Tag Archives: bfi

16-24 yr old – Want to work in VFX? Framestore is open!

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Open Doors @ Framestore

Date: Tuesday 10 November 2015
Address: 9 Noel Street, London, W1F 8GH

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A VFX scene from the film Gravity

 

Want to work in VFX? Framestore is open!

We have secured exclusive invites for anyone aged 16-24 interested in a career in visual effects to go behind the scenes at Framestore, one of the UK’s most exciting VFX companies.

The artists and producers behind the VFX magic on films such as Gravity, Harry Potter and Avatar will share their career paths and the nitty gritty of their job.

Meet the visionaries who have helped make Framestore the success it is today, and get fresh perspectives from those starting their career at the company, including insight and tips from…

framestore

  • Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer
  • Junior Animator
  • Production Assistant

Also, network with the rest of the Framestore family – whilst enjoying free pizza!

Don’t miss out! Click here to save your place at our Framestore Open Doors

Competition Time

Fancy the opportunity to work at Framestore? We’re giving you the opportunity to win one week work experience. Click here to find out how.

(Competition run by Film London and not by Kush: click link to go to their site)

 

Open Doors

Open Doors is a series of events for 16-24 year olds to connect with the fastest growing creative companies, and network with like-minded people in the industry. At every Open Doors event you will come away with invaluable insight into working in the Creative Industries, the skills you need to be successful and the opportunities open to you to help you get there.

For more information about this and other events, follow our Open Doors swarm on Hiive, the professional network for creative people.

 

UK actress Kyla Frye Premiere’s Her New Film on 4th Aug

Written by the boss Marlon Palmer
20.07.15

 

 Premiering at The Lyric Cinema, Lyric Hammersmith on 4th August 2015

Double_Cross_Poster

 Cocky young con-artists, Jenn (Kyla Frye) and George (Sam Benjamin) have been making all the right moves, breaking the law, and having fun doing it. But one night after making suspiciously light work of a heavy score, they find themselves crossing the line into dangerous territory…in more ways than one…

 

UK actress and colleague Kyla Frye has grown tired of waiting for the film industry to embrace diversity, offer better roles to black actors and produce films that tell a different story about black life.

We talk to Kyla and her co-star Sam about the Uk film industry and going it alone and makiing thier own glossy hollywood style short film.

Kush: Kyla what do you think about the current state of the UK film industry and the new BFI initiated effort to meet diversity quota’s?:

Kyla Frye “If Sam and I can cover several aspects of the ‘diversity debate’ just by being working class, a Black/Mixed Race woman from London and a White man from Merseyside, having written, produced and starring in our own film, what is the rest of the industry waiting for?!”

“90% of the roles I am called up for are for US TV and film and they’re great leading roles but in the UK, if I’m seen for anything, they tend to be stereotypical bit-parts. We’re losing home grown talent to the US, instead of investing, supporting and exporting it. ”

Co-star Sam Benjamin says: “Of course Idris can play Bond but let’s establish new British franchise characters… movies that reflect the melting pot of Britain in 2015.”

Kush: Your new film features some raunchy scenes, you and Sam are friends so how easy was it to do?

Kyla Frye “Filming a sex scene, through the night, in a honeymoon suite…yup, things got awkward.”

– Sam Benjamin “We’ve been friends for five years, so yeah, suddenly having to rip each other’s clothes off was…interesting.”

Kush: Kyla, what were you aiming to achieve in making this short film, especially as you had recently appeared in the Tom Cruise film ‘Edge of Tomorrow’?

– Kyla Frye “We’ve set out to prove that we could make something of Hollywood quality on a minimal budget.”  

– Sam Benjamin “Knowing my co-star was fresh out of being cast in a Tom Cruise movie, I knew I had to step up my game!”

– Kyla Frye “When we had a rest between takes, I caught Sam talking to himself in character…off camera. He didn’t know he was being watched through the peephole on the hotel door!”

– Sam Benjamin “We named the main characters after George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez…we were so inspired by their intense, electric relationship in ‘Out of Sight’.”

Kyla Frye

Kyla Frye

Written, produced and starring Kyla Frye (‘Edge of Tomorrow’ with Tom Cruise, BBC Three’s ‘West10 LDN’ and critically acclaimed documentary, ‘The Key’) and Sam Benjamin (BBC’s ‘The Crimson Field’, CBBC’s ‘Old Jack’s Boat’ with Bernard Cribbins and Sky 1’s ‘Little Crackers’ with John Bishop). Directed by Sam Bradford and shot on RED (cameras used for Hollywood movies like Skyfall, Avengers and The Hobbit) with Praxima Film (who produced the Will.I.Am Lexus Commercial), DOUBLE CROSS is an eight minute crime caper about two con artists who bite off more than they can chew.

Follow Double Cross on social media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoubleCrossFilm
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DoubleCrossFilm

BFI brings in Deborah Williams to bring diversity to UK Film/TV

Written by Christine Eccelston-Craig
06.05.15

Deborah-Williams
The British Film Institute has finally filled its newly created Diversity Manager position; Deborah Williams will be managing the BFI’s diversity agenda as well as supporting the BFI “Three-Ticks” initiative. Williams has quite a bit of experience promoting equality and diversity in film and other denominations of the media industry where she previously worked as a Senior Officer at the Arts Council England. There; she was responsible for the policy and research of black entertainers and other ethnic minority groups breaking into the industry and how they were portrayed on screen.

The “Three- Ticks” rule speaks on three majorly discussed topics at the BFI, one of which being the efforts to highlight the gender bias roles in cinema, also the push to eliminate the racial inequalities in film including persistent stereotypes and characters based on alluded prejudice.

