Thursday, June 24, 2010

Preview "Donkeys" Score by Magnus Fiennes

There is a treat for fans online today as you can now preview the score from Sigma's newest hit "Donkeys." The composer Magnus Fiennes has now uploaded 9 different tracks from the score to the film by Morag Mckinnon, and among the stand outs are Alfred's Theme, a delightful bluegrass piece "Down Some River," and my favorite, the mamba tinged "Holidays in the Sun"
03 ROUNDING UP DONKEYS - Holidays In The Sun by Magnus Fiennes

07 ROUNDING UP DONKEYS - Down Some River by Magnus Fiennes

08 ROUNDING UP DONKEYS - Alfred's Theme by Magnus Fiennes

Monday, June 21, 2010

Attention UK Viewers: Watch "Donkeys" ONLINE Starting June 25

Calling all UK readers! Can't make it up to the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year and like me really want to see Sigma's newest film "Donkeys?" Well guess what? Starting June 25 on Projector. TV

Please note that ALAS this option as of this posting is only available to those in the UK, but the site does say that it hopes to expand "to new territories" soon. ah. well. we'll see. I will definitely update should that actually happen, but still must emphasize what a good chance this is for many to see the newest film starring James Cosmo, Kate Dickie, Brian Pettifer and Martin Compston. Enjoy!

On a related note, today the Herald released a new interview with the superb Kate Dickie, where she spoke about returning (albeit in different form of sorts) to her award winning role as Jackie (Red Road) in Donkeys. Of interest: " “For me, as an actor, this was a completely new film and a completely new Jackie, so I put Red Road out of my head and tried not to think about it. I felt I owed it to Donkeys. This Jackie is a different person. She has a different history, different relationships.” Although it’s a black comedy where Red Road was gritty social drama, Donkeys retains the look and feel of its predecessor. Dickie, a still presence with her long dark hair and haunted look, anchors both films. So is she pencilled in for the third, due to be shot by Danish director Mikkel Norgaard? “I don’t know anything about it at all,” she says matter-of-factly."

The article also contains remarks about her role in "Outcast" with James Nesbitt that is also screening to mixed reviews at EIFF, as well as mention that Kate will be seen in the Pillars of the Earth series airing next month in the US and on Channel 4 in the UK this fall.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reviews & Photos: "Donkeys" Premieres at Edinburgh Film Festival

At long last, I am thrilled to report that the the world premiere of Morag Mckinnon's "Donkeys," took place today at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A photocall for the second installment in the original Advance Party trilogy from Sigma Films took place before the screening at the film festival tonight in Scotland featuring appearance from stars Kate Dickie and Martin Compston (who reprise their roles from Red Road of sorts); more photos are online here via official Edinburgh Film Fest Flickr.

Reviews of the film are also now online with excerpts as follows:

TVbomb: 4 out of 5 The script is strong and with the direction of Morag McKinnon, it’s ability to change mood and pace in a heartbeat is impressive. Seamlessly weaving light comedy with the most challenging moral scenes of death and dying. The characterisations are boldly defined, with a truly gritty performance from Kate Dickie and bang on the money comic timing from James Cosmo with some real killer lines delivered perfectly amongst these strained family relationships.

Flickfeast: "Donkeys deftly mixes the comedy and the drama into a perfect blend of small-scale movie magic. The comedy may be pitch black at times (e.g. a suicide attempt not going right that brings to mind Lone Scherfig’s Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself) but it’s still pretty bloody funny. The dialogue exchanges between Alfie and his mate are almost all priceless and the acting throughout is flawless. Director Morag McKinnon does a fine job, working from Colin McLaren’s script based on the characters created by Scherfig, and while the movie is little more than a character piece you have to give credit where credit is due; it’s such a great character piece, allowing the actors to have so much fun and do their job so brilliantly, that you never mind how ultimately inconsequential everything is."

Eye for Film : Advance Party is an experimental tool, not a formula in itself for success. Donkeys is an interesting experiment. But its script is patchy, and at times strands the excellent performances in a wasteland of poorly defined relevance. Its drift from comedy to edginess achieves only limited success. Its look at death is less poignant and much less entertaining, for instance, than writer Scherfig’s (Dogme) masterpiece, Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself. It has none of the seat-gripping qualities of Red Road, and counters the minimalism of its Dogme ancestry with unwanted music telling us how to feel, or an overload of dramatic devices (such as terrible illness and accidents) to propel the story forward. Yet seen as part of a determined effort to break new ground, it is a treasurable, if flawed, film. Artists must to be free to experiment if movies are to break free of hollow but bankable formulae, and that means there have to be a few eggs broken along the way.

