Monday, March 31, 2008

Good News for Sigma Films and Film City Glasgow


Another rare moment again as there is actually some good news for a Monday morning for The Herald is reporting on something that will help Sigma Films and Film City Glasgow. According to the paper, Glasgow City Council is due to approve some £907,000, which will go to Film City Glasgow and "be used towards the construction of 20 office units to be leased to production companies working on anything from corporate promotions to big-budget feature films." I think this is GREAT NEWS, and I'm sure all at FCG and esp Sigma and Gillian Berrie must be thrilled.

The paper continued with this quote from the admin of FCG, Tiernan Kelly (who also once posted on Getyourpeople with a really sweet entry) who said:
"This is a very exciting time to be in film and broadcast production in Glasgow and we expect it to stay that way for at least the next 10 years.Now we can offer office space to production firms, which is notoriously difficult, offer sound and post production at 60% the cost of Soho production houses, while production in general can be done at 60% the London cost in Glasgow. Facilities like Film City can only help perpetuate the work and allow us to properly compete with London and Manchester."Recent figures put the value of film production in Glasgow at £17m, with further spin-offs to the local economy.

I know they have established a plan of development, taking that lovely old building and converting it to a viable working film studio, with these additional offices part of the last phase I think . On the Sigma Films website it says "Long term, in addition to the film and post production facilities, the creation of a cafĂ© bar area and between 16 – 20 office spaces in Phase 3 will provide a dynamic and synergetic environment for creative/media cross-fertilisation and collaboration at local, national and international level." It must be a relief to know they are finally able to complete this project and focus more on drawing in all those other production companies and such. To me, this is all quite logical and practical and it just good business and smart investment in the future. Perhaps its the American business, go get em approach or influence in me, but personally I find this very admirable and wish them all the luck with their plans and dreams and the hard work involved in to creating a flourishing and self-producing film industry in Scotland that is not so reliant on others. I have read some of the criticisms of the overall plan of a thriving media sector in Glasgow, and while I think there is some validity in a few minor criticism, for the most part I think they are just a bunch of silly and afraid of change naysayers and looking at the negative. Nothing comes from Nothing and if you never even freaking try NOTHING will be accomplished. Many of these same complaints were bandied about when silicon valley, Boston and other hubs /center in other businesses and industries were started too and heh they proved to be the right decision. I applaud Sigma, city council, and the other backers for being able to look beyond and see the larger picture. Yes yes OF COURSE I know I don't live there and am unaware of all the particulars, but as a person looking in from the outside, I simply fail to see why there are those who are so negative. New business=money=a resurgence in property values, salaries, economy and quality of life no?

Well anyway, in addition to this, I also very much admire how they have gone into an older section of Glasgow and are not only trying to establish this media sector in the town, but also have preserved that gorgeous old building, saving it from decay and abandonment-yay for that!

Now rehabbing old buildings is nothing new, and quite common literally all around the world in just about every manner conceivable (I even know of several churches that are now breweries lol yes Americans have no shame). I've lived in older homes that have been rehabbed -Nola, DC etc (as does my brother, he the big shot attorney and never one to pass up a chance to make a buck, several years ago moved to a former older part of his city where a rehab is ongoing for the older part of town, complete with refurbished homes, these with their fabulous high ceilings and excellent woodwork and craftsmanship that woefully is lacking today. Today, along with the hundreds and hundreds of others who did the same, the home is worth four to six times what it was when he bought it! )

While I couldn't find too much information on the FCG building itself save a handful of articles, but I will see if I can find more (I think there's a Facebook group too ) I did see these photos on the always reliable Flickr of course, including this awesome photo from some guy named Sauvagii whose work I regularly view; he does good work I think! I also remembered reading while HF was in production that someone was doing a documentary on the former Govan Town Hall, however Im not sure though if its still on as the blog hasn't been updated in over a year. I do know they have some great music/post production facilities now based at FCG, as well as the ongoing use for movies and shorts of course. I assume they are basing Rounding Up Donkeys out of that building (although the news on that film is apparently hidden away behind a wall of silence and the news section on the Film City Glasgow website regrettably hasn't been updated since last year either so not sure what they are up to now, but maybe it slow due to the construction or pretty booked cause of Donkeys or something) On the positive side however is word that they shot Colin Kennedy's We are the Physics music video there. There are some nice photos from the shoot which took place at FilmCity Glasgow on the Physics site here and here. Most joyfully of all is last week the FUNNY and well done behind the scenes video of the making of "You Can Do Athletics BTW" went online at the We are the Physics new website-sooo cool, cant wait to see the finished product!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sweet! It's Scotland Week 2008!


Today is March 30, which is the official beginning of the annual Scotland Week, celebrating and promoting all things Scottish here in the US. For the past couple years I've thought this is a cool thing to be certain, but the hidden bonus is I also now have a whole host of randomly and marginally Sigma Films things to write about for the next week! The blog gods are smilin' on me for sure ;)

This event is of course to help promote tourism,and spread the word on the many various ,and I think very interesting, facets of Scotland. As the marketing for the week states, over 12 million Americans claim Scottish ancestry (including myself) and I have paid attention to this week for a variety of reasons over the past few years.

There are events planned in some of the more major cities in the US, including the annual parade in NYC (always a good time and good excuse to gather and drink afterwards too lol), as are the various things in the press highlighting Scottish cities, arts, music, literature etc; things touristy and cultural to be sure, but I am also keen on the whisky and food aspect as well,but more on that later this week. All of it culminates in the big Tartan day on Sunday April 6. According to the Scotland.org website April 6 is important because "in 1998 the US Senate designated 6 April each year as Tartan Day "in recognition of the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans." Previously, in some parts of the US, and in other parts of the world ,notably Canada where a Tartan Day was already in place, special events had been held to celebrate this day. But the Senate resolution has provided a further impetus and a growing number of organisations and individuals are having their own local festivities."

After getting a press release on all of this, I took a quick glance at the various sites for this, and lo and behold I did spot a sorta Sigma related person, Kelly Cooper Barr who is one of the people profiled as a Voice of Scotland. Now I've seen her name and photos pop up a few times on the GetYourPeopleBlog and in those pics from Motovun, and never knew what she did or why she was there (someones girlfriend or something I guess) On the Scotland week page there is a link to a site, and it said she is located at the fabulous FilmCity Glasgow, which of course is the home of Sigma Films. Another quick look about shows this person is also a stylist and pr person, so maybe she does pr for the film company or something -no idea though. On her website it shows her work as a fashion stylist, which I think must be a fun job (and she seems to be good too, given the quality photos I saw), although she would take a look at me, currently blogging in my beloved but old Dave Matthews Band pink fairy tee, sweats and flip flops and know I totally fail in the fashion department lol (you'd never know by that description I faithfully read those magazines, love project runway and pay attention to it, just struggle pitifully with putting it together though *sigh* hahah oh well)

Speaking of fashion, lets talk kilts and another random Sigma mention :)As for kilts, lets just be plain about it: men in kilts are downright handsome, and sexy sexy SEXY and I know full well I am not alone in the slightest in thinking that and enjoying that show! I remember seeing several pics of say Gerard Butler, the wonderful Tony Curran (Red Road) and most especially Sigma Films exec, producer and actor Alastair Mackenzie who looked way fine on the runway sporting one during the excellent Dressed to Kilt event , which apparently has been postponed until October this year-BOOOO!!! Side note: I loved Alastair as Archie in the Monarch of the Glen , he was just top notch all the way around and he never wore a kilt enough for me lolol. Yes I know Duncan was the keeper of the Glenbogle kilt lol love him and he was so funny and great in that part (plus I heard that kilt went thru several incantations due to wear and tear), but still. Because Im a hopeless romantic, I always thought it was a shame that when Archie proposed to Lexie he was sporting those tartan pants which were wretched lol, although on the other hand bless Lexie was wearing her Scarlett O'hara gown with those nasty hoops, which makes dancing neigh impossible and quite a feat lol-I've worn a hoop skirt a couple times in the past-corsets I don't mind at all, but hoops UGGGH poor Dawn Steele. He made up for it though, by wearing a proper kilt when Archie went charging after her and Superman stopped the bus in a kinda goofy but completely swoon-worthy moment lol Im such a hopeless sapp. Anyway, bring on Scotland in all its old traditions and modern delights, Cheers ahead for Scotland week!

