Category Archives: Film

On Culture: War Child Film Festival 2017

The CultureJukebox team are passionate about doing good and great films, so it was brilliant to be contacted by War Child, the charity for children affected by conflict, that’s launching its inaugural War Child Film Festival.

The event is in partnership with Everyman Cinemas and combines cinematic previews and premieres with live events, Q&As, panel discussions and performances; all to raise money for children whose lives have been torn apart by war.

The eclectic programme will include special events curated by bands, radio stations, record labels, cultural publications as well as live performances, DJs and more. It takes place in venues across London from the 25 September to 6 October: www.ourscreen.com/warchildfilmfestival

Highlights include an exclusive screening of Purple Rain, providing an opportunity to watch the legend Prince’s Acting debut in the awesome East London rave-den Oval Space.

For those who want to keep their finger firmly on the pulse the screening of the UK Music Video Awards preview showcase at the Ham Yard Theatre combines exclusivity and eloquence in equal measure.

The festival will also host special events such as DJ sets and parties curated by the acts and cultural publications across the festival including artistic collective Last Night In Paris, who will also be performing live at Everyman Screen on the Green.

The festival will culminate in a screening of Floating Points’ ‘Reflections – Mojave Desert’ and a closing party in collaboration with Dance for Refuge at the CLF Art Café in Peckham’s Bussey Building.

War Child has a rich heritage in innovative musical partnerships and has been harnessing the power of music to change lives since 1995 with the launch of the HELP Album.

100% of the profits from the tickets sold will fund War Child’s crucial work providing protection, education and longer time livelihood solutions to some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

War Child works in seven countries including Yemen where the conflict has had devastating consequences for children there. There are shortages of food, medicines and vital supplies and more than 2.2 million children are malnourished.

Follow the news via the hashtag #warchildfilmfestival

On Film: Spoof Sleuth Mindhorn is the main Manx

One of the comedy film highlights of 2017? It’s certainly up there in the opinion of the CultureJukebox team..

Mindhorn is from the esteemed Mighty Boosh alumni, and it shows. It’s got a twisted, rooted and distinctively British sense of humour.

The premise has shades of Bergerac, and a few nods to Alan Partridge – but still feels fresh and original. In short, a washed-up actor, who previously played a top TV detective, is called back to the Isle of Man to solve a real-life crime. A murder enquiry no less.

Mindhorn sees this as his opportunity to get back into the big time. But, obviously, not all goes to plan.

Co-writers, regular collaborators and stars Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby joust from beginning to end. Always great value, some of the scenes are as unpredictable as the Isle of Man’s weather. It’s a pretty mad film  in all honesty, but one that knows its audience.

Barratt is in the middle of everything. If you like his work, you’ll love this film. Particularly his fondness for capoeira.. But there’s something that stays with you in this picture. It explores fear of failure, the sense of opportunities missed and bad decisions made. Relatable.

Final hat-tip to the Isle of Man, which does look (perhaps surprisingly) wonderful in this film. It’s out on DVD on September 4th. Buy it from HMV here.

 

On Culture: Floating Cinema comes to South Ferriby

The CultureJukebox team really believe in democratising film, so it’s great to read about the Floating Cinema making a move from London and reaching a series of interesting locations around England.

The stop-off in South Ferriby, North Lincolnshire, piqued our interest – with the floating cinema stopping off on the beautiful River Ancholme to screen all-time Hollywood classic Sunset Boulevard.

The Floating Cinema, 2016 Image: © Hydar Dewachi

The Floating Cinema is led by Up Projects and is being supported by the Canal & River Trust for In Dialogue. This is a free programme of feature films, documentaries and a newly commissioned artwork entitled On the Bench by Leeds based artist, Harry Meadley.

The Floating Cinema, Sunset Boulevard, South Ferriby tour stop

The commission is a series of eight short films by Meadley featuring interviews with individuals that live and work in the eight waterway locations where The Floating Cinema will stop.

The Floating Cinema tour begins on 1 July 2017 and ends on 13th August 2017 – visiting Sheffield, Rotherham, Swinton, Doncaster, Thorne, Goole, South Ferriby and Hull.

For more information and tickets click here.

