VF4 – driving safety film

This dramatic film is designed to be played inside a real car as a simulator. It is part of a training programme aimed to communicating the main four dangers of driving to 16 year olds.

The script was devised in a semi-improvised way with the young actors. This required careful direction as the film needed to communicate a very specific set of ideas whilst also being “realistic” to it’s target audience.

Directed, filmed, produced and edited by ME!

Made for the VF4 Road Safety Programme, run by Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service and LeicesterShire Road Safety Partnership.

Candy Crime

“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun” Jean-Luc Godard, 16th May 1991

With Holly Jacobson, Pierre Marku, Adain Bradley, Matt Rogers & Morgan Leighton
Directed, Filmed & Edited by ME!
Assisted by Benjamin Davis
Written by Leilani Holmes
Sound by Farid El-Jazouli
Music by Maryann & Michael Tedstone

Awards:

  • Winner – Best Comedy – Toronto Urban Film Festival 2014 (with a silent 60sec version)
  • 1st place and winner of Audience Award at the 22nd Croatian One Minute Film Festival (Crominute) 2014
  • Winner of People’s Choice Award in Filminute 2012 (filminute.com)
  • Winner of One Minute Movie Competition, Norwich Film Festival 2012
  • Winner – Videominuto2013, Prato, Italy
  • Winner – jury audience’s prize – best film – Mister Vorkys One Minute Film Festival, Serbia, 2014
  • Honorable Mention (i.e. 2nd) in DepicT! 2011 (part of Encounters Short Film Festival)
  • Winner of Best Comedy Short Film at Screen Stockport Film Festival
  • Runner-up Shooting People Film of the Month August 2011

Because the Origami – 8in8

8in8 comprises of Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds and Damian Kulash. This song is part of an experimental album that written and recorded in just one night.

They released it under a CC license in the hope that people would make videos for the tracks. We loved this song so much that we were inspired to make this fan video – it just took a while getting the correct props together. Hope you enjoy it – we had so much fun making it.

Featuring Holly Jacobson
Directed, Shot and Edited by ME!
Assisted by Benjamin Davis
Produced by Kaley Jacobson
Special thanks to all our friends who helped with props – and especially to Harry the pony.

Awards:

Winner of Best Music Video at Screen Stockport Film Festival 2011

We are the industry

Guerrilla FIlmmakers Masterclass, London, 2011 with Chris Jones

Last weekend, I attended the Guerrilla Filmmakers Masterclass, run by Chris Jones of Living Spirit Pictures. Previously he has run this to 10-20 people per time, but this event had a whopping 360 attendees, with all manner of experience; from those just starting out, to those embarking on their third feature film; from writers and actors, to all manner of technical crew. The course ran from dawn to dusk for two days, during which my brain was in constant overdrive (a state my brain relishes).

The subjects covered were many and various, but all focused on the many elements required to make a no/low budget feature film and then turn it into enough of a commercial success that you can make a second, etc. These elements ranged from the technical (I was glad there was nothing covered here than was new to me), through legal, emotional, motivational, all the way to the cut throat world of film sales and distribution. I learned a huge amount – some of which I expect to only come to the fore when I need it – but a few days on, here are the key things I took away for the event:

Networking is not as bad as I thought it was

I am historically a very shy and retiring person who finds it very difficult to engage strangers in conversation. I say “historically”, because this weekend changed all that. I went to a short talk Chris gave in Leicester a couple of months ago, and he related a similar story in which he faced his fears and had an extraordinary outcome. The power of the story (well, how it was told, mainly) really helped me to face my own fear. And once I started striding up to people and engaging with them, I realised that every single one of them was glad I had taken the move to break the barrier. Over the course of the weekend, having sat in a different place at every break, I had conversed and exchanged cards with over 50 people (still only 1in7 attendees!) Even though each conversation was only 5-15 mins long, I feel as though these are the people I will turn to in years to come for the hard nosed impartial advice and opinion we all need sometimes. I hope that, drawing on this experience, I will always be able to conquer my fear at future networking opportunities and resist hiding in the corner.

We are the industry

It is sad, but true, that there isn’t actually a “British Film Industry” that we can break into. The industry is actually just those who choose to put enough effort into actually making a film. In this case the people in the photo above represent a significant slice of that industry and I am proud to be amongst their number. In the coming years I truly believe that a large number of successful (whether critically and/or commercially) feature films will emerge from the group.
If “we” are the industry, then “I” am the industry – i.e. I have to knuckle-down and get on with it.

The audience owes you nothing / emotional connection / WHY?

A number of strands discussed have merged into a single conclusion for me. It is a hard truth that noone will ever notice if we don’t make our film, and even when we do, it our duty to find, create and excite an audience – and above all to not bore them. Chris mentioned the emotional connection between audience and story/film a number of times, and also repeatedly asked WHY were we willing to pour heart and soul into such a painful, risky venture? Thinking back, the reason that I want to make films is that on a number of occasions they have connected to me in profound ways. Every single time I have ever watched ET or Cinema Paradiso in particular (together a number that exceeds 50) I have cried like a baby – they affect me that much, partly because I first saw them at pivotal points in my life. I would love to touch an audience even to a fraction of that extent. One of the main ways to create an emotional connection is to deal with issues that require you to open yourself up, to reveal yourself. Our recent film dealt with issues that are very dear to our hearts, and I think what success it has had is born out of that truth. So the upshot is that I have decided to try to concentrate on feel-good personal stories that try to connect emotionally. This has the added benefit of potentially gaining access to a much larger audience, but with much reduced competition (so many low budget filmmakers end up making depressing films, whereas most people want to feel good from visiting a cinema). I have already shelved a couple of planned darker short films and am instead making much lighter ones which make me feel good. Excited to see how that pans out.

I’m now ready to put in the hard graft and start realising the dreams of my youth – please wish me luck!