All entries for Wednesday 02 January 2008

January 02, 2008

Edgar Wright

British Directors: Edgar Wright (1974-)

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE

Hot Fuzz 4


Introduction

Edgar Wright did a lot of his early work in TV as so many up coming film directors have done in the past.  spaced was a successful sitcom which went into two series runnig between 1999 - 2001 and significantly helped Wright to establish a reputation. His first work after studying film at Bournemouth was low budget comedy and he has worked in the comedy idiom ever since. Wright has done a lot of work with Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and the success of Spaced allowed them to launch Shaun of the Dead a comedy-horror. The success of this film with a moderate budget allowed them to make Hot Fuzz. Wright also spent some time working with more established comedy acts in the BBC namely Alexei Sayle and Dawn French. 




Shaun of the Dead 1

Romero eat your heart out - or maybe they will. Shaun of the Dead marked the return of the comedy-horror hybrid genre. 





Webliography 

BBC film Network Wright interview. Includes extract of Hot Fuzz

Screenonline Biography of Edgar Wright

Screenonline Spaced analysis

BFI full list of Film and TV Credits for Edgar Wright  

BBC Q & A page with Wright and Pegg

Guardian NFT interview with Pegg and Wright  

BBC Review of Shaun of the Dead

Working Title Shaun of the Dead with trailer available 


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 



Hot Fuzz, 2006. Dir: Edgar Wright

Hot Fuzz, 2006. Dir: Edgar Wright




Hot Fuzz Flying Cops

Bye Bye The Matrix !


Production by Working Title

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 

Introduction

Well I haven't fully investigated it yet but the marketing of the film was clearly brilliantly organised. The BBC website below provided the materials for a very carefully orchestrated launch. Perhaps even more unusual was a preview in the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). This was clearly an attempt by Working Title to build on its considerable reputation and target an much wider audience than might usually go to what might seem to be a typical 'Britcom'. The success of the low budget Shaun of the Dead also by director Edgar Wright also created an air of anticipation.  

Film Availability: DVD available in UK

Hot Fuzz DVD cover

Webliography  

BBC Hot Fuzz  Special Feature

This is an abslotue must go to site if you are interested in the film at all. There are a host of interviews etc off the landing page. First class pages *****!   

Working Title  Video Blog of Hot Fuzz

Guardian Film Review  

ICA Preview of Hot Fuzz


Working Title: History of a Production Company

Working Title: History of a Production Company

(For a larger case study of a production company please see Channel Four / Film Four)

Fellner and Bevan of Working Title

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner co-chairpersons of Working Title Productions

Introduction

The Co-chairpersons of Working Title  are  Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. It has been an extraordinary British cinematic success story as the following comment notes:

They have been listed as the most powerful figures in the British industry and in 2002 Premiere magazine put them at 41st in the world-wide movie power list.( BBC News story (2004

Without well positioned and highly effective producers film makers would have an even more difficult time. Firstly this article will look briefly at the role of the film producer, it will then look in more detail at Working Title as a case study of a success story. Without good producers in the last few years British Film culture would have been much poorer.  Good producers are essential for the success of any national cinema especially given the outside pressures from the big guns. Film making is a high risk business and good producers know how / learn how to reduce risk. 

However according the the Daily Telegraph NBC Universal already holds a majority stake in Working Title Films, and has been looking to create a European TV studio in London. 

Working Title Red

Origins

Extract from Guardian interview

Bevan had founded Working Title in 1984 with Sarah Radclyffe, and in 1992 went looking for a corporate backer. Polygram was the one, and Fellner came on board, Radclyffe having left. According to Bevan: "Before that we had been independent producers, but it was very hand to mouth. We would develop a script, that would take about 5% of our time; we'd find a director, that'd take about 5% of the time and then we'd spend 90% of the time trying to juggle together deals from different sources to finance those films. The films were suffering because there was no real structure and, speaking for myself, my company was always virtually bankrupt."

What the film producer does

A film producer creates the conditions for making movies. The producer initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls matters such as fundraising, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors. The producer is involved throughout all phases of the filmmaking process from development to completion of a project. (Wikipedia entry 2nd Jan 2008)

Here is the blurb marketing a training course for potential producers:

The producer is at the sharp end of the film business. They are required to

keep all options open, develop networks of potential funding and talent,
identify outlets and new markets for their productions, keep a range of
projects live, ready for pitching
. This Film School will provide an
invaluable insight into the working practices and strategies, of the lives
of a variety of producers. They will range from those working exclusively in
shorts, in the UK, through to feature films and working in a global market.
It will provide essential information and tips for up and coming producers,
how to pitch a project, where to seek funding, how to maintain networks of
contacts. Everything you wanted to know about the producers’ job description and the detail of producing film will be revealed in this film School.
(My emphasis, Encounters Short Film Festival )

Films Produced by Working Title

Working Title's breakthrough hit was 1994's Four Weddings and a Funeral, a romantic comedy which made the term British blockbuster seem less of an oxymoron.