On Film: East End Film Festival Collaborates with Stonewall

The CultureJukebox team are huge fans of the culture & creative industries supporting the causes that really matter. So it was great to read about the brilliant East End Film Festival’s upcoming film event..
Next week (running from 4th-6th November) the festival is hosting a special weekend of screenings raising money for Stonewall UK. It’s all part of a nationwide series of events taking place as part of Stonewall Season, all aimed at raising money for this vitally important charity and their work.
The festival crew are returning to one of London’s outstanding screening venues in the extraordinary Masonic Temple at the Andaz Liverpool Street. They have programmed two cult films that deserve to be seen within an LGBT context (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Tony Scott’s The Hunger), with a third evening of screenings featuring a trio of documentaries from VICE, complete with director introductions.
More information is available here. Tickets are just £10, and you can support the festival team on social media too.
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Here’s the film line-up in full:Friday 4th November the East End Film Festival presents A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

When A Nightmare on Elm Street became an unexpected smash hit, the birth of a horror classic also spawned a huge number of sequels to Wes Craven’s terrifying original. What was less predictable was that A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 would also be one of the gayest mainstream horror films ever made. Following a young man named Jesse who battles with Freddy Kruger when his family moves to Elm Street, this is classic 1980s slasher fare, but with a twist: all the victims are male, Jesse seems to prefer his best friend to his girlfriend, there’s terror in the locker room… and that’s not even mentioning a visit to a particular type of nightclub. A one off example of Hollywood (unintentionally) green lighting a script intentionally laden with gay subtext, don’t miss the chance to see this classic gay horror landmark on the big screen, in the most spectacular of settings.

Saturday 5th November the East End Film Festival presents The Hunger

A chilling classic starring the iconic David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve, Tony Scott’s tale of love, lust and vampires is one of the most stylish and erotic horror films ever made. A tale of a love triangle between Deneuve’s vampire and her two paramours (the achingly cool Bowie and Sarandon, who became romantically involved whilst making the film), a thrilling life of seduction and blood sucking on New York City’s nightclub scene soon take a terrifying turn, when it becomes clear that immortality may be an illusion. Featuring one of the best ever movie openings, as well as perhaps the greatest lesbian seduction scene ever committed to film, this is American Gothic at its stylish, erotic best, but with a twist.

Sunday 6th November VICE Media presents three original short documentaries each introduced by people behind the films.

Young and Gay: In Putin’s Russia introduced by Milène Larsson (Filmaker)

When Russian President Vladimir Putin passed anti-gay ‘propaganda’ legislation in the summer of 2014, the country effectively institutionalised homophobia throughout the nation and turned Russia’s LGBT population into full-blown enemies of the state. The all-pervasive law systematically dismantled basic human rights, blocking LGBT people from accessing support or legal help in every aspect of Russian society and led to a sharp rise in homophobic attacks and hate crime.

Ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, VICE News travelled to Russia to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia on Moscow’s LGBT youth, meeting leading gay rights activists, Putin’s spin doctor, the lawmaker behind the repressive legislation and the individuals protesting against their own government for the right to live freely and without fear.

Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens introduced by Christo Geoghegan (Host / Co-Producer)

VICE News travels to the sewers of New Kingston to meet the ‘Gully Queens’ – a group of young LGBTI Jamaicans forced out of family homes and into the underground dwellings of the capital by the constant threat of attack, rape and murder by anti-gay mobs.

In a country where the ‘Buggery Law’ still exists and carries a ten-year prison sentence, VICE News explores how young trans girls and gay men are leading the fight against Jamaica’s institutionalised homophobia through visibility and a fierce community spirit.

Gaycation: Japan introduced by Will Fairman (Series Producer)

GAYCATION follows best friends Ellen Page and Ian Daniel as they set off to explore LGBT cultures around the world, starting with Japan, where same-sex marriage is still not legal and LGBT couples often bear a social stigma. Despite the huge challenges, parts of the gay community continue to thrive in Japan’s vibrant culture and nightlife and in some cities, same-sex marriage is even starting to become recognised.

In a journey which includes getting ‘friendship-married’ at a Buddhist temple, working at a rent-a-friend agency and joining the party in the world’s smallest gay bar, Ellen and Ian find out what it’s really like to identify as LGBT in Japan and meet some of the people struggling to find their voice in a country that refuses to give them equal rights under the law.

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Tickets are available here.

 

On Alternate Realities: Big ideas at Sheffield Doc/Fest

I’ve been lucky enough to attend three different Sheffield Doc/Fest festivals, and always been so impressed by its progressive showcase of forward-thinking alternate realities programming.