Bonus video: My fave Archie/Lexie fan video featuring the dreaded tartan pants lol

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Case Study on Hallam Foe Locations Due in April

Its all about the location baby! Whether it be the best seats at a concert or play, out to dinner or watching fireworks, buying a house, in a theatre or making a movie, location matters. If there is one job (other than screenwriter) I would actually consider would be as a location manager, and now the person who served as such for Hallam Foe is teaching a class on this subject. According to the Edinburgh Film Focus site, someone named Hugh Gourlay is teaching a class on April 11 that "will guide us through the whole process of managing film location. He'll talk about the script and the relationship between location manager and production team; how to scout/search and negotiate locations; managing the shoot; health, safety and legals; and answer the tricky question of which is better for your film - location or studio? Hugh will refer to real examples and there will be a case study session on two very different productions: 'Hallam Foe' and 'Nanny McPhee'. A unique chance to hear from a master craftsman how it should be done."

Drats~ I sooo would LOVE to go to this! I have no idea how detailed a case study and what new information on the locales used for Hallam Foe (or Mister Foe) will be detailed but when you're a fan like me, it surely would be fascinating to hear more on how they chose certain buildings in Edinburgh for example for some Hallam's breathtaking escapades through the city. I would also love to hear more about how closely the location manager and David and the team worked. I also wonder about all the various permits you have to deal with, fire codes, safety codes, dealing with gawking fans like me lol, and all the logistics involved in organizing some of these things.

If there is one thing I so love about David Mackenzie's work is his eye and his shot selection which are usually just gorgeous all the way around, and I would love to hear more on his thought process and the working relationship he and his location manager have.Recently Colin Kennedy addressed how important locations are when beginning a film in a recent entry on his I Love Luci blog when he noted "I remember David quoting Wong Kar-wai as saying that he likes to find a location and then a story. David followed somewhat similar principals on Hallam Foe. I have to admit I am not entirely following their lead but I am trying to apply my story to some locations that I have always wanted use, so my approach is not totally dissimilar." Just as he did detailing some of the process used for the various locations on the getyourpeople blog, I genuinely admire he is putting all these steps out there for his own film, even posting his early scouting photos up on Fickr which I appreciated soo much!

Speaking of Flickr which is one of my most favorite websites in the world right now lol, I read quite a bit about locations in movies, and like so so so many people anymore I stay and watch the end credits of films to see where they were filmed, and locations used. The fantastic thing about Flickr is that so many others are able to travel and go and document what they've seen on some of the location shoots, and then generously post them up (almost ten pages of various groups here) so everyone can see them. I think this is just great and I applaud these people. I even stumbled over a few who have been lucky enough to go to Edinburgh and actually took pics out side a pub that was used for the HF movie too!

Now you can look on various other websites of course to see where they filmed stuff. Scottish Screen of course has a wealth of information completely worth checking out. I have used the Scotland the Movie site for a couple years although the updates are sadly lacking and always late in coming if at all alas and it has zero on Hallam Foe. The Edinburgh Film site has a pretty good resource I think, and actually lists various sites used for the movies filmed in that beautiful city-much better organized, detailed, and frankly more accessible and easier to navigate than the GlasgowFilm site which requires you to register (which I haven't done) just to see photos of the locations-but then conversely Glasgow film site has a SIMPLY WONDERFUL video archive on the various films that the other site doesn't have lol so I guess they balance each other out. Ex. the Hallam Foe blurb on the Edinburgh site says "Filmed in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders at various locations including Glen House, Caledonian Hotel, City Art Centre, Cockburn Street."

The desire to go and actually SEE in PERSON where these movies you love were filmed is surely nothing new, and certainly (as mentioned by Sigma head Gillian Berrie last year too) the result of tourists like me flocking to come see these locations in the UK should will and does have a huge economic impact. Hence the recent campaigns by the Visit Britain/Visit Scotland sites to encourage this, not to mention the recent spate and plethora of new movie tours being offered surely is a sign that people love to see these sites and will pay good hard earned money to do so-everyone benefits, seems like a no brainer to me to promote this. Example: The DaVinci Code anyone? How many thousands upon thousands of people flocked to Rosslyn Chapel recently since the release of the Dan Brown book and film? BBC said the chapel raked in £500,000 last year,not exactly chump change is it? And oh yeah lets think..whats that magical fellows name...HARRY POTTER??? Has Scotland/England seen any of the millions of Potterheads lurking about at Edinburgh castle or Alnwick Castle (BBC "Harry Potter films led to a 120% rise in visitors to Northumberland's Alnwick Castle, and had brought about £9m worth of tourism to the region 0_0) or bless Platform 9/34 at Kings Cross station in London maybe (full disclosure : I went there AND IT WAS FABULOUS FUN FUN FUN and zomg the cringe worthy fun once I hit Scotland will be ten times worse/better wheee!) Bond of course is huge as is, Narnia and of course the fair lady and truly wonderful Jane Austen. you betcha I soo badly want to go on a JA tour, and I even have a photo of some of the films as my ever changing wallpaper, although today its of Hever castle due to my current The Tudors infatuation (more hysterically funny to me is the fact that series is filmed in IRELAND lol but I digress) and boy oh boy a more detailed Glenbogle tour (featuring even the smallest contribution of any sort from Sigmas own and the most wonderful Alastair Mackenzie) would go over like crazy mad I predict esp for crazed American Monarch of the Glen fans. You can visit the estate/castle on your own of course, and I've read this site but its not a tour I think nor officially sanctioned, anyway if huge tour exists Ive not heard of it yet,or maybe do like an anniversary one off or something but I'm just rambling at this point so I'll stop. Now, if only they will offer a Hallam Foe/Sigma tour I'd be all set ;)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Adrian Rawlins!


Ok random but its still not too late (well here in the US) to wish
Adrian Rawlins a very Happy Birthday! Cheers!

