Friday, 29 August 2014

Wakefield Hospice Colour Run



This video represents my first attempt to do something I really want to do from now on. I aim to help raise the profile of Arts and Culture in Wakefield. I feel it is a very vibrant place and ought to be better recognised globally. This is just a start and, as I have a number of local arts organisations who are already clients, I will have plenty of opportunity to do this. I have more personal projects planned to help with this goal as well.

Pastures New

Yes. It has been a long time since I updated this site. Actually I am trading as a corporate filmmaker now and I thought that this would not be the most appropriate channel to promote that side of my work. So I created a new website. If you want to go and check out what's on there then follow this link: Portfolio
Don't worry, all my avid followers though. I will be back to keep this site up to date more often from now on.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Saltburn Shorts

Saltburn-By-The-Sea is a quirky and enchanting seaside town, according to Freya North. This is what it tells us in the tourist information brochure anyway. My own experience is that they know how to be generous hosts.
My 2010 short film, Like Nobody's Watching was accepted into the shorts section of the town's 5th Annual Film Festival. I had missed a screening at the South Yorkshire Filmmaker's Network section of the Sensoria festival in Sheffield so I was eager to attend this event and I'm very glad that I did. Sorry it's taken so long to get round to reporting on it!
Saltburn, celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, can be found a few miles north of Whitby in what is now Teesside. When I arrived, with the Mrs and one of my cast in tow, I was surprised to see a red carpet outside the entrance to the community centre where the fest was taking place. A charming, arts and craftsy former methodist chapel, we were greeted at the door and made to feel very welcome. The main auditorium didn't disappoint either. Packed with film-lovers, it had been converted for theatre shows years before and now suited the exhibition of films very well. The red carpet turned out to be for the Mayor of Redcar who came to present the prizes for the shorts competition.
We watched some entertaining shorts in competition for a jury award and an audience award. I voted for my own film (of course!) but it didn't make the top three. My pick for the winner was a Spanish produced film called Manos which played with the theme of break up and sexuality through the conceit of carefully choreographed lovers' hands. Brilliantly edited, it had a superb score and rightly won the audience award on the night. The jury award went to a Rob Speranza produced short, Into The Woods, which I thought had a great atmosphere and an interesting point to make about outsiders. The Yorkshire connection turned out to have a great deal of significance as the evening went on.
We were entertained by some films about the town and the area while we waited for the results of the competition and it was here that discussion about the town revealed that it used to be part of Yorkshire. I picked up an undercurrent of feeling that Saltburn ought still to be a Yorkshire town! My favourite film of the evening was The End of the Pier, a short doc on Saltburn in the 70s. There was a strong audience reaction to this film as the locals recalled the town as it used to look.
My thanks go to Wilma Gardiner-Gill who organised the festival and showed all the filmmakers who turned up the greatest respect and warmest regard. Certainly it was the best screening experience I have had so far and, as a footnote, one member of the audience had the kindness to come up to me at the end to tell me I was not alone in voting for my film at the audience award. She made me feel very special with her eloquent praise for my work. A very rewarding experience. 

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Like Nobody's Watching gets its laurels




I found out at the weekend that my graduation short has been accepted to an international film festival and I'm chuffed to bits! I've been entering Like Nobody's Watching into a fairly extensive selection of festivals and this is the first acceptance I've had. I must admit I've been a bit disappointed about this as I assumed it would be a shoe-in at quite a few of the minor festivals in the UK. I suppose there must be a very high standard being submitted these days (with the abundance of affordable means of production) and there's no way of knowing whether the festivals to which I've submitted have an agenda or theme.
Kinofest in Bucharest has been running since 2007. It is Romania's first digital film festival and it aims to cultivate and promote young(?!?) filmmakers as well as an interest in independent film among the general public. Like Nobody's Watching will screen on 3rd November between 21:15 and 23:00 at MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art) in Bucharest.
I have written before about the burgeoning independent film industry in Romania. Many new directors coming out of the country are very highly regarded on the international circuit. I have my own favourites but they are getting recognition at major festivals such as Cannes as well. A rich vein of creativity is being unearthed in a nation with unique and powerful stories to tell. It's clear that the talent available will make Romania an attractive destination for filmmakers looking for high quality affordable production facilities and locations in the future.
The only disappointment for me is that, because it is such short notice, I will be unable to attend the screening. A big shame for me as I would have relished the opportunity to strengthen the links I already have with the country and to forge new ones in the film industry there. I wish all the best to the festival and its director Valentin Partenie and urge anyone who can to support it. 

Monday, 9 August 2010

Arrival

On the 3rd August at 2:23 am my partner Rachael and I were joined by a little bundle. Lucas Thomas Leslie weighed 6lb 10 at birth and took the long way round to get here. He was slightly earlier than expected but made up for that by spending 6 days telling mummy he was on the way!
It's been an eventful few weeks as the beginning of July saw us move into a new home in Walton, Wakefield. As I had pointed out to me, that's the two single most stressful life events crammed into the space of a month!
So far I think Lucas and I are hitting it off ok. He spends a lot of time snoozing on my chest with me staring at him, wondering how he could be any more perfect. He's inspired my adaptation of the old fairy tale - Handsome and Gretel. Not as the model for a character but as a kind of muse. With any luck he will inspire much more storytelling that I can share with you, the viewer.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Graduating

I found out yesterday that my final grades for my degree were in. I'd only seen the result of one of my projects so far and although it was a substantial element of the year's work I wasn't at all sure how my other projects would have gone as I was working on them completely alone. It's very difficult to stand back and give an honest assessment of your own performance and you end up comparing yourself to others. I had hopes of a top award but I felt comfortable that I had probably got a 2:1 or a 2:2 with graduation being my absolute minimum goal.
I'm pleased to report that I managed to gain a top classification in every project! And that means I gained a first class degree! So I'm over the moon and I want to shout it from the rooftops!
I'm also pleased to report that my colleagues, James and Mark exceeded themselves to gain a first and a 2:1 respectively with the top award also going to two extremely talented and capable young filmmakers Rory and Tom of Brown Bread Films. Watch this space cause there's more to come from all of us and I'll make sure you all hear about it.
I have mixed feelings about receiving my result because, although I'm glad I did well, it also means that I'm finished with a course that I have enjoyed immensely. It's been a fun and productive three years where I've made friends I know will last a lifetime and discovered things in myself that I didn't believe I had. I will miss all the staff and students horribly and hope that the connections I've now made with more junior students means I will still get to hang around for a bit longer! Very best wishes to all that have graduated with me, I know you will all exceed yourselves.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Family & Friends

End of Year Show image

The end of year show starts tonight at Leeds College of Art. My work is to be shown in the exclusive DDM screening room along with that of the other talented filmmakers on the course. My time at LCA has been the most fun I have had (with my clothes on) and the links I have forged with other people will be among the most important I have ever made. I'm hoping this will be a fitting send off to three years that have changed my direction and given me a whole new life to lead. Family and friends are invited to the exclusive preview tonight and then the exhibition is open to college visitors for a week culminating in a networking event next Thursday for potential employers and connections.