2020 wrapped up

Posted December 21st, 2020 by dorothy

Dear all,

2021 is truly peeking around the corner. 

To help you start it off a bit earlier, we’ve compiled a list of shooter’s films you can catch up on, that have busted through this year and will make you laugh, cry, but most of all feel utterly inspired – all linked below.

But first, a couple of things about our community.

The vast majority of the SP community is made up of freelancers trying to make ends meet while also pursuing the stories, film projects and passion projects that they care about deeply. Many have been severely impacted by the pandemic. impacted severely. There are also dozens and dozens of smaller creative film orgs, film festivals, indie cinemas, activists and educators who belong to SP, some of whom have been forced to close their activities for good. 

The arts – cinema and beyond – continues to be discarded by this utter failure of a government who are unable to recognise the value of the arts to our cultural and social survival. The advice to ‘retrain’ and find a new job was laughable in every direction (as if as artists and freelancers, we don’t already try and hold down multiple gigs…) The ‘Cultural Recovery Fund’ made available and referred to as necessary ‘to protect the crown jewels’… may as well have been called a mothball fund for the people. Pre-Covid, the situation was already dire, there has been a 35% fall in Conservative government support for the arts over the last decade. 

And still, every day, across the SP community, people take the time to support each other, exchange ideas, share information, join each other’s productions, watch & comment on each other’s films, and build collaborations that persist in getting bold, independent work made and seen. 

On our own home turf, we may have lost our beloved office, but we remain fiercely of the belief that stories matter. That your stories matter. That culture matters. That helping to facilitate ways in which independent stories and films can bloom and will bloom again, matters. We could not provide any of the services we do without your support. Thank you for belonging to SP.

Thank you too, for the kindness of language and spirit of collaboration that continues to exist right across SP. 

Here are a few highlights of the year below. If you have some time, do check out some of the brilliant films from these writers, directors, actors, producers, crew and more… 

We hope it will act as inspiration for your 2021. 

Best of luck and strength to all.

x

molly, dorothy, adem, sally, colm, stu and cath

SP

NEW SHOOTS 2020 WINNERS: SHORT FILMS TO WATCH

Incredibly, over 650 films were sent in for SP’s film competition this year.

Congrats to ALL who made a film. The competition is open each season (4x a year) and supports filmmakers by providing one-to-one industry mentorship + a bunch of fantastic camera and sound kit and other cool prizes.

Please remember too, that you can watch any film submitted this year, and find out what people are wanting to do next, and what collaborators they’re looking for here. An overall winner (announced 2021) will also walk away with a Nikon Z6 Essential Movie Kit, worth over £2500. Thanks Nikon!

Here are the four winning films for 2020-

2020 WINNERS:

Never Actually Lost by Rowan Ings 

* selected by Ed Sayers, Founder Straight 8

‘Never Actually Lost’ by Rowan Ings

An experimental archive film, documenting the filmmaker’s Grandmother, Audrey Anderson’s last year of life. ‘Never Actually Lost’ asks how we remember our own selves and how we attempt to remember someone else.Ed Sayers

Born Again by Candice Onyeama 

* selected by Sarah Gavron (Rocks, Suffragette)

‘Born Again’ by Candice Onyeama

‘It is a beautifully directed film about a painful and sadly rarely explored subject. The central performance is raw, real and affecting. The use of imagery is incredibly powerful and the sound design gives the film an immersive quality. I was both moved and impressed by this film.’ – Sarah Gavron 

Shooting People has been a big support through my career… yours is a platform that truly champions indie filmmakers.’- Candice Onyeama 

The Circle by Lanre Malaolu 

* selected by Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behaviour) 

‘The Circle’ by Lanre Malaolu

The Circle explores race in a way I’ve never seen on screen before – playing with form, movement and narrative structure. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Lanre Malaolu’s voice takes him next.’  – Desiree Akhavan

Listen to Me Sing by Isabel Garrett 

* selected by Philip Ilson (Artistic Director and Founder, London Short Film Festival)

‘Listen to Me Sing’ by Isabel Garrett

This surreal and spectacular animation goes to places unexpected and thrilling, involving a singing walrus! The craziness of the story keeps us watching, but the quality of the models and lighting show a stunning dedication the animation craft to create new surprising worlds.’-  Philip Ilson 

2020 SHORTLIST

Amazonia by Dominic Hicks is a triptych of dark comedy shorts based on real amazon.com product reviews. 

‘Amazonia’ by Dominic Hicks

My Boy by Charlotte Regan is a devastating drama about a father desperately looking for his  son. 

‘My Boy’ by Charlotte Regan

Those Who Wait by Steph Beeston. A poignant documentary looking at a family living in the largest cemetery in Metro Manila, home to 8000 living residents. 

‘Those Who Wait’ by Steph Beeston

Bubble by Eleanor Mortimer. Against a backdrop of gentrification in London’s East End, a family-run tropical fish shop keeps open against the odds.

‘Bubble’ by Eleanor Mortimer

Tin Luck by Beatrix Jacot. Told in one unbroken nine-minute shot, on technocrane, on 35mm film and Tin Luck was 80% cast by the community at Maiden Lane. 

‘Tin Luck’ by Beatrix Jacot

Material Bodies by Dorothy Allen- Pickard. Through interweaving dance and dialogue, Material Bodies is a sensual and cinematic look at the relationship between amputees and their limbs.

‘Material Bodies’ by Dorothy Allen-Pickard

Olve by Andy Twyman. A romantic drama utilising a made-up nonsense language to depict the difficulties of everyday life experienced by non-english speakers, here HIM, a young Nigerian kid who’s just moved to London,

‘Olve’ by Andy Twyman

Pampas by Jessica Bishopp. A hybrid documentary exploring the truth in the botanical myth; what went on behind closed curtains? A look at sexual signalling, subcultures, female desire and suburban legend.