Adrian Rawlins, while better known to US audiences for his role as James Potter in the Harry Potter films, was so wonderful in one of my favorite Sigma films, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, (fully deserving his BIFA nom for supporting actor imo and yes totally Jamie Sives was equally if not more awesome but I digress). I do not get the chance to see (or find much information and/or interviews) with this actor alas alas, but he is good and I hope he will be able to get more leading parts in the future.
Bonus Videos : Two awesome trailers for Wilbur because I am hopeless



Stepping Back from the Spread

I love to read. I read many papers and spend many hours working and reading on the internet each and every day without fail, and have done so for many years now. Although I'm back at trying for the long elusive PhD yet again, as a media person, I fully support the right to free expression and the sharing of information. There are times however when I become saddened at the state of media I stumble over, such as some of the things the tabloids, paparazzi and various gossip/media sites put online.

I guess I'm having a moment this morning where I am disheartened by what Ive seen, read and it makes me want to step back from writing about Spread for a while. It is the nature of blogging and being a fan that you write about things, news pics videos and the like because its very rare to have an actual ongoing source of news from a movie set, such as we had with the Hallam Foe blog. I guess I was throughly spoiled and I do mean completely because I loved Colin's work and the blog so much and followed it so closely, it makes me sad there is not something of the same calibre for other movies and projects Im interested in, such as what David is up to with Spread. I know I am probably rude and impatient, greedy and selfish probably, and I know there will be proper updates accordingly, but realizing this about myself makes me sad.

The other day I blogged about all those latest pictures of Ashton at the pool because those photos were just splashed practically everywhere (they will also be in many of the more mainstream celeb mags like People etc) and yet today on some major gossip/lj sites, they are just raking Ashton (and this film) over the coals in the most hateful and vile manner; tis most discouraging and frankly appalling. Even more discouraging today was I went to another well known paparazzi site (yet these guys really are aggressive and post a huge amount of intrusive photos) and I had such mixed emotions. They had new photos of from filming of Spread, and now also video of David Mackenzie directing a scene again. At first I was all so happy and my usual twee fangirl self and was all whee!because I got to see David at work and actual behind the scenes stuff for movie making: David was directing another scene, this time with the star and some chick having an argument by the car and I was thinking hey this is cool to watch. However, as I kept on watching it I got sadder and more mad at myself. I'm gathering this movie must be some sort of period piece ie set in the 70/80 cause no WAY do women wear the outfit the girl was sporting-straight out of the old sitcom Three's Company. She was wearing some ridiculously short shorts, that frankly no one wears in real life, and then you can see her rehearsing in her Ugg boots when poof they shoot the actual scene and they have her teetering about in high heels with the shorts. HOW TACKY, so disappointing to see that. *sigh* I had such high hopes that this would be a more intelligent smart sexy comedy instead of what seems to be so cliche so standard and low brow , well frankly I'm disappointed for now. Plus, in other photos, you could also tell they were none to happy with the constant prying eyes of the papps and hence people like me who follow this stuff. bugger. :((( It's also made me reassess whether I should even be writing about any of this, for most of the information I've seen has come from those sites and all Ive done is repost some of the more cleaner I guess or less icky of the photos. Still I wonder if by trying to support and follow David's work I'm not actually supporting some of the more vile elements that come along with these things and anyway, its all made me stop and reflect on it this morning.

This is not meant to be some mea culpa post where I'm beating myself up for having gone to these sites in the first place or even writing about them, just me being honest with myself and putting my thoughts down somewhere which is the whole point of this blog. Truth is no matter how well read I try to be, how versed I can actually be on matters of history, US politics or boring international relations or pressing social matters , as much as I try to maintain an open mind and honestly enjoy comparatively frivolous things too like fashion magazines, or faithfully follow music or movies (or movie makers!), I also do flip through those tacky celeb magazines while in the checkout lane, and go to those sites every now and then. The reality of me is I really am a sorta well intentioned but less than brainy Bridget Jones type of person who will never be much more than that, and that realization kinda hits pretty hard now and then.

Anyway there really isn't much discussion of David's new film going on elsewhere anyway; only a handful at this point who seem to care if there is an actual plot (and of course my interest is mainly because of David and being a loyal fan of his) and some of the Ashton fans are only interested because hes shirtless gah. Maybe things will change direction of course once filming is done and the marketing/official stills/trailers etc start to surface and we get closer to next year's release date. Until then I think I will be writing less about that movie for now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Off the Deep End!


With the weather continuing to be horrible here at least (no sign that spring may actually arrive anytime soon le woe) I rather appreciated seeing the latest photos from the set of Spread surfaced online today, as its proof there is better weather someplace lol (and I need to seriously think whether flying to Scotland is the wise choice when I could zip off to the islands where there is NO SNOW)

Off in glorious and warm LA, David Mackenzie (or maybe this is the type of stuff the second unit does? dunno hmmm) was filming on location scenes at a sunny pool location, where the star of Spread, Ashton Kutcher, was going off the deep end...well probably just the middle of the pool, but boy does that water look nice! Gossip sites Popsugar, PacificCoastNews and the ever on the spot JustJared were quick of course, to post a slew of pics of our hero trumpeting 'he's shirtless zomg!!!!' but they also managed to include some pics that show a few pieces of equipment they use on set.

Here is a scene en progress-not sure what that is beside the camera, maybe a mic or a still camera or something?






Anyway, the difference a few years makes couldn't be more striking because it was almost this time several years now wow, when they were filming off in the cold loch for Hallam Foe. I distinctly remember Colin blogging on his HallamFoe blog (getyourpeople.com) several times about that shoot, and a later re-shoot as well as filming at the tanks at Pinewood Studio. Water scenes always seem to me to be so complicated, and so incredibly easy to botch up that I always appreciate when the mechanics of these scenes are explained. I am sure the scene at the 'black lagoon' was hard, for even Jamie Bell wrote about it in ElleUK when said "I have to do several scenes that require me to jump into the loch which isnt very funny. It's bloody freezing and not flattering for the old manhood in any way. It's so cold I find it impossible to stay in for more than five seconds at a time. The director is shouting 'Stay In!,' but my brain is saying "Out out out!" The scene was pivotal of course for the movie, and Im so glad he was able to make it through those (and Claire of course) because as beautiful as this loch is, no way would I want to take a dip in there!



Regardless, the case in point here is: the two scenes couldnt be more different, and I'm certain David is appreciating the difference in filming. ....Though gotta say, as wonderful as water sports and the guys are, its hard to determine which is the better errrm catch from the water by these pics ;) heee !

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Beware of Men in Beards

Note: This is completely useless post frankly to see if I can post with my new iPod Touch (belated birthday gift due to early tax refund). Rather hopeless being (sorta) geekish, but I wanted to see if it were possible, hence a post while seeking refuge from the deluge of the family and friends. I know it makes me rather dreadful and anti -social to sneak off to find a quiet corner for a few minutes to check the mail and make a post this am, but really my capacity to tolerate endless NCAA basketball playoffs, scores of children (my son, nieces nephews and various friends) shrieking playing Avatar and Bionicle and *woe* High School Musical 2, not to mention the endless dying and hunting eggs (in the endless SNOW to top it all) is really at the brim for the moment.

It is Easter of course, and while I struggle mightily with matters of faith and wont go into any of that, I couldn't help but notice that one of my favorite actors is appearing this week on the BBC in another movie/series highly relevant to this weekend, called The Passion. Jamie Sives ( Alastair in Hallam Foe, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself) is portraying John the Baptist and one of the disciples of Jesus. In the part of course he and all the other actors had to sport a beard.