Successes 

Films which have been critically and financially successful include both British and American films:  

British films

Atonement 1

Atonement has been a great success for Working Title functioning as a film in the "heritage genre"

Four Weddings and a Funeral
Bean
Notting Hill
Bridget Jones's Diary
Elizabeth
and American films
Dead Man Walking
Fargo
The Man Who Wasn't There
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Failures  
But there are plenty of risks as this comment on Captain Corelli's Mandolin shows:
Flops include Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It was their most expensive film and, ironically, the one that seemed most likely to succeed.

This is even more ironic given that the prices in Kefalonia have risen as the tourist trade increased dramatically after the film's release.

How Working Title chooses the films to support 

How does Working Title choose which films to make? Fellner says projects get championed by individuals in the development department and these 'percolate' their way up to the top. Bevan and Fellner then both take the decision on what to greenlight (Skillset)

Recent Films Produced Include

More recently WT co-produced the successful Hot Fuzz comedy released in July 2007. See also Hot Fuzz)

Elizabeth the Golden Age : Shekar Kapur

Targeting Audience: The Secret of Their success?

The Working Title philosophy has always been to make films for an audience - by that I mean play in a multiplex. We totally believe in this because we know it is the only hope we have of sustaining the UK film industry. (Lucy Guard & Natasha Wharton)

Working Title 2 / WT 2: Making the Small Budget Feature

As Working Title became more bound up with larger productions it became more awkward to deal with smaller ones so WT2 was established to deal with low budget titles.  

Despite its famous name, the structure at Working Title is pretty lean. It employs just 42 full time staff, split between the main Working Title production arm and its low-budget offshoot WT2, run by Natascha Wharton, which since 1999 has produced films like Billy Elliot and Ali G Indahouse. (My emphasis, from Skillset )

WT2 has had a good success rate and clearly the whole organisation is run very effectively.

Other films it has produced are the less than well received Calcium Kid starring Orlando Bloom

Extract from a Channel 4 Film Feature

Lucy Guard, Head of Development for Dragon Pictures and Natscha Wharton (left) who co-runs WT2 share with us their secret to developing talent..

How did WT2 come about?
When I was at Working Title we set up a New Writers Scheme to develop new talent. Normally we do not accept unsolicited material (scripts that do not come from an agent or producer) but for the scheme we had to relax a bit and open the doors. The problem was that at Working Title, smaller films would inevitably get less attention than the bigger budget projects so we decided to set up WT2 to give proper attention to those smaller films. Quite a few of the writers we were developing on the Scheme we are now working with us at WT2 while others have set up their projects with other companies, which is great.

Available films produced by Working Title /WT2 include:

elizabeth_dvd_cover_special_edition.jpg Four Weddings and funeral DVD Cover Bridget Jones Bean DVD Cover

WT2 Films available include:

Inside I Billy Eliott Ali G Indahouse

Filmography 

Webliography 

Guardian Interview with Fellner and Bevan

BBC News story (2004)

Film File Europe recording Working Title / WT2 films 

Skillset Film entry on Working Title & WT2 

BBC on Inside I'm Dancing a WT2 title (This is technically an Irish film) 

BBC Review on Inside I'm Dancing

Working Title plans TV Shows:By Juliette Garside. Daily Telegraph Jan 2008

Film Four Productions Interview with Tim Bevan

Screenonline Working Title entry + links to individuals concerned

Independent Film Producer Rebecca O'Brien. Who works with Ken Loach 

(For a larger case study of a production company please see Channel Four / Film Four)


Stephen Frears

British Directors: Stephen Frears (1941-)

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Introduction

Stephen Frears has had a fine film making career making many notable British films some of which have had a controversial edge live My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammie and Rosie Get Laid. With these films and with Dirty Pretty Things Frears has shown he can make films with his finger on the pulse of social change.  His most successful recent film was The Queen which won many accolades. A fuller evaluation will appear in due course however there are a good range of web links established to aid research. 