‘Pampas’ by Jessica Bishopp

NEW SHOOTS ACTORS 2020: ACTORS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO WORK WITH

We continue to run our New Shoots competition for actors twice a year. Huge congrats to all the actors shortlisted this year. You can check out all of their profiles here or search the members directory directly, for actors you’d like to work with. Winners get access to a cash actors grant (to use for training, travel, or however you like), a bespoke showreel scene from the brilliant Actors Apparel and a bunch of cool sound recording kit and screenwriting software. Keep an eye out in the Casting bulletin for 2021!

2020 WINNERS

Radhika Aggarwal  ‘So fun to be a part of this process aimed at showcasing me and my acting. It feels very indulgent- thank you! So excited for the Showreel Scene prize, to start using the zoom and to start writing decently formatted scripts! I love Mubi too, so all in all an amazing collection of prizes.’

William Nash:Thank you Shooting People. I have learnt tonnes about filmmaking through your platform and I’ve been introduced and worked with some fantastic people. Excited about creating more with the shooting people community.’ 

2020 SHORTLIST

Morgan Archer, Tiggy Bayley, Clara Emanuel, Marilyn Ann Bird, Laura Hanna, Miranda Harrison, Leyla Margareta Jafarian, Samantha Morrish, Jean-Philippe Boriau, Raneem Daoud. Delilah Gyves-Smart, Ainy Jaffri Rahman, Olivia Negrean, Kal Sabir, Anthony Travis, James Watterson

NEW SHOOTS: FEATURE FILM  Q/A’s YOU CAN CATCH UP ON

Each season we run a New Shoots Live Event as a way for innovative feature filmmakers, producers and actors to reveal their experiences and critical insights, and to answer your questions directly. A defining characteristic of each Q/A we’ve run, is how candid all our speakers were. Not just on the sweat and tears that went into their remarkable projects and how they got them made, but also the creative missteps, things they’d have done differently, and the beautiful, serendipitous things that making a film also opened out.

Our enormous thanks to:

BAFTA nominated documentary producer Elhum Shakerifar (‘A Syrian Love Story,’ ‘A Northern Soul’) and Fiction producer Camilla Bray (‘Beats,’Lynn + Lucy,’) who revealed their top tips for producing independent films, including how to get your film funded and into cinemas. This event was not recorded, but future New Shoots events will be.

‘’Great night at @ShootingPeople event hearing from producers @lalalooms and Camilla Bray about everything from funding to the creative process’’- @whickerawards

Director Sarah Gavron (‘Suffragette’, ‘Brick Lane’) and her creative team, who were behind one of the most anticipated films of the year, the Toronto International Film Festival prize winning film ‘ROCKS’. Sarah spoke with SP’s Cath Le Couteur and they were joined by Maya Maffioli (‘Beast’) + Casting Assistant Jessica Straker. The team gave direct insights into working with non-actors, workshopping the story and the impact of shooting chronologically. Sarah and team have since been nominated for 15 awards at the 2020 British Independent Film Awards, including Best Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Casting and Best Actress. Watch Rocks on Netflix

Really brilliant Q&A with some of the team behind ‘Rocks’ courtesy of @ShootingPeople  So great to have access to events like these right now #ThankYou #KeepingUsSane@ARPUfilm

WATCH Q/A here

Cult writer and director Ben Wheatley, (‘Free Fire’, ‘High Rise’, ‘Kill List’) who was gloriously down to earth and gave an exceptionally vast and candid amount of info about what it is to shoot on miniscule micro budgets, through to studio blockbusters. Ben also gave insights on a range of things connected to directing including storyboarding, sound design and when (not) to use a handheld camera. Ben has just completed ‘Rebecca’ with Kristin Scott Thomas and Arnie Hammer.

Live Q&A with legendary British director Ben Wheatley. Invaluable advice for independent filmmaking.”@BareArmsFilm

WATCH Q/A here

Actress and indie favorite Imogen Poots (‘Vivarium’, ‘The Father’, ‘I Know This Much is True’), who spoke about honing her craft alongside some of the industry’s biggest names including Terrence Malick, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett. Having acted in over 40 productions, Imogen spoke directly about  the actor/ director relationship, rehearsals, troubleshooting emotional scenes and the liberation of genre as an actress. Imogen’s latest film ‘The Father’ (with Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman) has just been nominated for 6 British Independent Film Awards.

What great advice, thank you @ShootingPeople and Imogen Poots !”- @_Anna__Clara

WATCH Q/A here

A big thank you to our New Shoots Principal Partners. To Nikon who also provided free mirrorless camera training to members this year. And to Zipcar who offered all members the cheapest access to vehicle hire, with no sign up fees and a generous £60 driving credit.

SP MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS

Congrats to every single shooter who has progressed a project this year, completed a script, collaborated with others, or started the difficult process of trying to source funding. Despite the torrid year of 2020, there’s been a hell of a lot to celebrate as well. Whilst we can’t include every person who has posted in, here is a brief summary that we hope you will find inspiring for 2021.

Huge Congrats to:

  • 2020 Bafta Nominees: Including Harry Wootliff for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut for ‘Only You’, Asif Kapadia (‘Diego Maradona‘) and Julia Reichert (‘American Factory’) for Best Documentary. Richard Phelan for Best Animated Film (‘A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon’), and Stuart Wilson (sound), Greg Butler (special visual effects) and Thomas Newman (composer) for ‘1917’.

‘Only You’ Harry Wootliff
  • ‘For Sama’ co-director Edward Watts, who won the BAFTA for Best Documentary and the International Emmy for Best Documentary. Watch it here.

‘For Sama’ dir. Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • Maryam Mohajer who won Best British Short Animation at the 2020 BAFTA’s for ‘Grandad Was A Romantic’, watch her acceptance speech.

‘Grandad Was A Romantic’ by Maryam Mohajer

  • Anna Griffin, Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Manon Ardisson and Sarah Brocklehurst who were selected for the prestigious producer BFI Vision Awards.

  • Arthur Cauty who beat off entries from 114 countries to win Best Documentary in the My RØDE Reel competition, taking home $75K for his brilliant film ‘The Last Video Store’. It follows 20th Century Flicks- the longest running video shop in the world, which has been open for 37 years in Bristol. Watch it here.

