Tag Archives: making

Film News for October 3rd

One words – Re-writes. Actually, that is a hyphenated word, but I stand by it.

Great Brytania is being shot in a weird and wonderful way. Due to funding pressures (it is all self-funded), the filming will be very stop-start. So in May I shot the first scenes, the external Polish scenes. Now in October, I will shoot the internal Polish Scenes. That will mean around 15% of the film is shot and in the can. Then, 2013 will become the year of hell, and the rest of the scenes, all in the UK will need to be shot. As and when funding, or in other words, spare cash, becomes available.

So recently, I have been rewriting the script again and again. To be honest, it is more of a correction, cleaning up the loose ends and making the script a bit tighter. Thankfully, the major re-write happened earlier this year, and it was fairly comprehensive. Now, my rewriting is really just tidying up around the edges.

And as the script is bilingual, it means that it needs time to get tanslated. Well, time to finish off the revisions…


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Research ;)

Hey, I am making a movie here. ANd what better way to make a film then to atch other films…ah…it’s a tough life 😉

Explanations to follow, never fear. Even woth my limited timespan, some fun must be slotted in…

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Stills from Great Brytania’s Teaser

Just a couple of shots from the teaser as I edit away. This pic was taken from one of the block of flats in Zielona Gora, and in the film it represents Magda’s home in Poland.

The second shot is kind of cool, showing Magda smoking at the coach station before she departs for England. In the film, the story is split into two chronological periods. The scenes in the UK takes place in the present day, while the scenes from Poland takes place in the 1990’s. That was hard to do, shooting in today’s Poland, but to portray a world 15-20 years ago. That meant no new cars or buses, no new logos, and clothes that would match the time period. Yeah, tricky stuff, so a close up of our leading actress smoking a cigarette was a nice shot to portray.

Oh yes, the joy of editing!

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Film News – Beginning June 2012

A treat for you – here is a teaser clip from ‘Great Brytania’:

We shot this piece of footage at the beginning of May. It shows one of our Central characters, Magda, leaving the familial home in Poland to begin her long journey to London. For me, as a writer and director, there is a lot of heart in this scene. While technically fairly easy to shoot, the soundtrack was awful as there was a loud set of speakers above the flats blaring out rock music, plus a hell of a lot of people shouting on their mobile phones (unusual as the Polish are fairly reserved on the mobile devices). I really had to thank the crew for being so patient! From a mood setting point of view, this is a beautiful scene. Just one person and her interaction with the audience. Always difficult to pull off, but it was done magnificently by Marzena Więcek, who plays the character of Magda.

A fortnight ago, I told you about meetings and they have gone well. It looks like we have some real in-kind support which will hopefully help us with the making of the film, particularly in knocking out a decent story. As the details become confirmed, I will reveal more about who I am working with and when the film is finished we will furnish you with the names of these organisations.

And stick around…I am currently editing a proper teaser and hope to have one ready by the end of the month! That is going to be fun – I love a good teaser, and doing one really gets you in the mood for editing the film proper. The interesting thing about this film is going to be the way it will be shot. Before, I have always shot in one blast, but this one is different. I am planning to shoot over the course of two years, and edit as I go along. So, like a jog-saw puzzle, this film will be slotted together.

It means that I have not even began the casting process for the UK credits, but I have been busy organising locations and as you can already see, meetings with various organisations in order to facilitate production. It is weird to still be doing my pre-production when filming has already started. I have to change my hats from one to the next! But such are the financial constraints that I am juggling all the time. This is the challenge…

I do feel good about Great Brytania however. Although this is one ambitious film (who am I kidding, this is a headf**k!), there has been so much help surrounding the production, that I feel incredibly lucky to be abl to head this project. I certainly would not have got this far were it not for the incredible support that I have received and I am still receiving. There is an incredible amount of goodwill behind this project, more than I have received on any of my other films shot previously. Here it goes, the editing truly begins. Wow, can you imagine, Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production happening simultaneously – can you see why this is ambitious…

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Amigos Amigos – Finished!

I have waited years to say this, but I have finally completed the editing for’Amigos Amigos’, my documentary about Country Music in Seychelles. The best part of four years and nine hours of footage condensed into 48 minutes of music snippets and interview.

I am shattered from it. Really, I cannot believe it is done, but now cmes al the clean up work. And so here is what is left to do:

1) Get permission to use the music.

For the first time I am using other people’s music, and so need clearance rights from the record companies. This will prove to be…interesting, but as it is just for ‘film festivals’, then I hope for it to be relatively simple…(famous last words?)

2) Clean up the sound and footage.

The film was recorded on my SD camera, which means the sound is all over the place! Plus, at 48 minutes, it is just too long. So the clean-up will require me to also cut some of the interviews down. Ideally, I would want the film to be around the 40 minute mark.

