Thursday, June 30, 2011

Screen Daily: Colin Kennedy A Filmmaker Star of Tomorrow!

Already a major star in my book, Screen Daily has released their annual list of Stars of Tomorrow and includes someone very special to Sigma:


Author, blogger (the original get your people Hallam Foe production blog) artist, director, and man of many trades, Colin has served many roles while at Sigma, working on many many of their films in various capacity. Continuing well in the tradition of Sigma, Colin's work in short films has served him very well indeed, as his short film I Love Luci has won many awards from around the world. Next up, Colin Kennedy will be making his first feature length film with Sigma, called Atlantic Bridge. You can learn more about Colin here at the I Love Luci website, the Luci FB page , see his award winning music video on his YouTube channel, or read his profile on IMDB. CONGRATULATIONS COLIN! :)))

Three Nights, 4 Fab Films: Perfect Sense to Screen at Galway Film Fleadh

Earlier this month we learned that Sigma Films co-founder David Mackenzie will be holding a masterclass in Directing at the upcoming Galway Film Fleadh next month. The date of that class has now been confirmed as FRIDAY 8 JULY with tickets now available.

As part of the festival, FOUR of David's most original and acclaimed films will be screened, including the upcoming PERFECT SENSE. The newest film from Sigma starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green will screen that same night, 8 July with tickets NOW AVAILABLE RIGHT HERE
Bonus: David Mackenzie will attend the screening of this film

Also screening
*HALLAM FOE w/Jamie Bell (and yes JAMIE SIVES) Wed 6 July
*YOU INSTEAD w/Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Alastair Mackenzie
Thurs 7 July
Bonus: David Mackenzie will also attend the screening of You Instead :)

*YOUNG ADAM David's first film with Ewan McGregor Thurs 7 July

Three nights of four great films from David Mackenzie and Sigma!

Sweet Summer of Sives Continues: New Projects and Reviews from the Pride

A celebration of the sweet summer of Jamie Sives continues here in fanland ;) with the slew of new interviews photos and reviews from The Pride. Also below you can find news of his future projects post pride, including a starring role in a new film A Very Unsettled Summer. Details to follow but first things first.

Thanks so much to the folks at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre for letting me know about their gorgeous production photos of The Pride available to all via Flickr. So many of a very handsome Jamie; suffice it to say that Scot on the rocks photo went instantly on my desktop. Enjoy~

Recap of the many 4 star reviews:
*The Guardian 4 stars
*WhatsonStage 4 stars and praises Jamie:
Jamie Sives is both chilling and desperately sad as her violently repressed husband and touchingly vulnerable as a man who today rejects the stereotype of gay promiscuity.
*The Telegraph
*The Stage
*Sheffield Telegraph (with an updated review now online) "Jamie Sives seems more comfortable as the present day Philip but that is in no small measure because his earlier counterpart is clearly so uncomfortable in himself. He’s a cold fish which makes his sudden eruption into violent sexual passion so shocking."

*Theatre director and blogger Paul Griffiths who wrote a wonderful (and in welsh!) review:
"Richard Wilson's production of raw honesty charmed me most, four actors who push beyond the words. There was fighting mental 'Philip' in 1958 which led to violence is very powerful, and performance of Jamie Sives is thrilling, especially in the Second Act when he tried medical treatment to be 'cured' of being gay."

*Blogger: Rev Stan who gets high marks for his knowledge and use of the seven degrees of Jamie Sives woooot LOL

There is also one graphic scene where, if you are sat to one side of the stage, you get more than your fair share of the view. But putting that to one side, I loved The Pride all over again and it was more than a match for the New York version.

I'm giving it five stars.


Jamie Sives is the source of a couple of connections. First he was in Get Him to the Greek which starred Russell Brand who played Trinculo in Julie Taymor's The Tempest in which Mr W played Ariel. And Mr Sives was also in Last Chance Harvey which starred Emma Thompson who played Mr W's mum in Brideshead Revisted."

Press: Jamie has done several bits of press for the play. While I believe there are a few more floating about, there was one released today from The Sheffield Telegraph worth reading AND EVEN MENTIONS SIGMA FILMS I LOVE YOU JAMIE SIVES :)))
Quotage of interest:

"Then he reflects: “I think I got spoiled,” referring to his Crucible debut. “It was a fantastic part in a great cast and the chance to work with Michael Grandage. Everyone came to see it. My second stage appearance was being directed by Richard Eyre at the Almeida. After those two I didn’t want to do anything else.

“Edward II kick started my career and led to a couple of telly jobs, so I have Sheffield to thank for that.”

Soon after he was taking the lead in a clutch of independent movies made in Scotland – Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, One Last Chance, A Woman in Winter and Hallam Foe.“It was a short-lived period when Sigma Films and other producers were on a roll and got the funding to make all these films in Scotland,” says the actor who has nevertheless been based in London for the past 16 years.


