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The Stone Roses: MADE OF STONE

June 5, 2013

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My nails, inspired by the colours in the poster of The Stone Roses documentary: MADE OF STONE, directed by Shane Meadows. The highly anticipated film is not to be missed and is released TODAY! Get your tickets here: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/film/The_Stone_Roses_Made_Of_Stone/

stone roses quad

Cannes Profiles: Meet Helen Dewitt

May 26, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I caught up with Helen Dewitt, Festivals Producer.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Helen Dewitt: I’m the producer of BFI London Film Festival and BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. I make sure that both the festivals are organised and delivered on the most basic level. That included venues, staffing, print logistics, which I don’t do directly but I ensure they happen. I manage the sub-departments, so the education and industry areas of the festival and I also look after public partnerships which is the festivals relationship with people like Film London, Creative Skillset and The Mayor’s Office. Those are the main areas I cover, but we are a small team so we all do some programming and when the festivals are on I do Q&As, write notes for the brochure and things like that. In simplistic terms my job is making sure that all the pieces of the festivals are in place rather than the content, although I do contribute to that as well.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

HD: I studied Art History and Philosophy at the university of Essex and when I left there I was working at the Tate Gallery, which was before the Tate Modern existed. I was the exhibition assistant, which was mainly selling tickets and post cards. Then I got a job in the publications department, looking after the photo library and commissioning photography, which was great, but my real ambition rather naively, was to become a curator of modern art. But I soon realised that unless you’ve been to particular colleges, have particular contacts, that that was never going to happen. My equal love was cinema, so as soon as I moved to London I was seeing all the films that I could in all the repertory cinemas that were around at the time. I knew then that I wanted to move into cinema. I applied for a job as assistant manager of the Electric Cinema on Portabello Road, so that was my first job in film. I wanted to get into programming and I made a few terrible mistakes along the way, programming films that I thought were a good idea with little understanding of the audience. But we all need to make mistakes in order to learn. It was Liz Wrenn who was doing the programming and when she stepped down to do other things so my colleague and I, started to do the programming. I was there about two years, then I went to the Scala cinema where I was doing a similar job but with no venue management, just programming. I had a couple of jobs after that, one at Cinenova a woman’s film distribution company, the other was at the Lux, which was the centre for film, video and digital arts. Unfortunately, that only lasted a brief five years before the funding was pulled, the remnants of Lux is now Lux Distribution.

There used to be a circuit of cinemas called the Regional Film Theaters, places like the Watershead Bristol, The Corner House in Manchester, were both part of this circuit that were centrally programmed by the BFI. Jobs in this industry don’t come up very often, but there was an opening at the BFI for a job in that department, I got the job. We put on touring packages based on programmes that had played at the BFI Southbank, or from other places, like the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. We also did several series of all different types of film, Swedish cinema for example. We wanted films that were great but hadn’t got distribution to get played so we created things around them in order to get them out there and seen.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

HD: Be persisten, but politely persistent. Make as many contacts as possible and learn as much as you can. You could subscribe to screen daily and find out about the business, watch a lot of films, be out and about. If possible start doing your own projects. It depends what area of the business you want to be in. If you want to be a film maker, start making cheap films and learn the basics, or go to film school. If it is other areas of the business think about how you can proactively get involved. It doesn’t necessarily mean doing an internship, it can just mean devising a project that you want to do. Sometimes you can do an internships which are be great, but they can also be the opposite. It also depends what company you do it with, an internship in a smaller company is probably more useful, because you’re able to get try more things and really get stuck in.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

HD: That is an interesting question, it is difficult because there are so many, you get the list from the competition and you think ‘ohh there are some great directors here’ but you haven’t really got an idea. I was looking forward to the Jodorowsky, THE DANCE OF REALITY. I love his work and he is a great guy but the film was quite disappointing. However, the documentary about Jodorowsky, JODOROWSKY’S DUNE was really good. Dune was a very popular book in the 70s and he got the rights to make the film,  he put together these amazing collaborators and it never got made. The doc was hugely entertaining, people who love films love films about filmmaking, so I enjoyed it a lot. But I usually try to look out for the smaller films that might get missed, particularly films that have a bit more experimentation about them or films that are about women’s experiences, I really liked SARAH PREFERS TO RUN by Chloé Robichaud.

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year

HD: I think I would have to say the Hirokazu Kore-eda’s, LIKE FATHER LIKE SON. It seems to be the one that everyone has been really moved by. People have also liked THE PAST, but there is a divide on it. Some people say it is treading the same turf as his last film, A SEPARATION, but others have loved it.

