Thursday, 17 December 2015

Quote for the Week

'It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met' - Kenkō, page 8, A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015

Well, it's that time of year – another EIFF has been and gone. Just two pieces from me this year, both for Directors Notes. You can read them here:

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

LIFE JUST IS – Now Available in USA & Canada!

Although this blog was intended as a space for me to post original content, rather than simply writing updates about my filmmaking endeavours, it nevertheless seems to have become somewhat customary for me to announce major news here (albeit usually - as now - a little too after-the-fact for it to really be considered 'news'). Still, it does feel worth mentioning that my debut feature, LIFE JUST IS, is now available to watch in the US & Canada. You can find more information about the release, and watch the film, here.
In all honesty, I'm too busy with LONDON SYMPHONY to have much involvement in the release, so I've been leaving it up our Assistant Producer Roland Holmes - but from what I can tell, it seems to be going well. We even had a nice review from Matt Fagerholm of The Ebert Company.
It's been three years since I finished LIFE JUST IS, and I now feel somewhat removed from the film. I still feel proud of it, but I certainly recognise the mistakes that I made and the flaws that the film has. In all, the film feels very much like the result of my early twenties and I hope that, as I head towards my early thirties, my work will find a new level of creative maturity and cohesion. But I also hope that new audiences will continue to discover LIFE JUST IS, imperfect though it is. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of it and, for that reason alone, the film will always be a big part of me.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Quote for the Week

'Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then a place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, and imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors', Umberto Eco, p286, The Name of the Rose.

Friday, 2 January 2015

My Top Films of 2014

Putting together the lists below has made me realise how much of my viewing last year was focused on work from previous years. This was, perhaps, partly a result of me missing the entirety of London Film Festival (due to being busy running the LONDON SYMPHONY crowdfunding campaign), and partly due to my increasing preference for films from the past. From the new work I did manage to see, 2014 has been a good, as opposed to great, year for film – nothing this year has reached the dizzying heights of the films that have topped my list over the last few years (i.e. Ida, Demain? and The Turin Horse), although a single viewing of Boyhood does suggest that it deserves masterpiece status (it'll be interesting to see if subsequent viewings confirm or refute this suspicion). Still, despite my slight reticence to lavish praise, there was some very strong work on show, as suggested by the films in my 2014 list below. Not all of these are without problems, but they're certainly all worth a look, and deserve their place on an end-of-year list. 
(It's probably worth adding in passing that I'm yet to see three of my most anticipated films from 2014: Horse Money, La Sapienza and Birdman). 
If the new films left me slightly unenthused, the older films I saw did quite the opposite, and there were many suitable options clamouring for space within the top ten Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2014, which feels especially strong this year (though I suspect I say that every year…). 
As always, directors' names will take you to their IMDb pages.
My Top Films of 2014
01) Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
02) The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
03) Club Sandwich (dir. Fernando Eimbcke)
04) Journey to the West (dir. Ming-liang Tsai)
05) Something, Anything (dir. Paul Harrill)
06) Life May Be (dirs. Mania Akbari and Mark Cousins)
07) Stations of the Cross (dir. Dietrich Brüggemann)
08) Amour Fou (dir. Jessica Hausner)
09) Manakamana (dirs. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez)
10) Uncertain Terms (dir. Nathan Silver)

The Best Films from Previous Years that I Saw for the First Time in 2014
01) Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi)
02) Willow and Wind (2000, dir. Mohammad-Ali Talebi)
03) A Time to Live and A Time to Die (1985, dir. Hsiao-Hsien Hou)
04) Almanac of Fall (1984, dir. Béla Tarr)
05) A Farewell to Arms (1932, dir. Frank Borzage)
06) The Man Who Laughs (1928, dir. Paul Leni)
07) Vesnoy (In Spring) (1929, dir. Mikhail Kaufman)
08) Blood Wedding (1981, dir. Carlos Saura)
09) Sound of the Mountain (1954, dir. Mikio Naruse)
10) Mare Nostrum (1926, dir. Rex Ingram)