‘The Last Video Store’ dir. Arthur Cauty
  • Lawrence Pumfrey who was one of 3 winners of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition for his 18th Century British-Western ‘Peakland’.
  • Jennifer Sheridan who was nominated for the Raindance Discovery Award at the 2020 BIFAs for ‘Rose: A Love Story’.

‘Rose: A Love Story’ dir. Jennifer Sheridan
  • Annika Summerson who has been nominated for best Cinematography at the 2020 BIFAs for her work onMogul Mowgli’. Due for UK release in 2021.

‘Mogul Mowgli’ dir. Bassam Tariq
  • 3 Producer members who have been nominated for Best British Short at the 2020 BIFAs – Emily Everdee for ‘Mandem,’ Tom Wood for ‘Sudden Light’ and Jessi Gutch for ‘The Forgotten C.’

‘Mandem’ dir. John Ogunmuyiwa
  • Ellen Evans whose brilliant short doc ‘Country Girl’ , a portrait of the rural underbelly of Britain won the Best Documentary Short at the Grierson Awards, previously shortlisted for New Shoots: Filmmakers. Watch it here. 

‘Country Girl’ dir. Ellen Evans
  • Ghada Eldemellawy & Gareth Pugh who won Best Student Documentary at the Grierson Awards for their unconventional and joyful film ‘Miss Curvy’.

‘Miss Curvy’ dir. Ghada Eldemellawy
  • Andrea Vinciguerra, whose hilarious stop motion animation ‘No, I Don’t Want to Dance!,’ which was previously shortlisted for our New Shoots: Filmmakers competition, went on to screen at Sundance. You can watch it here.

‘No, I Don’t Want to Dance!’ dir. Andrea Vinciguerra
  • Dan Faber and Vivek Daschaudhary who were two of the five finalists nominated for the The Whickers Film & TV Funding Award, for the chance of winning £80,000 to produce their first feature length documentary film.
  • ‘Grandad Was A Romantic’ directed by Maryam Mohajer and ‘No More Wings’ produced by Abiola Rufai who were both selected for the Tribeca Film Festival.

‘No More Wings’ dir. Abraham Adeyemi

  • Ella Jones and Georgina French who were selected for the BFI Network x BAFTA Crew 2020
  • Lanre Malaolu who’s New Shoots winning film ‘The Circle’ was released on The Guardian. The dance-documentary hybrid explores the lives of two black brothers growing up in east London. Watch it here.

  • The 11 shooters who had films screening at Leeds International Film Festival, and to director Rosie Westhoff’s poignant drama ‘Our Sister’ which won the BAFTA qualifying British Short Film Competition. 

‘Our Sister’ dir. Rosie Westhoff
  • ‘Thrive’ by Jamie Di Spirito and ‘Passing’ by Nichola Wong who were both nominated for the Iris Prize, the biggest LGBT+ short film prize in the world with a stonking £30,000 attached.

  • ‘Better’ written by Shooter Lucy Heath who won the Iris Prize Best British Short. 6 shooters were also nominated – Rosanagh Griffiths (‘Cindy’), Abel Rubinstein (‘Dungarees’), Matt Mahmood-Ogston (‘My God, I’m Queer’), Marco Alessi (‘Pompeii’) and Nisha Oza (‘The Scene’).

‘Better’ dir. Michael J. Ferns
  • Asif Kapadia (‘Maradona’, ‘Senna’, ‘Amy’), alumni member and huge supporter of SP, who was given the prestigious BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award at the 2020 British Documentary Awards. Celebrated for reinventing the documentary form as well as achieving Britain’s biggest box-office documentary hits. 

Asif Kapadia
  • 7 members who had short films screening at Encounters Short Film Festival– Tia Salisbury (‘A Noble Truth’), Dorothy Allen-Pickard (‘A Sonic Pulse’, ‘Material Bodies’), Marco Augelli (‘Backwards’), Will Anderson (‘Betty’), Stefanie Kolk (‘Eyes on the Road’), Paul Holbrook (‘Hungry Joe’), James Skinner (‘Fabulous’).

‘Material Bodies’ dir. Dorothy Allen-Pickard
  • James Skinner whose brilliant short film ‘Fabulous’ won the Depict Competition at Encounters Short Film Festival. Watch it here.

‘Fabulous’ dir. James Skinner
  • Four films by shooters, selected for BFI London Film Festival – ‘Summer Shade’ (Shira Haimovici), ‘Shuttlecock’ (Tommy Gillard), ‘Wood Child and Hidden Forest’ (Tommy Gillard) and ‘Dafa Metti’ (Tal Amiran) 

‘Summer Shade’ by Shira Haimovici

‘Born Again’ by Candice Onyeama
  • Director William Webb, writer Lucy Dwyer and editor Tatjana Rhodes who teamed up through SP to make ‘The Art of Noise’ which was selected as BFI Network’s Shortitout Pick of the Week. Watch it here.

‘The Art of Noise’ dir. William Webb

‘Ganef’ by Mark Rosenblatt

Congrats to all. There’s a ton of amazing stuff to watch and be inspired by.

We will continue to run every day throughout the holiday period. So if you are making stuff over the holidays, or looking for others to collaborate with, do post in. 

And thank you all again. SP would not exist without the incredible community support that members give to each other. 

Take care. Good Luck with everything.

See you in 2021.

5 times films used off-screen sound to tell the story by Soundsnap

Posted December 17th, 2020 by dorothy

There’s a classic quote that is often attributed to George Lucas that ‘Sound is 50% of the film experience’. We’re inclined to agree. There is no easier tool to help with world-building than sound. Humans can only view one image at a time, but we’re capable of processing multiple sounds at once. 

Off-screen elements are often used within film & television to help fill out the on-screen story. Here’s a look at five films that have used off-screen sound to help build the world and tell the story of the scene. 