Virtual and alternate realities are often a such an imaginative, immersive and impactful way to tell the stories that matter – it’s been great to properly digest this year’s programme over the past couple of days. Here’s a few of the highlights:

Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition

The festival’s Interactive Exhibition will showcase a range of interactive docs that you can play with, touch and experience. You can be among the first to see some mind-blowing cutting edge technology which has not yet been shown by to a public audience. Here’s what in the programme:

The Enemy uses augmented reality technology that uses the camera on your phone to superimpose life-sized characters into the room right in front of you, in this case a member of the Israeli Defence Force and a Palestinian fighter. As you move towards and around them, they react to you, talking about who they think the enemy is.

The USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony invites you to have a conversation with the scanned image of a holocaust survivor powered by sophisticated natural language processing software that allows you to ask him questions about his experiences and get a natural response.

The festival will set up an Empathy Station to test how bias can be changed through empathy. Games have finally grown up and games developers are working with documentary producers to allow us to connect with documentary stories on a level where you experience the narrative as a participant rather than a viewer.

In This War of Mine: The Little Ones you can discover what it’s like to be a child struggling to survive in a war-torn city. Antariksha Sanchar is India’s first major video-game, a beautifully-crafted experience in which you follow in the footsteps of a young mathematician learning to make sense of the cosmos.

Walden, a Game simulattes the experience of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau as he goes back to nature at Walden Pond. It’s a game in which you are rewarded by reading literature and discovering the natural world.

Two Billion Miles puts you in the shoes of a migrant trying to find a safe haven in Europe. You see the results of decisions you make about the journey played out in actual news footage showing the stark reality for many thousands of people over the past few months.

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#Hacked: Syria’s Electronic Armies invites us to become a journalist investigating the ISIS cyber war. The festival has some beautiful interactive documentaries in which artists invite us to play and explore.

John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes takes us on a boat with Lennon as he travels to Bermuda with his son Sean, a journey of renewed creativity which resulted in his Double Fantasy album.

In Avatar Secrets, Canadian interactive film-maker Ramona Pringle analyses online identities in today’s connected world.

A Polish Journey retraces the steps of a Polish migrant to Britain after the Second World War. The festival has a couple of art installations as well.

Trick or Treat : Bhai-O-Scope takes us into the curious world of India’s unregistered street doctors while Undoing Time looking at the American prison system through the products of the prison industry.

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The Alternate Realities Summit

On Sunday 12 June 2016 the Alternate Realities Summit (previously The Crossover Summit) will be taking place at Sheffield Doc/Fest. It promises a day of panel talks and playful presentations from some of the smartest minds in news, documentary, digital storytelling and virtual reality.

Fascinatingly, the festival is the first to have an Android keynote speaker, Bina48. This is not to be missed! Anyway, the festival programme tells us:

We kick off the Summit morning session ‘Robots, Androids and Avatars Live’ with a series of keynotes and practical demonstrations from intelligent machines and their human companions: social robot Bina48 debates love, war and the universe with Ramona Pringle, Dr Stephen Smith presents virtual Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, who answers all your questions about his experience in real-time, NAO gives us a brief history of robots and iCub helps us to see beyond our own eyes with telepresence experiments.

Back by popular demand, our VRfternoon sessions explore the impact of virtual reality on factual storytelling. Google’s very own Principal Filmmaker for VR, Jessica Brillhart kicking off post-lunch proceedings, with her latest insights from the frontline of VR making. We will be delving into the advantages and potential pitfalls of binaural sound, investigating how journalism works in virtual reality, sharing what the VR community can learn from immersive theatre, analysing whether virtual reality can increase our empathy levels, as well as launching a new VR film from the United Nations.

I’m particularly interested in Dr Stephen Smith’s keynote talk, showcasing a New Dimensions in Testimony; ground-breaking natural language software that allows audiences to have a “virtual encounter” with the recorded image of Holocaust survivor, Pinchas Gutter, who responds in real time, powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation. I saw a trailer of this project at UCL last year, and this kind if work has the awesome potential to transform storytelling and archives of the future.

static1.squarespace.jpgAlso, really looking forward to the United Nation’s VR film launch. This will be a mass viewing of the organisation’s latest VR film; all about gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where factions fight over the country’s mineral resources. After the viewing, the project’s director Gabo Arora will be interviewed by Francine Stock of BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme.

 

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If virtual reality and pushing the boundaries of factual reporting is your thing, then highly recommend visiting the Sheffield Doc/Fest website to explore for yourself.

