Make It Happen

Film Producing in Wales

Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

An Early Christmas Present

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Aron Cynan & Iwan John in Rhestr Nadolig Wil

Rhestr Nadolig Wil has won Best Drama at the EA Bafta Children’s Awards.  It was the first production I worked on when I was on a CYFLE traineeship, which feels like a long time ago now.  It was first broadcast over Christmas last year, no doubt S4C will dust off the tape and give it an airing again this season.  Congratulations to Boomerang and everyone involved in the production.

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Written by Matthew Redd

November 29, 2009 at 9:34 pm

How Do I Get My Short Film Onto IMDb?

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17 now has its own title page on IMDb.

Having a page on IMDb for your film is essential – it obviously raises the profile of your film, but it also adds credibility to the project. IMDb is often the place that people turn to first for information on any film (feature or short), so you need to be on there. What’s the quickest and easiest way to do it?

It used to be a long and laborious task to enter the data onto IMDb, and with their strict criteria for accepting submissions, it could even be a total waste of time when your submission is rejected. Now, it’s quite simple. Register an account at WithoutABox, create a project for your film, and enter your film’s details. You can do this before your film has even been completed – of course, there’s still a lot of data to enter, but when you think that, in recent years, you would have to enter all these details separately every time you entered a film festival, this is nothing. If you’ve got good paperwork and the beginnings of publicity materials from your shoot, you should find this quite easy.

If you enter your film into any of the ‘IMDb qualifying festivals’ listed on the main page, your IMDb title page will be generated as soon as your submission is received, not when it is accepted. So, even if your film is eventually rejected by the festival, you will still get your entry onto IMDb. There’s a varied list of worldwide festivals – I entered 17 into the Swansea Bay Film Festival in Wales, a local one for us.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to get a discounted entry to a festival if you’re early for the festival’s deadline, but even if you don’t, it’s still incredibly good value for the amount of good publicity having the IMDb page brings you and your film.

Don’t forget, once all your film’s data is entered onto Withoutabox, there’s a ton of festivals you can enter with just a few clicks of the mouse, and some with very cheap entry fees. Pick your festivals wisely, and try and come up with a strategy that gives you the best value for money if you’re on a budget. Good luck.

Written by Matthew Redd

October 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm

We Should Come Up With Some Kind of Strategy

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It’s taken the same length of time some people take to make a feature film, but finally 17 is complete and DVDs have been sent out to those who took part in the production. Now, though, the film takes on a new life – a year (or so) on the festival circuit. The thing is – where to start?

Submitting to festivals is faster and easier than it ever has been, thanks to web sites like Short Film Depot and Without A Box. Our budget for festival entries is small to say the least, so we have to choose wisely.  Thankfully, quite a lot of festivals are still free to enter, and so will only cost you a DVD, postage and the time it takes to complete the entry form, which might only be a few seconds if you’ve already submitted the film’s information via one of the submission web sites.

We’re focussing on festivals by using a simple criteria.

  • British festivals – we’ve made a film that might work best with a British audience.
  • Festivals with a student competition – Jamie and I were both postgraduate students when we shot the film, and it was produced as part of our courses, so we qualify.
  • Festivals with themes that relate to our own film.  We haven’t made the Karate Kid Part II, but our film covers youth violence, bullying, coming of age, confrontation and revenge among other themes.
  • How much is it to enter?  We’re on a tight budget, so we need to be convinced it’s worth entering a particular festival as the entry fees will mount up quickly.

As always, you need to be up on festival politics, and it helps to find out which festivals are ‘hot’.  You might want to find out which ones might qualify you for the Oscars, just in case…  If you’re interested in how to make a successful short film, then a great case study is Gone Fishing directed by Chris Jones.  Pick out the story of the film from Chris’ blog.

If/when we get accepted by a festival, it will be a real validation of our work.  It wouldn’t hurt to win an award, either.

Written by Matthew Redd

June 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm

The Lady From Swansea

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Sunday night saw the BAFTA Cymru awards ceremony (full list of winners is here), and the Special Award for for oustanding contribution for film, television and new media was presented to Margaret John.  As I’ve previously mentioned, Margaret appeared in my short film 17.  I approached Margaret having never met her or even spoken to her before, and asked her to play the role of Gwen, the grandmother who has been beaten up in a vicious mugging in the film. I can remember how much of a boost it was to myself and Jamie when she said yes.  Pre-production was hectic and rushed, and knowing Margaret was on board gave us both a huge lift.

A still from the set of 17 by Garfield Richards – Margaret and Chris Conway together, an image that doesn’t appear in the film itself.  Congratulations, Margaret, and thank you.