“The attraction was doing a good play and to go one further – I have never played two characters in the space of a scene change before,” he says. “I have found it interesting and full of challenges.“I have known Richard Wilson for a long time and I was with Daniel Evans in To the Ends of the Earth and The Passion, hanging out together in Morocco.”

There was one slight reservation Sives had about taking on The Pride. “My best mate, JJ Feild, played the part at the Royal Court and was absolutely brilliant in it. I’ve tried not to think about that.” The Pride continues at the Crucible Studio until July 16."

Another one is a bit of press release I think, and reflects many of the comments heard earlier from Jamie, including right here on this blog. Be sure to check that one out here at this link.

Finally, there was this audio interview from several weeks ago. Please note: It is quite difficult to hear and despite Jamie's lovely accent, we really don't learn much in this very short clip, alas.
Jamies Sives, Philip from The Pride (mp3)

Follow up: As noted here previously, Jamie Sives will have a guest role in the series "New Tricks" Jamie filmed his guest spot earlier this year in February, and that episode will be part of a new season for the show, Season Eight due to return on BBC1 THIS MONTH JULY 4 IN 'OLD FOSSILS' in the role of Mark Slater.

At the conclusion of his turn on the Sheffield Stage, Jamie will head immediately to Romania and Sweden to begin filming on a new movie called "A Very Unsettled Summer." Directed by Romanian Anca Damian, Jamie will be in a lead role, starring alongside Maria Dinalescu and Kim Bodnia (Jamie notes that Kim is 'a Danish actor who worked alongside my good mate Mads Mikkelsen in 'The Pusher'.) The film is based on a short story by Phillip O Ceallaigh. EXCELLENT NEWS INDEED!
There is more news yet to come from Jamie, so stay tuned!

Snapshot: Colin Kennedy and Team I Love Luci at EiFF

As many of you already saw that follow along on Twitter, was very glad indeed to see photos now online via Flickr of Sigma Films' own Colin Kennedy who took part in the Noika shorts panel series at the recent Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Pictured: Colin, James Lees, Sigma's own Brian Coffey they share their thoughts on their muli award-winning hit short film "I Love Luci" Colin let me know that the entire panel session was recorded by the folks at EiFF; for those like me who were unable to be there, am greatly hoping this video will be made available soon-updates to follow asap
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE LUCI PAGE on Sigma website for a roundup of recent awards and more :)

(ps once again the fates are against me; broken three toes this time round causing the delay...clearly this was the year I should have never gotten out of bed bleh)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Perfectly Beautiful: Listen to a track from "Perfect Sense"

Lend your ear and you shall hear...a perfectly lovely track from David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense." From brilliant composer Max Richter comes The Lovers Dreaming. Enjoy!
PERFECT SENSE / David Mackenzie - The Lovers dreaming by max richter

Perfect Sense at EIFF Wrap: Award plus new video Interview

As the Edinburgh International Film Festival begins to draw to a close, thought it was only fitting that we end things on the best possible note: a new video interview with DAVID MACKENZIE! In this piece from EiFF, my favorite director discusses his latest films Perfect Sense and the upcoming You Instead. Enjoy!

Also, the List Awards have been posted and Perfect Sense was named Best UK feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, congratulations!

Finally, since it's way down by now, be sure to read another excellent review of Perfect Sense from Jamie at the more than excellent :)
The storytelling style, though an enthralling rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows, is deliberately restrained, with Mackenzie cleverly approaching the material in a subdued, intimate and character-centric way – immediately setting Perfect Sense apart from other films of its nature. For the dark subject matter it’s also surprisingly optimistic: after each sensory loss, those affected look to find a way of coping by returning to some form of normality.

The film is also stunningly shot by Director of Photography Gilles Nuttgens, under the watchful eye of experienced filmmaker David Mackenzie. What’s truly breathtaking, though, is the way in which the editing superbly complements the separate stages of sensory loss – for the post-hearing scenes, for example, the sound is softened (if not muted entirely) to give viewers a real sense of what it would be like if this were to happen to them. It’s wonderfully achieved, and helps to include viewers in the characters’ struggle for survival.

AL Time! New Interview, Plus Photos from his charity walk

What time is it? Time for some more goodness in the form of another new interview from Sigma's own ALASTAIR MACKENZIE. As noted a couple days ag on the FB page/Twitter, the fine folks at the Edinburgh International Film Festival released a couple of new interviews relating to "Perfect Sense." One was this interview with Sigma co found and actor Alastair who gave us some thoughts on working with his director brother David, and their two most recent collaborations: Perfect Sense and You Instead. Key highlights:

On deciding to do an offbeat story like Perfect Sense: “It was sparse but that was a virtue. All the elements that are in the film were in the script. It’s been embellished a little – there’s more coverage of the global nature of the pandemic – but the actual script we first read was so powerful and so affecting, when they asked my opinion, my input was: “let’s do it.”’