BIG (1988 – Jerry Ross, Supervising Sound Editor)

In this scene we see Josh “settling” into his first night as a grownup in New York City. Without much more on the screen than Tom Hanks, the scene shows the sort of neighbourhood he has moved into. The sound of the street below (gunshot included), and the angry telephone conversation happening in the hallway outside his room help drive home the fear that a young boy would have in that situation away from his parents.

SIGNS (2002 – Richard King, Supervising Sound Editor)

In Signs, we join the Hess family as they are standing in the hallway as the aliens make their way around the outside of the house trying to find a way in. You can really feel the reality of the situation in the way the sound moves around as they eventually make their way to the roof. The sound department does such an efficient job, we hardly need Joaquin Phoenix announcing their position to know what’s going on.

BARTON FINK (1991 – Skip Lievsay, Supervising Sound Editor)

When the titular character of this Coen Brothers movie suffers with a bout of writer’s block, we hear the faint sound of the only other person in the hotel bellowing with laughter. Barton Fink calls down to reception, then we hear the phone ring in the next room. The neighbour takes the call, and then we hear the moving footsteps as the characters come towards their first meeting, all while focussing on the reaction of the main character. There are so many more reasons why this film is a sound design masterpiece, but this breakdown says much more than we could about it’s brilliance.

MUNICH (2005 – Ben Burtt, Supervising Sound Editor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_w6FTbeL8k

There aren’t many film scenes that could be watched with your eyes closed that could evoke as much tension as this scene portrays. We enter the film as a team of assassins are about to take out one of their targets with a bomb built into an apartment telephone. The mission is clearly well-planned, but the audience can see (and hear) several ways that everything nearly goes wrong. Pay attention to how we learn of the mother and daughter leaving the apartment just by hearing them get closer to the street, or how the whole sound of the scene changes right before the near-explosion. 

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998 – Richard Hymns, Supervising Sound Editor)

This scene is right at the climax of the film – the troops have just found Private James Ryan and are now preparing to hold off an attacking tank platoon. The ensuing battle scene is one of the most immersive in film history as the drone sound of the tanks remains a constant even when we don’t see them, and as the mixture of ammunition, clanging debris, and shouts fill the sound fields. 

About The Author

We are the biggest subscription based source for sound effects, and we love to hear our sounds in your work. We’ve just celebrated adding over 80,000 new effects to our library, taking our total (at the time of writing this) to 368,490! With our annual subscription you can get access to the whole sound effects library for just $199, or pay as you go for as little as $3 per sound. 

NEW SHOOTS With Ben Wheatley

Posted July 16th, 2020 by dorothy

Our quarterly free live event, NEW SHOOTS is your chance to hear from bold independent filmmakers and their teams, to network with fellow creatives, and to develop your own future stories.

In July we took NEW SHOOTS online for a special Q&A with the cult writer and director Ben Wheatley (Free Fire, High Rise, Kill List). Ben chatted to SP’s very own Cath Le Couteur about micro budgets, studio blockbusters and everything in between, before answering audience questions. 

A very big thanks to Ben and to everyone who joined us on the night. But if you missed it, fear not, you can still catch it here.

“It’s not true that success is about getting bigger budgets.. lower budgets can be brilliant – less people means less pressure” – Ben Wheatley

Ben has switched up the scope and scale of his work from film to film. He cut his teeth as an animator and short filmmaker before making the self-funded crime comedy Down Terrace (2009) over eight days in Brighton. It won the Next Wave prize at Fantastic Fest in Austin and Best UK Feature at Raindance. He followed this with the critically acclaimed psychological horror film Kill List (2011) and the cult comedy Sightseers (2012) which screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival. Ben’s micro-budget civil-war horror A Field in England was shot in just 12 days and became the first UK film to be released simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and VOD. Ben went on to make the brilliant adaptation of the J.G. Ballard dystopian novel High Rise (2015), the star studded action comedy Free Fire (2016), executive produced by Martin Scorsese, and the dysfunctional family drama Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (2018).

Ben is currently in post-production on his biggest-budget movie yet, Tomb Raider II with Alicia Vikander, as well as a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic romance novel Rebecca, starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas, and the action horror movie Freak Shift. We can’t wait to see all of these in the cinema. 

We’d like to give a big shout out to our principal partners, Zipcar and Nikon who enable us to make our NEW SHOOTS events (both live and online) happen. 

If you want to stay up to date with future Shooting People events, then subscribe to our newsletter.

Thanks,

SP

NEW SHOOTS – ROCKS

Posted April 9th, 2020 by dorothy

Our quarterly live free event, NEW SHOOTS is your chance to hear from bold British independent filmmakers and their teams, to discover the best of brilliant new British cinema, to be inspired, to be ready to catch the films on opening weekend, and to network with fellow creatives to develop your own future stories.

Due to the government lockdown we switched our April NEW SHOOTS event to a Live Stream Q&A with the creative team behind the Toronto International Film Festival prize winning film ROCKS. With a packed out audience, SP’s co-founder Cath Le Couteur spoke online with Rocks director Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Brick Lane), Editor Maya Maffioli (Beast) and Casting Assistant Jessica Straker. The team gave amazing insights into working with non actors, workshopping the story, shooting chronologically, working with multiple cameras, as well as giving an in depth sense of how humour and music were also vital components in giving ‘Rocks’ it’s passion, energy and vitality. Oh to have the new release dates out soon 🙂

As soon as the NEW release date for ROCKS comes out, we will be alerting you all directly as to how you can go and see the film in the cinema for opening weekend, and help support the filmmakers at the same time.

A very big thanks to all our speakers, (for their own passion and vitality too) and to the more than 2500 people who joined us either on Zoom, or simultaneously on the Facebook live stream. But if you missed it, fear not, you can still catch it all on our facebook page.

Stay tuned for our next New Shoots event in July.

