Make It Happen

Film Producing in Wales

Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Bolton

My Camera, It Doesn’t Know How To Lie

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Here’s the new trailer from SSAW – Skillset Screen Academy Wales, edited by Ewan Jones-Morris.  It’s compiled of films made with the support of the Screen Academy between 2007 and 2009.  There’s lots of footage from 17 included, check it out.

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Written by Matthew Redd

December 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

No-one Lights a Lamp in Order to Hide it Behind the Door

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I’m delighted to announce that, at 6pm tomorrow, 17 will receive its world premiere at the Portobello Film Festival in London.

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It’s showing in the World Cinema section, which in itself feels like an accolade – Wales is part of the world, though of course.  The full listing for the section is here, and our film is showing before the Bolivian-set US feature film Pachamama.  Congratulations to Jamie Bolton, the writer-director, and all of the cast, crew and financiers.  Thanks once again to you all for your hard work on the film.  It’s good to know that the film is now beginning to find an audience, which is the whole point of making these things in the first place.

You can download a PDF of the Festival’s programme here, there’s an image of Chris Conway from the film on page 16 of the programme (page 19 of the PDF).

Written by Matthew Redd

September 18, 2009 at 2:14 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

You Just Can’t Stay Seventeen Forever

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’17’ is finished. The short film that I shot back in September 2007 has now been completed, and I’m about to run off a load of DVDs to send out to the cast & crew, along with my thanks for their patience. I’m sure a lot of them had written off the prospects of seeing this film a long time ago.

The online & grade in Mwnci went as smoothly as I could have hoped, unfortunately Jamie couldn’t make it and so I took Matt with me. There were a lot of problems of our own making, ranging from missing footage to incorrect timecode (and everything in between), but Al did a fantastic job with the grade – the film now looks as bleak as its dramatic content. It’s a tough film to watch, but hopefully for the right reasons. There’s kids getting up to some pretty nasty things, it’s no American Graffiti.

There’s obviously things in the film that I would change, but considering we completed it nineteen months after we shot it, I’m very happy with the final result. A lot of the plot is based around happy slapping, and while we’ve lost an element of topicality as these days it’s knife crime that occupies British youth, it’s still a relevant parable on the cycle of violence that asks questions about today’s society.

The picture is of Christopher Conway, the lead in the film, taken by our stills photographer Garfield Richards. Chris did a fantastic job alongside Sean Bridgeman, Erin Richards and other great young actors we met at Atsli Casting. There’s also a strong performance from Gavin & Stacey’s Margaret John, in a role that’s in huge contrast to her recent TV comedy appearances, opposite Cardiff theatre legend Michael Kelligan, both of whom were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Some stills from the film soon. I’m off to copy some DVDs and finish typing in the information into shortfilmdepot.

Paying Peanuts, But Getting Mwnci

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The line up for the films in competition at Cannes was announced today. I don’t think I’ll make it to Cannes this year – I was lucky enough to have my two previous trips paid for, the first after winning a pitch competition at the Screen Academy and then last year’s trip paid by CYFLE as part of my film traineeship. I never took too much notice of the films in competition in honesty – I was more interested in checking out the market, the pavilions and the various events that go on. Anyway, this year’s competition sees entries from respected Europeans including Pedro and Ken, and also the latest from Quentin – let’s hope it’s a return to form after the miserable Death Proof, which had only one scene that I’d consider vintage Tarantino. The full list of competition films is out there if you google.

Next week, I’ll be at Mwnci in Cardiff for the online edit and grade of my short film ’17’, a revenge tale set in a tough South Wales neighbourhood. Time has flown – we actually shot the film in September 2007, but the week following the shoot was my first week as a CYFLE trainee, and I’ve worked solidly since, so getting the time to finish the film has been difficult. Jamie (the writer/director) moved to London soon after the offline edit (he’s currently working on this), and we didn’t actually have the money raised to finish the film until August 2008, thanks to a bursary from the Screen Academy Wales. Kate @ Mwnci has shown us a great amount of support and I’m truly grateful.

We did have time to complete the sound mix late last year, thanks to a great deal from Curig Huws at Streetlevel Studios. I can’t recommend Curig’s services for your audio post-production highly enough, he’s more than happy to advise you on what you might need and how to make your budget work for you. If you’ve got a short in the works, give him a ring.

So, this time next week, I should have the short completed in glorious HD. Then we hit the festivals – we’re too late for Cannes now, but there’s lots more coming up.