The setting was essential in developing the film’s balance of global and personal themes, with the added implication of Glagow’s status as a dynamic, cosmopolitan centre: “The script was non-specific and we decided to set it in Glasgow because we wanted it to be a contained story. That this story happens in Glasgow is indicative of Glasgow as a happening place.”

It was at the Glasgow Film Festival that they premiered upcoming release, You Instead, a production that was much more “free-form,” influencing future filmmaking: “Our pipeline is full of ideas that we wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t done You Instead. It was an experiment that worked.”

“We shifted the business model a little. And I think for David in particular, the way he has to direct – he was very enlivened by the process. I was also very enlivened because filmmaking for an actor, if you’re not careful, can be stultifying. It was liberating in terms of the films we can make.”

Another ‘good story’ is that of the relationship between the Mackenzies and EIFF: “For years my brother Dave and I came to the film festival as aspirant filmmakers. This is where we started in the industry, our friends, who we made hanging out at the film festival, are people we work with now. That’s authentic, people who are authentically interested in film, and years later we’re lucky enough to be able to exist within that world. It’s nurtured me. If I could define my cultural identity, a very large chunk of it comes from Edinburgh and the festival.”

Followup: Earlier we learned that Al took part in a bike & hike charity event, benefiting Maggies Centres and those battling cancer . Al has spoken about the success of the event, saying:

‘I was invited by my good friend Robyn to take part in this event. I thought it was a great chance to give something back to Maggie’s, a charity that has really helped to support my friends as they deal with the effects of a diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent impact it had on their lives. Monster has been marvellous, great people, amazing scenery and a good challenge with distances for everyone. I’d encourage everyone to sign up for Monster in 2012.’ The group has also released photos from that event and we can see some new photos of Al and his team here, plus please consider a helping donation if you can right here at Al's official just giving page.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview with David, Alastair Mackenzie on Perfect Sense

The string of press interviews conducted at the UK release of "Perfect Sense" are now slowly starting to be released. One such group interview can be found on the Herald newspaper website. Content is free and open to anyone who registered, and I strongly encourage you do so. That said, here is their interview with cast of Perfect Sense, including comments from composer Max Richter as well as David, star Ewen Bremner and Alastair Mackenzie.

Perfect Sense reunites McGregor not only with his Young Adam director Mackenzie, but also with Trainspotting co-star Ewen Bremner (who plays a fellow chef) and with his real-life uncle, Denis Lawson (who plays the restaurant’s owner).

Cast and crew gathered on the red carpet at a packed Festival Theatre to give the EIFF its first buzzing event of 2011, and the audience response was overwhelmingly positive, despite a few damning reviews in the UK press.

The film is produced by Glasgow based Sigma Films, the company behind the award-winning Red Road and Mackenzie’s previous films, Young Adam and Hallam Foe.

After the screening, a press conference was held in the Empire Room of the Festival Theatre. David Mackenzie, McGregor, Bremner and Lawson were joined by actor Alastair Mackenzie and composer Max Richter. Here is an edited version of what was said.

Question: Ewan, you’ve just seen the film for first time: what did you think of the finished work?

Ewan McGregor: It’s quite gobsmacking. I loved the script really dearly, and I liked working with David on our first film together, so I was delighted to be doing that again. What David does afterwards with it is extraordinary. It’s a good script on the page, a really good script to read, and a really extraordinary film to watch, so it’s gone beyond my expectations. I think it’s wonderful. I’m really happy with it, really proud of it.

Q: What culinary preparation did you do to play a chef?

EM: I visited three different kitchens. Mainly I worked with Guy Cowan from Guy’s in Candleriggs in Glasgow. He was on set with us. Food stylists would prepare some of the fancier stuff and then Guy orchestrated it. We came up with some dishes we could prepare, so did them with Guy in his kitchen until we knew what we were doing. I was really pleased to see that it did look like we knew what we were doing [laughs]... I spent a night up Monachyle Mhor, which was really interesting, a different kind of restaurant. And there was another one in Glasgow, The Buttery. It was really good – we got a flavour of it.

Ewen Bremner: It all had to be choreographed quite cleverly so that the camera caught the good stuff because, with the food, the moment passes very quickly: you’re putting something on a plate or you’re putting the finishing touches to something or you’re timing two dishes to come out at the same time, so that we can meet in the same place.

David Mackenzie: Yes, because you’re fitting dialogue in there as well.

EM: When David said “cut” everybody started resetting the stuff because the props guys couldn’t possibly keep up. Everyone was in charge of their own food prep on the set. It was nice that. It was as busy between takes as it was in the takes.

Q: Is it challenging to film in Glasgow?

DM: Live locations that you have to control are definitely things that are challenging. But basically it was not problematic at all. We were very lucky that some of the streets we could close down were around the area of Wilson Street in the Merchant City, which has not got a lot of traffic through. So we were able to have a run of it for quite a while. That was geographically very close to the restaurant anyway. Tontine Lane, at the back of where the restaurant and Eva’s house were, that was another controllable area. It’s a kind of funny lane that people go in and out of - a bit kind of bam central, but it was all right really.