 

On Film: East End Film Festival Announces Programme

Exciting news! The team at East End Film Festival have announced their festival line-up for 2016, and it looks really strong – themes around London people, protest and play. And much more.

It’s always one of my favourite festivals, I’ve been to see at least a couple of films every year since I moved to London in 2007. Anyway, what are the highlights for this year?

The opening Gala – Alleycats

A must for any cycling film fans. London-based filmmaker Ian Bonhote makes a rip-roaring debut feature in Alleycats, a thriller that takes the audience on a thrilling journey through the streets of London from the seat of a bicycle. Alleycats promises to be a riotously entertaining, tense gauntlet ride through the streets of London, featuring a flock of rising British talent. Tickets are here.

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The Crime Scene strand

Launched in 2000 by Adrian Wootton, Crime Scene heralds all things crime-related on film. Telling us about the current state of society, this series intends to go beyond detectives and noir, whilst still celebrating the genre. Exploring narratives of resistance and identity in a world where big business and government define laws through money and control…more than ever the Crime Scene represents the journey of the little man or woman up against the stacked odds of deprivation, corporate power and the State.

Films that have caught my eye include Marcus Fleming’s Six Rounds and Jake Gabbay Kingsland, both focused on London, crime and boxing.  Adrian Tanner’s Redistributors – a thriller for the age of the Panama Papers, about modern-day Robin Hood style hackers – looks brilliant too. Another provocative film in this strand is Kettling Of The Voices, by Chester Yang. This documentary looks at the student movement in the UK, and the erosion of the right to protest.

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Days Of Refuge strand

This year, the East End Film Festival shines a light on an issue of monumental global relevance – the plight of refugees. Exacerbated by ongoing humanitarian crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere – today, Europe faces one of its greatest moral tests in its response to the needs and circumstances of persecuted and displaced people from all over the globe. Presented in partnership with the Refugee Council, UEL and Refugee Week, A Day of Refuge is a chance to examine and debate the refugee crisis, the response of developed nations to genuine human need, and the responsibility of filmmakers examining the refugee experience on film.

Eye-catching films include Ketermaya by Lucas Jedrzejak. The programme tells us “In the camp of Ketermaya children play and dream, just like any other children. Beneath the surface, things are not so easy for these Syrian kids, who have fled fighting, chemical weapons and chaos.”

Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea is also a vital picture, a documentary following a 12-year-old boy who lives on the island of Lampedusa, a symbolic border crossed by thousands of migrants in search of freedom.

The Darkest Universe

The super talented Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley follow the BAFTA-nominated Black Pond with this picture about troubled sibling relationships, alienation and aliens. Here’s what the programme says: “When his sister Alice and her boyfriend disappear on the canalways of London, Zac desperately sets out to find her. Featuring Joe Thomas and Simon Bird, The Darkest Universe is a brilliantly distinctive, emotive piece of comedic filmmaking, featuring some of Britain’s most exciting young comic actors.” The Darkest Universe is part of East End Film Festival’s competition line-up.

 

 

There’s so much going on, i’ve really not done this year’s festival justice. An annual multi-platform festival held in London, the EEFF presents a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. The EEFF’s mission is to discover, support, and exhibit pioneering work by global and local independent filmmakers, and to introduce viewers to innovative and challenging cinematic experiences. It attracts an audience of 30,000+ each year, join them and find out more online here.

 

On Documentary: Sheffield Doc Fest announces 2016 line-up

Have been lucky enough to work from Sheffield Doc/Fest three times, and it’s always one of our most progressive, exciting and inventive film festivals. The line-up for this year’s festival has just been announced.

This year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place  between June 10th and 15th and is now in its 23rd edition. This year’s festival includes 160 feature and short documentaries, an alternate realities line-up (more on its transmedia, virtual reality and new digital frontiers programming in a separate blog next week), and a series of on-stage interviews and debates with leading filmmakers and industry figures.

Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next will open this year’s festival, with the legendary filmmaker coming to Sheffield  for the first time since 1998. The UK premiere and Q&A will be live streamed to 114 cinemas across the UK through distributor Dogwoof.

I was at the festival when they did this for the Pulp film premiere, and there was a special energy in the room. Great that the festival is sharing some of its brave programming nationwide.

This year, Michael Moore is also giving a festival masterclass (joining stellar filmmakers such as D.A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Nino Kirdatze and more in a big learning programme).

Michael-Moore

Sheffield Doc/Fest is certainly the place to be for new work. There are a total of 27 world premieres, 15 international, 19 European and 52 UK premieres with documentaries from 49 countries including Mexico, Cuba, China and Peru.