In addition to all of this, black British comedian and actor Lenny Henry has stepped up and voiced his opinions and has had a much supported ongoing media campaign, which aims to give more opportunities to young minorities with an emphasis on young black people aspiring to be in the UK film and TV industries. All of this will hopefully be achieved through the new diversity agenda at the BFI with strong leadership from Deborah Williams. I think the BFI’s initiative could eventually rub off on other film industry sectors and hopefully not just only within the UK. However the hiring of Deborah Williams in the first place was a good first step as I personally feel that we do need more black leaders in inspirational positions of power. Hopefully this could be the start of change!

Williams’ new role will see her supporting the new guidelines the BFI are implementing and will again hopefully bring about a change in the way many diverse groups are represented in the media. This will initially be through BFI-backed productions but will eventually need to expand to the wider industry. To break down one of the main criteria’s of the BFI initiative, they are striving for Diversity quotas in front of and behind the camera and more accessible opportunities of mobility behind the camera for blacks. It’s pretty obvious that being a young black British citizen trying to break into film or TV is very difficult and jobs are far and few between. Especially without being stereotyped and having to play a racially degrading character. I’d even say it’s equally as difficult for black women. Often represented as the damsel in distress, shockingly butch or as a sexual object. Women characters in the film/TV industry here in the UK are too often  based on male prejudices.

I feel the efforts the BFI are making to rule out this pattern and make it more of a diverse playing field is something that should have been implemented a long time ago, nevertheless it is a positive change. They are finally taking action and aiming to enable a wider range of diverse people to be at the forefront of cinema and terrestrial TV.

Deborah Williams has her work cut out and a lot of work to do to change the way the industry currently is but with her newly assigned role I’m sure she will do us proud (hopefully?).

So let’s sum this segment up, the BFI Film Fund has set up a criteria list, which any UK film productions applying for BFI Funding needs to meet, this includes ethnicity, disability, gender etc all in an effort to improve equality and diversity in film and TV industries. It is a wonderful concept and I commend the BFI for their initiative, however it should have been happening a very long time ago and we have seen initiatives like this before which have not amounted to anything and that’s why we are still in this position now.

British Director Amma Asante is honoured

By Graeme Wood
17.11.14

ASANTE HONOURED BY WMC IN NEW YORK
Amma+Asante+BAFTA+LA+Brits+WatchB
ritish director Amma Asante was honoured with the Award for ‘Directorial Excellence’ in New York recently by the Women’s Media Centre. Streatham born Asante has been picking up accolades for her film ‘Belle’, now available on download and DVD, the film has become the indie success of the past summer grossing over 10 million dollars worldwide.

Asante started out as a child actress in the BBC’s Grange Hill series but took to script writing soon after, getting commissions from the BBC and Film 4. Her first series Brothers and Sisters’ later aired on BBC2 and in 2005 she picked up a BAFTA for her debut film ‘A Way Of Life’.

Earlier this year Asante’s work was showcased by BAFTA in the ‘Brits to Watch’ events held in New York and LA. Variety then added her to their ‘Top Ten Directors to Watch’ list. The success of Belle Ama-Asante -baftahas seen Asante become a hot property in the US and led to Warner Brothers inviting her to direct her first Hollywood studio film – the forthcoming ‘Unforgettable’. Though the project was announced in January the ‘Fatal Attraction’ style thriller appears to still be in development. The success of ‘Belle’ however, is likely to ensure Asante will continue to be a growing force in the media and she recently announced her next indie project would be ‘Where Hands Touch’.

Asante has also been announced as a key speaker at the Screen Film Summit which takes place at the BFI on December 1st, the writer-director will discuss her career to date and the challenges facing the UK industry.

Read a recent Guardian interview with Amma Asante here:
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/may/18/amma-asante-belle-bicultural-ghanaian-british-director-grange-hill

The Evening Standard interviews Ama Asante in 2005 here:
http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/film/mum-and-dad-never-showed-fear-7193589.html

And the WMC Feature Profile:
http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/how-a-woman-director-found-her-voice

Tickets for the Screen Film Summit and the full programme of events can be found here: www.screenfilmsummit.com

The Making of Hot New Comedy Film Gone Too Far

Directed by Destiny Ekaragha
(Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2009)

Written by Bola Agbaje
(Winner, Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre, 2008)

Produced by Christopher Granier-Deferre
Financed by The BFI Film Fund and Poisson Rouge Pictures

Official Selection: London International Film Festival 2013
Nominated: Best Newcomer (Destiny Ekaragha), London International Film Festival
Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival: Next Wave (2014)
Winner: Best New British Comedy, LOCO London Comedy Film Festival
Selected for: Birds’ Eye View Festival 2014; Belfast Takeover Festival 2014

Nominated: Independent Spirit Award (Destiny Ekaragha) &
Female Performance in Film (Shanika Warren-Markland);
Young Shooting Star (Adelayo Adedayo);

Favourite Male African & International Emerging Screen Talent:
(OC Ukeje), Screen Nation Awards 2014

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The origins of the project:
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Gone Too Far! was first performed as a play at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007. It won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre. Bola received an Evening Standard Award nomination for Most Promising Playwright in 2008.

Bola Agbaje (writer): “Gone Too Far! was the first play I’d ever written. I was on the Young Writers Programme at the Royal Court (which has also launched the careers of writers such as Polly Stenham and Lucy Prebble), which was a really inspiring experience and I owe them a great deal. The play did really well, and won an Olivier Award and raised some themes about racism within the Black community that hadn’t really been talked about in public before. It was based on my experiences growing up on an estate in Peckham, not causing trouble – just doing things the kids in Gone Too Far! do, and my moving between Nigeria and London when I was growing up –

feeling like you had a foot in both cultures, and not knowing who you really are.”

The play was first performed in 2007, and helped launch the careers of some of Britain’s now most high-profile Black actors, including Zawe Ashton, Ashley Chin, Bunmi Mojekwu, Tobi Bakare and Tunji Lucas. It caused headlines when Agbaje invited then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to come and see the play if he really wanted to understand the problems that inner-city kids faced. He didn’t attend. But the potential to turn the play into a film was obvious from the beginning.