EM: Often when you’re filming in the city, you can come up against people who don’t want you to be filming there. Sometimes people park their cars where you don’t want them and you can find yourself in angry situations with people who don’t want to be stopped. Fair enough – it’s their city and they’re going about their daily business. But we didn’t come across any of that, really. It was very friendly.

Q: Why is Glasgow an ideal cinematic city?

DM: You can get a lot without having to travel far. There’s a lot of scale; there’s a kind of modern urban place there; there’s a lot of texture from the old there as well. You’ve got the amazing river running through it. It’s got a lot that you need in a controllable, central area, and compared with doing any urban stuff in London, it’s a breeze… We really wanted to make Glasgow look like a modern, cosmopolitan, European city that didn’t really feel it was one particular city. We wanted it to feel like it could be anywhere, really. It had an identity of its own but it doesn’t really need to be set just in Glasgow.

Q: Ewan, do you enjoy filming in Scotland?

EM: I always love coming back up. I think this was the fourth film I’ve made in Glasgow. It’s nice to be at home. I don’t come from Glasgow – I’m from further north – but I enjoy being there. I find that it’s more and more of a pleasant place to be. I enjoyed a lot of the restaurants in the West End… We went down the Byres Road with Eva, we did the Chip... We were staying quite local, and we wandered everywhere. That’s another thing about Glasgow: in this experience, I was cycling everywhere because I had to ride a fixed gear bicycle in the film, which I hadn’t done before, so I had to practice that. So all during our rehearsals – we had two weeks of work before we started filming – I was just cycling everywhere. And I loved it. It’s a good city to cycle in; you can get anywhere on a bicycle in Glasgow. Nobody ever noticed me on a bicycle in Glasgow, which was quite a revelation. I realised that that’s quite a good way to travel around.

DM: And as a result, Ewan has built four new bikes since...

EM: It’s totally changed my life...

DM: The reputation of the petrolhead McGregor has now been turned into the leghead...

EM: I’ve always been a bit of a leg man…

Q: The film contains intense crying scenes – one of hardest things to do on film. Ewan, you always seem good at them, though.

EM: I’ve got a great deal of pain to draw on, you know? Deep emotional pain [laughs]. No, it is quite a difficult thing to do, but the most difficult thing about it is worrying about it beforehand, because that’s what screws it up. It is difficult because when you’re approaching a scene like that, the worry is that you won’t be able to get there, and that worry sometimes means that you won’t. You have to allow yourself the time, and you have to have a director who allows you the time to get there, and you just work up to it. It’s probably the only time for me when, before the scene, you just make sure you’re in your own quiet space and start… making yourself sad, I suppose. Then if you’re sad enough, you play the scene and it comes.

Q: What message did you take from film?

Alastair Mackenzie: Seize the day. Carpe diem.

EM: I always thought from when I read it that it wasn’t a kind of hopeless film. On the contrary, it felt to me like... hopeful. When you think about what happens, it doesn’t seem hopeful but I always felt that the sense of it was quite hopeful.

DM: I hope that it comes across as a life-affirming film. That’s what I’d like it to be. Obviously you can’t force an audience to have an emotion, but I’m hoping that the experience of the end of the film is sort of a combination of the tragic elements that are happening and these deeply powerful human connective elements – and romantic and love elements – that leave the film and the audience on a positive note.

Denis Lawson: It was interesting seeing it for the first time tonight, and knowing that sense of the human spirit and how we cling on and survive. The survival of the species, in a way; the way that we will hold on to anything we have and keep going. And so it just seems curiously an optimistic film.

EB: To me it’s like a fairytale for grown-ups, in that you’re being told this story and it’s almost… not a cautionary tale but in the same way that fairytales for children are believable, this is like for the apocalyptic age, the PlayStation civilisation.

DM: A fairytale for nihilists.

DL: It’s almost Biblical, in a way.

Max Richter: I feel like it is a positive story. It’s very hopeful. It’s a kind of love-conquers-all story, which I think is a wonderful sentiment.

Q: Denis, how was it working with your nephew?

DL: It was such a pleasure and an exciting prospect. What I remember most particularly is walking into the make-up trailer the first day we were going to work together, and Ewan was in the chair. And that was a bit weird: what’s Ewan doing here? And in his usual fashion, he went “Hello Uncle Denis!” So we got ready and left the trailer and walked onto the set. And then it was just like so natural, the most natural thing in the world. Things just dropped into place. It just felt so easy. It was great, a lovely thing to do.

EM: It’s been a long time coming. I’ve always wanted to work with Denis. He’s directed me twice, in a play and then in a short film shot in Edinburgh… I wondered what that would be like, but when we did the play and got in the rehearsal room, it was completely normal.

