The end and the beginning for The POW
Almost a year to the day since premiering at the 2012 Keswick Film Fest, my first film ‘The POW’ has now come to the end of it’s festival life. But far from being an anticlimax I have three fine ways to celebrate… #1. Oh Canada… About 40 days ago a package left the lovely people at Barrie Film Festival, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been having fun tracking the parcel...
German premiere at Europe's friendliest fest?
It was 6 a.m Sunday morning when we got in from the first day of screenings which had progressed to a genteel midnight afterparty, and then a loud all-nighter at club Kantine. Despite the early hour my delightful host, Anna F, set about making a cheesecake for the festival’s cafe/bar which would be opening up for day two’s screenings in several hours time. After a relaxing cup of tea...
Bucharest vs Konstanz? flight LX391 to...
Saturday 27th Oct and I’m spoilt for choice with invitations to short film festivals in both Bucharest (Romania) and Konstanz (Germany). So which should I accompany my short ‘The POW’ too?… big city, big fest (200 shorts) vs small city, friendly fest (42 shorts). I mean wow; Bucharest. It seems like no time since I was glued to the TV watching the revolution in progress;...
Today’s kind of special. The POW’s been screening at festivals since February; Moscow in the spring, Dublin in the summer, and now coincidentally the first two international screenings of the autumn are today… kind of weird that they’re both this evening but cause one’s in Cyprus (GMT+3hrs) and one’s in Barrie, Ontario (GMT-4hrs) the first happened while I was...
Anonymous asked: John, I would like to add that the 'Shorts' competition event is fabulous and one that I and many look forward to with great relish. It will be a great night and I look forward to seeing your new film. I would encourage everyone to take a boat, train, plane or horse and buggy to come an enjoy the 15th annual Barrie Film Festival
POW's 4th International: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Great to hear via email this morning from Barrie Film Festival. My short film ‘The POW’ is screening with 17 other shorts and 25(?) features at the 9 day long festival. The screening will surprisingly be the same day as my short screens at the Cyprus International Film Fest in Nicosia. So true to form as soon as I heard I did a little digging to find out how much fun this Barrie...
DUBLIN Darklight Film Fest →
The POW screens in it’s Irish premiere on Friday night at The Factory 6pm… I’ve been wrestling with the options of getting flights and nipping out there for a couple of days; but it looks like it won’t be possible. Darklight is Ireland’s leading film festival for indie film, animation and vfx.
Cypriot Screening - Nicosia, October 2012
The POW is scheduled to be screened at the Cine Studio, Nicosia on Sat 13th Oct - one of the main venues and right in the middle of the two week Cyprus International Film Festival. Not sure whether I’ll be able to go or not yet - though UKTI are still being good enough to support me and possible international development opportunities (so thanks due there). Just to share with you a bit of...
7th Cyprus International Film Festival
Really pleased to report The POW’s been selected for it’s second International Film Fest - this time in Nicosia, Cyprus scheduled for this October. Hmm… an opportunity to travel with The POW again and meet another crowd of international filmmakers?
Home city screening of the POW
Last night The POW had it’s home city (Lancaster, UK) premier on the main screen at The Dukes, as part of a special regional short film night. Great once again to see it on the big screen where it really belongs; and a really enthusiastic round of applause from the audience! Afterwards I was introduced to the very engaging Andy Diggle; Marvel / DC Comics / 2000 AD writer with credits...
Tea & Medals... Moscow Style
Saturday 28th - day of the festival awards ceremony hosted at The Cultural Centre of the Russian Armed Forces; a grand neo-classical building opposite The Theatre of the Russian Army (apparently the biggest theatre in Europe!). Tables laid heavy with food and drink, TV camera crews, filmmakers and dignitaries - quite the festival finale! Then the awards; best film, best hero, best antihero -...
Touched down in moscow just as dawn was breaking, golden sunshine clipping the horizon of forest and concrete suburbs as the train from Domodedovo airport made it’s way Paveletskaya station in the city. Paveletskaya is not the most refined introduction to Moscow… some pretty rough looking taxi drivers badgering passengers coming off the train, then out onto the streets and the bustle of...
Moscow... I'll be there!
Really excited to be going to Moscow!! UK Trade & Industry have agreed to cover travel expenses (potential export sales development) and the accommodation is covered by the festival organisers and Russian Ministry of Culture. The POW will be screened on Thursday 26th April as part of the films/features competition within the 5 day film festival. Leaving Carnforth station at noon… then...
Pennine Film Festival... and a win!
Today marks the last day of a week of shorts, talks, features etc. at the Pennine Film Festival. It’s been a really great week with a very diverse bunch of films from the UK and worldwide. The POW had a screening on Tuesday morning followed by a good hour or more presentation/Q&A to an audience of 40(?) filmmakers/students/photographers detailing the making of. I had no idea how...
John Hurt at Keswick Film Festival
Tomorrow is the premiere for The POW! Keswick Film Festival runs all weekend and kicked off last night with a packed party. I didn’t know a soul but they’re a friendly crowd - met Anne the director, Stephen who’s been liaising with us filmmakers and Oli from split.co.uk who’s made a beautiful job of all the print design and festival branding. Hundreds of punters, a free...
Manchester Screening and Q&A →
It’s nice to be wanted :) …I’ve been invited to screen ‘The POW’ alongside the feature film ‘Marvin’s Song’ at Kinofilm Manchester on 29th Feb. Kinofilm run Manchester’s most longstanding short film festival and short film nights.