Christopher Granier-Deferre (producer): “I saw the play and immediately knew that it had the potential to be turned into a movie – it was so fresh, so moving, and so unusual that it just leapt off the stage. So I basically door-stepped Bola until she agreed to discuss making the film version with me. And it was good timing, because the play was getting a huge amount of attention.”

Bola Agbaje: “When it was running at the theatre, an exec from the then-UK Film Council came running up and asked whether I’d ever thought about turning it into a film. And coincidentally, I’d met Christopher the day before, and we started talking about how we’d do it. But it was a really long process – it took three years to get it from first draft to shooting the film”.

The development process:

Destiny Ekaragha (director): “I saw the play at the Royal Court, and really loved it. It was a really funny story that I had never seen told before, it felt like my story. It dealt with things that I had dealt with growing up in South East London – things that I had never seen talked about on screen.

I jumped at the chance to direct it. When I first met Bola, we clicked almost immediately. We became friends in a matter of seconds and a team in a matter of minutes.

“Our vision for Gone Too Far! was clear to us and Christopher, but to many others Gone Too Far! was so different from anything else that had gone before. Here was a film that had young black people in it without guns, drugs and knife crime. It was just a coming of age story sprinkled with comedy. Many didn’t get it, but the execs at the BFI Film Fund did instantly. I walked into their offices and was treated like a human being – not some alien that was trying to prove to them why.

Producer – Christopher Granier-Deferre

Christopher has over twenty years’ experience working in film and television. As an assistant director he has worked with, amongst others, George Lucas, James Ivory and The Hughes Brothers. Work as a production manager includes Syriana starring George Clooney and Matt Damon. Credits as a producer include the BIFA-nominated thriller The Hide and A Thousand Kisses Deep starring Jodie Whittaker and Dougray Scott. His latest feature, Gone Too Far!, premiered at the 57th BFI London Film Festival in October 2013, and saw director Destiny Ekaragha nominated for ‘best newcomer’. He has recently directed his first feature, Dirty

Weekend, a “deliciously dark black comedy”. He is currently head of Creative England’s low budget iFeatures initiative.

my people were important. One meeting later and my first feature was being made. I was in shock for days. We’d had three years of constant ‘no’s’ and here was a ‘yes’. In an hour it was decided that one of my dreams was going to come true. And it did.”

Bola Agbaje: “Initially, it was tough to turn the play into a film because I kept being told that I had to tell the story visually – and as it was my first screenplay, learning how to cut the dialogue back and put this back into the world that it was from. Onstage you can use your imagination about the world of the play – in film, you have to describe it. In terms of the essence of the play, nothing’s changed from what was performed. But there are lots of changes in the tone and the dialogue – it’s more of a straight comedy now. I took away issues of knife crime and gun crime that was in the

play. At the time (2007) it was necessary – people weren’t really talking about that on stage. But now it’s changed – I think we’ve come a long way in what we see on TV and the openness about those issues being discussed.”

The Casting Process:
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Casting Malachi Kirby as Yemi

Destiny Ekaragha: “I first saw Malachi in BBC Drama My Murder and I thought he was incredible. I called him in to read for us just to see him perform. As he’d played mainly serious parts before, I was curious to see if he could cross over to comedy and he did, he blew us away. I loved working with him on set, he’s just a sweet, sweet soul and a phenomenal actor.”

Casting O.C. Ukeje as Ikudayisi

Destiny Ekaragha: “There’s nothing worse than non-African actors doing bad African accents. I can just tell from a mile off that they’re not African and it just takes me out of the scene. So with that in mind, we decided that Ikudayisi should be played by someone from Nigeria. Bola had actually met O.C. when he was in London for the Olympics performing as part of the Cultural Olympiad, and she sent me his showreel, which I loved, and we Skyped. I talked to him about the character and about how I wanted him to be a real person and not some caricature. I was worried that in the wrong hands Ikudayisi would just be a larger-than-life character and not human. O.C. and I were on the same page about that. He nailed his audition, he was perfect.”

Christopher Granier-Deferre: “O.C. is a huge star in Nigeria, and we were thrilled when he accepted the role. What he must have thought when he came over he came for 6 weeks, and we made him shoot in November in East and South London in terrible weather for very long hours! He is such a pro – hard working, eager and enthusiastic. And a brilliant actor. Hopefully this is the start of big things for him over here too – although the way his career is going, who needs ‘over here?’”

Casting Shanika Warren-Markland as Armani

Destiny Ekaragha: “Shanika had played Armani in a read through for us, when we were still developing the script and she was amazing, she had Armani down perfectly. I was a little worried about her look though. Shanika is a very elegant and classy young woman whereas Armani is this very young and boastful girl. So for the audition I asked her to dress as Armani. When I saw her across the street I just thought – ‘that’s her’. Htosiner hair was slicked back, she looked 17 or 18, and was almost unrecognisable. She was Armani. It was a wonderful experience to watch her work. She’s such a sweet and lovely person – the complete antithesis to Armani – so to watch her switch into the villain of the piece was mesmerizing.”

Casting Adelayo Adedayo as Paris

Destiny Ekaragha: “We shot a pilot for this film a few years ago – to test the tone, the mood, the characters and Adelayo was in that as Paris. Two years later the film was green lit and there was nobody else in my head for the role of Paris. It had to be Adelayo. She has this ability to make you feel whatever she’s feeling with just her eyes. She’s an extraordinary talent.”

