Tag: Film

Okay

Okay

So those four weeks sure flew by didn’t they?

I was tempted to berate myself for publishing roughly 20 fewer posts than I’d intended to by this stage but guys, I am just TOO GOOD at having adventures. Somehow, sandwiched in between two really rotten colds, I have managed to do something like nine gigs, meet two celebrities, have several **romantic experiences**, make a short film, electrocute myself once and yet take so few photos on my malfunctioning phone that all I have to show for it is the following video that my Sony Xperia helpfully put together from the pictures I happened to get in my first week. (It is honestly a masterpiece, please turn up the volume to watch what my phone’s AI considers “human music”.)

Frustratingly for me, as a comic and sometime-filmmaker, this film is the best thing I’ve never made, as well as being such a bitchy thing for my phone to do. Congrats to Sony.

Catch you later when I’ve written some more stuff okaaaaaay

 

Wannabeing

lolbabyjosie
me, successfully pretending I know how to use a sound recorder. (Copyright Miss Edison 2014)

I love the BFI. I love it so much. I have loved it since I first stepped foot in it, some three years ago now. I love the high ceilings, the swish cafés, the gorgeous red seats in NFT1, and the shop – oh, the shop. For someone who once, as a teenager, sighed with longing for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and La Belle et la bête, neither of which were on sale at hmv Watford, a place which stocks everything from Georges Méliès DVDs to dorky film t-shirts to books on filmmakers from Abbas to Werner, it’s just heaven basically.

Plus, it’s got an incredible library. I’ve decided to make it my new place of work if I have to do something at all creative and pretend to myself that I am a wildly successful but also little-known filmmaker. I dress in my most creative-but-also-practical-because-I-am-just-here-to-work clothes, sashay up to the counter in the café, and in my most grown-up voice, order myself an “just an espressohh”. Working in a coffee shop is one way of being productive, because I suppose it gets you out of your house and the hubbub of the place can act as a sort of white noise. But when you are also surrounded by people you would like to be one day, you absolutely cannot drift onto Facebook, oh goodness me, no! You have to be working on your screenplay, or editing your latest film, or feverishly sending emails.

But one thing I have noticed when I have come here to read, write or just pay homage in my Sunday best, is that I am far from alone. While sipping my coffee and tapping away at something in a Courier New font, I take sly glances at the people around me and they’re doing exactly the same. Alone and yet altogether, we rake our fingers through our hair, visibly burdened by the weight of our genius. We love cinema but oh, how we suffer for it! (Does it show?)

It even comes through in people’s conversations. Not that I actively eavesdrop on other people, of course, and perhaps it’s the acoustics of the place – but you hear that air of “mm, yes, yes I do do film” in each carefully articulated phrase or better yet, pause to consider. “Hmm…yes, that could work.” That very quiet enjoyment of how impressive you might be to the other person, how clever and experienced and witty you sound.

Now, it could seem intolerable to be surrounded by people trying to sound clever and successful, and sometimes it is. It absolutely is. But it is also completely wonderful to realise that whatever age these people are, they’re all exactly the same as me – just faking it until, or even after, they make it. It’s just like that moment on the first film I worked on when, after having done our best to pull everything together and starting to film, we all at once realised we were making a film. A film! Us! And this excitement hit us all as though out of nowhere and we took a bunch of pictures of the slate, the set and the kit.

If people who have worked in the industry for years and years can still sound like they feel surprised and delighted to be where they are, making films for money, then please sign me up. I will be the one trying to order coffees in a weird voice.

#Oscarzzzz

Another year, another chilly January day spent complaining about Oscar nominations. Yes, the Oscars are so white – but even more so, broadly speaking, this year’s choices are restrained, safe, and kind of boring.

What I’m wondering is why we’re even bothering to be angry. You’re wasting all that good outrage. Get back online and find a useful outlet for it. Because it is just not worth getting angry about the Academy any more.

 

We all know what an Oscar-winning English-language film looks like. We know the performances that get nominated, the common themes, the style of cinematography. We know the politics of it. It’s an annual tradition, a game to see who can guess all of the winners, and who will wear the best dress, and how terrible the host(s) will be.

This is because it has been going for eighty-eight years. Can you imagine it? It’s older than my grandmother. It predates the Second World War, and plenty of other wars besides it. It has honoured many incredible artists and films that are still as beloved today.

But the film industry has changed completely since my granny’s day. Filmmaking used to be so expensive that it was the preserve of the big studios, and all that pomp and ceremony would reflect that. Lush, well-funded films would win, as they do today, because they would have been the most professionally made.

Now, the industry is far more democratic. Cheaper and more readily accessible equipment, advice and support have allowed more and more people to capture a video that ever before – just think about how many videos you’ve taken on your phone, and the different platforms you have to share them. Online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have allowed lesser-known filmmakers to exhibit their work, with ever-growing audiences for independent films. Beasts of No Nation, one of my favourite films of 2015, was the first feature film produced by a streaming service. Sean Baker’s excellent Tangerine was not even captured on a camera – it was shot entirely on two iPhone 5Ss.  In short, our idea of what even constitutes a “film” isn’t even the same as it was five or ten years ago, let alone the business behind it.

It’s bizarre that the Oscars haven’t adapted to these changes, and instead consistently adhere to the same patterns year on year. Yes, non-white actors may get nominations, or even awards – provided they are nobly tolerating something dreadful (e.g. slavery – thanks for helping me work through white liberal guilt, guys!), rather than driving a film forward. Last year’s Best Picture nominations were all about white men shouting, this year, they’re fighting against injustice/financial collapse/bears.

Both of the films mentioned above have received strong support for Oscar nominations, and there has been considerable grumbling that they were “snubbed”, as everyone insists on saying about great films not nominated for an Academy Award. In my opinion, this would be the least appropriate way to recognise the achievements of the cast and crew behind these two films. Raw, exciting, experimental filmmaking doesn’t get an Oscar, nor do marginalised voices or controversial storylines. If you want to see these films win prizes, go to Berlinale, or Sundance, or any of the independent film festivals.

We should stop believing in the silly, outdated idea that Oscars go to the best films of the year. They go to big, expensive films with well-known casts and certain established conventions. So don’t expect to see your favourite, queer indie number on that list, nor expect Idris Elba or Kitana Kiki Rodriquez’s names to get read out at that podium – but they’re all the better for it.
Ed: my granny, for the record, has always loved Alfred Hitchcock and thoroughly enjoyed Pulp Fiction. Just so you know. She’s great.