Back in January we kicked off the year in style with our NEW SHOOTS live event at Rich Mix. Cath Le Couteur was joined on stage by BAFTA nominated documentary producer Elhum Shakerifar (A Syrian Love Story, Almost Heaven, A Northern Soul) and fiction producer Camilla Bray (Beats, Lynn + Lucy, Oranges and Sunshine). The pair revealed their top tips for producing independent films, including how to get your film funded and into cinemas. The Q&A was again packed out and we will be in touch directly with you all once release dates are announced for Lynn+Lucy and Ayouni.

Brilliant to see so many people staying on until we were all kicked out and we hope that many of you met future collaborators to help develop your own stories.

We’d like to give a big shout out to our principal partners, Zipcar and Nikon who enable us to make our NEW SHOOTS events (both live and online) happen. 

If you want to stay up to date with future Shooting People events, then subscribe to our newsletter.

Shooting People’s Year in Review

Posted December 10th, 2019 by dorothy

2019 has been an amazing year for the SP community. As Xmas beckons, we wanted to share some highlights, member news, cool shorts you can watch and scripts you can peruse.

HIGHLIGHTS 2019

Our quarterly live event, NEW SHOOTS, is your chance to discover the best of independent British filmmakers and their films, to ask your questions directly to a variety of creative teams, and to support those filmmakers by attending their opening weekends. This year, we heard from an array of established names across the industry who imparted their wisdom, passion, insider knowledge, and discussed many of the creative challenges, as well as the (often surprising) decisions they made along the way, to get their films made and onto the big screen.

NEW SHOOTS networking event at Rich Mix
  • Back in January we welcomed writer, director and SP member Shola Amoo to speak about his flourishing career and what it was like to have his feature, ‘The Last Tree,’ premiere at Sundance.

  • In April, BAFTA-winning director Toby MacDonald and writer Freddy Syborn revealed how they made the leap from shorts to features with their charming debut indie ‘Old Boys.’ 
Toby MacDonald and Freddy Syborn in conversation with Cath Le Couteur
  • In July, we were joined by BAFTA-winning actress, writer & director Jessica Hynes (‘Years and Years’, ‘Spaced’) and breakout star Alex Lawther (‘The End of the F***ing World,’ ‘The French Dispatch’) who spoke about their careers across the crafts. 
Jessica Hynes and Alex Lawther discussing their careers with Cath Le Couteur
Peter Strickland in conversation with Cath Le Couteur during NEW SHOOTS

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun & felt so much love at a Q&A. Spending time with fellow enthusiasts who love film & filmmaking was inspiring & uplifting – Shooting People is an incredible, vital organisation for all filmmakers and I’m so grateful I got to be part of it.” Jessica Hynes (Actor, Writer & Director ‘Years and Years’, ‘Spaced’) 

NEW SHOOTS: FILMMAKERS. INDUSTRY SUPPORT AND MORE. 

SP’s film competition supports filmmakers by providing top industry mentorship and a whole bunch of amazing kit and prizes. Any member can enter and the competition is open four times a year. Check out our 2019 winners and their fabulous shorts:

Members of SP can view ALL films submitted, as well as seeing which region members are based in and what collaborations they are currently looking for. 

NEW SHOOTS: ACTORS 

This year we also launched a new competition specifically for Actors. We know how hard it can be for actors to build a sustainable career and we wanted to provide a way for them to have access to a huge bunch of free kit, as well as a cash grant to help with things like training, audition travel and voice coaching. Congrats to 2019’s first round winner Trevor Kaneswaran and the other 9 shortlisted SP actors. This competition is open twice a year to members, so keep your eyes peeled on the casting bulletin!

SCRIPT PITCH & PRODUCTIONS

Script Pitch is SP’s home for screenwriters to Pitch their Scripts directly to directors and producers. Currently members can browse over 400 short film scripts, and 425 feature film scripts across an array of genres, to find scripts they’d like to make or collaborate on. This year fantasy, comedy, horror and micro budget pitches have been particularly popular. 

There are also 120 paid jobs on the production board right now, and over the year countless collaborations were formed and films were made – have a look to see what’s out there for you. 

GO SHOOTERS

Shooting People would not exist without the incredible community support that members give to each other. Whilst we know that making a film is in itself a huge accomplishment, we wanted to shout about some of the fabulous achievements our members have had this year:

9 members were nominated for The 2019 British Independent Film Awards:

  • Ninian Doff (‘Boyz in the Wood’)- Debut Director
  • Fyzal Boulifa (‘Lynn & Lucy’)- Debut Director
  • Harry Wootliff (‘Only You’)- Debut Director & Debut Screenwriter
  • Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (‘Blue Story’)- Breakthrough Producer
  • Zed Nelson (‘The Street’)- Raindance Discovery Award
  • Shelly Love (‘A Bump Along the Way’)- Raindance Discovery Award
  • Jeanie Finlay (‘Seahorse’)- Best Documentary
  • Asif Kapadia (‘Diego Maradona’)- Best Director & Best Documentary
  • Edward Watts (‘For SAMA’)- Best Independent Film, Best Director & Best Documentary

Hetain Patel won the Film London Jarman Award 2019 and its £10,000 prize.

Jonathan Hodgson’s film ‘Roughhouse’ won the BAFTA for Best British Animation.

Paul Taylor’s ‘The Blue Door’, was nominated for Best British Short Film at the BAFTAs.

Charlie Philips produced the Oscar nominated documentary short ‘Black Sheep’.

Dionne Edwards was chosen as one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow 2019. 

11 shooters were named as Film London’s Lodestars, honouring the bright futures of 25 innovative filmmakers and craftspeople from across the capital. 

Anna Griffin, Naqqash Khalid and Fred Rowson all had projects selected for Creative England’s iFeatures 2019 Development Lab

For Sama’ by Edward Watts and Waad Al-Kateab racked up awards including Best Documentary at Cannes and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary as well as the Audience Award at SXSW. 

26 members screened at Edinburgh Film Festival, including Ninian Doff whose debut feature ‘Boyz in the Wood‘ opened the festival.

Hannah Currie was nominated for the 2019 BAFTA Student Film Awards.

127 members screened films at London Short Film Festival 2019.