Casting Tosin Cole as Razer

Destiny Ekaragha: “This was the hardest casting we did. We met so many great actors for the role – some really up and coming names – but because of what the character Razer does and says throughout the film, it was very important that the actor playing him was funny. If not it would’ve given the film a different tone, a darker tone and that’s not what we wanted. The moment Tosin came in and opened his mouth I was laughing. Even when, as the character, he was being serious I was still laughing, I couldn’t stop. We knew then that it was him, the role was his. On set

it was the same. He was constantly improvising, constantly coming up with ideas. He’s one of the funniest people I’ve worked with, and that really comes across in his delivery”.

Casting Miles McDonald as Ghost

Destiny Ekaragha: “We had to cast this role really, really quickly – literally we had 20 actors come in and one of them had to be right, because we were going to start shooting with him the next day. Everyone that came in was good but they weren’t right and towards the end of the day I was starting to get really worried. Then Miles came in. Miles is a pretty quiet, mild mannered guy so I wasn’t sure about what he was gonna do. His sight reading was great but I could feel that he had more to give so we did some improv. All of a sudden this vulnerability tinged with edginess came

through. He was able to be calm, funny and vulnerable all at the same time which I was blown away by. It was real, nothing about it felt fake and I think that’s what made him perfect for the role.”

The shoot:

The team shot for 5 weeks in Bethnal Green and the film’s spiritual home, Peckham. The shoot wasn’t plain sailing, of course – the budget was low, and shooting a film that had initially been based on the hottest day of the year, during October and November in London, was always going to present challenges.

Christopher Granier-Deferre: “The film’s based over the course of one day, all set outside, in one location. So there was some frantic looking at the weather forecasts every morning for continuity, but this is film making – you have to go with what you’re given. Some days we literally had to shoot what we had as there was no interior we could go to. It even snowed once when we were trying to do “summer” beauty shots of Peckham. Generally we lucked out. But as soon as we wrapped the film, it rained for a month non-stop. The gods wanted us to make the film!”

The crew shot for three weeks on the same estate in East London, and became semi-permanent fixtures in the area. When they moved to Peckham, it was key to getting some of the area’s most famous locations into the film, and involving the local community.

Bola Agbaje: “I grew up in Peckham, and while it’s really fashionable now, when the play came out Peckham was only really known for Only Fools And Horses and Desmonds. So it was really important for us to make sure that the area, which is really vibrant, and culturally rich, and colourful, was represented truthfully and positively on film. We were embraced by placed like Peckham Library, The Bussey Building, the local church and by the people who live there. I hope we can be a little part of putting the area on the map – it’s a great community and it’s given us a lot, and a side of London you don’t see very often on film”.

Destiny Ekaragha: “I loved shooting, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s hard work. It’s not glamorous in any way shape or form. We shot the film in November so it was freezing and yet I still found a way to love it. I loved directing these actors and I loved coming up with the shots with the DP and the crew to realise the vision. It’s such a massive team effort that you don’t get to see.

30 or 40 people on set every day freezing cold and battling all sorts of obstacles to make this film work. They made the experience great– I should really give a shout out to them”.

Bola Agbaje: “With a play, the writer is key, being involved in rehearsals is where you discover things about the characters and the script. So part of me wanted to be on set to see it come alive.

Destiny Ekaragha: “It was great having Bola on set. Having the author on set means that if there’s a line of dialogue that the actors need some help with I could just get some advice on what she meant. And we’re really good friends, so it’s always nice to work with someone who gets where you’re coming from the whole time”.

Post Production and reception:

The team camped out at Met Film Post at Ealing Studios for 4 months, emerging in April 2013 with the finished film.

Christopher Granier-Deferre: “When we started watching cuts, we realised that there was a whole other layer underneath the comedy in the film. I was excited to see how much sentiment was wrapped up in the film – something that wasn’t as evident on the page – as we get towards the end it becomes surprisingly emotional. It really has a lot of heart, and bus load of charm.”

Destiny Ekaragha: “When we found out we’d been selected for the London Film Festival, Bola and I went a little crazy. It was the best news. My first ever short film premiered there, and the festival has been really supportive of my work since. It’s great to be having a West End premiere–it’s a very London movie, and it’s the right place for it to show. It’s a dream come true.”

Bola Agbaje: “Yes, we’re new to this industry, and yes, we haven’t made a film before. But we know what we want to watch, and I believe that we’ve created a product that – whatever happens to the film – we can be really proud of.”

Destiny Ekaragha: “There isn’t another film out there like this at the moment. And that doesn’t make it better or worse than any other, but it’s unique. And I’m really proud of that.”

Gone Too Far is in UK Cinemas From Friday 10th Oct

Gone Too Far (12a)

Kush is pleased to announce our Marketing/PR involvement in the latest British Urban Comedy Film that’s looking to ask serious questions about inner-city racial stereotypes in a fun light-hearted manner in this comedic community tale.

Verve Pictures & The BFI Presents

Based on the Olivier Award-Winning play by Bola Agbaje

GONE TOO FAR!
GTFQuad

When Peckham teenager Yemi meets his long-lost Nigerian brother Iku for the first time, his estranged sibling’s African heritage and unimpressive fashion sense soon start to endanger Yemi’s street cred, particularly when trying to impress local troublemaking temptress Armani.

Adolescent angst and cultural tensions erupt in this razor-sharp comedy from a team of vibrant new British talents, adapted from Bola Agbaje’s Olivier Award-winning play which premièred at the Royal Court and directed by Destiny Ekaragha director
of award winning short Tight  Jeans.

Starring: Malachi Kirby, O.C Ukeje, Shanika Warren-Markland, Adelayo Adedayo, Golda John, Tosin Cole, Miles McDonald, Eddie Kadi, KG Tha Comedian, Bhasker Patel, Kulvinder Ghir
& Michael Maris.

