Dr Seuss’s Final Book ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ told by the people at The Burning Man Festival 2011

I came across this video by accident whilst I was looking at this year’s festival line ups and it really brightened my day! It combines the weird and wacky sights you come across at arts festivals and the already quirky words of Dr Seuss. I think this video is fantastically made and perhaps this year I can make a video at whichever festival I end up going to.


Today I went to see the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize winner ‘Like Crazy’ (Expect a review shortly)

It spurred me to find out a little more about the film’s director, Drake Doremus

One of the first websites I stumbled across was one with advice he had for aspiring film makers.  I found the interview to be very interesting and thought I’d share it on my blog. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/29/idUS312131098320111029

On Set with the KillTimers…

On the 20th January we shot the performance scene of The KillTimer’s music video.


Taken by Elizabeth-Valentina Sutton on set of the KillTimer's Music Video 'Party Tricks'
Taken by Jake Barrett on the set of the KillTimer’s Video

The Ninth London Short Film Festival

Today I took a trip down to London’s Southbank to attend a day of the 9th London Short Film Festival (LSFF). When I arrived at the BFI, I headed to NFT3 to watch a selection of short films all about growing up and coming of age. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them all but the few I did watch were brilliant.

Downing: Set at an alcohol fuelled party, the film explored teenage sexuality and we see an oppressed gay teenager exacting revenge on his bully. I thought it was an incredibly witty and well produced short film.

Fifty:  Produced in association with Screen West Midlands, this Birmingham based short film is a gritty exploration of life in the inner city. A confrontation on a bus spirals out of control as a man and his pregnant girlfriend get into an altercation with some youths, resulting in a tragic end.

Freak: An incredibly moving short film about a teenage boy who gets tormented by bullies at his school on a daily basis. It shows as he struggles with self-loathing and his body issues. 

Join My Band: This light hearted Romantic Comedy depicts a nerdy schoolboy falling for a rebellious punk girl, who plays the harp. To get her to notice him, he forms a band with his friends and gets her to join them. A lovely concept which was fantastically executed.


After the Screening I went to the Blue Room, where there was a Short Film Masterclass taking place. It was a Q&A session with some of the short-film makers, Philip Ilson (the Festival Director) and Mark from B3 Media. Topics explored in the session included the purpose of short film, Classic examples of Directors who have used short films to get their foot in the door, each of the film maker’s route into the industry, what makes a good short film and what each of them had learnt from the short films they’d made.

I learnt that Short Films are important because they can really help launch film maker’s careers. They be used as show reel pieces and can generate public interest. Short films are a means to get your name out there via short film festivals or online.Ryan Vernava (The director of fifty) argued that it is reductive to call short films simply a call ground because they use narrative techniques that simply cannot be used in feature films. He also mentioned that with today’s society’s short attention spans, short films are becoming increasingly in-demand. A downside is that only very rarely do short films generate any income.

Mustapha Kseibeti (the director of Skateboards and Spandex) advised that if you want to make films, whether they be short films or features, that you need to watch a lot of great films and behind the scenes footage. He is self taught and said he learnt a lot from watching bonus content on DVDs. Taking his advice, after the Q&A I purchased a copy of Cinema 16 and I cannot wait to take a look at short films produced by well established directors.

Mark was particularly inspiring, saying young people have no excuses anymore. ‘If you want to make a film, just make a ******* film’ He spoke about all the different platforms available to us which provide film makers with opportunities to build up a fan base and prove to people what we are capable of.

Everyone on the panel agreed that it is hard to determine what makes a good short film, as it is mostly down to personal preference. But they did offer a few key things to making short films:

  1. Make sure the film is well thought out and you have determined what the message of your piece is.
  2. Make sure the characters and the world they live in are well developed.
  3. You only have a short time to do so, but make the audience care about your characters.
  4. Storyboard and plan, plan, plan!
  5. Try to make something that hasn’t been seen before or something very exciting.
  6. See what other people have done, make note of why and how it works.

My Review: The Iron Lady

Prior to watching ‘The Iron Lady’ I had only heard negative comments about our first and only female Prime Minister. So I walked into the film, not entirely sure what to expect. My main incentive to see the film was Meryl Streep starring as Margaret Thatcher in this incredibly intimate insight to the Baroness’ memories and life after Downing Street.

The biopic is formed around Thatcher’s faded memories and visions of her husband Dennis (Jim Broadbent) who died 8 years previously. Even those who aren’t fascinated by political intrigue could enjoy this fantastically directed film. Phyllida Lloyd has followed up her last collaboration with Streep, the upbeat musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ with this far more serious exploration of life as a woman in politics.

Margaret or ‘Maggie’ as she was affectionately known is depicted as a delicate, frail old woman who has popped to a local convenience store to by some milk for Dennis. She is shocked when the cashier requests the 49 pence to pay for the carton, and states it is over priced.

I was astonished by Meryl Streep’s performance. She successfully played the Baroness from her early thirties all the way into her eighties with an uncanny resemblance to Thatcher (after an extensive physical makeover, including altering her teeth with the use of prosthetics) and a flawless British accent. An unnecessary reminder of what an incredible actress the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ star really is.

The film looks at how, the now elderly, Thatcher has been coping since the death of her husband. Despite 8 years having passed since his death and after much persuasion from her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) she has only just got started removing his clothes from her cluttered cupboards. Battling senility, Thatcher has difficulties coming to terms with her loss, seeing visions of Dennis everywhere.

Our first look back into the her past comes about as she accidentally signs her memoirs ‘Margaret Roberts’, her maiden name. We see a young Thatcher (portrayed by a convincing Alexandra Roach) standing her ground as she climbs the political ladder. We see that she stood out in the male dominated House of Commons in her signiture sky blue suit. An inspiring feat for feminists everywhere.

With each flashback we look at significant moments in the former Prime Minister’s life, such as Thatcher’s steely response to the argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, the Brighton bombing (a near death experience for Maggie and Dennis ) and the miners’ strike. Although the film does not really cover these issues in discursive depth, it certainly sparks interest in these important moments.

To summarise, I would say the actors all gave astounding performances, the cinematography was superb and they handled a controversial character in British History in an incredibly sensitive and empathetic manner.  I would definitely recommend this to Maggie’s fans and all the film lovers out there but those of a left wing political persuasion may be disappointed.

Today we took a trip to Maverick’s Birmingham offices.

To film for my Media Sector Project. I had the chance to interview various employees of the company including the Head of Post Productions and Facilities, the Production Executive of Digital Media and Multiplatform, the Development Producer for Multiplatform and a Technical Assistant. It was a very informative experience, I asked them about what the different job roles included as well as how the company have had to diversify to keep up with the changes in the industry. I now just have to make a start on the editing, ready to present to the class in the coming weeks.