‘Europe At Sea’ documentary set for December release

I’m always happy to support the UK film and media industry, it’s an important, and growing, part of our economy. And so, here’s notice of an upcoming release of an independently produced documentary that will launch on Amazon at other platforms in December.

Springshot Productions and Journeyman Pictures announce that its current affairs documentary “Europe At Sea” will be launched 1st December 2017 for broadcast, on Amazon and additional platforms.

Directed by Italian filmmaker Annalisa Piras, and two years in the making, combining interviews with top experts and leaders, “Europe At Sea” reveals how the EU is shaping up to the challenges threatening its citizen’s security, accelerating the integration of European defence and security structures.

“Europe At Sea” had exclusive access to Federica Mogherini, the head of EU Foreign and Security Policy for a year and a half while she put together the complex jigsaw puzzle of the new EU Global Strategy, in a year that saw the Brexit vote and Trump’s election.

Blade Runner 2049, a science fiction masterpiece

A rare visit by us to the cinema this weekend to watch Blade Runner 2049.

The film is a terrific sequel to the original Blade Runner film. It helps to understand the latest film to have seen the original, as the plot is a continuation from the earlier film, though it’s not essential to have seen the original.

Blade Runner 2049 is real science fiction. The superb imagery and clever technological film techniques take you to a dystopian future world.

The casting is good, as is the acting. Ryan Gosling as K, the lead actor is good, though he much mumbles too much in the early scenes, which is a shame as the sound is immersive. The supporting lead actors are also as good, with Ana de Armas as Joi, Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, and I particularly liked Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi.

We stayed till all the credits had played, meaning we were the last to leave. The number of people named in the credits must’ve run to over a thousand.

One criticism, it’s a long film, 2hrs 43 minutes. Conclusion, a worthy sequel.

The UK Film Industry is flourishing

There are many knowledgeable people in the UK film industry pointing out why it is flourishing, and has significant growth potential, especially in the independent film market, so says Paul Duddridge in the Guardian. This supported by award-winning writer Stephen Follows’ January 2017 article on the state of the UK film industry.

And to prove it, here’s the announcement of the release of a UK produced film, [click on image to expand]

missioncontrol_keyartLondon (Thursday 2nd March, 2017) — As the world watched the outcome of the Apollo space missions, crowded around televisions and radios, the heroes of NASA – the controllers and support teams inside Mission Control – clenched their fists and sweated every detail through each liftoff and descent. Now, the compelling untold story behind this extraordinary team comes to life in the new film “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo,” which will arrive on global Video on Demand and in select US theatres from 14th April, after its world premiere at the South by Southwest [SXSW] film festival in March.

US distributor Gravitas Ventures has secured worldwide rights from Haviland Digital to the compelling untold story behind this extraordinary team, told with unprecedented access to archival footage and stories from the men who lived it, including the creator of Mission Control, Dr. Chris Kraft, retired NASA Flight Directors Gene Kranz (portrayed by Ed Harris in “Apollo 13”), Glynn Lunney and Gerry Griffin. Also appearing are Flight Dynamics Officer Jerry Bostick, Flight Controller John Aaron, iconic astronaut Captain James Lovell (played by Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13”), and moonwalkers Charlie Duke and the late Captain Gene Cernan.

Mission Control was at the very heart of the Apollo programme and its heroes were born against a backdrop of economic turmoil and global conflict. Some came from a rural lifestyle unchanged since the 19th century. Others grew up in a gritty, blue-collar America of mines and smoke stacks. They ranged from students straight out of college, to soldiers toughened by military service. Yet, from such ordinary beginnings, an extraordinary team was born. They set out on what JFK called “the most hazardous, dangerous, and greatest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked.” Through the team’s testimony and the supporting voices of Apollo astronauts and modern NASA leaders, “Mission Control” explores their journey from the faltering start of the programme to Mercury and Gemini missions, the tragic Apollo 1 fire and the glories of the Moon landings. This was achieved through a team whose average age was around 27 years old.

“Mission Control” was directed by David Fairhead and produced by Keith Haviland and Gareth Dodds. This British team came to the story of “Mission Control” after their work on “The Last Man on the Moon,” which premiered at SXSW in 2015 and told the tale of Astronaut Gene Cernan. Cernan, who flew three times in space and twice to the Moon, passed away in January 2017.

The film is now available to pre-order from iTunes: http://apple.co/2lP8QDM.

Night Mail, a nostalgic 1930’s documentary of the travelling mail train

Night Mail is a short documentary film produced in 1936 by the GPO [General Post Office] about the London to Glasgow postal train. The film’s aim was to show how mail was distributed around the country by mail train, in which mail was sorted.

The outstanding aspects of the film are the respect given to the workers of the Travelling Post Office and L.M.S Railway, Benjamin Britten’s musical score, and of W.H. Auden reading his poem Night Mail that brings the film to a close.

The last of the Magnificent Seven rides out

Must’ve watched the film The Magnificent Seven quite a few times – enjoying it each time. A great story-line, super cool and wonderful actors, an excellent baddie acted by Eli Wallach, and Elmer Bernstein’s score to stitch together all the action.

It’s surprising that the film was released in 1960, when compared other films of the period that have dated awfully. Great films last. Last week, Robert Vaughn, the last of the Magnificent Seven passed away.  Here’s a pictorial reminder of the seven.


Hat tip: Depepi.com for photo

More about that film set on Chobham Common

Your intrepid blogger revisited the site this afternoon – at Albury Bottom – of the film being shot on Chobham Common – y’know the one I wrote about HERE.

I asked what was being filmed, of one of the helpful crew removing the film props. Came back the answer, “a scene in the A. A. Milne [Winnie the Pooh author] biopic when he was in the First World War Battle of the Somme”. He continued, to my noticing that the trees were burned, “it was their job to set fire to them, as part of the film”. Also, I found out that the film is being shot by Pinewood Studios, that Rangers from Surrey Wildlife Trust were on hand during the set construction and filming, and they’d got another war film in production that needed burnt trees. Amazing what you can learn by asking questions.

The Independent has a First look at Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson in biopic on Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne.

Meanwhile, here are my photos of the site clean-up in progress.

Loving Vincent: ‘The first fully painted feature film in the world’

The Independent has the story of a wonderfully creative film project; to create the first fully painted feature film, using only images created by Vincent van Gogh.

This short trailer of Loving Vincent is a taster of the final film. The project has over 100 painters, trained in the van Gogh style, working to create the film. The producers say they’re looking to employ more painters. Time to get in touch if you’re interested

Might I be in a film at Woking Station

I know not, nor frankly care, as to whether I’m in a film being shot at Woking Station.

Woking Station film crewWhen this week I travelled to London by train from Woking there was a film crew on my platform. I was asked to walk round them, which I was happy to do. I stood further up the platform, by its edge waiting for my train, only to be spoken to by a woman standing near me, saying, somewhat pointedly, that I might be being filmed.

No matter said I. Then one of the film crew approached me to say I might be in a film. Again, no matter.

On reflection, I realised that most of the people around me were film extras, and the woman I was near, feared I might take her place in the film.

Amusing award-winning Abbey Road pedestrian crossing film

Again from The Atlantic magazine, I learned about a splendid award-winning short film about the pedestrian crossing used of the cover of The Beatles Abbey Road album. The album cover image by Ian Macmillan was my Photo of the Week No.6.

So, this amusing and cleverly made short film, by Chris Purcell, is a worthy update to that image. I fully understand why it won Best Documentary at the 2012 UK Film Festival, it has both humanity and truthfulness.