Low-key, low-budget, high-intelligence… a superbly judged comedy of racial manners’ (Time Out)

Directed by Destiny Ekaragha
Screenplay by Bola Agbaje

IN CINEMAS OCTOBER 10

 Find a cinema near you showing the film: Click Here

Follow “Gone Too Far” on social media and help us spread da’ word

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CAST BIOGRAPHIES

Yemi – Malachi Kirby
Malachi-Kirby
Malachi’s film credits include Fallen (Silver Reel), Kajaki (Pukka Films), Dough (Viva Films), the award-winning My Brother The Devil (Sundance Festival 2012), The Last Showing (Philm Company), Offender (Revolver) and Film 4 short Jonah (Sundance Festival 2013). Television includes co-lead in BBC film drama My Murder, Silent Witness (BBC), Way to Go (BBC) and Sky drama Lawless.

Theatre includes the lead role in Mogadishu (Royal Exchange Theatre/Lyric Hammersmith), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Theatre Royal Northampton), Rough Cuts (Royal Court Theatre), The Realness (Young Vic Theatre) and Dunsinane (Royal Shakespeare Company). Malachi was selected for Screen International Stars of Tomorrow 2013 and nominated for Most Promising Newcomer in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

 

Ikudayisi – O.C. Ukeje
OC
O.C. Ukeje is a multi-award winning stage and screen actor and musician, born and based inLagos, Nigeria. He has appeared in a number of critically-acclaimed films in Nigeria, including White Water and Black November, alongside Mickey Rourke. He can also be seen in Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun with Chinwetel Ejiofor,

Thandie Newton and Anika Noni-Rose, which premièred at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival 2013. His latest film, Gone Too Far!, also premièred at LFF last year. He was a member of cast of the ground-breaking BBC World Service Trust TV series Wetin Dey that was presented at the International Emmy World Television Festival.

He won the 2008 African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for the Best Upcoming Actor and the City
People›s Award for Best New Act in 2010. He won the 2013 Best Actor in a Drama Award at the
inaugural Africa Magic Viewers› Choice Awards, and was nominated in the Best Actor category at
the Africa Movie Academy Awards.

Armani – Shanika Warren Markland
Shanika_Warren_Markland_sit

Shanika trained at YoungBlood Theatre Company. Her career began on Television with roles on established British shows such as Holby City and Spooks. On film Shanika made her debut as Kayla in the critically acclaimed, Adulthood directed by Noel Clarke which was quickly followed by the co-lead role of Kerrys in 4.3.2.1. She has since played roles in Demons Never Die, The Skinny and Victim and can be seen later this year as a lead role in Gone Too Far!, the film adaptation of the play by Bola Agbaje.

 

 

Paris – Adelayo Adedayo
Adelayo Adedayo - Headshot2
Adelayo’s film credits include London Fields (Muse Productions), Jet Trash (Sums Film), and a leading role in Revolver Entertainment feature film Sket. Adelayo currently plays the lead role in Hat Trick’s comedy series Some Girls (BBC), she also plays a series regular in ITV drama Law & Order: UK. Other television credits include Skins (E4), MI High (BBC), The Bill (ITV) and Meet The Bandaiis (E4).

 

 

Razer – Tosin Cole
Tosin+Cole2
Tosin has just finished shooting The Secret by Dominic Savage. He will soon be seen in the feature films Second Coming written & directed by Debbie Tucker Green and Gone Too Far directed by Destiny Ekaragha. He has appeared in Hollyoaks, Eastenders E20 and The Cut.

 

 

 

 

Ghost – Mile McDonald
Miles-McDonald2
Miles started acting at Half Moon Youth Theatre in his early teens and began working professionally at 19. Screen credits includes the films It’s A Lot, In The Black and What If’ as well as commercial campaigns for Adidas. Miles continues to work with Half Moon as a tutor and also works extensively in prisons, developing drama workshops to young offenders.

 

 

 


Mum – Golda John

Golda-John
Golda’s film credits include Fantastic Fear Of Everything (Universal). Theatre includes High Life at Hampstead Theatre, The Gods Are Not To Blame (Arcola Theatre),

Mr Puntila and His Man Matti (Almeida Theater), Clear Water (Barbican Centre), Tickets and Ties (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Early Morning (Oval House).

 

 

The Ladies that realised the making of Gone To Far.

GTF_Destiny&Bola_Productionshot Director – Destiny Ekaragha
Destiny is the third of six children born to  Nigerian parents in London, where she lives.
Destiny directed her first feature film, Gone Too Far! adapted from the stageplay of the same name by Bola Agbaje for Poisson Rouge Pictures/BFI Film Fund which premiered at the 57th BFI London Film Festival in October 2013. The film will be released in cinemas nationwide later this year. Destiny was also nominated as Best British Newcomer at the Festival. The film won the Discovery Award at the LOCO Film Festival and a Screen Nation Award for Independent Spirit Film Production. It was also selected for Toronto Film Festival: Next Wave and Belfast’s Takeover Film Festival earlier this year.

Destiny’s first short film, Tight Jeans, which she wrote and directed, was funded by the Southern
Exposure branch of Film London. The film was selected for the 52nd BFI London Film Festival in
2008 and voted Best Short Film at the Festival by The Observer.

Destiny shot two more short films in 2009 with producer Tamana Bleasdale – The Park, which was
again selected for and premiered at the BFI London Film Festival, and Jerningham Road.
In 2010 Destiny directed a Coming Up film for RDF/Channel 4, The Future Wags of Great Britain.
She has a number of films in development with companies including BFI and Lionsgate.