Now personally I think men in beards are usually handsome (although not a fan of the icky Abe Lincolnish big bushy long beards, but neatly trimmed, some of the more scruffy look that is popular lately esp is really attractive..or should I say really hot?;)) but in movies it is so hard to get them to look natural or attractive. Plus I would imagine beards can be quite uncomfortable and bothersome after a while. Frankly too, while most men do not wear beards much as they used to obviously (well yes the are still stylish and maybe it's me, but it seems they appear more often in the winter) you obviously have to have fake ones for a part in a film if the part demands. Hence having skilled makeup artists who can create a realistic beard is a plus LOL. Understatement duh, because clearly if they are not done well they can take away from the movie, which is sad yet true, as there have been times I know me miss average movie goer was distracted by the beard on the actor (in one case really bad mustache that it ruined the whole movie for me because I laughed totally every time he talked and the thing flapped in various scenes when clearly it was not meant to be humorous and irritated the people sitting in front of me- oops failed on proper theater etiquette that day!).

The Glasgow Daily Record of course didn't pass on the chance to write about the frivolous (such as I clearly am doing lol) and included mentions of the beards the men wore for the film. One of the stars of the film is quoted as saying: "There was some serious competition from Denis Lawson and Jamie Sives," even though they sported this in the heat of the Moroccan desert which I can imagine was less than desirable heh. While being over here in the States I can't see this film, but the reviews of it have been well so-so I guess, with the one noting sadly "Jamie Sives' soft Edinburgh lilt has been buried behind his character John's beard in a bland nowhere-land, which now matches the Lancastrian strains of brother James (Dean Lennox Kelly) even less.

As a bit of an Easter egg surprise this morning, I did manage to find the trailer and this short clip HUZZAH which features Jamie, full beard and all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Through the Eyes of Children

News on the progress of Rounding up Donkeys is slow, but bits and pieces do trickle out now and then. If you brave and patient enough to endure the comments on IMDB, in the midst of some of the ZOMG SOOOOHOOOTTT!!! and random trolls, every once in a while there will be a good intelligent thread or if you are really lucky, a piece of filming news. Now there is no way to verify any of this, and having learned my lessons several times over that you simply cant always trust what is read over there, however there were two pieces of news saying that RuD was filming the other night on some place called Victoria Bridge in Glasgow, and even better a bit of news from an extra in the movie who says he took part in some location work was done at some place called "Nice n sleazys" on Sauchiehall street last week. LOL with a name like that naturally I had to go look it up. The street looks like a happening place, and this club is apparently one of the hip places to go hear bands so I will add that to my itinerary when I go to Glasgow .I'm well aware now that Glasgow has a seriously awesome new music scene, and although Im going on the first trip by myself, it should be ok I think and cant wait to see if I happen to hear a great band while Im there.

I think extras in movies are always cool people, showing such enthusiasm just to be part of films so I appreciated hearing this. Speaking of extras there was a news story online involving extras and Rounding Up Donkeys. The story was about a young child who was lucky enough to be cast as an extra for the movie. Quotage:

"The eight-year-old was given her own scene, in which she had to stare at Cosmo from the doorway of a high-rise flat. Although she will only be on screen for seconds, she was introduced to the film’s star and the director, and said she was treated like a VIP by the crew.

She told The Courier, “I was really surprised that I got in the film and was really excited. I was really nervous, but it felt like being a real actress. I got my own car and they gave me an umbrella so I didn’t get wet.

“James Cosmo was really, really nice to me. When my mum asked him if we could take a picture he just said yes straight away.

“But the film’s an 18 so my mum’s just going to show me the clip that I’m in. She’s seen the first one and it’s a bit too adult for me so I don’t think she’ll let me see this one.”

Awww so cute! and Lol to the mother, totally understandable of course because these films are hardly Disney/Potter/Speed racer stuff, I was glad to read this story. Working with children is always hard ,and I think the labor laws always make filming with children a hard thing to work around or at least that is what I understand. Children in any sort of production can be a mixed blessing of course- impatience over the waits in between shoots etc, but then there is such pure happiness enthusiasm and earnest ness that must make it such a joy in the end run. I remember once before I made the decision to go into news, I wanted so badly to have a career in theatre, and I worked my summers at these permanent summer camps as a the head counselor for their theatre department. Frankly these were camps where the affluent of New York sent their kids (often times straight away after they came home from boarding school-heartbreaking at times to see teh younger ones esp-the 6 78 years old desperate for the affection of their parents only to be shuffled off yet again) Anway, I loved these kids and vividly remember the challenges in putting plays. Everyone got to be in a productions and I will never forget ne summer when putting on Cinderella for the younger groups how proud the kids were to just be mice and lizards lol! bless such fun!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

David Mackenzie's "Spread" a "Dirty Little Movie" Says Ashton Kutcher

With a new film and tv series debut, the star of David Mackenzie's upcoming "Spread" film is making news yet again, this time with a provocative cover story of a men's magazine. Ashton Kutcher is the subject of profile in VMan magazine (which frankly I never heard of until now) where the handsome model turned actor turned producer is shown in a series of striking photos by leading fashion photographer Mario Testino. This photo collection is called "I'm not real" showcasing Ashton as some genetically perfect robotic man (including of course one that shows off his physique). The title on the cover though of course says "Ashton gets real" lol, and in the article, he does mention his new film that is currently in production in Los Angeles.

In the piece he describes Spread as a "dirty little movie” - as a way of apologizing to all the girls he hurt as a ’serial dater’. Apparently this film is his sort of penance for being a 'player' in the past, and he is hoping this will somehow make amends for the various women he went through before he married Demi Moore, as he noted "had a serial-dating period” where he was “was pretty abusive of my attributes. My fame and my looks,” he added. “I was pretty abusive to a lot of people.”

Ashton Kutcher goes on then to describe his role in Spread stating " he will be an Alfie-style swinging bachelor - and Ashton makes it clear the story is very close to home. "It’s about a guy who’s a dating machine - he sort of seduces women for financial gain without officially being a gigolo,” Ashton says. “It’s a pretty dirty little movie. It’s honest, and in this case that honesty is kid of brutal. This movie is kind of my way to say I’m sorry to a lot of girl I may have hurt by not being respectful.”

In the rest of the article he seems grateful for all he has achieved and has in his life, so I guess this is a good thing, perhaps a bit of clever PR work to counter his image which frankly has not been one where you associate quality actor to his name. It's another sign of our culture I guess, where once you achieve a level of fame (and in his case constant media scrutiny) you might feel compelled to make amends via a movie. It's also true the press has been well, unkind, in the past (prettyboy actor wannabe etc) so I give him credit for trying to change all that. I will say it does seem to me this story is not new in the slightest and rather common -not just Hollywood-there are player types everywhere! -but there are those say like say Colin Farell and Jeremy Piven who still unfortunately have this icky user player stigma/label still attached to them that heh not sure if any sort mea culpa film will ever counter. These guys are doing solid good work acting wise, but more often than not you hear more about their social conquests than their actual films and tv series. meh. Whatever. I am most certainly NOT making any judgment on a person's past because I certainly have been no Angel in younger days either! and so I give him credit for trying. More importantly I just hope Spread is a good and successful film, both as a quality film and he achieves what he's hoping to gain by making it to begin with.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Little Less Brighter

Today there is word the great British director Anthony Minghella has died. I know this has nothing to do specifically with Sigma films, but the passing of this very fine director has made me sad; sad for his family and friends and colleagues, sad because the world of art and cinema and storytelling is a little less bright today.