Christopher Conway & Margaret JohnOh yeah, the title was an attempt at a pun on the Orson Welles’ Rita Hayworth film The Lady From Shanghai, which is apparently being remade by Wong Kar Wai.  I suppose it was marginally less obscure than some of my other titles.

Written by Matthew Redd

May 20, 2009 at 7:47 am

Your Weakness is Disgusting to Me

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We held a test screening of Avoiding Christian Bale last Friday night – the second we’ve had. It’s really interesting watching the film with an audience, and as it’s a comedy, waiting to see what sort of laughs the jokes get is one of the most interesting parts. Ultimately, though, we’re holding the screenings to identify weaknesses in how the story unfolds, and solve any plot problems that might arise. We’ve learned a lot about what sort of film we have from doing this. So far, I think it’s charming and funny, and definitely a Welsh/British version of the popular American indie cinema championed by festivals like Sundance and Slamdance. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it’s still a work in progress, but I reckon we’re on our way.

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Making a low/no budget comedy is a real challenge, but it can be a stepping stone to much bigger things for a writer/director. April 24th sees the UK release of Observe & Report, the second feature from Jody Hill, and the follow up to The Foot Fist Way. ‘Foot Fist’ was made in a similar way to ACB, though they’re two very different films, but it’s encouraging to see the cult status that film attained (as it’s certainly not to everyone’s taste and I think it has its flaws) and how Hill’s career is taking off. It obviously helps that he’s now mates with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

Back in Blighty but still with comedy, the second series of The Inbetweeners starts on E4 on Thursday night. I recently re-watched the first series, and it was actually much funnier the second time around, and I’m looking forward to the new series. It’s a puerile ‘American Pie’ style sitcom set in a secondary school, and it’s both very well written and well cast. Lead actor Simon Bird also has a future in stand up – check out this series, as we can still do sitcom in Britain.

Finally, congratulations to the good people of Fiction Factory Films, as their series Y Pris has won Best Drama at the Celtic Media Festival.

My, What a Gripping Life You Do Lead

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Not much point talking Oscars, as everyone has said everything that needs saying by now. Obviously, well done to Christian Colson and everyone involved in the success of his film.

I’ve been a bit slack on the blog front recently, though not as slack as Freeth, who incidentally has just posted his monthly update. I want to try and post more opinion and less ‘diary’ type entries on this blog, and will make an effort to do so – I’m trying to find the balance really. As per usual, it’s been another busy week, but I have found the time to test out another social networking tool – twitter. I’m not sure how useful it will be for me as yet, but feel free to let me know what you think as I haven’t really sussed it out.

Things are really getting going with the musical, and we’re currently looking for locations as one location will be pivotal to the story, while the workshops are continuing and the casting process is on the way. We’ve brought in Steven Harris, a choreographer from London with a lot of West End & touring experience, and he’s been putting the kids through their paces. Those who don’t make it into the production should have benefited a lot from working with Steve.

My application for the Engage programme was rejected. I asked for feedback and got no response. They’re either very busy, or avid blog readers who have me pegged as a male chauvinist pig.

I’ve also been tidying up some paperwork on Avoiding Christian Bale, whilst the rough cut is being reviewed ready for the next stage.

I’m hoping to bring some news of the short film I shot with ‘award-winning director’ Jamie Bolton back in september 2007, as it looks like we will be grading it in glorious HD soon. It will be fantastic to finally have the film finished and start submitting it to festivals – it’s been a long, drawn out process mostly due to my work commitments, and Jamie moving to London to work for Working Title. Of course, congratulations are due to Jamie and ACB director Paul Howard Allen, as the short film ‘Triple Word’ (they co-directed) won the Best Post Graduate Fiction award at this year’s Ffresh festival.

That’s my week in words.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

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I’ll be heading over to Germany in the first weekend of February for a few days at the Berlin Film Festival*. I’m hoping to meet a lot of new people and see a few people I’ve already met when I’m out there, and it’s another great opportunity to learn more about the industry and raise awareness of the projects that we’re developing at Tornado. I’ve been to Berlin a few times as a tourist and when on tour with bands, and it’s a great city to visit, so I’m looking forward to it. Vivien will be there as well, so I’m sure we’ll be talking about Avoiding Christian Bale with a lot of people, and we plan to take a few scenes with us on DVD to start the sales drive.

If you’re over there yourself, drop me an email.

Following on from this post, the Oscar nominations were obviously announced this week and I’m shocked to see no nomination for Michael Sheen. There’ll be riots on the streets of Port Talbot.

Have a great weekend.

*Notice to Would-be Burglars: I have an extensive CCTV setup running in conjunction with a comprehensive alarm system in my flat. No point even trying.