Q: There are a lot of apocalyptic films about at the moment. Are they telling us we’re all going to die soon?

EM: Like Hollywood would know!

DM: There’s a lot of uncertainty about things going around at the moment. People are questioning a lot of things that they haven’t questioned before and asking about the sustainability of human endeavour. I think all of us were conscious when we did this movie that we didn’t want to make it a genre piece in those terms or to be bombastic about it, and for it to be slightly more metaphorical and poetic in its telling. But if there is a convergence of interest in these things, I would guess it’s because people have doubts about “project humanity”.

Perfect Sense will go on general release in UK cinemas on October 7.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense" to be released in UK this October

Following on the heels of last night's premiere, more and more outlets are reporting a more firm UK release date for David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense." Numerous outlets now report that Arrow Films will release the latest film from Sigma in the UK 7 October, 2011.

As noted here on this blog many times previously, the film will be seen world wide (some possibly even as late as Jan 2012), with the US release date via IFC films yet to be released but looking to be later this fall as well-stay tuned!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Perfect Sense" Premieres at Edinburgh Film Festival

The UK premiere of David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense" took place tonight to a sold out theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. You can see early photos here from Wireimage, including ones of stars Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner. BBCfilms tweeted one of the enormous press and moviegoer crowd, where you can see Sigma's own and co-star Alistair Mackenzie in the background. Fingers crossed will see more soon, stay tuned, however please check out this HD VIDEO OF EWAN MCGREGOR introducing the film to the crowd tonight woot!

The PA has new video w/brief shot of Alastair, then nice interview with Ewan as he discusses working with David Mackenzie and Eva Green

UPDATE: Filmmaker Ian Robertson has joined team Sigma, and has some cool video of the huge crowd at the Premiere of Perfect Sense, awesome-thanks sooo much Ian! x

UPDATE: Via Ken Jack, here is one of David and Alastair! yayay!

Update: Journalist Lynda Hamilton was lucky enough to interview Al before the premiere and tweeted this great photo! Hope to post her interview with the star of Perfect Sense and You Instead when it is released!

Update: Thanks to SuperMiffy who has a photo of Gillian Berrie on stage with David Mackenzie at the introduction of Perfect sense last night at EiFF

Twitter was full of very postive, reflective and thoughtful comments from those who saw Perfect Sense tonight which was wonderful to read (plus lots of excited photos from those lucky enough to see and/or meet Ewan esp) In something of a marked contrast to Jan where there were overwhelming positive reviews from respected journalists, bloggers and websites worldwide, unfortunately there have been a mixed bag this go-round, alas (and in one extreme case a totally bizarre unprofessional rant so unlike anything previously that reeked with some sort personal malice I dont get 0_0 that frankly... I'm at a loss to understand it; just woah dude whatever please find some peace and move on) Great pity but absolutely they certainly do have their right to their opinion and you can't win them all of course...despite my uber fangirl cheerleader desires to do so, curses lol. On the positive side, there are indeed many many good ones, in particular a well written piece from (4stars) Quotage:

"This is a boldly offbeat, original and ambitious departure for Scottish film-maker David Mackenzie, a regular presence at the Edinburgh Film Festival over the years with his various uncompromising takes on alienation, awkward intimacy, and shared suffering.

And whilst those themes are still very evident here, Perfect Sense is a richer, more polished and complex beast to digest with interesting ideas working on several levels and which linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled...

This is Mackenzie’s best film to date although I’m still a big admirer of Young Adam, which also starred Ewan McGregor in one of his best roles. It obviously wasn’t a fluke for under Mackenzie’s eye, McGregor is once again on top form in a down to earth and subtle performance peppered with moments of moving despair and rage.

Eva Green is also excellent as his soul’s mirror and the onscreen chemistry is palatable. There’s also notable support from Ewen Bremner as McGregor’s cheeky assistant and their working banter and behaviour made me think the whole film might have been just as interesting had it been entirely set in Michael’s restaurant.

It’s also Mackenzie’s most cinematic work to date. With an elegant and moody score, some great locations, powerful montages and a couple of boldly bizarre scenes where characters lose the plot (you wont forget the ‘hungry scene’). It’s a quirky and original take on an established genre with many inventive touches and plenty of provocative food for thought."

Ross from ReelScotland also weighs in on the positive (3/5) and writes:

Where the greatest strength lies is in the central relationship. It is one worth investing in as it flits from elation to tragedy, building to enough of a climax that other events seem almost insignificant. It’s certainly a love story above-and-beyond a genre picture. Whereas Fernando Meirelles’ thematically similar Blindness focuses on how people behave when they react to events, the focus here very much remains on ‘life goes on’ and as-such is ultimately far more positive about human nature.It’s certainly an ambitious undertaking and while it might not make perfect sense, it makes more than enough to have an impact at an emotional level.