An Oscar winner for the lovely "The English Patient," Anthony Minghella made some simply wonderful films in his career, and although I never met this man, his film Truly Madly Deeply speaks to my heart and is one of my favorites, as is Cold Mountain. There was much ado over his decision to cast two non American actors in the title roles, but I thought Jude Law gave the best performance of his career in "Cold Mountain," and frankly as a person who knows the south, Renee Zellweger was spot on as Ruby. It would be odd to describe a film character as someone you know but there are parts of Ruby that are me and I marveled at her performance. Anyway, with a resume of many wonderful movies, several of Mr. Minghella's films are my most favorite of all time, and I saddened by the news that his light wont be cast with new films any more.

I am more sad however that a good man has passed. I say a good man because he touched the lives of so many, not just through his films, but in charity works and also in the life of a dear friend of mine. She was going through her second time battling breast cancer and had been online in a chat room etc and was able to strike up a correspondence with Anthony Minghella. He went out of way time and time again, this Oscar winning, famous wealthy successful man, to speak and write several times with my friend and it made a world of difference to her-not just through the chemo but later as a friend. He also later invited her daughter to his house when she was in London studying which was quite the event, and anyway it was the most minor of things that made such a huge difference to others. I found it so impressive because as my friend was later to share portions with me, he was treating her as a PERSON and not just a "movie goer" "reader" or a"fan." He remembered that she was a human being, that there are real live people behind the words and mails and treated her with such dignity, humor, and kindness. It is this quality, that no matter how successful or famous, you remember you are a human too and we are all in the same boat, well it's a quality that I find most admirable. While I've written David M several times, he actually took the time out once to mail back a couple years ago now and I was so excited, I printed it out and framed it lol. That feeling of gratitude and appreciation still holds true without exception every single time when I hear from someone I admire and respect, say when people like Colin or any one involved in any other production or situation takes time out to answer and connect and listen. Today just served as a reminder to me of how important seemingly little things like this can be.

In a world where I hear sad and tragic news every single day, I was genuinely saddened to learn of this news and my condolences and prayers go to his family friends and colleagues and others whose life he touched.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mister Foe to Screen at Florida Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival



Well now that an official US release date is out there for Mister Foe (aka Hallam Foe-still LOATHE the name change bleh) the film is continuing to make various appearance at film festivals across the country before May.

The film is set to make what is labeled it's "East Coast Premiere" lol at the Florida Film Festival on March 29. Apparently it is competing as a "Spotlight" film; the movie (which was officially rated "R" here recently) will screen on March 31st as well. In what is imo a piece of crap journalism and waste of column space, the Orlando Sentinel gave it a bad 'review' although there is nary any review I could see, other than summary, so I'm not sure what this was supposed to tell the local folks there in the magic land of Disney and MGM and Seaworld, but hopefully many people wont pay too much attention to this. Press is always good, but this one -meh.

UPDATE: Word now the film is to screen at the Philadelphia Film festival on April 7 and 9. Making yet another "East Coast Premiere" lolol, at least the writeup/preview review for this is a good one, with the author saying "
Hallam Foe is one of the most memorable and disarmingly likable troubled outsiders to hit screens in some time, and Jamie Bell delivers a tour de force performance. Hallam’s demons are close to the surface, and some of his behavior is indefensible, but somehow it’s always clear that he is harmless and as sympathy-worthy as a wounded animal. The film’s stormy exuberance and youthful sense of desperation is irresistible, but an infectious humor keeps the movie light. The fantastic, jangly indie rock soundtrack is another highlight, and this seductive tale of late adolescence seems sure to be a Festival hit."

Conversely though, the word Mister Foe is to be newly released here in the States is making it's way into other media pieces, such as getting mentions in recent articles about Sophia Myles and Ciaran Hinds. Mr Hinds (Papa Julius Foe) who is currently appearing on Broadway in The Seafarer, was the subject of this article which also mentions his recent appearance in the movie Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (with the always wonderful Shirley Henderson, another Sigma al
um of sorts). I saw Miss Pettigrew recently which I enjoyed, and although Francis McDormand is consistently good, I honestly thought both Shirley and Ciaran were the highlights of the movie. It was pleasant enough for a few hours, certainly nothing outstanding though, and quite honestly I'm glad I had seen it as a sneak preview (read =free ticket) and wouldn't have paid full price to see it in theaters, and would recommend people wait to rent it on DVD or wait for cable.

Tangent: Speaking of renting, while I am not sure of the date yet,
Mister Foe will be out on Netflix I predict by late summer/fall, certainly by Christmas besides the DVD which I will be getting too. Oh yes, in Australia, the Hallam Foe DVD is apparently coming out on the 26th of March .

Finally, apparently in an article mostly about her hit television series Moonlight, Sophia Myles mentions Hallam Foe. errm naturally I cant find the link for it at the moment, but the point is the word is getting out here and there and its bound to continue, which is good, esp to the Moonlight crowd which is huge as the show is quite popular and has a loyal following on the net. Sophia is playing a media person who is tangled up with a hunky guy who happens to be a vampire, ie a relationship totally doomed to fail if it ever gets there -hmm now where I have seen this sort of situation before *coughBuffyAngelForeverKnightcough* :P lol Useless side note: Vampires are all the rage here again, as I received all three of the those huge best seller Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer as a birthday gift and I can now understand what all my friends have been on about for months lol. They are what I call 'bon bon' books-easy breezy tasty and utterly disposable reading, nonetheless I've spent the last couple days and late nights reading them in between work and dealing with my wounded leg which is slowly starting heal. Shallow, predict
able, yet enjoyable enough, I see why the unrequited love for a vampire thing is now so popular again, especially with the younger crowd. Vampires as hit books arent anything new of course and I won't go into the whole Anne Rice and New Orleans thing-shes totally wrong though the vampires and ghosts in that they do NOT live in the block she said, they are elsewhere in the city and in plenty of other cities in the south too! ;)
As for vampire watching, the only vampire movie I prefer is the original LOST BOYS, which they apparently made a sequel too (new trailer here at MTV) and heh without Keifer and Jason Patric, this movie looks way lame, but I digress badly) Bonus video-org trailer for Lost Boys, which is a cult classic I guess, but I remember this was quite the rage in my younger days and still love it all these years later.






Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are You Really Hot?



So with the trailer for Hallam Foe (aka Mister Foe) now up on US iTunes, there was a cool bonus of the high definition version of the trailer (only changes I spotted in addition to the magnolia board at the begining, it reads Mister Foe in David Shrigley's fabulous tree artwork/titles at end of trailer).
( Links are from hd-trailer.net cause I couldn't get the link to copy right, curses)

*Small

*Medium

*Large


There is something rather wonderful to watch footage of this film in glorious High Def. Not sure if we ever will get the film in say Blu-Ray (which I imagine is a hugely expensive thing and certainly too cost prohibitive for many independent film companies) but you can see so many things-I esp love how clear the shots of Edinburgh are, with Hallam and Kate scrambling across the rooftops, Jamie in the clock shot is great too-well all of it frankly.

