Richard III Funeral – Benedict Cumberbatch

Its’ been a rather surreal week with the internment of the body of Richard III. A wonderful spectacle and hopefully a prompt for many schools and the public in general both in England and around the world, to learn more about King Richard III. In between many of the rather insipid ‘What do you reckon?’ interviews with various passers by (as aptly described in the Mitchell and Webb sketch below)

plus the usual regurgitation from Mr. Starkey, some of the messages about Richard III’s progressive views regarding religion, the law and publishing did come through.

The perfect choice to read this 14-line poem, written by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy especially for the service of reinterment of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral, was Benedict Cumberbatch. A happy co-incidence for Cumberbatch is that he’s playing Richard III as part of the Hollow Crown series. It has also been revealed that he’s very very distantly related. Not bad PR for Mr Cumberbatch and I certainly don’t begrudge him it, he’s a wonderful talent. (One might say that distantly almost anyone in England is related – but I can almost guarantee that won’t include me!)

Richard

My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,
a human braille. My skull, scarred by a crown,
emptied of history. Describe my soul
as incense, votive, vanishing; your own
the same. Grant me the carving of my name.

These relics, bless. Imagine you re-tie
a broken string and on it thread a cross,
the symbol severed from me when I died.
The end of time – an unknown, unfelt loss –
unless the Resurrection of the Dead …

or I once dreamed of this, your future breath
in prayer for me, lost long, forever found;
or sensed you from the backstage of my death,
as kings glimpse shadows on a battleground.

We are so cynical and superficial these days that the whole process might seems almost laughable and yet, there is something spiritually intriguing around how ceremony, rites, prayers and collective thoughts can make us feel. The man doesn’t care, he’s dead – yet if there is some place beyond the grave, has some good been done?

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Winner! Best Actress – British Horror Film Festival

More brilliant news for The End, my short horror film, directed by Raj Pathak (We are Heroes Films), (original story Pia Cooke). The film won the award for Best Actress at the British Horror Film Festival.

The British Horror Film Festival Awards were held at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, London and Shelley Draper‘s powerful performance in The End, quite rightly, won her the best actress award. This is a great boost for the team involved as we’re currently seeking investment for our feature length version of the film. Hopefully more great news on that soon…

The hundreds of entries from around the world were whittled down to six short films and three features.

The shorts we were up against included:

Dans Le Noir – directed by Kate Tuck – a drama set in London in the first few days of a zombie attack, the piece was mixed with film-noir style scenes.

The Brain Hack – directed by Joseph White. This, to my mind, got one of the best receptions of the night and was one of the most popular films and walked away with many of the awards. I was gutted I actually arrived (unfashionably) too late to catch the film – but I’ll definitely be viewing it on Vimeo. I suggest you do too!

The Jigsaw – Director – Sibling films.  A very neat story based on an old story the directors (brothers) had heard as children. It was leant an extra dimension by being shot abroad, though appearing to be set in England.

The Stomach – directed by Ben Steiner. A slightly gruesome but fun body shock style story, with an interesting psychic element and a great cast.

Tin and Tina – directed by Rubin Stein.  I loved this story. It was shot almost entirely with one camera angle. The children were fascinating and the story unfolded at a steady, controlled pace. It was all subtitled (original in spanish) and I did wonder if there were some cultural symbolism I wasn’t quite getting, but regardless it was a chilling film that left me with a lot of questions.

All in all it was great to see such a variety of films and film makers from a variety of backgrounds with access to widely different range of resources.

The Empire Cinema Leicester Square  - British Horror Film Festival

The Empire Cinema Leicester Square – British Horror Film Festival

Best Actress Award

Best Actress Award (a terrible picture!)

Award nomination for The End!

Image

A couple of days ago I got the fabulous news from Film Director, Raj Pathak (We are Heroes Films), that we’ve been nominated for an award at the Limelight Film Awards, due to be held on June 9th!  It’s a highly prestigious event to be held in the Troxy, a beautiful Art Deco venue in East London.

Not surprisingly we’re nominated in the Horror category – and if we go through and win ‘Film of the Night’ then we’ll get a massive £10,000 production budget – as you can imagine I’m hoping this might go towards making the feature length version! It’s especially good timing as I’ve just submitted the completed script to We Are Heroes.

Even if we don’t win, the nomination alone is exciting and has only been made possible by the combination of such wonderful talents as Crash Taylor, Raj Pathak and N-FX special effects. Not to mention the amazing crew and actors – especially Shelley Draper, who really brought all the emotion of her character off the paper and onto the screen.

Fingers crossed!

 

Found

A story by a Sara Roberts, a wonderful young writer, recently published on Hackney Writers site…

“Out back late”. The note was pinned to the fridge with the plastic magnet they got in Vegas, with glitter sparkles trapped inside. Amanda sighed and heaved the bags of shopping off the floor onto the Formica table with its mysterious patterns of coffee stains like corn circles….Found..

  • Found (hackneywriters.org)

Behind the scenes – The end

As I’m still unable to show the full film – here’s a short 35 second continuous take of actress Shelley Draper preparing before action is called. The camera was sitting on a tripod, the shot was being set up. You will see the clapper board and people walking around. Her dedication was first class and acting brilliant.
Scriptwriting is interesting work – you never quite know how things will look on the screen, and I’m so glad such a wonderful actress was involved in this project

Two Novembers

Two Novembers

On a topical note, a friend of mine, Frances Hay wrote a wonderful piece to mark the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination which really is worth a read. The story is adapted from her work in progress, Cloud Illusions, a novel about four women’s intertwining life stories across four decades of Presidential elections.

 

Occupancy

When a property developer visits an abandoned house, advertised as a development opportunity, he encounters two macabre sisters, unwilling to share occupancy.

I’ve spent most of the last year splitting my time between finishing my novel and writing a number of short films.

Occupancy will be the first of my scripts to make it to film. The film will probably only be around 3 minutes in length and its main purpose is so the director can work with the location and some of the actors we intend to use for a zombie film (which I script edited/co-wrote). The film is being produced by Cold Water Canyon pictures by a very inspirational guy called Crash Taylor.

He’s written a bit more about the process of making the film and the people involved here:

http://coldwatercanyonpictures.com

Crash Taylor is an award winning photographer turned cinematographer. He has infectious enthusiasm and, being from California originally (now based in Nottingham), a very positive view of life. Crash puts his all into every project. Many of the scripts we’ve worked on have gone back and forward via various film script critics, to ensure they are the best they can be before anyone shouts ACTION!

Also in the pipeline is a ‘store hold-up’ short film and a slightly longer short called Watching Over You. Watching Over You is my favourite of all my scripts so far and is the one I desperately want to see made. The script is being put forward to the BFI to see if we can get funding – if we can then it could really become something special – fingers crossed.

It’s nice to be able to blog some positive news – let me know how things are going with your works-in-progress…?