Reel Scotland, who gave two well written and FIVE STAR reviews, please read them. Of note from John "Humour may be integral to the story, but it never dilutes the drama. Instead, as Alfred attempts to infiltrate his daughter’s world, uncovering secrets along the way, the darker moments are played with a lightness of touch that don’t feel forced and recalls John Byrne at his best: these are real people, with real emotions. The biggest tragedy of Donkeys, away from the script which has its own fair share, is that the film doesn’t yet have a distribution deal, meaning there’s little chance you’ll see it on the big screen any time soon. Sitting on a shelf for the last two years gathering dust, it seems that one of the most engaging pieces of cinema to have been made in Scotland in the last decade could be destined to remain in the vaults for a while to come. FROM ROSS: Performances are uniformly excellent from the grizzled Cosmo to Compston and to the almost sage-like 12 year old girl (which recalls Gregory’s Girl). The script absolutely shines with just enough barbed dialogue amongst the gentler moments. The pacing is perfect for the tale and the cinematography fantastically captures the spirit of the areas it depicts, with just enough arthouse edge to bring to mind that of Red Road.There’s still a week to go, but this has a real chance of being the film of the Festival. Emotional. Funny. Touching. Sad. Crude. Sensitive. This really does have it all

From THR, who automatically hate all things coming out of Scotland it seems bleh bleh "The idea is to feature actors playing the same characters but not necessarily with the same settings or back-stories. Whether anyone beyond keen film buffs will recall the first one except for Kate Dickie's outstanding performance as a CCTV operator is open to question...The players do their best but it's an uphill struggle to make anything lasting out of dull and forgettable characters."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trailer NOW ONLINE, Tickets for World Premiere of "Donkeys" at EIFF This Weekend Sold Out!

Trailer for Donkeys is NOW ONLINE AT THIS LINK!
Also, quick reminder that the newest film from Sigma will have its world premiere this weekend, June 20 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Morag McKinnon's "Donkeys," the second installment of the original Advance Party trilogy features many of the same great cast from the award winning Red Road, including Kate Dickie, Martin Compston, Tony Curran, Natalie Press as well as featuring the excellent James Cosmo and Brian Pettifer and more. It is important to note that now ALL TICKETS FOR BOTH SCREENINGS ARE NOW SOLD OUT.

For those of us who follow the I Love Luci blog will see that Colin has drawn up a new poster for the film, here.

While local press on this local made film starring local Scottish actors has been to date typically poor and sadly scant (save few cursory mentions and bless Ross over at ReelScotland for a mention as one of his picks), the Daily Record ran a piece a few days ago with Martin; quotage:

Filmed in Glasgow, it's about a man trying to make amends for his mis-spent life and also stars Scots veteran James Cosmo and acclaimed actress Kate Dickie. Martin said: "Donkeys is a kind of black comedy. James Cosmo is a force of nature and for my money Kate is the best actress in Scotland."


Well... I agree :)) Kate got rave reviews for her turn in a recent BBC production, and her film OUTCAST with James Nesbitt is also screening at EIFF, with tickets for that long sold out. Kate and her Donkeys co-star Tony Curran will soon be seen on TV as the mega production of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth is set to air on Starz cable channel July 23. More on that galore can be found at the official website.

It pains and disappoints me greatly I can not be in Edinburgh this year yet again :(((( anyone attending /meeting Kate or anyone from Sigma, please send in your pics reports etc and I will be happy to post.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jamie Sives Update: Triage DVD Cover Art and He's Staying Alive!

June means a Jamie Sives update is here :) Today, we can see the official artwork for the "Triage" DVD starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Sives. Smaller versions are now online at, but thanks indeed to a kind soul on my flickr, we can see this high res scan of the sell sheet which includes not only better look at the cover, but also CONFIRMS INTERVIEWS, DELETED SCENES and a Behind-the-scenes feature on the film. Excellent news! As reported here earlier, the Triage DVD will be released in the US on August 10th.
We can hope to see ads for this in EW, TV Guide, US Weekly, FX on TNT and TBS and USANetwork, FB more. Stay tuned. Finally, be sure to read a bit of the press material from Jamie Sives --------------->

Speaking of Jamie, I know I have been well remiss in posting this, but I LOVE this cute promo for "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" where Jamie is just cracking up :) No word yet on that DVD release but note that the Clash of the Titans DVD w/Jamie and Mads Mikkelsen is out July 26 in UK, July 27 US as well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sigma Films/Advance Party "Donkeys" to Premiere Edinburgh Film Festival June 20!

GREAT NEWS today everyone!
Thrilled to say that "Donkeys" will make its world wide premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival next month on June 20, 2010!! This is the second installment of the Advance Party film Trilogy, following on the heels of the critically acclaimed Red Road. This film features many of those same characters and actors, set this time in a new storyline and what is described as comedy/drama. Donkeys is directed by Morag McKinnon and written by Colin McLaren. TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THIS LINK June 3

James Cosmo (Alfred)
Kate Dickie (Jackie)
Brian Pettifer (Brian)
Martin Compston (Stevie)
Natalie Press (April)
TONY CURRAN (Clyde) IS CONFIRMED to have small part in this film as well!

A TRAILER HAS BEEN CUT and will be online soon STAY TUNED!

Donkeys is a Sigma Films production
Producers Gillian Berrie, Anna Duffield
Cinematography by Lol Crawley
Editing by frequent Sigma associate, the excellent Colin Monie plus Jake Roberts
Casting by Kahleen Crawford
Full List here (hopefully updated soon)

You can see photos/interviews here on my flickr as well as these taken on set here.