Producer Sarah Brocklehurst is one of 20 newcomers nominated for BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits 2019

Diego Maradona‘ by Asif Kapadia screened in cinemas nationwide after premiering at Cannes. 

Marco Alessi was awarded the Crystal Bear Special Mention in the Generation awards at the Berlinale, for his film ‘Four Quartets’.

XY Chelsea’ by Tim Travers Hawkins screened in cinemas nationwide. 

10 members screened at Sundance Film Festival 2019, including Shola Amoo’s ‘The Last Tree’. 

Writer/Director Benjamin Bee and Writer/Director Jesse Lawrence were both awarded the talent development grant, John Brabourne Award.

‘Radio Blackout’ by shooter Matt Houghton is one of seven projects selected from more than 400 applications from 63 countries to participate in Assembly – a new creative documentary feature development lab.

‘The Silent’, a film crewed through Shooting People, won best short film (16+) at the Film the House Awards in the Houses of Parliament. 

Rehana Rose released her debut feature documentary ‘Dead Good’ in UK cinemas.

Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek’s debut feature ‘My Friend the Polish Girl’, screened in select UK cinemas.

Zed Nelson’s debut feature documentary ‘The Street’ was released in cinemas in November 2019.

8 shooters were nominated for the Iris Prize 2019, the largest LGBT+ short film prize in the world.

Abigail Blackmore was named the Screen FrightFest Genre Rising Star 2019 for her debut feature ‘Tales From the Lodge‘.

Little Green Street‘ by Alexandra Queen screened at the ‘Tate Inside Job Collective’ Exhibition at the Tate Modern London.

Anna Griffin, Margaret Milner and Paula Vaccaro were selected for the first ever European Co-production Weekender.

13 members screened at Sheffield Doc/ Fest 2019.

31 shooters screened at Encounters Film Festival 2019.

34 shooters screened at Underwire Festival 2019.

17 members screened at BFI London Film Festival 2019.

Tristan Loraine’s documentary feature ‘Everybody Flies’ premiered at the Raindance Film Festival.

10 members screened at Leeds International Film Festival 2019.

10 members screened at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2019.

Kate Jessop, Anna Ginsburg, Andrea Vinciguerra and Max Hattler screened at the London International Animation Film Festival 2019.

Director Michael Lebor, producer Bash Balogun and editor Ben Hooton collaborated on the documentary ‘Buddy Goes to Nollywood‘ which screened as part of London Film Week 2019.

Tristan C. Anderson released  #SOUNDTRACKS. For each track on the album a factual short music video has been created.

With the help of the SP community, 92 year old Harold Rubin has created a cooking show  ‘Alive and Cooking.’

That’s just a snippet of all the cool stuff members have been doing this year, and here’s what some of them have said themselves:

Shooting People was a great introduction into the film world for me! Like-minded people, with links to resources, good advice and a network. It’s a great way to meet potential collaborators, cast and crew, and they do networking events.” – Alice Lowe (Director and Actress ‘Prevenge’)

I found my entire crew through Shooting People and they were all incredible professionals. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved on Shooting People, from the crew, to anyone who answered a question on the forum. You make this community what it is! I have made contacts and friends that I hope to work with for life”. – Kristopher Williams (Director/ Writer)

I’ve been able to work with filmmakers up and down the country, who got in contact with projects they were working on. I’ve been able to colour grade features, shorts, commercials and documentaries. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity to attend screenings all over the UK, including the BFI and BAFTA, and met tons of talented people! THANK YOU to this awesome community for kickstarting my career.” – Lee Robinson, Colourist.

Shooting People is a brilliant way to stay looped into the UK film industry and discover other film geeks in this disparate, online community.” – Dorothy Allen Pickard, Documentary Filmmaker

If you’re looking to connect with other cast and crew, and are keen to join a production or kickstart your own in the new year, then JOIN our community today. 

And finally, we’d like to say a huge thanks to all our fantastic members- you make the community what it is! And a big shout out to all of the patrons, speakers, judges, supporters and sponsors of New Shoots who enable it to happen: Zipcar, Rich Mix, BFI Network, Random Acts, Misfits Entertainment, Lightbox, Sennheiser, Final Draft, Rode, Mubi, Zoom and London Headshots

Have a fantastic Xmas and New Year.

SP 

Shooting People’s Summer Round-up

Posted July 30th, 2019 by dorothy

Shooting People has had a cracking first half of the year and we wanted to raise a glass to our amazing community and all their achievements. 

So far this year we’ve held three sold out NEW SHOOTS events. In January we welcomed writer, director and SP member Shola Amoo to speak about his incredible career and his Sundance-premiering feature film ‘The Last Tree.’ In April, BAFTA winning director Toby Macdonald and writer Freddy Syborn revealed how they made the leap from shorts to features with their charming debut indie ‘Old Boys.’ In July we were joined by BAFTA winning actress, writer & director Jessica Hynes (‘Years and Years’, ‘Spaced’) and breakout star Alex Lawther (‘The End of the F***ing World’) who spoke about their careers across the crafts. Each event was followed by networking, opening doors for new collaborations to be formed. 

GO SHOOTERS

Shooting People would not exist without our incredible community, and whilst we know that making a film is in itself a huge accomplishment, we wanted to shout about some of the amazing achievements our members have had so far this year. 

[] Jonathan Hodgson’s film ‘Roughhouse’ won the BAFTA for Best British Animation.

[] Paul Taylor’s ‘The Blue Door’, was nominated for Best British Short Film at the BAFTAs.

[] Charlie Philips produced the Oscar nominated documentary short ‘Black Sheep’.

[] Dionne Edwards has been chosen as one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow 2019. 

[] 11 shooters have been named as Film London’s Lodestars, honouring the bright futures of 25 innovative filmmakers and craftspeople from across the capital. 

[] Anna Griffin, Naqqash Khalid and Fred Rowson all have projects selected for Creative England’s iFeatures 2019 Development Lab

[] ‘For Sama’ by Edward Watts and Waad Al-Kateab has been racking up awards including Best Documentary at Cannes and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary as well as the Audience Award at SXSW. 

