Plan B

A short film we made for Writers’ Block and Company TSU’s Benjamin Likely’s Palace of Varieties show, a big multimedia theatrical event thingy that took place this week, based on a load of daft futuristic sci-fi ideas about bees, black holes and anti-aging face cream I wrote on the back of a toffee wrapper one afternoon. I played Mr Likely. You should have seen it! I should have seen it, but I didn’t. I hope it was good.

The Unwanted Heart

At the beginning of February we travelled down to London to take part in the Shine Shorts 48 Hour Film Challenge. The theme we got given was “love”, and we had a monkey costume lying around, so we made this.

The music is by Fyfe Dangerfield off of Guillemots. Swoon! The tune he came up with, “Monkey Love”, was a perfect fit for the dreamy, fairy tale vibe we were going for.

Save It

I wrote and co-directed a film this weekend for the Go Green 48 hour film challenge. Our theme was “Save The Planet”. Inspiring!

You can see our entry here, and maybe rate it five stars so that I can go to Las Vegas, thus giving the film a massive carbon footprint. I think that would be good.

Of course, to view it you have to sign up to the 48 Go Green website, so I’d understand if you couldn’t be bothered. It’s only about saving the planet after all. Why not kill a polar bear while you’re not rating my film five stars? You might as well. God.

The External World

Wrongness on a scale usually used to measure earthquakes. Not work safe. Or home safe. Just generally unsafe. If you have 20 spare minutes I can recommend watching this for 17 of them and spending the other three giving your brain a shower.

It’s the new film by David O’Reilly, the Irish artist and animator, co-written by Vernon Chatman of Wonder Showzen glory, and featuring cameos by Adam Buxton and Julian Barrett. It’s a nightmarish thing, occasionally dipping into darkness-by-numbers, but mostly funny and unsettling in equal measure. And it’s visually stunning; all Atari-hued and glitchy, with an attention to detail that rewards repeat viewings – “Scalpel shop – free puppy with every purchase”. What?

It’s also, as I mentioned, ever so wrong.

Look at his website. David O’Reilly is 25. I hate him.

“Hhh. Typical”.

World Cinema

A sweet and simple short film by the Coen Brothers. Originally made for Chacun Son Cinema (To Each His Own Cinema), a French anthology film commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, in which 35 directors made 33 short films inspired by the movie theatre.

I don’t know exactly what the Coens are saying about “the cinema” in this film, but it is gently funny, with some Pythonesque moments of dialogue, and it’s really interesting to see what they do with a filmmaking challenge like this.

Writers’ Block are hoping to stage a Coens night at the Arc Cinema in March, and we’re also hoping to run a Chacun Son Cinema challenge of our own. Watch this space!

Rare Exports Inc.

Well this is nice. Despite the script sometimes sounding like it was translated from Finnish to English by somebody from the moon, the narration works well and I proper lol’d from around the 5 minute mark.

This short was made in 2003, and the director has since expanded the premise into a feature – Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

The trailer has a great last line…

The Jump

This film was made for Flip For The Boro, a Writers’ Block event in which five teams comprising a director, two actors, a composer and two Writers’ Block members were given a Teesside location and had to make a film in four hours. This is what my team made.

We came up with the idea in double-quick time, worked out what scenes we’d need and then got filming. It was a total team effort – everybody threw ideas into the mix, and we all had a go at filming bits. All the dialogue is improvised, which is why it’s possibly a little overlong, and the plot stretches credibility a tad but on the whole I think it’s pretty good for four hours work, and there’s talk of redoing it properly.

Bill Fellows, Tees actor extraordinaire (him off Downton Abbey and the voice of Frank’s Factory Flooring) plays a blinder, as does Jennifer Nelson, and I play a git of a director. Again. Hmmm.

Oli Heffernan, him who is Detective Instinct, came up with five brilliant tunes on the day, but sadly the nature of the film meant we could only use a couple of snippets, which is a shame cos I love his stuff. He’s worked with Mike Watt, man!

Anyway. What do you think?

Panic Au Village

I am totally loving A Town Called Panic today. I love the crudity of the modelmaking, the simplicity of the animation, and the childlike spontaneity of the storytelling. And I like the postman’s scarf. What a scarf! I just bought a scarf from Primark which I thought looked swish but now I think I need one made out of plasticine. And I want a pony.

I have very bad toothache today. I prescribed myself cocodamol and Campo Viejo Rioja and lots of it, so although my tooth still feels like Satan himself is plucking at the nerves in the hopes of turning it into some kind of despicable enamel-and-meat harp, my brain is taking a lovely fluffy holiday and I want a pony and I want to play ping pong with an Indian.

There’s a nice little interview with the creators of Panic Au Village here.