The festivals main competition is made up of twelve titles. I’m really looking forward to the premiere of Ashish Ghadiali’s The Confession – this picture is a first-hand account of the rise of modern jihad told through the eyes of Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg.

Samira Goetschel’s City 40 will receive its European premiere in competition at Doc/Fest, exploring the human and environmental costs of the nuclear industry through the lens of one of Russia’s largest closed-nuclear cities.

Other titles up for the festival’s biggest prize are  Brian Oakes’ Jim: The James Foley Story, about the US journalist murdered by ISIS in 2014; Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened, about the terrible beauty of war-ravaged Afghanistan; and Jerry Rothwell’s Sour Grapes, revealing how an Indonesian immigrant defrauded the international wine world.

One picture I’m really looking forward to isPeter Middleton and James Spinney’s Notes On Blindness. This will be accompanied by virtual reality project Notes On Blindness: Into Darkness.

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A Ken Loach retrospective is sure to be hugely popular. As will its line-up of amazing speakers; including Lord David Puttnam, Joanna Lumley and snooker champ Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The festival will close with the UK premiere of The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits Of John Berger. The documentary, which received its world premiere at the Berlinale in February, portrays John Berger, the UK writer, art critic, painter and poet whose novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize. The film is divided into four chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of his life and work. It will close the festival, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Swinton and Dziadosz.

There’s so much to see and do at Sheffield Doc/Fest, recommend checking out the website for all the details. And as promised, a more detailed blog on its Alternate Realities programme will go live next week.

On Documentary: Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces New Programme

Sheffield Doc/Fest is always a summer highlight. A progressive festival examining just what stories can be, and reimagining the impact documentary can have.

So, it’s great to see some really exciting programming on its newly announced line-up of original thinkers and sharp minded innovators.

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger will close this year’s Festival with a Q&A from co-directors Tilda Swinton and Bartek Dziadosz. In this incredible-sounding documentary journey, revered British art critic John Berger’s close friends, including Colin MacCabe and Tilda Swinton, collaborate on four very different unique film essays.

The film is set in the Alpine village of Quincy, the films interweave ideas from Berger’s work and world. Conceived as “exercises in thinking in film,” they offer up an appropriately innovative portrait of an intellectual giant. At Sheffield Doc/Fest, the film will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors Tilda Swinton & Bartek Dziadosz

The genius snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to Sheffield in conversation with Simon Hattenstone (one of my favourite journalists). The maverick snooker star will take people through his documentary inspirations.

The USC Shoah Foundation: New Dimensions in Technology (which we covered as part of the Humanities Festival at UCL last year) is also part of this year’s festival. It will show how USC Shoah Foundation – the Institute for Visual History and Education is pioneering the use of natural language software to enable virtual conversations with 3D images of Holocaust and genocide survivors so conversations can continue far into the future.

This is part of the Alternate Realities programme of talks & sessions, marketplace activity and much more. This year’s festival promises so much! The Full Festival Pass is the only way to access it all. Check out the festival social feeds for updates too.

On Film: 28 Days Later Secret Cinema coming to London

Secret Cinema is about to get a lot darker, as it takes its first steps into the horror genre with Danny Boyle’s 2002 British cult classic 28 Days Later.

The film is a CultureJukebox favourite, so really looking forward to this one. The Secret Cinema show opening in a (secret!) location in London later this April and runs until the end of May.

The post apocalyptic thriller reinvigorated the zombie genre. 28 Days Later stars Cillian Murphy as Jim, a bicycle courier who awakes from a coma to find that a virus has spread amongst the populace, all but resulting in complete societal collapse. The narrative then unfolds to follow the journey of Jim as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened and, ultimately, survive in a London that has been torn apart by the infected.

The 28 Days Later show will also act as the nationwide launch of Secret Cinema at this scale. Alongside the shows in London, another secret city will also be home to the experience. Watch this space!

“Secret Cinema is excited to step into the world of horror with Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, a true British horror classic – we look forward to creating a suitably frightening and exhilarating experience. Secret Cinema’s expansion over the last nine years has been remarkable, we’ve now created experiences in New York and Berlin, as well as the many in London. But this will be a turning point for us as we embark upon our very first UK nationwide production.” ~ Fabien Riggall, Founder and Creative Director of Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema will return from 14th April 2016 to 29th May 2016. Tickets are available via the Secret Cinema website.