[] 26 members screened at Edinburgh Film Festival, including Ninian Doff whose debut feature ‘Boyz in the Wood‘ opened the festival.

[] Hetain Patel is nominated for the Jarman Award 2019. 

[] Hannah Currie is nominated for the 2019 BAFTA Student Film Awards.

[] 127 members screened films at London Short Film Festival 2019.

[] ‘Diego Maradona‘ by Asif Kapadia screened in cinemas nationwide after premiering at Cannes. 

[] Marco Alessi was awarded the Crystal Bear Special Mention in the Generation awards at the Berlinale, for his film ‘Four Quartets’.

[] ‘XY Chelsea’ by Tim Travers Hawkins screened in cinemas nationwide. 

[] 10 members screened at Sundance Film Festival 2019, including Shalo Amoo’s ‘The Last Tree’. 

[] ‘Radio Blackout’ by shooter Matt Houghton is one of seven projects selected from more than 400 applications from 63 countries to participate in Assembly – a new creative documentary feature development lab.

[] ‘The Silent’, a film crewed through Shooting People, has won best short film (16+) at the Film the House Awards in the Houses of Parliament. 

[] Rehana Rose released her debut feature documentary ‘Dead Good’ in UK cinemas.

[] 13 members screened at Sheffield Doc/ Fest 2019.

[] Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek’s debut feature My Friend the Polish Girl, is screening in select UK cinemas.

We love to hear about our members’ success stories; whether you found your cast and crew through SP, have been selected for a festival, or have a film that you’d like to share with the community, remember to post it into the Bulletins. If you’re not a member, you can JOIN our creative community today. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store. 

Keep on shooting,

SP

You’ve not heard the last of ‘The Last Jeff’

Posted June 13th, 2019 by dorothy

Whether you’re a writer, director, producer or an actor, you’re certainly sitting on a passion project you’d love to create or portray. Something very personal, something that keeps on returning in your wildest dreams waiting to be realised. 

Building this concept or story up, constantly changing, improving and waiting for the right time to share with the world is an art in itself. The more passionate we are about something, the easier it is to be disappointed, having built up our own expectations to at least the size of Mount Everest.

Ben Robins wrote ‘The Last Jeff’ prior to beginning his adventure with short films when he had little to no clue as to how to make it happen.

“I first wrote ‘The Last Jeff’ about 3 years ago whilst in-between things, before I had ever made anything properly, and with no real idea of how to make it happen. It was a pretty wild script, that mixed together all my anxieties about my relationship with my dad in particular, and experiences trying to navigate the many labyrinths of the NHS’s barely existent mental health support networks. Naturally, it was a comedy, because:
A. I’m very bad at taking things seriously,
B. The filmmakers that seemed to influence the idea the most were comedians Alice Lowe and Roy Andersson.”

Knocking the script onto the shelf, Ben went on to create his first short, ‘Losing It’, a dark, weird comedy, created with the support of the shortFLIX scheme which taught him the ropes and allowed for ‘Losing It’ to be premiered on Sky Arts. 

Whilst ‘Losing It’ was making its festival circuit, Ben began redrafting and repackaging ‘The Last Jeff’, trying to find fitting and passionate crew and cast on the go. As a long-term Shooter, Ben tried his luck in the Script Pitch, getting a response from directors and actors.

Whilst on the hunt for a producer to keep the project going, Ben reached out directly to the community, finding a post from Michael Peers in the Ask section, who was hoping to produce his first narrative piece:

“I figured I’d kick myself if I didn’t at least try, so I reached out with my own comment with my email, and trying to distill the whole film into as short and punchy a line as possible (I can’t remember how I described it exactly, but it was definitely something like “there’s a naked guy running around who thinks it’s the end of the world”) and low and behold, he came back to me pretty much straight away”

One thing led to another, many discussions and drinks later they got the project off the ground.

One can dream of making a film without any regard for budgets and resources, but you’ll need at least some cash to turn the idea into reality. While there is an abundance of funding available to emerging filmmakers (see our funding page), there are even more filmmakers in need of it. The idea of crowdfunding came to Ben when our very own Helen from SP recommended Ben to Kickstarter for bespoke crowdfunding support.

After packaging the project in the best wraps available: building reels and concept art (with the help of Cong Nguyen), reaching out to actors and managing to attach rising star Erin Doherty (‘Les Miserables’, ‘Call the Midwife’, ‘Wolfie’, soon to be in ‘The Crown’) and amazing crew members including Rachel Durance (‘Losing It’, ‘Ladies Day’, ‘Batty Boy’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Assassin’s Creed’, ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, ‘Mute’, ‘Sorry We Missed You’), Adam Barnett (‘Two Graves’, ‘Losing It’, ‘They Found Her in a Field’); they’ve launched the campaign and managed to hit 13% of their target in the first 24h. 

So why are we talking about this? 

We’re chuffed that SP was able to lend a helping hand in bringing ‘The Last Jeff’ closer to becoming a reality, and with the invaluable guidance from the team at Kickstarter, Ben’s Kickstarter campaign is up & running and we’re hoping that you might be interested in finding out a bit more, supporting it in any way you can (financially or simply sharing with your peers) or becoming a future audience of Ben’s little passion comedy about the “naked guy running around who thinks it’s the end of the world” whilst struggling with the NHS and the mental health support system. 

London Headshots

Posted June 5th, 2019 by dorothy

Much has been said about first impressions. High quality self tapes and headshots are crucial in landing a casting or audition.

So what makes a good headshot? John Godwin, the owner of London Headshots and internationally published advertising and advertorial photographer pins it down to appealing to the casting director on a personal level, i.e. simply looking friendly. The right lighting, individual character, presenting the range are all components of the photograph’s evocative character. 

https://flic.kr/p/2g4nsmB

John brings out the confidence, the beauty and the unique characteristics of each actor, irrespective of how comfortable they are in front of a stills camera.