Writer – Bola Agbaje

Bola is a playwright who graduated from the young writers programme at the Royal Court in 2007.
Her first play, Gone Too Far!, was selected to be performed as part of the Young Writers Festival
and was performed at the Royal Court Theatre (Upstairs) in February 2007. The feature film
version, for which she also wrote the screenplay, will premiere at the 57th BFI London Film Festival
in October 2013. In 2008 the play won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in
an Affiliated Theatre,

The play was revived in 2008 and returned for a run in the main Downstairs
space at the Court, as well as at the Hackney Empire and Albany Theatre. Bola was also
nominated for the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright of the Year in 2008. Her newest
play, Belong, was first performed in 2012 at the Royal Court in a co-production with Tiata Fahodzi.
Bola’s writing has been presented by the Royal Court Theatre, ATC, Tiata Fahodzi, Hampstead
Theatre, Soho Theatre, Young Vic, Talawa and Cardboard Citizens to name a few.

Film London Microwave Filmmaking Scheme – Apply

Microwave is Film London’s ground-breaking micro-budget feature filmmaking scheme. It has helped to produce Hong Khaou’s critically-acclaimed Lilting, BAFTA-nominated Shifty and Plan B’s directorial debut, iLL Manors.

This unique scheme doesn’t just fund films; it offers the next generation of filmmakers a proven programme of training-through-production, as well as distribution support.

Aiming to champion London’s unique film making population like never before, they are undertaking a targeted outreach campaign in the lead up to the deadline for applications. For the first time they will be offering development funding for successful projects, and offering distribution support to green-lit films.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 30 July. Find out how to apply

Thinking of applying?

Development support

To ensure filmmaking teams can hone their scripts, stories and skills we’re offering an extended development programme to up to 36 filmmaking teams – including bespoke mentoring from experienced industry directors, writers and producers.

Our five day training ‘bootcamp’ Microschool offers an intensive program of workshops, seminars, screenings and script surgeries covering all aspects of production, from development to sales and distribution.

Shortlisted teams are then given a three-month funded development period, until the final projects are selected for production.

Two features from the first round will be commissioned and later green lit for production.

Development funding

Thanks to the BFI and BBC Films, we are able to now offer not only production funding, but for the first time also support you through the development phase.

If your project is longlisted you have the potential to receive development funding of up to £10,000 per team. The 12 teams participating in Microschool get £1,000; if you’re one of six projects to proceed to the next stage you receive a further £2,000 and if it is commissioned you get an additional £7,000 to support you through the development process.

Production funding

Film London Microwave will be funding up to six features over three years with production budgets of £150,000. If successful, your team is provided with £100,000 funding directly from Film London and we support you in raising the additional finance, including cash and in-kind support.

Distribution funding

Ensuring we support you every step of the way, all completed projects have the opportunity to have access to up to £25,000 of funding to support distribution strategies.

Representing London’s diversity

Microwave aims to support bold and surprising cinema that will grow and excite audiences, and contribute positively to an increasingly diverse landscape for British filmWe want to champion diverse and dynamic emerging filmmaking talent, and enable you to make your first features within a fully integrated production environment.

With the aim that Film London Microwave reflects the capital’s population, it’s our ambition to long list at least 50% filmmakers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

How to apply

Film London is seeking ambitious teams driven to tell singular and authentic stories which embrace and make a creative virtue of the challenges of micro-budget filmmaking.

Before applying, we recommend that you attend one of our Roadshows or Masterclasses.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 30 July

Read the guidelines

Apply online

Attend a Roadshow

We’ll be running a series of free Roadshows across London to help you prepare your application, they will give you a chance to meet the Microwave team, ask any questions you have and find new collaborators.

We just have two Roadshows left and they are fully booked. Please add your name to the waiting list and we will be in touch if a place becomes available. 

The land still lies: Handsworth Songs and the English riots

Mark Fisher writing for ‘Sight & Sound Magazine’ reflects on a screening of Handsworth Songs, the Black Audio Film Collective’s 1986 essay on black Britain, in the wake of the new wave of civil unrest.

Mark Fisher
Updated:

Web exclusive

“I’m sure that a group of people who brought the British state to its knees can organise themselves.” So argued John Akomfrah, the director of the Black Audio Film Collective’s Handsworth Songs at a screening of the film at Tate Modern last month. Made for the Channel 4 series ‘Britain: The Lie of the Land’, the film was released in 1986, a year after riots in Handsworth, Birmingham and Tottenham. Not surprisingly, given that the Tate had convened the event as a consequence of the recent uprisings in England, the question of the continuities and discontinuities between the 80s and now hung over the whole evening, dominating the discussion that followed the screening.

Watched – and listened to – now, Handsworth Songs seems eerily (un)timely. The continuities between the 80s and now impose themselves on the contemporary viewer with a breathtaking force: just as with the recent insurrections, the events in 1985 were triggered by police violence; and the 1985 denunciations of the riots as senseless acts of criminality could have been made by Tory politicians yesterday.

This is why it is important to resist the casual story that things have ‘progressed’ in any simple linear fashion since Handsworth Songs was made. Yes, the BAFC can now appear at Tate Modern in the wake of new riots in England, something unthinkable in 1985; but, as Film Quarterly editor Rob White pointed out in the discussion at the Tate event, there is little chance now of Handsworth Songs or its like appearing on Channel 4 now, still less being commissioned. The assumption that brutal policing and racism were relics of a bygone era was part of the reactionary narrativisation of the recent riots: yes, there were politics and racism back then, but not now, not any more…

The lesson to be remembered – especially now that we are being asked to defend abortion and oppose the death penalty again – is that struggles are never definitively won. As the academic George Shire pointed out in the Tate discussion, many struggles have not been lost so much as diverted into what he called “the privatisation of politics”, as former activists become hired as ‘consultants’.

Shire’s remarks strikingly echoed recent comments made by Paul Gilroy. “When you look at the layer of political leaders from our communities,” Gilroy observed, “the generation who came of age during that time 30 years ago, many of those people have accepted the logic of privatisation. They’ve privatised that movement, and they’ve sold their services as consultants and managers and diversity trainers.”