Many more positive reviews are pouring in from tumbler, twitter and the blogs including one here from Charlie Moon who writes of seeing the UK premiere: "Before the movie, McGregor, MacKenzie and producer (and therefore my idol) Gillian Berrie gave a small introduction to the film, and were each blown away by the reception they were receiving...the twist in the story line took me completely by surprise. The ideas behind this film are Genius and nothing like anything I've ever seen before. Overwhelmed by the story it left me crying like a baby at the end, initially with happiness but then also with grief. I highly reccomend this film to anyone. An apocalyptic romance!"

Filmland Empire has a very good more indepth reaction, and they write: "The first aspect that immediately impresses is the art direction. The Michael Nyman'esque score by Max Richter strikes the right note (dare I say) between hope and melancholy. The photography is absolutely stunning, again finding the right balance between a certain coldness in scenes of panic and warmth for the intimate scenes...Instrumental in the success of the film however are its two leads, Ewan McGregor and Eva Green. They both give one of their best performance in a long time. They have real chemistry and the intimate scenes between them are the most successful, including a sweet and tender scene involving them affectionately eating soap in a bath, having lost their sense of taste. (sounds ridiculous? Trust me, it works) In fact, considering how little the supporting cast is given to do, I almost wonder if the director could have gone for a more radical approach and solely follow the two main characters...The film is out in October in the UK (no release date announced in the US as yet), and for all its originality and poetry, I cannot recommend it enough."

TV Bomb also gives high marks to the film (4 bombs which is a good thing lol), noting "MacKenzie’s second film with McGregor, after Young Adam, is one of the most original romance films to be played out on screen in years."

Screengrab is more reflective, with the following:

Beautiful and poignant, Perfect Sense offers a hauntingly bleak outlook on modern-day life. Billed as a sci-fi, the film is barely that. The reason behind the events is never found, it is barely even looked for. This is certainly no Independence Day, that’s for sure and similarly Perfect Sense has none of the hope, the gung-ho attitude or the introspection of other end of the world dramas. Although set in Glasgow, the film lacks any real sense of a clear location, and this widespread, almost global generalisation makes it all the more terrifying. The response to events in the film is incredibly human and the pervasive sense that we are not in control, much as we’d like to think so, taunts an ignorant audience.

The acting is spot on, and with such talents as McGregor and Green on board this is hardly surprising. In the centre of terrifying events we are presented with a highly moving and deeply engaging love story. The producer spoke to us at the start of the press screening, mentioning what an achievement it had been to get these big stars to work in such a small film. The usual struggle any British film faces to get funding had been there, but this Scottish film has been a success story and if the sell out of the first public screening is anything to go by, it is set to do very well.

Casta La Vista writes about the press embargo before the film screened, and how excited moved and glad they were to be able to now write freely about the film. MOST COMPLEMENTARY about acclaimed film composer Max Richter, highlights from this review include:

There are so many good things about this film that I’m really going to struggle to limit myself (for length’s sake) but if there was any one thing that really really stood out as being great about this film, it would undoubtedly be the score. Max Richter (who last year contributed to the excellent Shutter Island) has really pulled it out of the bag with this one; the music is subtle when it needs to be, poignant when it’s appropriate and is absolutely harrowing at the most emotionally involving moments. Outstanding.

Perfect Sense verges on having one of the most tragic endings I’ve seen, quite a drain after the emotional day I’d already had with Angels Crest and Project Nim – this isn’t a film to watch then when feeling vulnerable; but is one that will prompt you into appreciating what you have in life and, if you’re anything like me, cause you to re-evaluate the things you think are important. Top notch stuff."

From FlickFeast comes this honest and heartfelt review:

"Danish screenwriter Kim Fupz Aakeson for the most part keeps the love story absolutely real also. It’s really the centre of the film in a classic love conquers all story, with the epidemic serving as a series of extreme situations that propel them together and heighten their passion for each other, or pull them apart. McGregor and Green have a wonderful chemistry and while I wasn’t entirely convinced they would gel together they both do great work (Green in particular.)

Unfortunately Aakeson doesn’t nail the love story entirely. Without wanting to give anything away at one point one of the characters behaves completely out of, um, character for a good portion of the film. While watching it’s incredibly frustrating, and it becomes clear at the end that the only reason for this behaviour is to facilitate the end of the film. It’s like Aakeson had the ending in mind and then bent his characters all out of shape to achieve it.

But thankfully the ending is so powerful that all is quickly forgiven. Wow. I was fighting back tears.

Before the screening started we each had to sign an embargo agreement stating that we wouldn’t comment on the film until after the premiere. I was the first to leave the theatre and when I handed mine in – to what looked like an attractive woman but I couldn’t be sure through the tears in my eyes – I asked her “Not even if I want to rave about it?” “I’m afraid not,” she said, smiling.

Damn shame, as I cannot recommend this more highly."

