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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

British films - sigh

I really enjoyed this satirical trailer by Kevin Curtis.

It really took off online, in a viral way, amongst the people I know. Of course, the people I know are onboard with the message, they are all film makers trying to do different things so Kevin's 'trailer' fell on friendly ears.

It reminded me of my own, less successful, cheeky piece of satire. I sent in a proposal called "The Greatest Short Film Ever Made" to the UK Film Council, as it was then. It was a story featuring every short film cliche. Unsurprisingly they didn't fund it. But man did I laugh writing it! I only wish I could have pitched it in person.

I emailed Kevin as I enjoyed his trailer (I hope you do the same when you see things you like - you should) and he is indeed preparing for a feature - so let's hope he can deliver something fresh with it. All his work so far is self funded, which I admire and shows you can dig deep and make things.

On the topic of the subject of his original satire - I think audiences do have in their mind what a British film means. But I also think they like these conventions to be broken. You could say Britain could never have a 'superhero' film for example, that it isn't a British genre. But I think V for Vendetta could have been one, Misfits is a TV one and Chronicle (although I haven't seen it) strikes me as something that could have worked here. So we do put ourselves in too narrow a bracket sometimes.

British Film should be an approach and a sensibility - not a genre.

The opening monologue from "The Greatest Short Film Ever Made" 

Young Jimmy Sprocket lives in a council estate, which these days is now called social housing. It could be North London. But it isn’t. It’s in Bournemouth. This, dear viewers, is due to complex funding considerations that we shouldn’t go into here. Jimmy’s mum, bless her, is a cleaner at the local school. One day her mop, which is symbolically linked to her dignity got mistaken for a piece of art. But that’s for another day. And his dad is a quite attractive transvestite recently returned from a tour of Iraq – but he ran away with the mute black dude who worked in a laundrette in the hope of getting whiter. Jimmy treasures his dad’s gold nose ring. But his dad left him just one other item. In a bottle, green of course so it shows up nicely on camera, under the stairs, sits an idea – it is, quite simply, the greatest idea for a short film that has ever been thought of.

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