This points to one major discontinuity between now and 25 years ago. In 1985, political collectivities were in the process of being violently decomposed – this was also the year in which the Miners’ Strike ended in bitter defeat – as the neoliberal political programme began to impose the ‘privatisation of the mind’ which is now everywhere taken for granted. Akomfrah’s optimistic take on the current riots – that those who rioted will come to constitute themselves as a collective agent – suggests that we might be seeing the reversal of this psychic privatisation.

One of many striking things about Handsworth Songs is the serene confidence of its experimental essayism. Instead of easy didacticism, the film offers a complex palimpsest comprising archive material, an empathic sound design and footage shot by the Collective during and after the riots. The Collective’s practice coolly assumed not only that ‘black’, ‘avant garde’ and ‘politics’ could co-exist, but that they must entail one another.

Such assumptions, such confidence, were all the more remarkable for the fact that they were so hard won: the Collective’s Lina Gopaul remembered that the idea of a black avant-garde was greeted with incomprehension when the BAFC began their work. Even the sight of young black people carrying cameras provoked bemusement: are they real? Gopaul recalled police officers asking as the Collective filmed events in Handsworth and Broadwater Farm 25 years ago.

At a time when reactionaries once again feel able to make racist generalisations about ‘black culture’ in mainstream media, the Collective’s undoing of received ideas of what ‘black’ supposedly means remains an urgent project.

In The Ghosts of Songs: The Film Art of the Black Audio Film Collective, the outstanding survey of the BAFC’s work that he co-edited with fellow Otolith Group member Anjalika Sagar, Kodwo Eshun argued that, for the Collective, ‘black’ “might be profitably understood… as a dimension of potentiality.”

At the Tate discussion, which he chaired, Eshun pointed to the use in Handsworth Songs of Mark Stewart and the Maffia’s dub-refracted cut-up version of ‘Jerusalem’: the track makes a bid for an account of Englishness from which ‘blackness’, far from being something that can be excluded, becomes instead the only possible fulfilment of the millenarian promise of Blake’s revolutionary poem.

The use of Stewart’s music also brings home the extent to which Handsworth Songs belonged to a post-punk moment which was defined by its unsettling of concepts of ‘white’ and ‘black’ culture. Trevor Mathison’s astonishing sound design certainly draws upon dub, but its voice loops and seething electronics are equally reminiscent of the work of Test Department and Cabaret Voltaire.

So much film and television now deploys sound as a crude bludgeon which closes down the polyvalency of images. Whooshing sound effects subordinate audiences to the audio equivalent of a spectacle, while the redundant use of pop music enforces a terroristic sentimentalism. By strong and refreshing contrast, Mathison’s sound – which is simultaneously seductive and estranging – liberates lyricism from personalised emotion, and frees up the potentials of the audio from the strictures of ‘music’. Subtract the images entirely, and Handsworth Songs can function as a gripping audio-essay.

Mathison’s sound recording equipment captured one of the most extraordinary moments in the film, an exchange between the floor manager and the producer of the long-defunct documentary series TV Eye in the run-up to a special edition of the programme which was about to be filmed in front of a Tottenham audience. The exchange reveals that it is not possible to securely delimit ‘merely technical’ issues from political questions. The producer’s anxieties about lighting quickly shade into concerns about the proportion of non-whites in the audience. The matter-of-fact tone of the discussions make this sudden peek into the reality studio all the more disturbing – and illuminating.

The screening and the discussion at the Tate were a reminder that ‘mainstream media’ is not a monolith but a terrain. It wasn’t because of the largesse of broadcasters that the BBC and Channel 4 became host to popular experimentalism between the 60s and the 90s. No: this was only possible on the basis of a struggle by forces – which were political at the same time as they were cultural – that were content neither to remain in the margins nor to replicate the existing form of mainstream. Handsworth Songs is a glorious artefact of that struggle – and a call for us to resume it.

Courtesy of Sight & Sound magazine 2014 ©

Sight & Sound Magazine: Film of the week: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

A dazzling, deliquescent, take-this-heart love movie.

Ashley Clark


from our March 2014 issue

Frankly, it’s difficult to know where to begin when attempting to unravel the mysteries of Terence Nance’s unclassifiable debut feature, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Hyperbolic adjectives such as dizzying, effervescent, kaleidoscopic and exhilarating spring to mind but don’t adequately convey the craft and persistence that have gone into this confessional slice of (semi) non-fiction.

Broadly speaking, it’s about the vagaries of a romantic relationship seen from the point of view of its director/star, who plays a likely heightened version of himself (don’t we all when we’re looking to woo a partner?) and who winningly combines the silver-tongued charm of 17th-century metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell with the neuroses of Annie Hall-era Woody Allen and the raw-nerve open-heartedness of a Big Brother contestant in the diary room.Six years in the making – and finally emerging in the UK two years after its debut at the Sundance festival – it’s a colourful, diaristic collage of documentary, direct address, fictionalised memory, animation and diverse musical choices. Clearly influenced by the structurally elastic, meta-yet-heartfelt films of Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry (2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in particular), An Oversimplification is nevertheless a sui generis work so intricate that it possesses a built-in replay value. The one thing it isn’t is oversimplified.Yet it begins in straightforward enough fashion. A series of rhythmically edited handheld shots track the journey of a fashionable, impressively afro’d young man (Nance) from the New York subway system to his front door. The scene seems set for a low-key, observational drama about a striving urbanite, but the rug is pulled when the crisp digital image flickers with a conspicuously analogue fray, before pausing altogether.

This is the first of many playful formal tricks Nance will employ as he poetically reflects the complex essence of unrequited affection. A voiceover (delivered in honeyed deliquest by former The Wire star Reg E. Cathey) politely apologises for the interruption and explains that we’re not currently watching An Oversimplification of Her Beauty at all, but rather a short film entitled ‘How Would You Feel?’, made by Nance back in 2006. This film, we are told, will “examine how humans come to experience a singular emotion”. The emotion in question, we will soon discover, is love, and the object of Nance’s affection is his friend, collaborator and muse Namik Minter, with whom he shares an easy charisma but a vexingly complex relationship.