Cannes Profile: Meet Wendy Mitchell

May 26, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I spoke to Wendy Mitchell, editor of Screen International.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Wendy Mitchell: I’m in charge of all editorial products across Screen International, from the website to the magazines, conferences, moderation panels etc. Here in Cannes we do nine print magazines. For the first couple of days I was editing them all myself, I would get all the copy from the reporters, try to figure out what goes where, what picture to use and those kinds of things. But then we had a news editor come out who has been with us for about 10 months. He trained up on how we do the dailies beforehand, because they are mental and we do them in such a specific way. But there is only so much you can prepare, I’ve kind of pushed him off the cliff. You can’t really just ease into it, you have to start doing it yourself. So from day two or three he’d do more and more of the pages himself, and then eventually, all of them. This means that I’m able to go out and have more meetings, see a few films and do some different kinds of interviews because I know that he is taking care of things here, of course I will proof read everything before it goes to press. Our days are busy throughout, we have a news meeting at 9am every morning, that’s when we decide what is going where in the paper for the next day. That changes drastically throughout the course of the day because news will be announced so we have to keep updating everything and holding stories. Sometimes we don’t go to press until 9 or 10pm, it’s busy.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

WM: I studied journalism at the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I’m from.  I always new I wanted to live in New York so I got a job doing business reporting at Dow Jones who do The Wall Street Journal. Then I started writing a lot, sometimes about film, but mostly about the music industry. So then I got job at some music magazines like the Rolling Stone, from there I just segwayed over to film because I got a job at Indie Wire. I had known somebody that was a publisher there. I didn’t study film or anything, but he said ‘it doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert of film, you’re a good editor so come and do this’. Now I’ve been doing film stuff for 15 years and I can’t imagine doing anything else or even any other kind of journalism. I think if I was to ever move on from Screen one day I would go into the industry. It feels like I’ve found my niche.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

WM: I think the thing we look at is somebody that is professional from the very first moment you talk to them. Yeah, we are laid back, but you want somebody who if they‘re sending you an email, everything is spelt correctly and it’s addressing you in a way that you can tell they’ve done their research. Whoever you are contacting, know what they do so you can say something relevant to them. We get a lot of blanket emails and you can tell. We get emails with typos in them and it is not really the best first impression. Be outgoing, confident and persistent, but don’t be obnoxious. Showing initiative is also good. Sometimes actually picking up the phone and calling, because we get so many emails a day so if somebody calls you or maybe even suggest a coffee it stands out a bit more. Even if you don’t end up getting a job, you could still just meet people in the industry. Networking is important.

AB: Which film are/were you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

WM: I think I’d have to say the Coen Brothers’, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. I like their work, but I wasn’t quite sure if this one would be dull. Having seen it, I was not disappointed. It had such life and spirit, the music was great and it really blew me away. It was nice to see something that people were laughing at. To be in a room with all of those critics and being able sense the love for it was great. It is such a good feeling to see an amazing film like that, with a group like that, and have everyone really getting into it. I loved the film and the atmosphere.

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

WM: I don’t think I can say just one film. Broken record, but the Coen brother’s again. That will stay with people for a while and I think it has potential to go through to award season, it will have a long life and be remembered here in Cannes. But the festival is quite back heavy this year, so it is hard to tell. James Gray, THE IMMIGRANT is one I was looking forward to. Also the Alexander Payne, NEBRASKA could have longevity. Another one, which is slightly off the radar is THE LUNCHBOX, the Indian film by Ritesh Batra. I haven’t seen it yet but that is what I also love, the Coens’ are here, everyone wants to see their film, but for this small Indian film to be hailed as this potential hit is wonderful. People give discovery a chance here which is really encouraging!

Cannes Profiles: Meet Beatrice Neumann

May 24, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I spoke to Beatrice Neumann, Acquisitions Manager for The Works Film Company

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Beatrice Neumann: My job is to identify projects which we can sell. I work mostly on the international side, so I speak to producers from all over the world. We acquire at many stages, from scripts up to finished films. I go to a lot of festivals, co-production markets and talk to many different people to find some good stuff for us to sell. Although, not all festivals I go to are about watching films, Berlin and Cannes for example are meeting festivals for me. That’s when a lot of producers come from overseas and it is a chance for me to have a catch up with them all face to face. We are also very director driven, I look very carefully at directors and what they have done. We do work with new directors, but I need to see that they have made some amazing shorts or have a really strong portfolio.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