Now with high definition, in addition to the clarity of the scenery, you of course get far better looks at the actors themselves. I know that many actors and filmmakers aren't too keen on this High Def business as its TOO revealing-too many of the cracks, imperfections and flaws may show more readily. I guess as they adjusted to having to shoot in color, so too the transition for most films being shot in secret-revealing high definition must be a hard transition to make, but one that is inevitable. I understand very little about how much of this works, how widespread and genuinely common it is anymore, but from what I gather most things are shot on high def because that is the industry standard and is needed in order to compete etc.

In my mind, with more detail being revealed, more flaws exposed the more real things are, the more the need and trend grows to hide the flaws and seek the "perfect"-including in your cast. This trend of seeking better bodies, achieving the seemingly flawless looks set by celebrities is a growing one, especially evident I think most here in the US, land of so much wealth and so, well, so MUCH. I wont go into a rant on the dangerous precedents being set by the fashion industry, but I was reminded again how shallow and perfect obsessed our world is becoming when I saw an article pop up in relation to David Mackenzie's Spread.

A casting director for the film put out this call "... currently holding an open casting call for models for the new Ashton Kutcher movie "“Spread”," for two hit HBO series and for the popular show “Rules of Engagement”.We are looking for REALLY HOT female and male models age 18-25. Girls must be at least 5’'8" and guys must be at least 6’ tall. Girls must wear a bikini under their clothes and guys must wear swim trunks (or underwear) under their clothes.

WTF? REALLY HOT? What pray tell is the universal standard casting category description of "really hot?". By whose standard is this?? Is this common casting standards now?? I gather then the traditional categories of say "Blonde hair, blue eye girl" or "brown hair muscular man" is passe? No more attractive, lets just get right down to it and say REALLY HOT (as opposed to your "marginally hot," "occasionally -if seen while under the influence of alcohol- hot" and " hot in remote parts of kazakhstan"categories) good grief! Plus as we know, once you turn 26 you magicially are no longer "really hot" perhaps just a 30 something who is still sorta hot, then middle age with only a vestige of hottness, then of course we become ancient and are only dreaming of being hot. If you are only marginally hot, do you no longer get cast in parts then?

I am cognizant that this is a "sex comedy" and that heh the star is certainly described as "hot" more often than not, but still-would not a simple 'surfer' do? or what about 'swimmer' or physically fit (I am gathering this is for beach scenes and of course its set in LA, land of the beautiful and plastically enhanced people) How does one cast HOT exactly-whose standard of hot or sexy is it? Last time I checked, hot was rather relative. It would be a lie of course to say that general good looks do not matter cause quite frankly-if handed the choice between say Alastair Mackenzie of Sigma and this fellow with the teeth that Colin used as an example of his I Love Luci movie, rightly or wrongly, I believe most would think that Alastair is the more handsome well wait-the word is hot (to say the least!) and the more attractive out of the bunch. This is not to say of course that all things should be based on shallow ideals and standards because if that were the case-my Victoria's Secret encased C cup boobs might make the grade, the rest, including my big ole butt, would most definitely go in the NOT HOT category, and I should resign myself to being alone (and dateless) forever! God how depressing. However, if we are honest with ourselves, most people strive to be attractive in some form or another lol at least once in a while and make do with the genes and body they were given (or at least once in a while make an effort to 'clean up", bother now and then to wear the latest styles etc), hope and seek they are attractive to others say they are hoping or wanting to date, or even as Borat would say, make sexy time!, but still I found this call of the agencies just absurd. And just because it may be the way things are, does NOT mean that is the way things have to stay!

Now I know that in film especially the pressure is on to be thin and beautiful (as the camera adds weight and more scrutiny is there-stop those wrinkles! etc) and I know that you obviously need to cast certain looks for the roles as the part demands (example Colin's 50 Ft. woman for the We are the Physics music video, while who wouldn't want to have long legs fab body and fab hair like this chick, how did he cast his video I wonder? Did he or the casting director say-"calling all tall leggy young beautiful models who are keen to be seen as a raging overgrown femgiant please apply?" lol) True enough, the cast of Hallam Foe are all beautiful people -well maybe some wouldn't put Ewan Bremner in the "really hot super hunk" category equal to say Clooney or Johnny Depp, but still he has his fans and I think he's fab regardless!-but they also look very real and like people I would see in everyday life -still attractive, (Jamie and Sophia fans would totally put them in the REALLY HOT category) but have a real everyday quality-it's the same I think in all the movies of Sigma. yes I know people like Ewan McGregor, Mads Mikkleson, Gerard Butler, Claire Forlani, Sophia Myles, Shirley Henderson etc have all been cast true enough but they are also quality actors and I like to think you can have both without the label 'really hot' a requirement in the casting decision. I think being a casting director must be a very hard job and it must be hard to try and get the right people to match the image in the producers and directors head for the roles, but no part of me thinks that David turned to his casting director and said hey get me hot babes! oh wait-REALLY HOT-no mere hot for me-REALLY hot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mister Hallam Foe to Open in US May 23

What a great birthday present this is: The official Mister Foe website has now launched, stating the film will FINALLY BE RELEASED IN THEATERS IN THE US ON MAY 23!!!

Yay!!

The website is pretty sparse at the moment compared to the original HaveYouSeenHallamFoe website in terms of content, and only has a few photos up at this point, and no clips or excerpts from that awesome soundtrack. On the positive side, it has those floating white clouds with links to the GetYourPeople Hallam Foe blog (which hopefully others will find and read SIGMA Blog and Colin's I Love Luci *crosses fingers for wider audience!!!*)So May 23 is not so bad, a bit later than I thought, but at least its finally here!

The trailer for David Mackenzie's Mister Foe starring Jamie Bell, Sophia Myles, Claire Forlani, Ciaran Hinds, and Jamie Sives is also up on iTunes which may help a bit too I hope! Go Hallam Go!

With the recent rating of R for Mister Foe, and the movie officially premiering tomorrow (the 13) in Austin at the festival, I figured this would be happening soon, but wheeee! an unexpected bonus today for sure!loves and hugs to those that made it so ;)

PS: GO COLIN GO! for the big We Are the Physics shoot tomorrow too! The website, the official premiere of Mister Foe in the US, and the shoot = not unlucky 13th happenings at all!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy

On this day where traditionally people send you wishes and thoughts are in a positive celebratory manner, I figured I'd make a post about things that make me happy. It contains absolutely zero insightful, worthwhile reflections or anything remotely meaningful, other than these things quite simply make me happy :)

yep-Hallam Foe for the win!


Jamie Bell rules. 'nuff said










David Mackenzie is THE MAN! WOOT goo David (yea open fangirl moment but what the heck)

Jamie Sives and Shirley Henderson.
Two of my favorite actors from one of my fave films; so talented, so wonderful, so spot on in every movie they make!


Jamie Sives is awesome!






This photo reflects a joy that most people i think wish they had at work.They looked so happy, it made me happy to see this, I just wanted to hug them (and then watch as they ran as far away from me as possible lol). Seriously though, three people I admire and respect; hope I get to meet them someday!It would be my genuine honor.