'The POW' first screenings
The first screenings are finally here! UK film festivals the 13th Keswick Film Festival and the Pennine Film Festival have both picked ‘The POW’ for their festivals. Hurrah! Pennine got in their first with their booking for March, but Keswick will screen on the 25th February. I like to think of it being a joint premiere and I’m looking forward to going along to both festivals. ...
Film festival strategy
I’ve been making a list of film festivals. There are hundreds… thousands even! That’s barrier #1. As someone new to all this I’ve not really been too aware as to which are the respected festivals so you can imagine it’s taken rather a long time to find out which are the best fests. Thankfully websites like the IMDB related ‘Withoutabox’ seem pretty...
Guy-Roger Duvert (composer) →
If you’ve read my earlier post you’ll know I struggled finding the right music for The POW. Even after settling on a beautiful and significant recording of Greig’s ‘Homesickness’ I still knew the film was missing a little something… an underscore. I didn’t want much;something really subtle and just at a few points in the movie. I know some movies really...
The POW - official website →
Loads of goodies like storyboards, production stills, behind the scenes special feature and news! Check it out…
Gareth Edwards... Monsters
What with making films I’ve got a bit behind on watching films, but now that The POW’s done and dusted I’ve earned a few late nights with a few DVDs. Didn’t know what to expect with ‘Monsters’ - something of a low budget ‘Cloverfield’ style b-movie maybe… I loved Duncan Jones’ ‘Moon’ (last year?)… really impressive...
Soundtrack music composition
I’ve been having a word with a few contacts trying to find a composer who’ll contribute to the film. This is a tough one as the soundtrack needs such subtlety… it really needs someone with great skill and finesse; and that sort of person is unlikely to commit time to a no budget short. I was hopeful that one professional might come aboard, but they ended up too busy. Then...
Thanks to Ian Naylor's mossies
After a few trips to and from Ian’s in Kendal - tweaking, tweaking, tweaking - the De Havilland Mosquito fighter bombers are done (mossie wiki). It’s been very difficult getting the timing and flightpaths to look right… and I do apologise to Ian for blurring and desaturating out all his lovely detailed work - but they’re looking great. This was always the aircraft of...
The time consuming bit; VFX & SFX Here’s a couple of rough vfx shots from the bombing raid. They need a few adjustments before they’re done, but it’s been really satisfying adding all the layers of flame, the debris, the orange glow (and my personal favourite; the photoshop’d re-enforced concrete damage). A good friend of mine - Ian Naylor - is working on the low...
Introducing Stefan Sattler A rough cut from one of the many dialogue scenes from the POW. Stefan Sattler (voice) and Ben Worth. I don’t know any German actors, but I refuse to simply use British actors putting on stereotyped German accents… “Achtung englander!” (non of that thanks very much). So - how to enlist the voice talent of native German actors? I found about two dozen...
First roughcut scene I love the way this is coming together - even a rough cut of one of the scenes with just a few sound effects dubbed on top has so much atmos. The cuts need tightening, the entire soundtrack needs creating, and of course the visual effects for the bombing raid, but pulling together the post production on this is addictive and just so rewarding. Also I find the wonderful thing...
Filming day #2
Hogwarts Express? Let me explain… An awesome day - though never above freezing. We met early yesterday in Carnforth’s old railway yard for a safety briefing from Malcolm at West Coast Rail… working around active rolling stock you can’t help but check half a dozen times before crossing rail lines! Our biggest problem was that much of the rolling stock had moved since the...
Filming day #1
First day’s shooting’s been fantastic. Lead actor Ben stepped off the train and was up for anything… same with the crew. Shooting in the woods in the freezing cold we were lucky it stayed mostly dry. I scrambled to get a brief snow shower into the film but we were between shots. Then in the last few minutes of the afternoon the low sun shone through the trees making for an...
Panic!!! Filming starts tomorrow
Whose darn fool idea was it to make a film short? It all started about two weeks ago as something far less intense; a test shoot with something worthwhile to point the camera at and the possibility of walking away with a simple film short. Somewhere along the line it mutated into a committed mini epic. I feel a massive responsibility to the cast/crew for putting themselves out - especially...
Script locked and storyboarding
The script has been a struggle… I’ve never really seen myself as a scriptwriter but was seduced by the possibility of creating a story I really wanted to shoot while also writing something I knew I could achieve. I’m incredibly excited about the visual opportunities this script is going to give me, but will it be any good? In truth, up until yesterday the story’s been...
If the boots fit... casting
The past few days have been a bit of a nightmare trying to find a leading man. The basic story is going to revolve around a central character - a British POW in war torn Germany… it’s a scenario that’s born of the rail yard location, the practicalities of a small cast, and the available costume options. I have a pair of size 9 boots and a wonderful big old army greatcoat that...
Stunning rail yard location
I got permission to do a site recce at the old rail yard in Carnforth this afternoon and I’ve managed to persuade them to let me film there. I’ve got the camera kit booked for two days; luckily one of those days is good for them (Dec 17th) so if nothing else we’ve got a great location! This is the place has always been the frontrunner in my mind whenever considering...
One small step...
After a lifetime of wanting to make cinematic movies (but always having to make do with video), it’s time to bite the bullet. Video cameras have always created rather cold clean footage and real film has never been practical on a no-budget production, but HD DSLRs / HDSLRs finally mean that motion picture look is achievable. The Canon 5D MkII is the clear leader… with a sensor...