NapiersNews: With a film that is as ambitious and brave as this one, it’s hard to be too disappointed. Setting a science fiction story not in London, Los Angeles or New York but in Glasgow, for a start, is a daring move on behalf of director David MacKenzie. It’s one, moreover, that allows us to feel that even the most normal of cities are being affected by the spreading pandemic. Also, with an unseen narrator who describes the stages of the phenomenon, quick changes in stylistic tone and montage sequences that capture how it spreads around the globe, Perfect Sense is noteworthy for it’s radically unconventional storytelling.

Furthermore, there are moments in the film that will stay with you long after the final fade to black and concluding narration, with members of the audience at last night’s premiere appearing visibly overwhelmed with what they’d just consumed. In particular, the final moments are guaranteed to grip you to the screen with a tear in your eye.

Like Reel Scotland, another 3/5 star review, this one from the Independent who despite the lower rating had this to say: "The storytelling style is deliberately restrained. Mackenzie cleverly approaches outlandish material in a subdued and intimate way. Gilles Nuttgens' cinematography emphasises greys and browns. The score by Max Richter (reminiscent of Arvo Part at his most lugubrious) adds to the mournful mood."

Several beautifully written thoughtful intelligent reviews wrap up this post and are well worth your time to read:

The List:

"Telling the story of a global epidemic where everyone starts losing their senses one by one, but focusing mainly on one couple (McGregor and former Bond girl Eva Green), the film has already been dismissed by some critics as overacted and pretentious. But this writer found it quite the opposite. It’s a uniquely ambitious work in which Mackenzie picks up some fascinating ideas and uncompromisingly follows them through, and his cast are all on exactly the same page. Mackenzie demands a lot from the audience, but if you go with it, the film is thought-provoking and quietly moving. ‘What I saw in the script’, explained Mackenzie, ‘was a poetic attempt to tell the story of a possible end [of humanity], and that felt interesting to me. It felt like a subtle and rather magical way of looking at these things as opposed to a bombastic and genre-led thing.’ One of the films co-stars – another Trainspotting alumnus - is Ewen Bremner, and he seemed to me to get it dead right with this assessment of the film: ‘It will divide the audience between people who want to or need to maintain objective distance and an emotional defence, and people that are more willing to engage and emotionally go with it, because there’s something quite fairytale-like about it. To me it’s not a completely realist film, it’s more like a fairytale or a parable, and because of that it’s easier to let yourself go, because [you know] it’s a story. And I think stylistically David has allowed that distinction to be clear.’ "

The Film Pilgrim:

"The narrative is a gripping rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. One minute Susan and Michael are emphatically happy and in love, the next they’re facing their darkest fears and are in the throws of despair as they lose yet another sense. It’s shown how people have come to rely on their remaining senses, primarily touch, to make up for those they’ve lost. One enchanting scene shows a street performer demonstrating how to remember the smell of a leaf. The surrounding crowd watch, fixated, as she describes the rainforest; the noises, the taste of the air and the feel of the leaf’s smooth surface. This is what people have to do to keep their beloved memories alive.

Perfect Sense is a beautifully unique gem amongst its fellow ‘end of the world’ films. There’re no aliens, or explosions, or someone who rides in to save the day. The earth itself, as a physical mass, is unharmed. This apocalypse is fundamentally personal and to a large extent psychological. For a start, it’s set in Glasgow rather than a place like New York which has been destroyed so many times it’s hard to count. This gives it a feel of normality and a sense of every day life which makes the prospect of what’s happening all the more terrifying; it’s closer to home. Whilst the entire human race loses their senses together, each person loses their own personal memories as well. People forget the smell of their favourite perfume or favourite meal. This is what sets Perfect Sense apart from the rest. Yes, it would be scary if the world began to disappear and crumble away from underneath us. But isn’t it even more horrific to become ultimately helpless; being only there in mind and not body?"


"Beautiful and poignant, Perfect Sense offers a hauntingly bleak outlook on modern-day life. Billed as a sci-fi, the film is barely that. The reason behind the events is never found, it is barely even looked for. This is certainly no Independence Day, that’s for sure and similarly Perfect Sense has none of the hope, the gung-ho attitude or the introspection of other end of the world dramas. Although set in Glasgow, the film lacks any real sense of a clear location, and this widespread, almost global generalisation makes it all the more terrifying. The response to events in the film is incredibly human and the pervasive sense that we are not in control, much as we’d like to think so, taunts an ignorant audience.

The acting is spot on, and with such talents as McGregor and Green on board this is hardly surprising. In the centre of terrifying events we are presented with a highly moving and deeply engaging love story. The producer spoke to us at the start of the press screening, mentioning what an achievement it had been to get these big stars to work in such a small film. The usual struggle any British film faces to get funding had been there, but this Scottish film has been a success story and if the sell out of the first public screening is anything to go by, it is set to do very well."