Get Your People: The blog that gave me refuge, honest insight and learning and frankly a bit of joy when the walls were caving in and all I wanted to do was go fling myself off a bridge- makes me one of those weirdos David talks about but there you go. Thank you Colin Kennedy who is wonderful and David and everyone at Sigma for letting me and all your readers share in what you do, its been such a joy! Happiness :)

Bonus: Snow Patrol who make me Happy too :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Question of Family

The long horrible winter continues, and as such, I did not do much other than curl up on the couch and read a great deal, and watch a bunch of movies and tv. While flipping thru the channels, I came across a marathon of an old classic sitcom called "Beverly Hillbillies." Now this show surely will never be regarded as highbrow entertainment in the least lol, but it involves a ragtag family and their various escapades in Hollywood. Of course there have been a multitude of 'wacky' family sitcoms aka Adams family, the Munsters-not all were just Brady Bunch or Cosby or Rosanne or Everybody Loves Raymond. I grew up watching these shows but it had been ages since I've seen them, and I was struck by regardless the absurd situation, at the end of the day, the characters always retreated home and back to their family.

In the same vein there was much ado in the media this weekend as the wife of Ashton Kutcher (currently starring in David Mackenzie's "Spread") is on the cover of a leading fashion magazine again, and gave a good interview, where Demi Moore spoke about her relationships, addressed all the flap over her being with a younger man, and their family and relationship with her ex etc. I honestly don't get what the fuss is over her relationship and the fact that their families still get along. I mean there are a plethora of divorced people and remarriages and extended families everywhere I go so I am still amazed that this concept of these things actually working remains fodder for the press. Why society feels a need to judge you if you date a younger man I'll honestly never understand, or why the media obsesses that she and her current husband get along with her ex I honestly don't get, but I guess generate sales at the newsstand, so I guess that is the bottom line.

While I was reading the reaction to this interview, I saw as well that summaries and pages for Rounding up Donkeys are finally hitting the mainstream sites such as Yahoo and even the New York Times. The teaser description for Donkeys (not sure who sent that out) is reading "Facing a serious, life-threatening illness, Alfred Patterson decides to make amends for his past errors and neglect of family. He seeks out his estranged daughter Jackie and her twelve-year-old child, but the more he tries to do the right thing, the more he continues to do wrong."

Now again this makes me wonder on the character of Jackie- where did this 12 year old daughter come from? So I take it this is 12 years after Red Road? Is she a single mom or is Martin Compston's character somehow involved? I think that icky boss she was having an affair with too had a daughter-is this the same? hmmm

The press release on the second film in the Advance Party trilogy states:

"The films take place in Scotland but apart from that the writers are free to place them anywhere according to geography, social setting or ethnic background. Their back-stories can be expanded, family relations can be created between them, they can be given habits good or bad, and secondary characters can be added if it is proper for the individual film.

The interpersonal relationships of the characters differ from film to film and they may be weighted differently as major or minor characters. The development of the characters in each story or genre does not affect the other scripts."


It doesn't say a story can be revised per se so that means ( I hope) that her daughter didn't actually survive ala Dallas and Bobby Ewing and it was all a dream type thing lol but I am most curious to see how they will have progressed her storyline. So, ok...James Cosmos character wants to go back to his estranged family- ooh family! There it is again! I think its a fair statement that families depicted in the various films of Sigma are err... non-traditional, yet the love remains as a basis and at the end the love is there (and yes esp Young Adam and Asylum both involved 'traditional' families/relationships at the begining sorta, but then turned them on their head ). Look at Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, Dear Frankie, even Hallam Foe you could say made peace of sorts with his past (although I doubt he sent a card at Mothers Day to Verity lol), these films all dealt with the issue of 'family' and non traditional ones and the relationships in an honest and true manner. These were families and people in situations you see here in every day life and that is why I like them, and I think these films will stand the test of time and make for quality productions (and lol they are most certainly not like the hillbillies and their pots of 'black gold' and Jethro wanting to become a knight lmao and Jed as an admiral is classic) Regardless I can't wait to hear more about Donkeys and hope the plot for this will make for a good story, just as in Red Road.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Storyboard the Sky with Hallam Foe


I love art. I go to museums and gallery showings when I can, and truly appreciate those who can paint draw or sketch as I have absolutely zero artistic talent. I have several friends are blessed with the ability to draw, and I was talking recently with one who is in school and having to do storyboards for a project. This reminded me of a post on the original Hallam Foe blog about storyboarding where Colin wrote about this process by saying "They say 'a picture is worth a thousand words' and it has long been a feeling of mine that the reverse is also true, a word is worth a thousand pictures, books might not be so popular if that weren't true. This can obviously be a problem though when you want everyone to be thinking of the same picture. Cue the storyboard."

As in all of the films of David's I've seen, I've always been so, so impressed with several of his beautiful landscape shots. Almost without fail in every review of the Hallam Foe film, his visuals got kudos. From what I gather, these storyboards only provided the platform for the careful thought and planning that went into each of these scenes, as a lot had to be abandoned for the actual shooting. But still, it was cool to look at these storyboards now after having seen the film, to see how precisely things were planned in advance, right down to Hallam creeping over Edinburgh and then comparing it to the wonderful work David and all the camera crews did. The storyboard artist, Derek Grey has his own website where he posted some of the perilous clambering over the rooftops down to peer into Kate's skylight and its very cool stuff indeed.(great additional artwork and caricatures on the site as well!)

While I was on the artist's site, I did see something which was an unexpected bonus: artwork he did for the upcoming Rounding Up Donkeys, the second in the Advance Party trilogy after "Red Road." While I probably shouldn't be writing about this as it was a glimpse into a scene and a bit more insight of the lead character, it involves the use of a balloon and a shot the director wants in homage to the great Fellini. Now La Dolce Vita is a classic and one of my favorites, so this impressed me this effort by Morag Mckinnon, to put these subtle touches in the film, and I think this bodes well for the overall outcome of Donkeys...or at least I hope! Now my true knowledge of films is mediocre I think for being a supposed fan of films and certainly not nearly at the level I wish it was, so I cant be completely certain which scene these storyboards and scene it was supposed to invoke, I cant but help think of the classic (and imo sad) clown scene in La Dolce Vita.



However when I think of balloons, I will forever think of one of two things. Many people release balloons at weddings these days, but my memories are of a friend who passed away when we were children, and perhaps it seems weird (too much like Levon by Elton John) but we let go balloons at her funeral -kinda like she was in a happier place. While we were all in such grief at her sudden passing, it seemed the thing to do and just fit. The other association I have in my head about balloons and films was of the very first short film I remember studying and seeing many years ago called The Red Balloon. I think this is still considered a classic and a wonderful piece of film. Regardless if this type of planning and thought (ie homage to Fellini) is being put into the Rounding up Donkeys film, I think this is an excellent sign.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Film It, They Will Come



I think it must be unofficial traffic week for the directors at Sigma. First there are great black & white photos of Colin risking limb and life for his We Are the Physics music video side project (and apparently the plot of this video involves a play on the cult classic attack of the 50 ft woman, who is now apparently destroying Glasgow-just hope the city is returned to proper shape for when I visit there ;)

Now in the continuing "Spread" watch, there are new photos for the third day in a row, this from popsugar.com where director David Mackenzie is shown with his star Ashton Kutcher (and now Anne Heche)...in traffic, at LAX of all places lolol. Guess its hard to be inconspicuous at that crazy busy terminal, but I have been surprised at how much tabloid coverage there is of this shoot. Gotta say (and Im no fashion diva), but not too hip on that suspender look that Ashton is sporting in this film, but then again Trinny and Susannah would have a field day with me plus he is Ashton and models so what do I know lol.