Filmography

2006: The Queen

2005: Mrs Henderson Presents

2002: Dirty Pretty Things

2000: High Fidelity; Liam

1998: The Hi-Lo Country

1996 The Van

1995: Mary Reilly

1993: The Snapper

1992: Accidental Hero

1990: The Grifters

1989: Dangerous Liaisons

1987: Prick Up Your Ears

1987: Sammy and Rosie Get Laid

1985: My Beautiful Laundrette

1984: The Hit

1979: Bloody Kids

1971: Gumshoe


Film availability 

dirty_pretty_things_dvd_cover.jpg    the_queen_dvd_cover.jpg Mrs Henderson Presents DVD cover Liam DVD Cover



Webliography 

Screenonline Biography.(Excellent range of other links to specific films here) 

Guardian Interview Stephen Frears

BBC Interview on Dirty Pretty Things

Daily Telegraph. Film Makers on film: Stephen Frears

BBC Film Network  page on The Queen. Clip and trailer available here. 

BFI Governors page on Frears 

Guardian on Frears as Chairperson of the Cannes Jury 2007 

David Thompson in the Independent 2nd Jan 2008 on Stephen Frears

Britfim Frears heads Cannes Jury

Guardian interview of Frears 2004 (who reveals that he watches Big Brother) 

Skillset Frears takes part in mentoring scheme


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 





British Directors: Mike Hodges

British Directors: Mike Hodges (1932 -  )

( BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE) 

Introduction

Mike Hodges is still known for his 'gangster heavy' film Get Carter which seems to get number one in the 'Lad's Mags' lists for the 'well 'ard'. In fact it was an insightful view of relationships between British Gangland and various local businesses and of course the police. In terms of representations of Newcastle and the North East at the time the corruption of the Poulson affair.

The film was a continuation of the representation of British Gangland from Brighton Rock through The Long Good Friday which also dealt with corruption and was prescient about developments in the London docklands. Hodges has contributed another gangster heavy film in recent years I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

For more on the theme of British Crime Films please follow this link.  

A fuller evaluation of Mike Hodges work will follow however there are some useful links here to help with your research.  

Fimography

1970 Get Carter
1972 Pulp
1974 Terminal Man
1979 Flash Gordon
1985 Morons from Outer Space
1987 A Prayer for the Dying
1990 Black Rainbow
1998 Croupier
2001 Murder By Numbers
2003 I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
2004 Murder by Numbers

Films Available:

Get Carter DVD Cover Croupier DVD Cover I

Webliography 

Screenonline Biography of Mike Hodges 

Guardian interview with Mike Hodges

NFT Interview with Mike Hodges

Sight and Sound Review of I'll Sleep when I'm Dead

BBC Radio 3 series of interviews with Mike Hodges about work in progress on I'll sleep When I'm Dead

BBC Interview with Mike Hodges on Croupier

Culture Wars Review of I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Bullet Boy, 2005. Dir: Saul Dibb

Bullet Boy, 2005. Dir: Saul Dibb


Introduction

Currently this film is being limited to a Webliography   

Film Availability: There is a DVD available

Bullet Boy DVD Cover

Webliography 

BBC Movie Review

BritFilm Production Details 

Screenonline Bullet Boy 

Screenonline Black British Film  

Screenonline Adolescence on Film

British Board of film Censorship Discussion of Bullet Boy

Screenonline Bullet Boy a Case Study of Distribution

RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Elizabeth the Golden Age, 2007 . Dir Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth the Golden Age, 2007 . Dir Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth the Golden Age 1



Introduction

I was very impressed with Kapur's first rendering of the early part of Elizabeth's life and it will be interesting to see how this history film stands up to its predecessor. It is improtant to differentiate the genre of history film from that of costume drama as a genre. The latter are usually stories set in a specific historical period but which often have no historical grounding in the facts. By comparison the history film is about specific people and events which are accepted as facts although interpretations of these facts will of course differ.  It is also important to note the creation by critics of the notion of the 'heritage film' which suggested that countries undergoing some sort of crisis perhaps of identity often recourse to a golden past which is something of a mythical one (See also Heritage Cinema in France). There is an abundance of films about the Tudor period and Elizabeth 1st whilst there is a paucity of films about large tracts of other parts of British history. There will be a comparison of this film with the earlier versio of Elizabeth in due course. 

Shekhar Kapur's previous version was very succesful in financial terms by the standards of British films. Kepur was a controversial choice the last time after his film Bandit Queen was banned in India. It was a fine film and Film Four backed the original project. I'm looking forward to seeing this one in any case.

Elizabeth the Golden Age 2

Film availability: 

Not currently available as a DVD in the UK. Still in cinemas.  

Webliography

Historian Alison Weir on Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Radio One interviews with Shekhar Kapur and others.

Guardian Blog for Elizabeth the Golden Age. A nice quality viewing extract available here.

Guardian Review of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Long live the queen. Guardian feature on clothing design and the representations of queens in film

Observer  review of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Official marketing site for Elizabeth the Golden Age

Working Title: Producers of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Kinoeye History of Working Title

About.com interview with Kapur 

Wikipedia on Elizabeth the Golden Age



RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 



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