Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Short and Sweet of Sigma

The last couple of weeks I've been feeling very stretched thin as there is a lot going on,with lots of traveling, concerts, yet more trips to be planned for, even the rare date! Not to mention its summer and its dang hard not to go into full sloth mode. You know, the kind of mode where you laze about in the sun or on a couch somewhere and idly daydream and plan and ponder over things you want to achieve but don't necessarily go any further than jotting a note down somewhere on the back of a receipt or a cocktail napkin or something...and stumble on it a few weeks later, then you go what the heck was I thinking about here? Such is the progress of my attempt at a screenplay-lots of disjointed notes on cocktail napkins (maybe I should call that the title of a book or the screenplay! LOL)

Anyway, I'd had been doing a lot of that lately, making small notes about the big dreams, when I read that Colin Kennedy had updated regarding progress on his short film I Love Luci. While it wasn't the great scoop on the status of or new films from Sigma I had been hoping for, DRAT ! :), I do admit I am quite keen on following the progress on this film, and it's always good to know that he is getting forward motion on landing the funds to make this film. He also noted hes made short films when talking about the funding process -which I so hope Scottish Screen will come through! As such, I feel compelled to say yes he HAS made some short films before-I've seen a few and they are good! Now, he would probably be very pissed at me if he saw me blathering on about this here, but while clearly I think he's talented, I particularly enjoyed this very brief yet funny video called "Kick that In" I wish he would upload all of this and his others on youtube, as myspace is so buggy lately and I find it hard to get stuff to work, but this is worth watching. Update:

That's what I like about Sigma. No, its not that they are making movies but are honest about their attempts and that they all seem to have a genuine appreciation and continued devotion to short films. Obviously many many people in the film industry start out making short films ala George Lucas etc but it seems to me that many seem to forget about them once they've achieved a measure of success. Oh not all are like that, as evident at film festivals like the still ongoing Edinburgh film festivals, where accomplished artists hold panels and work with with would be film makers, but this is not always the case. Anyway, I know previously I've written about a short film named "Trout" that Anna Duffield of Sigma produced, and she apparently worked again with that same director, Johnny Barrington for his newest film called "Terra Firma."

Looking around the other I can't believe I forgot about this from earlier -doh (I put it down to effects from slothy summer-itus ) but in the Channel 4 feature on Johnny Barrington, Terra Firma is definitely mentioned. In the piece he said its a "tale of a ship's entertainer who goes "a bit mad," it's his most ambitious enterprise yet. It was made on a smaller budget (than Trout) but it's longer, with a much larger cast," Johnny explains. "I've no idea how it'll be received, because it's a lot darker. The story itself hasn't got an obvious arc. But I don't mind." There is also a brief video interview with him online here via BBC Cinema Extreme. I think this screened earlier this year at the Glasgow film festival maybe too, but not sure when or where else it may show this summer-hope they release some sort of clip or promo in the future!

While I don't get the chance to go out and see as many short films as I would like, I do enjoy seeing them, for me its like watching what I do for a living in another form, (and often more enjoyable!) Although not currently as Im helping more with online written content these days, I have produced longer "in focus" pieces for television news programs (in the old days I did a few pieces for those syndicated shows like PM magazine) you know, the rare but occasional longer slice of life pieces.

One great slice of life short film that impressed the heck out of me was Red Road director Andrea Arnold's Oscar Winning " WASP" If you have not yet seen this piece, The Times has the entire film online (free!) as well as 24 others that are well worth taking the time out to watch. (In fact, I like to click around on that Film 4 website, I've stumbled over some random good clips that I sure as heck would have never heard of, let alone watch.) I love that Sigma embraces directors such as Andrea and Morag Mckinnon , relatively unknown at first to larger audiencesm and gives them opportunity to tackle bigger films that sets then on their way to even bigger projects-bravo!

'Course this short film business also has a great deal to do with the backgrounds of the principles: Gillian Berrie and the Mackenzie Brothers, David and Alastair. They all came from and made some excellent short films, including California Sunshine which still remains one of my favorites-the sly humor, mixture and inner truth hidden in the story line- so funny so quirky just aces (the fact that Alastair is looking more than fine to say the least doesn't hurt a bit either -well its true!) Plus I openly admit, I still get a big stupid grin on my face when I see David in his cameo too woo! :))) ) Directed by David, written by Gillian and starring Alastair (and think his wife in real life), it's still online mercifully free here via AtomFilms. Viva short films and those who still make them!


  1. I recently watched Lynne Ramsay's 2 feature films courtesy of netflix. On one of the dvd's - ratcatcher, I think - 3 of her short films were also included. They were interesting to watch because of the similarities between them & her feature films.

    If you are in short film mode & haven't run across them - they are worth watching.

  2. If you look closely at California Sunshine in the post-party scene you can see Gillian Berrie, Angus Pigott and of course David Mackenzie all making appearances.

  3. As requested I have put Kick That In and another short of mine, Tumour Me, on Youtube. I've also made the music vid I directed public on my Youtube page so it can be watched in the correct aspect ratio.

    Hope you like. Tumour Me is very sick and not for those of a sensitive disposition.

  4. Anna-that was an excellent review of Ratcatcher you wrote, and I will definitely take your advice and try and watch that DVD to see those shorts, thanks for the heads up!

    Colin ....I dont even know what to say other than thank you so very much for taking time out and stopping by here, really. The youtube thing is a big bonus too! much better!

    Yay I finally got to see your Tumor me film, woot! Sick loopy humor to be certain but not bad at all! (I do have to say it seemed the video /audio was off for a bit in the middle, maybe it was my connection or something.) While I see why some may not care for it, the ending has that black humor I get and enjoy, so thanks for adding that one too!