The ‘How Would You Feel?’ segment is a wonder of narrative elasticity, constantly folding in on itself to arrive at the same juncture: the posing of the eponymous question on the voiceover. Nance uses a second-person narration to offset the potential voyeurism of watching someone agonise over being stood up, and this helps to include viewers rather than alienate them.

The sequences from An Oversimplification of Her Beauty – so titled because Nance worries that he will reduce the complexity of his romantic interest in order to help himself forget her – offer Minter more of a platform (including a snippet of her own film). But Nance is under no illusion that this is a skewed portrait, referring to it as “one-sided non-fiction”. When Nance isn’t puzzling over Minter, he’s casting his mind back to loves lost, High Fidelity-style, but with the blokey, meat-and-potatoes lists of Nick Hornby’s universe superseded by sketches, doodles and photographs that morph into illustrated titles and trippy animations.

If such heightened self-referentiality sounds off-putting, it should be noted that Nance displays an uncanny ability to tiptoe to the precipice of maudlin solipsism and pull back thrillingly at the last moment with a rapier-like act of self-effacement, if not outright self-deprecation. It also helps that Nance is charismatic, photogenic and calm; one of the film’s consistent – if not necessarily intentional – sources of amusement is that the incessant flurry of creativity and self-doubt buzzing inside Nance’s head is offset by his languidly upbeat demeanour.

Consequently, the film is neither knuckle-suckingly excruciating to watch in the manner of Chris Witt’s tangentially similar A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (2008), nor overtly stressful like the claustrophobic self-excoriation of Jonathan Caouette’s influential Tarnation (2003). An Oversimplification is a joy because its creator’s romantic frailties are inextricably bound up with his restlessly creative art. Even when Nance’s words are morose, the pile-up of poetic, often hallucinatory images tell a contradictory tale: an animated tree blossoming into the shape of a beautiful woman’s face, a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk imperceptibly slowed down so that the passing sun-strafed clouds move to the rhythm of Nance’s voice. The images, and their rapidly changing forms, have a teasingly tactile quality, begging us to unpack and interpret them.

Nance’s film also offers a smart, playful peek into how the challenges of romantic communication have metastasised along with the rapid growth of technology. There’s a lovely blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when Minter, in one of the film’s more obviously fictionalised passages, pauses to send a text message to Nance – one that will ultimately cause him no end of emotional confusion. The camera peeks over her shoulder as she signs off the message “I think I love you” – first with a comma as though she has more to say, then changing her mind and adding a full-stop. Finally, however, she goes with a question mark.

What’s the difference? Is there one? Why did it her take so long to decide? (Incidentally, there’s a very similar moment in Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, an equally tactile and perceptive film about fleeting love.)

Elsewhere, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty doesn’t make an explicit theme of ‘blackness’, so to speak, but is nevertheless refreshing for its cultural specificity. In one of the funniest moments, Nance laments his poor punctuality, and claims that he runs on “Afrocentric time”; this wry observation is matched with a hilarious hospital-set animation of Nance point-blank refusing to emerge from his mother’s womb.

The wacky, fluid and cosmic animation, which seems inspired by everyone from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Sun Ra and Barkley L. Hendricks, helps push the film into Afrofuturist territory (the term, coined by Mark Dery, encompasses the work of multimedia artists interested in projecting black futures). Meanwhile the flexible score – running the gamut from evocative, ancient blues to the subtle sci-fi soundscapes of experimental hip-hop producer Flying Lotus – pays aurally satisfying homage to black musical tradition.

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is also plugged into a lineage of black-authored art cinema, from William Greaves’s playfully countercultural meta-vérités Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968) and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take 2½ (2005) to Wendell B. Harris’s tonally darker Chameleon Street (1989), with which it shares a relentlessly verbose – though never alienating – voiceover and an omnipresent sense of its author’s intelligence.

Yet perhaps most of all it recalls Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (1986), which made an impression not just because it was funny and formally adventurous but because it focused on a topic hitherto woefully under-represented in cinematic terms: romantic relationships between young creative black Americans (for contrast, consider the geyser of low-budget indies in the past decade to focus on the emotional tangles of wan, pasty dreamers).

Lee was never so playful as in his debut, and save for a few little-seen exceptions along the way (including Barry Jenkins’s 2008 sober drama Medicine for Melancholy, as yet unreleased in the UK) the subject has remained more or less untouched. As such, Nance’s film feels like a long-overdue and utterly thrilling grasping of the nettle. It will be fascinating to see where this evidently talented, multifaceted artist goes next.

USA 2012
Certificate: 12A
Time: 84m, 19s
Colour [1.78:1]

Crew
Director: Terence Nance
Produced by: Chanelle Aponte Pearson, Andrew D. Corkin, James Bartlett, Terence Nance
Written by: Terence Nance
Inspired by: Namik Minter
Cinematography: Matthew E. Bray, Shawn Peters
Edited by: Terence Nance
Art Direction: Terence Nance
Original Music: Terence Nance, Flying Lotus
Sound Design: Vincent Wheeler
Animation Direction: Terence Nance

Cast
amalgam: Chanelle Aponte Pearson
Terence: Terence Nance
Mother: Vickie Washington
Aunt JC: JC Cain
narrators: Reg E. Cathey, Terence Nance, Onyinyechi Amanze, Namik Minter

Distributor: Of Her Beauty LLC
UK release date: 7 February 2014
oversimplification.mvmt.com

Courtesy of Sound and Sight Magazine 2014 ©

Find out more about Jean-Michel Basquiat on the artsy.net website (a site making art more accessible to all): www.artsy.net/artist/jean-michel-basquiat