UPDATE: Video has surfaced of David directing Ashton Kutcher on set (involving a busy LA street now!) and is now available via JFX Online lol. You can clearly see David give directions about a dance move, then they start the scene, Ashton's character crosses the busy street, then he attempts to con his way out of a parking ticket and dances with the meter maid lolol. Clearly traffic is the word of the week ;)

I know there are usually some onlookers for location shoots in public places, even when they shot Hallam Foe in Edinburgh there were photos that popped up on flickr even, but it amazes me how much we all like to see how these things are made, even when youve seen location shoot photos many many times before. Perhaps it's that celeb fascinated culture again, but I remember once when Spiderman 3 was filming, my brother and my three nephews went down to watch all the excitement. My nephew Ewan, dressed in full Spidy costume, took one look at the huge numbers of people there for the shoot, and grew concerned, fearing the Green goblin would take advantage of such 'diversionary tactics' and was fully prepared to help defend his hero. However, once he saw the star of the movie NOT in costume, he grew very upset, and with illusions shattered, he then started blasting his imaginary webshots at the actor saying what have you done with the real Spiderman, give him back! Lol Perhaps there are some things that shouldnt be revealed too much!

Speaking of the wonderful flickr, there is even a group (and groups) of the various locations and shoots for films, taken by just regular people who happen to travel or see these things, and these are the photos I enjoy the most I guess. Speaking as someone looking in at the movie making scene, its always a joy to know that others enjoy this too

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sensible Shoes, Crazy Fangirl Writings

I like to think I am, for the most part, a practical person. I try to pay my bills on time, remember to turn off lights in the house when I'm not around, go vote on election days, work hard every day, treat people as I would want to be treated (I fully believe in the whole karma, what goes around comes around philosophy), remember birthdays, and try to say please and thank you, always remember to bring an umbrella, and have a closet full of practical shoes (and never ever wear white before Easter, a left over curse of being Southernese)...all of which makes me terribly normal and a terribly boring person I should think. Why then would a person such as this want to write about people I've never met and will probably never meet, think about a place I've never been, ponder on a world of filmmaking that I am not part of, nor probably ever will be and generally put my private thoughts on these things out there for the public to stumble over and read?

Good question.

No real good answer.

There are a plethora of independent filmmakers and films out there that are wonderful and have achieved many good things, especially here in the US. Many of these films and film companies do not get the attention (nor blogs writing about them) that they deserve, this is true. There are scores and scores of wonderful actors and directors and writers committed to the indy spirit, here in the US and in the UK and frankly all around the world. The actors who champion these films are numerous, as witnessed by the large contingent alone who show up at Sundance and at the recent Indy Spirit awards before the Oscars-all of them surely are worth writing about. (Jamie Bell is one such actor, he having worked with huge mainstream people also chose Hallam Foe, yay!)

Furthermore, its easy enough to swoon over and dream about the wonderful Scottish men, but that is nothing new. Archeology is a hobby of mine, and I fully admit to my longing to go to Scotland and explore all those places that have captured my imagination, but it's not just the past that fascinates me, it's the present, and I think the things that are happening there are largely overlooked by the mainstream press. Why this is, I do not understand, but for example its just about impossible to see photos from any event happening in Scotland, sooo frustrating! I don't know if there is some sort of wacked out agreement within various press agencies, but the way info gets out is always about a day or three late and lacking imo. Of COURSE there are many very good pieces of film coming out of Scotland, and not just Sigma! My son and I simply adored a film we saw over the holidays called The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and I paid attention to the movie blog on that as well. I also recently saw SEACHD, and found it to be so well done, moving, and I don't understand why it was excluded from the awards. (but then again the over site against recognizing Hallam Foe and Jamie Bell at the Baftas irks me too lol). Being interested in the history side of Scotland too, and I am also keen a new movie coming out called Stone of Destiny (and YES it WAS filmed in part at Film City Glasgow) regarding a legendary piece of Scottish history with a modern twist. So if all of these things are true, why this blog, it seem so illogical as Spock would say


I guess its because I admire the commitment to try and better things. Yea I guess its that irritating optimist in me but I like this about that company. No I do not think they walk on water or any such thing lol, but I actually think there is a real commitment to being original fresh in their productions, and trying to make a good Scottish film scene. I read in an interview a long time before I started reading the Hallam Foe blog that Gillian Berrie founded Sigma Films and Film City Glasgow because they hoped to help created a self-sustaining film industry in Scotland. The more I read about her and learned that she had been through things the hard way (as I had), but was determined to try and make films that she and her partners the Mackenzie brothers had wanted and help stem the tide of the Scottish film community fleeing to Hollywood or England, the more this impressed me. Quite simply, I was impressed by what seemed to me to be a fairly high bar and an impossible thing, and yet there they were and there she went and there were these great films that people should see. I also started watching David's films with greater interest, went looking for information about him (and Jamie Sives, a Scottish actor who is really good) ,stumbled over the blog which I clearly adore, and here I remain.

I've read quite a few blogs about movie making, but not that many about films in Scotland and this puzzles me. I've also read some very disrespectful and very unkind comments about David and Sigma, so I am not oblivious to the critics and different opinions that are out there. I also fail to understand the entire UK film lottery system and how a relatively small country such as Scotland but one with a fair amount of talent and creativity ) is supposed to get the word out, attract the investors, film makers and more importantly the film going audiences and attention it deserves. While I have some English roots somewhere and truly adore many things British, it seems to me so many years after the various treaties, England is still rather pissing on Scotland in this sense regarding the film industry. I gather change is underway to try and improve things so more opportunities and funding is accessible -and AGAIN I know and understand very little about this whole process and intend no offense to the English film industry, but as someone looking in from the outside, it seems very convoluted and things could certainly be better.

I am certain that at glance I must seem like a crazed fangirl or freak for even doing this blog, pathetic or completely pitiful I guess, but I genuinely love the world I've discovered there, and never ever mean to embarrass them or what they are trying to do! I was involved in another group involving a Sigma film and got a few emails saying very hurtful things to me, telling me I'm such a big loser an embarrassment to the blog team and that the Sigma people would hope I would shut up go away they dont care what I think etc. It wasn't until another long time hf reader (ted) convinced me not to throw in the towel, but I never posted there anymore-was just too horrible and hurtful, but those words still linger in the back of my head and its easy not to get discouraged now and then.

Anyway I write my thoughts on the things coming out of that tiny company in lovely Scotland because the hf blog gave me an escape at at time when I needed, taught me more about film making and opened my eyes to other parts and ideas on movies and other things. NO I do not think much of any one reads this nor particularly much cares what I think, and I suppose I could have easily called this-Blog by someone who thinks Scottish films deserve a serious look, but that didnt quite work for me lol. If you have to worry though about what everyone will think or it becomes 'uncool' to have a passion or interest in something at all any more, then I dont want to be part of that world with out joy of any sort. Maybe one day I will give up and change the title or delete this all together so I wont be an embarrassment! For now though I'm still sweet on whats happening there, so I'll keep on with my writings, and perhaps I should indulge in the fun more often without the worry and enjoy the illogical nature of it and wear a pair of impractical shoes more often too