BN: I came to London about 10 years ago, I’m from Germany originally. I was on a programme where we had classes and it also included three month’s internship in London, we could find whatever we wanted to do. My aim was to see if I could find a job and stay on, because I’ve always loved London. In terms of media, it is a big hub. I was looking for a job in documentory production or TV because I started out in public television in Germany, more on the journalistic side. I ended up at Scala Productions, Nick Powell’s company. I knocked on the door and asked them if they had any internships. They said they might have something. They called me up two days later and I got the internship. They had many runners at the time, but I was lucky because they had a system where one of us worked directly with Nick, as a PA (personal assistant). I got that job for a couple of weeks. Apparently I did alright, because they recommended me on at Winchester Entertainment, a company they had made a lot of films with. At the time I didnt quite know what a sales agent was, but I thought, I’ll give it a go. I was an in house runner there. Eventually I ended up with a permanent position and worked accross all depts, mostly on the international side. I worked on script development a lot, which meant I started reading a large number of scripts. I got trained how to break them down, and all sorts of things.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

BN: Try to do a lot of internships. You don’t have an overview of the industry and understand what different areas there are, until you start working in it. Of course you have to be clear what your interests are and what you might want to do, but you only really find out once you start getting stuck in. It can also be about being at the right place, at the right time. The only way to do that is to keep going. You must always do the best job you can, whatever they ask you to do. You might not get the most interesting things to do in the beginning, but ask a lot of questions, talk  to everyone and try to understand how it all works. When you come to the point when you are applying for your first job, even if you are not too sure about it, you have to project that it is really what you want to go for at that point in time. You can always change your mind afterwards, but give it a go.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

BN: If I were able to see films during my time here, I would defiantly go and see the Coen Brothers’ film, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Normally I have time at the end of the festival to catch a film, but I’m leaving earlier this year. I always like Sorrentino’s films so THE GREAT BEAUTY would have been on my list to see. In fact, if I could, I would watch all the competition films!

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

BN: That is hard to determine, it’s usually something you don’t have on your cards. It can sometimes be a film from a new Filmmaker, who surprises us all with their talent and establishes themselves as somebody to watch. It’s the best feeling when you have a gap in your schedule and you go to watch a film that sounds quite intresting, but you have no idea what it’s going to be like and don’t expect it to be great. But then you have this amazing momtent where you are actually blown away, it doesnt happen too often. But if I had to choose, I think everybody is really waiting for ONLY GOD FORGIVES. Since DRIVE, Nicolas Winding Refn has become one of the hottest Filmmakers.

Cannes Profiles: Meet Russell Barnes

May 22, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I caught up with production designer, Russell Barnes who art directed ONLY GOD FORGIVES and production designed WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, both at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Russell Barnes: I production design for film, television, commercials, and web series. So I take care of any thing visually related to those productions, from the furniture to the wall paper!

AB: How did you get into the industry?

RB: I first worked within the industry when I was working with my sister in New Zealand. We had a company that did a lot of merchandising and sculptural work for the record and entertainment industry. That transitioned into working on music videos and commercials. I took that work over to New York City and figured out production design was going to be my main focus. Long story short, I started working in the locations department on a job. This ignited my passion for production design even more so. I then started working with a producer as a production assistant and slowly wormed my way into the art department.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

RB: Formal training is good. Of course you will find professional production designers that have had no training at all. However, if you have the time and the money to get some, do it. I’ve also heard some reports about a few schools and their production design courses, and that they sometimes lack the real world training. So it does depend on where you go. On the job experience is also very important. The only way you can get that experience is by moving to a film hub. Elsewhere, you won’t get the chances you are going to need to move up, or the experience you need to get paid. You have to be in an environment where you are constantly climbing the ladder. So my key bit of advice is, it doesn’t matter about school, although it helps, but definitely move to a film hub. If it’s really what you want to do, get there and let your passion lead you.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

RB: If I hadn’t of seen, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE already, I would say that. But since I’ve already seen it, I’m going to say ONLY GOD FORGIVES, because I worked on it and the special lady in my life designed it!

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

RB: ONLY GOD FORGIVES and WE ARE WHAT WE ARE!

Cannes Profiles: Meet Ellie Evans

May 22, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I met up with Ellie Evans, Producer for elevenfiftyfive.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Ellie Evans: My role at the company is to produce the events and campaigns. I essentially put together all of the film projects we work on. As a company,  what we do at elevenfiftyfive is support the film community by connecting interesting stand out things in film, with brands. So working with brands to get funding or awareness for exciting and interesting things that are happening in film.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