Whether you’re in need of new headshots or simply considering refreshing your current portfolio, John has a special offer for all Shooting People members of 20% off the Full Actors Headshot Package (fully priced at £250). The package includes a 90 minute studio session in South West London and a link to 4 x retouched hi-res images.

Launching New Shoots: Actors, our new competition designed specifically for actors to aid them in their career, we have teamed up with John to offer a headshot package as one of the prizes for our winner. Head over to New Shoots for more information. 

Now, Then.

Posted February 27th, 2019 by Ben

For many, if British cinema isn’t found on a Council estate then its only other residence will be a country estate sometime in the past… 

We look back on the whale bone tightened summers gone by through two alternate lenses. One familiarises, the other estranges. The past is either a foreign country, unreachable and unknowable, full of strict social rules and buried passions or instead it is delightfully just like now full of sexy messy people just unbuttoning better dresses. Neither view is truer. Both can be used to surprise, to refresh, to question or to comfort, to smooth and to simplify. 

For instance the first season of “The Crown” highlights Elizabeth’s transformation into a person not normal. It is vital as a result. However I found the second eventually falls back on the comforting idea that despite the sheer preposterousness of their existence, the royals of then are really just ordinary like you now. But whilst that idea diminishes their story, the same theme becomes livid and compelling in “Lady Macbeth” which details how a teenage girl in the 18th century would have been not so very unlike a teenage girl now. 

Of course both conceits are actually always true, simultaneously. If you really want to understand the actions of people from the past you have to constantly remember that they are always the same and not the same as you are today, all at once. A rare film that draws its energy from attempting to balance both ideas is the favourite historical movie of the moment. The personal and political politics of Queen Anne’s court are often presented in “The Favourite” as both unfathomably archaic and startlingly modern. Lanthimos grotesques both, the characters are more modern and their problems more arcane than any audience would believe as pure fact but he juggles both ideas to underpin the film’s queasy insanity. 

“The Favourite” is also a story of imprisonments. It presents a claustrophobic world full of traps. Again the tension between the foreign and native is key. The social strictures that bind the characters together are arcane but expressed as modern agonies. This gets to the heart of how historical story telling works. The dichotomy of such stories is that whether you wish to escape from the past or to it, you can’t. This cannot be your life but neither can you live a life disconnected from these stories, these people.

But the real choice for a filmmaker is whether to comfort or confront. Hilary Mantel, who knows something of writing about the past, once noted how often we infantilise historical characters. She suggests rendering Henry VIII as a messy eating toddler chucking bones over his shoulder is to comfort ourselves with our contemporary maturity. “The Favourite”, for all its monstrous rabbits, is not a film about grief or about women in power. It is not a film driven by mature emotions. Instead it is a morality tale about the corruptions of power in which its powerful women are always bound up in affairs of the heart rather than those of state. As is so often the case in successful British films about the past, the problems remain other people’s.

Sound & Fury.

Posted February 12th, 2019 by Ben

There are many false truisms about making films. Usually pithy, tough sounding aphorisms that reek of machismo and defy challenge like “No one knows anything” (obviously not true) or “Kill your darlings” (speaking as a father this is definitely questionable). Perhaps the most bankrupt is “If you want to send a message use Western Union”. 

Attributed to, amongst others, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, and Samuel Goldwyn, it’s a dictum used to warn against explicit sermonising in art (which makes Bernard Shaw and Brando unlikely originators). Whilst usually employed in the noble task of encouraging writers to avoid being monotonously didactic it nevertheless makes my teeth ache. Stories have a message. It can be simple, obvious, incoherent, unwitting or contradictory but all films eventually implore the audience to reach some conclusion about their events. Films are also an astonishingly powerful delivery mechanism. I mean despite the best rhetorical efforts of Voltaire, Lord Melbourne, Winston Churchill and both Presidents Roosevelt, to date it is definitely the Spider-man movie franchise that has been the most successful method of promulgating the idea that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

I have though recently noticed a seam of nearly apolitical films. This is especially surprising since many at first glance appear to be the heirs of British cinema’s long tradition of very overtly political social realist cinema. I am not going to call out specific films or filmmakers because I’m less interested individual cases than considering the general cause. However, I’m referring to a number of films from recent years that use all the genre trappings of the films of Loach or Leigh but that elegantly avoid ever actually meaning anything.

Present are the struggling working class families, the kids who slip through the cracks, the remorselessly downbeat stories. Often present too are the towering performances from both freshly discovered untrained actors and our country’s finest character performers. They howl and crumble, haunted by demons of hard real life; these are often genuinely great performances captured in grainy film or tangy cheap video, usually beneath dirty strip lights or bathed in a saintly lens flare. Every frame assures you that you are watching some urgent message from real Britain now. Yet, unlike Ken Loach, who never once forgets to show both the actual cause and potential solution to the problems he puts on screen, these films exist in a universe without cause or effect.

All too often I watch these films and they tell me that it’s hard being poor because poor people drink and gamble and take drugs and fight and cry and sleep around and abuse their kids and it’s probably ok because wild animals exist as well and that’s beautiful. These films seem angry about the lives they depict but their fury is unanchored, as if these problems were just a big awful fact we can do nothing about. With the divisions in our society more starkly and dangerously exposed than any time in the last two hundred years, our political cinema is as posturing and vacuous as our political class.

By contrast American cinema is seeing a wellspring in films that are fun, populist, artistically bold and built fundamentally around social and political positions that are genuinely provocative. “Get Out”, “Sorry To Bother You”, “Blackkklansman”, all leap to mind as films that delight in entertaining whilst simultaneously grabbing the audience by the shoulders and trying to shake them awake.

All films have a message and no medium is better than film at sharing one. Voltaire and Spider-man are both on the money, with great power comes great responsibility – you see, the message you send isn’t necessarily the one you intend. For many people these kitchen-sink-estate movies are still what they think of when they say “British movies”. For many the message given is that these aren’t films for you – they are films about you. The message is not that we care, but that we like to watch.