Thursday, July 25, 2013

One Voice International Film Festival Schedule

The One Voice Film Festival that I mentioned here has just announced their schedule for all of the films.

It looks like a pretty hectic schedule, but there is bound to be something for everyone in here.  Films ranging from as far afield as Russia, Denmark, Chile, Finland and Australia will compliment the many films that have been produced in Bournemouth by the young people there.

It takes place this Saturday (27th July) and looks like it is going to be a pretty fascinating evening.  For more information check out their Facebook page or visit

Friday, July 19, 2013

Film Review: Gasland (Josh Fox) 2010

I don’t normally post reviews of older films, but seeing as the news today frightened the hell out of me, I thought that I would revisit the brilliant documentary about ‘natural’ gas hydraulic fracturing in America.  The process of fracking is already highly controversial as it basically creates and deep underground earthquake in order to fracture the rock and release shale gas, which can then be harvested and sold as energy. 

Josh Fox lives in Pennsylvania and has always been fond of water and nature.  One day he gets a letter that states that if he sells some of his land to corporate fracking companies then he can make up to $100,000.  Thinking this to good to be true he begins to investigate the environmental and health impacts of these processes on local people in and around the central states of the USA.  On his travels he meets people who have such contaminated water supplies that they can light their taps on fire; he meets people who have lost their senses of taste and smell due to breathing the air around their homes; he meets workers and builders of the fracking infrastructure who have no idea that they are handling dangerous chemicals; and, predictably, he meets company representatives who deny all evidence of contamination and responsibility.

Fox begins to compile a list of problems that the citizens he meets are declaring, which includes
1.        Water trouble
2.        Health problems
3.        Hazardous explosive conditions inside houses
4.        Destruction of land
5.        Lack of confidence in state regulatory commissions
6.        A feeling of having been deceived
7.        A feeling of powerlessness
8.        Dead or sick animals
9.        A difficulty of obtaining good information about gas drilling
10.    The idea that there is a cover-up taking place.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Voice Film Festival (Interview with Jordi Robert)

This summer in Bournemouth there is a film festival called One Voice International Film Festival that celebrates young filmmakers and short films.  I managed to ask one of the curators of the festival a few simple questions about their goals and hopes for the event:

1. What is the mission statement of One Voice festival?

The aim of our film festival is to encourage film making and to celebrate the accomplishments of young film-makers.

2. What type of filmmakers are you looking for?

We are not looking for a specific type of filmmakers. Our only restrictions are:

1.   Films in which young people under the age of 26 years were key to the production.

2.   Films no longer than 15 minutes length.

3.   Films should have been made after October, 2011.

We wont accept films with strong violence or sexual nature as we have young audiences.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Top Ten Film Theory Books

I appreciate the irony of reducing some of the most influential and important academic film theory books into a simple ‘top ten’, but for those who are new to studying the discipline or want a solid place to jump into the deep end then these books are some of the most respected and fascinating books ever written on the subject. 

Be warned: They are not for the absolute beginner, but are all worth the time and effort (in other words difficult, but not impossible). They are in alphabetical order, by author.

1.                Roland Barthes – Image, Music, Text

As philosophy died and cultural theory was born, Barthes was on the cusp of the revolution.  This collection of essays contains the seminal essay The Death Of The Author that explains that it is at the moment that a film (or other cultural ‘text’) is watched rather than when it is made where meanings are created.  This means that an audience can interpret a film in whichever way they want, without having to restrict themselves to what the director intended.

2.                Jean Baudrillard – Simulacra and Simulation

Without Baudrilard there would be no Matrix trilogy.  This book explores the idea that we are all living in a world of images and simulated experiences with no meaning.  A simulacra is a copy without an original – like when a film makes you feel nostalgic for a time that never really existed (like every Disney film ever made), and Baudrillard suggests that we have all forfeited reality and replaced it with reproductions of reality, Hollywood style.  Anyone that has ever fought with a loved one and found themselves accidentally quoting a line from a film/TV show will enjoy this book…

3.                Carol J Clover – Men, Women & Chainsaws

For anyone who is interested in horror films, especially the ‘slasher’ films of the 1980s, this is the quintessential book on the subject.  It is here that Clover outlines her theory about the ‘Final Girl’ – aka the girl left alive at the end of the film who has not broken any of the moral ‘rules’ that have been set by the monster – If you watch the film Scream and listen to Randy talking about the rules of horror films, he is working mainly from Clover’s theories.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Harbour Lights Gala Opening (July 11th)

As all local cool people are aware, the fantastic Southampton art house cinema is being refurbished at the moment.  It is easily one of (if not the most) beautiful cinema in the country located on the seafront with big glass windows looking out from the bar out over the water.  They have been posting some updates about their refurb over on a tumblr account.

They have just announced their line up for when they open again this weekend but for picturehouse members they are having a big gala opening in the bar.  Those with membership get to see the building before the public at large as well as getting free screenings of either Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha or Rob Epstein’s Lovelace.

Those who are not members definitely should be, as the cinema is great and I am a huge advocate – I’m not paid for saying this, but it is genuinely my favourite place to watch films and I can’t wait for the new season…

Monday, July 8, 2013

Film Review: World War Z (Marc Foster) 2013

World War Z
There is probably no film that has been talked about more this summer than Brad Pitt’s self-funded World War Z.  Plagued with rumours about reshoots and gaining notoriety for potential failure, the film was looking like Costner’s Waterworld or Travolta’s Battlefield Earth.

The story begins with a really rubbish title sequence followed by one of the most painful exposition set ups I’ve seen in a recent blockbuster film.  The film opens in Gerry Lane’s (Brad Pitt) kitchen as he makes breakfast for his wife (Mireille Enos) and daughters.  A TV that is on the counter is showing footage of global riots and ‘strange behavior’, whilst at the same time Gerry’s daughter is asking him whether he ‘misses his job’ at the UN.  If audiences can’t figure out what is going to happen next then they need to watch more ‘90s action thrillers or give up entirely.  The plot then bursts into action with the family having to escape a zombie outbreak in New York and then make their way to a safe zone in the Pacific Ocean.  Gerry is then told that the only way that the military will look after his family is if he goes on a special UN mission in order to locate ‘patient zero’ and try to figure out the disease.

There is a brilliant moment in Shaun Of The Dead where Shaun has a go at Ed for using ‘the Z word’ because it is ‘ridiculous’.

In WWZ there is something more interesting going on:  by trying to be as realistic as possible, the filmmakers have conceded that the characters in their film live in a world similar to the audiences’, and have therefore all seen zombies films – so rather than to downplay references to ‘the Z word’, all of the characters seem to use it as much as possible to highlight their intimate knowledge with zombies and zombie resistance that they must have absorbed from TV…