EE: I went to Bristol university and studied French, Spanish and European Studies. After graduating, the first job I had was interning for Dazed and Confused. I was a runner in the PR and marketing department. From then on I realised what I  really liked doing was producing events. That was the bit that got me excited. Having worked that out, I went and worked for a marketing agency called BD putting on events and doing  experiential marketing  campaigns for big brands. I worked there for four years and worked my way up from entry level, which gave me loads of experience. When I’d started working there, a team was set up, called the ‘experiential team’. It was kind of like event marketing. We were creating experiences for brands rather than just a print advertisement, which was a more effective way of making the brand stand out. When I joined the team there were 3 of us, when I left there were about 22. We grew hugely so it was a great place for me to learn and get stuck in. When I left BD I went to War Child which was producing events for a charity. It was very much working with the music industry, putting on a lot of big gigs to fund raise.  The event we’ve got coming up at elevenfiftyfive is the world premiere of the The Stone Roses documentary, MADE OF STONE. Which is a great event for me to work on, as it is fusing everything that I love doing. Music, event producing and film. So it’s my perfect project! I stayed at War Child for a couple of years and had such an amazing time, then this opportunity came up at elevenfiftyfive. I’d known David, director of the company for a long time. I knew he was setting up this company and eventually the right time came for me to get involved. So in actual fact, before this I hadn’t really worked in film at all, I’m really new to it. But the background I’d had made it possible for me to take it on. They were all transferable skills. But in terms of the Film industry, I’m completely fresh. Having to learn it all from scratch has been a big challenge, and I’m still massively learning. But that’s what makes it so exciting.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

EE: Get yourself out there as much as you can. Not saying no, say yes to every opportunity! And don’t be scared to give things a try. You might take something on and hate it, that’s fine because it is still learning. Sometimes you have to do a few of jobs you really don’t like until you find the right one. It’s getting yourself into the habit of trying new things. You can’t be too hard on yourself if something doesn’t work out. Everything that you do will help you towards that journey.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

EE: The two I was really looking forward were BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, but I saw it before I came out and thought it was wonderful, and INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, because of all of the hype it’s created and because I love the Coen brothers. I also adore folk music AND it’s set in New York City, it seems right up my street. Oh! I totally forgot about ONLY GOD FORGIVES. In fact, I’m going to change my mind and go for that!

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

EE: It’s got to be ONLY GOD FORGIVES. It’ll be the most edgy, rebellious stand out one for sure!

Cannes Profiles: Meet Catherine Bray

May 18, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I had a chat with Catherine Bray, editor of film4.com.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Catherine Bray: The main aspect of what I do is present Film4 which is a TV channel, developer and funder of film and an independent editorial outlet. But it’s a varied world, because on top of that I also do a lot of freelance on the side. Film4 is my 9-5 and freelance work happens in the weekends and evenings. It’s pretty non-stop. But for me, it is really important to keep variety there.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

CB: My first job at 21 was staff writer on Hotdog magazine, which came after doing a few internships. When I was doing my English degree, the holiday before finals, I did an internship at Virgin Books in their publicity department. The experience I got there confirmed that I might want to work in books, but that I wasn’t that interested in publicity. So over the summer holidays I interned for a month with The Observer which was great, although it didn’t lead to a full time job. That’s when I went off and did an internship for Hotdog. While I was there, their staff writer quit. They were reasonably impressed with what I’d done, so they offered me an interview for the job and I got it. It was good timing! As I mentioned, I’ve always done freelance whatever my main job has been. While working there I was also freelancing for Channel4 on the side, writing articles for their 4Talent site. This meant when Hotdog went under I was able to ask 4Talent if they had any jobs going, and then I got a full time job there.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

CB: Never write to anyone saying ‘I want a job in the media, can you give me advice?’. Be more specific. It doesn’t matter if you write different letters to different  people one saying ‘I really want to work as a doc reviewer, can you tell me about how you got into book reviewing?’ or ‘I want to run Channel 5 on demand service, can you tell me about how you got into that?’. Just be particular, otherwise they haven’t got a lot to go on. You’ll get back from them something really vague. Phrases like, ‘be true to yourself’, ‘keep working hard at it’ and ‘you’ll get there’. That’s not really advice. The person you are writing to needs to have at least a sense of what you are interested in.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

CB: I’ve just written a feature on the top 5 must see films in competition, and I put the Nicolas Winding Refn film ONLY GOD FORGIVES as number one. Although, since I’d started writing the article I finished reading Behind the Candelabra, the book on which Steven Soderbergh’s film starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon is based. I have to say, it is really edging up in my chart. Based on reading the book, I can only imagine it is going to be spectacular.

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

CB: Again, I really feel like BEHIND THE CANDELABRA is kicking up a lot of heat for Michael Douglas’ performance. He would be a really interesting, flashy Hollywood choice of best actor. But it is so hard to tell. I have also heard the British films are extraodinary, Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL in Critic’s Week and Clio Barnard’s THE SELFISH GIANT in Director’s Fortnight both sound incredible.