3) Translation.

Some of the interviews are in Kreol – the language of the Seychelles, a French patois. I will need to get my subtitle hand ready to put those interviews into English.

So, I still have my work cut out. But it does feel good to finally hve this film under the belt and on the way to distribution!


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Synopsis for ‘South of The River’

Well, it is time for the big reveal. The synopsis or summary of the feature project that I have been working on. Enjoy!

A story encompassing Europe’s largest city, South of The River follows the lives of two Londoners, Gemma and her lover Magda, over the course of a few months as they struggle to survive against the obstacles that spawn before them.

Gemma is a single mother whose minimum wage job does not pay enough to cover the outgoings for her and her child. But when she finds out that her partner Magda now has full blown AIDS, she wants to raise as much money as possible. Hence she gets involved in the world of Magda – Drug Dealing, vice and danger. As a result, Gemma comes into contact with Magda’s pimp, Ritchie Fernando. A vicious, cross dressing thug, with a penchant for violence, who will stop at nothing in order to satisfy his sadistic lust for money.

Magda, despite her sickness, tries her best to stop Gemma from committing the same mistakes that she has done. But Magda’s worsening condition, plus her addiction to heroin means that she is powerless to stop Gemma from suffering the same fate that she has done. No matter how much she tries to help Gemma, Magda is unable to stop the wheels of fate from taking their toll on both of them.

South of The River is a story about the underclass of London. The poor, the sick, the dispossessed, the mentally ill. It shows how the city depends on this mass of disadvantaged for doing the dirty, dangerous and low paid work that most people will never have to do, but depend on for the functioning of their day to day lives. Minimum wage works in the retail industry, drug supply and the sex industry employ huge numbers of people (both legally and illegally) but also demonise them and stifle any opportunity for their personal growth. South of The River takes the lives of two ordinary Londoners and through extraordinary events tells their story and the typical hardships that many people in their position face. Harassment, exploitation, humiliation, danger and ultimately, death.

As anyone who writes knows, it is bloody hard to succinct your script down to one or two pages. To distill it until the essence of the film is there. I think even harder is the logline, but that is a different story. More of a slogan than anything else. The irony is this. THe shorter the piece of writing, the harder it gets. I love writing scripts, it absolutely thrills me. As a piece of creativity, nothing comes close. But a synopsis or a treatment just bugs the hell out of me.

However, this synopsis has been doing the rounds. Being sent to various organisations as well as the actors we have so far got on board. And a synopsis does work; as much as it is evil writing the synopsis, it is a necessary one.

And I keep organising like hell as well, but that is for next week’s blog…


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Film Poster

Just to get me started, I have a new poster for the film. Well, actually, this poster has been in circulation amongst the production team for a while, but I think it is time to release it generally.

This will not be the final design for the poster. Hell, it is not even the final name – South of the River is very much a working title. Actually, at the production level, we are calling it Ritchie Fernando, after one of the characters, just because it is less of a mouthful. For applications to grants, permission letters to organisations and to the performers, we are calling it South of The River, because it sounds more artistic. And for the general public? Well, that is something we still have not finalised.

But one thing that is very much a part of this film, is the bilingual nature of it. South of The River is partly set in Poland and partly set in London, and also has two languages for the dialogue in the film, English and Polish. It is just the way the story rumbles, the way my imagination held itself in a thrall while writing the script, and the despair the production team has as we translate the script into two languages. Already, the Polish dialogues have been translated, but now it is to translate everything into Polish, so both sides of the linguistic divide can get an idea of what the hell is going on.

Unfortunately, I am not the translator. I have someone working very hard on this – and I feel the pain. Just inserting the translated bits into the script numbs my mind, but to translate, check, re-check fr mistakes takes precision and skill. I have no attention to detail, when it comes to the written word, so all my mistakes are there to air in public. A quick trawl through this blog reveals my awful spelling and grammar, so in a script, this is unforgiveable. For me, writing the script is quick, but proof reading and correcting the script takes ages.

But there is something exciting about making a film in two countries. Sure, the logistics are an absolute nightmare. And as a result, my brain really hurts with what to do and how to do it. But in the end, I have wanted to do this story for a very long time. A burning desire has been inside of me, and it is this desire that has led me to this bi-lingual production.

And yes, it is terrifying. Making a film is always scary, but to use two different languages, to shoot in two different countries and to shoot across two different cultures. This is going to be a huge challenge for me to accomplish.

So you can see why the blogging has been very patchy since the start of the year. It is why I have had to reduce my presence online. It is a simple reaction to actually getting things done. Sure, I still procrastinate, and forget things. But life, already busy, is about to get a whole lot busier. THose 10,000 hours are going to get achieved soon…


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