, 2014 by Xenia

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Virunga is a documentary about endangered gorillas on the Congo directed by long time Shooting People members Orlando von Einsiedel, and produced by his company Grain Media. Tipped for box office success after a string of prestigious festival award nominations (and wins) this year including The Emerging Director at Hot Docs. The films following has grown from strength to strength, most notably picking up the one and only Leonardo Dicaprio as an Executive Producer. The film is also partnered with Netflix on the films release, set for November 7th.

‘Films like ‘Virunga’ are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible cultural and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it’ – DiCaprio

Other Shooting People members involved include composer Patrick Jonsson and executive producers: Jon Drever from Grain Media and BritDocs Maxyne Franklin and Shooting People co-founder Jess Search.

Congratulations to everyone involved with the film, you can find out more about Grain Media and Virunga here.

Orlando believes Netflix have the power to distribute the film to audiences far and wide:

“Netflix saw Virunga’ when it was screened at HotDocs in Toronto in May 2014 and we started a conversation from that point. Thos project has always been about more than just a film. We have a real adversary we’re fighting against (British Oil Giant SOCO International and their illegal activities in the Virunga National Park)  and the film is a key tool in the battle to protect the park from them.”

“Netflix is the world’s biggest distributor and for us to be able to very quickly get our film out to 53 million homes in 50 countries was an incredible opportunity. Additionally, our exec producer Leonardo DiCaprio was shown the film by the guys at Netflix and came onboard around the same time we finalised our deal with them.”

“We really believe that with the support of Leonardo, Netflix and people across the world, we have the best shot possible to protect one of the world’s most important places for future generations of Congolese and humanity as a whole. I’d love for Shooters to watch the film which they can do here –  http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/80009431″

London International Animation Festival

Posted October 16th, 2014 by Xenia

liaf-2014-logo-blackThe London International Animation Festival (LIAF) – the UK’s largest independent animation festival – returns to the Barbican Cinemas and the Horse Hospital from next Friday the 24th October with a whopping 10-day celebratory feast of forums, workshops, international and local guests and over 250 of the best recent, historical and retrospective animated shorts and features from around the world.

This year’s uncompromising programme promises to inspire and delight – and also challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D-CG blockbuster genre. Indie animation is an artform that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials and techniques – all in abundance at this years festival.

LIAF 2014’s opening night gala showcase is on Fri 24 Oct at 6-20pm at the Barbican and celebrates the centenary of Scottish born Canadian animator Norman McLaren with a special programme entitled McLarens Influences. Norman McLaren’s pioneering techniques led him to become one of the world’s most influential animators – come and see why.

Norman McLaren

The gala opening also includes highlights from right across the festival programme. They’ll take some of the hottest films from competition, mix them with some gems from the specially curated programmes and give you a chance to meet some festival guests. This is the essential LIAF showbag to whet your appetite for the days ahead.

As a special competition giveaway The London International Animation Festival are offering the first 5 Shooting People members a chance to win a double-pass to this screening. Just email info@liaf.org.uk with the name of one of Norman McLaren’s films. The first 5 people to email in will get a chance to attend the screening.

Full details about the whole festival line-up include ticket booking details can be found at the LIAF website at www.liaf.org.uk