CONGRATULATIONS DAVID and all at Team Sigma for another wonderful premiere!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

David Mackenzie, Master Director to Speak at Galway Film Fleadh

Lucky film goers in Ireland will have the chance this summer to hear and learn from David Mackenzie. The Galway Film Fleadh (5-10 July) has announced that Sigma's own David Mackenzie will deliver a masterclass on the art of filmmaking. There is a very nice writeup on David at the film fleadh site, which reads in part: 'It's difficult to work out how to be populist without sacrificing some of the things that make your work interesting.' So says Scottish Director David Mackenzie, the subject of this year's Directors Masterclass. In terms of his films, 'interesting' is just the tip of the iceberg. His work has also been described as 'poetic', 'original' 'captivating', and at times 'transgressive', but above all else 'versatile'.

Further info: "The Masterclass will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel Galway (date TBC) and costs €50. For further information contact Brónagh Keys at 091-562200 or email: To apply directly please register online at Please note places are limited. Deadline for applications: Friday the 24th of June."

Reminder: The UK premiere for Perfect Sense will take place THIS WEEKEND in just a few days at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Star Ewan McGregor will be there along with David, Gillian (I strongly suspect co-star great Ewen Bremner will also be about as he has another film screening at the festival as well.) as well as many of the dear faces of Sigma and co. Be sure to ENTER VIA THE OFFICIAL PERFECT SENSE FACEBOOK PAGE for two tickets to the premiere as well as your chance to win a SET VISIT TO THE NEXT SIGMA FILMS feature film production LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY!

ps If you fancy I took the plunge and there is a SoSigmaFilms page too-all are welcome to chat Sigma, Jamie Sives any and all things Scottish and/or Independent films! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweet Sives Summer Ahead

This summer is proving to be a good one for actor Jamie Sives.

First this weekend, lucky fans in Australia will be able to catch Jamie in his best-actor award-winning role in the "Tremblay-en-France" short film when it screens at the Sydney Film Festival. Longtime reader and fan Ollie will be going woot; have a great time my friend!

Jamie has concluded his multi-episode turn as Jory Cassel in the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones," which will be continued to be rebroadcast on the cable channel (and those in US can catch repeats on HBOGO; not sure how long the UK Sky Atlantic will keep those on the player?) Fingers crossed will be getting the dvd soon after the series concludes (in serious ass fashion) in two weeks, but we can always hope. I have a ton of screencaps of Jamie from the show (some already on my flickr) but am hoping to launch a proper gallery here in the next few weeks; updates on that to follow accordingly. bTW how great has Kate Dickie as Lysa and James Cosmo as Old Bear been on the show? FANTASTIC! Same holds true for Iain Glen Perfect, simply ace in my book and same holds true for Richie Madden as Robb Stark! Wonderful! (Emmy surely must go to Peter Dinklage tho or Mark Addy and/or Sean Bean, top of their games they are/were) Anyway, hoping and pretty certain most of the Scots will all be back for season 2 (save Jamie alas booo lol) can't wait!

Finally and very important: You can see Jamie LIVE ON STAGE as he will be appearing in a production of "The Pride" Tickets for the show, which opens in just a few weeks on 23 June, ARE NOW AVAILABLE RIGHT HERE-go go go catch Jamie and see his versatility once again. Photos from the rehearsals can be found here on the Sheffield Theatre FB (play is at the Sheffield Crucible) IF ANYONE IS ATTENDING THE PLAY, please please feel free to write a review, leave a comment (anony are always welcome too) send in pics/ meetings with Jamie etc to and I will happily (and quite enviously ) post them if you'd like.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tickets Going Fast for UK Premiere of "Perfect Sense"

Turn the page, it's June! Yikes where has time gone? Gosh, sorry for the lack of updates, but as it is June, that means we are getting closer to the long-awaited UK premiere of David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense." Taking place 18 June at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 18 June, demand for tickets to this event was so high, they had to change venue. Now screening at the larger capacity Festival theatre, TICKETS TO THE PREMIERE ARE ALMOST SOLD OUT. TO PURCHASE (and get a good seat while you can) CLICK HERE.
(once there, click on the red "book" button and you can see the chart where so many of the seats have already been snapped up, so get a move on!)

BONUS: The excellent star of this film EWAN MCGREGOR WILL BE THERE! YES! As noted by STV, Ewan said “I’m delighted to be able to come to Edinburgh to support the film festival and the European premiere of Perfect Sense, and look forward to seeing the film in such an amazing venue.

Ewan of course, has been having another banner year of critically acclaimed turns in films including his work in Perfect Sense, so if you are lucky enough to be able to go to the lovely city of Edinburgh for the festival this month, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to see the star (and presumably David & co will also be there) in his native Scotland-very exciting! :)

DOUBLE BONUS: Sigma's own GILLIAN BERRIE will be taking part in a special panel at the Film festival, speaking from her extensive knowledge and background on co-producing films with countries outside the UK. Gillian will be part of something called an industry event (open only to Screen Conference Pass holders aka pros working in the industry ) on 17 June; more info here.