Special Edition # 37

Is the end of February already. It only feels like five minutes ago when the tinsel was all around and the Xmas decorations were up. Actually, it was, but that’s because Laurence Boyce has been dead busy watching a new batch of DVDs for you to all enjoy. Let Special Edition # 37 take you on its usual journey through some of the best shiny discs for you to enjoy from brand new feature films to the latest collections of classic TV series.

OK, I will have to say that I am not exactly what you would call the target audience for The Time Traveller’s Wife (Entertainment in Video) a fantasy drama based on the chick-lit novel from Audrey Niffenegger. I didn’t melt and/or weep at the predicament of Eric Bana who, thanks to a rare genetic disorder, finds himself time travelling throughout his own lifetime (I’m sorry, but I must have missed that as being something to watch out for and the doctor’s must have been great at his birth: “Fingers and toes, normal. Breathing, fine. Ability to live linearly in the time and space continuum. Bugger.”). And I was slightly cynical when he attempts to build a normal life with the love of his life despite continually vanishing into a different time zone (wouldn’t his beloved be the slightest bit suspicious? “Um, yes darling. You know when I disappear for ages. I’m time-travelling. Honestly.”) I didn’t cry buckets as love tried to conquer all across the dimensional divide. But I am cynical bloke. Despite the fact that I am seemingly cold and emotionless, this is all very well done with Bana being both charming and angst-ridden whilst the love of his life is ably played by Rachel McAdams, and it’s a glossy slice of genre and romantic cinema if you’re into that sort of thing.


The Pixel Lab - new cross-media workshop - is open for applications

Posted by Ines @ Power to the Pixel

tpl_blackPower to the Pixel has opened applications for The Pixel Lab - its new cross-media residential workshop, to be held 4-10 July in Wales.

The Pixel Lab is a unique, project-led workshop which will enable European producers and media professionals to tap into the business knowledge-base of the film, online, gaming, broadcast and mobile industries.

This intensive week-long workshop, led by international cross-media experts, will consist of a mixture of group work, one-to-one meetings, plenary sessions and case studies; a tailored, hands-on opportunity for developing, packaging, marketing and distributing cross-media stories.

Producer participants will additionally benefit from focused distance learning project-work between the end of the residency and October, when they will be invited to attend Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum in London and present their projects to potential international partners.


Yorkshire/Iraqi feature gets two awards in Berlin, makers donate 10k prize to charity

Son of BabylonWhile BAFTA was making history on Sunday with all four directing awards going to women, Yorkshire based Mohamed Al Daradji's Iraq set feature follow-up to Ahlaam became the only British film* to take any awards at the 60th Berlinale. Following its success in Sundance, Son of Babylon - a road movie that looks, with 'humor and lightness' at reconciliation and healing in post-Saddam Iraq - took the Amnesty International Film Prize Award and The Peace Prize Award.

Al-Daradji said "I would like to thank the juries who are honouring SON OF BABYLON with such prestigious awards for the film and my country, Iraq. I would like to dedicate this award to our IRAQ'S MISSING Campaign. I hope through these awards we will  be able to give answers to my main character Shehzad Hussen who for the last 22 years has been searching for her husband and also for my sister whose husband disappeared 5 months ago."

During the Berlin Film Festival, ‘SON OF BABYLON’ had five fully sold out screenings with standing ovations, resulting in the film being in the top five for the audience choice award in the Panorama section. The producers of the film have pledged that both prize awards, which total 10,000 Euros, will go directly to the IRAQ’S MISSING campaign as they aim to communicate the extent of the genocide.

*actually an 8-party UK / Iraq / France / UAE / Eqypt / Palestine / Netherlands co-production


Dozens of new UK Film Council funding awards announced

uk_film_council_logoNew features from Peter Mullan, Paul Andrew Williams, Hideo 'the Ring' Nakata, Stephen Frears, Mike Leigh, artist Gillian Wearing, Neil Marshall and James 'Man on a Wire' Marsh have all received production finance from the UK Film Council.

The latest details of production and development finance has been released with perhaps its strongest slate of productions since inception. Other production highlights include the sequel to East is East (West is West), a doc on the life of cinematographer Jack Cardiff (interviewed here by Stephen Applebaum), a reworking of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and Morag MacKinnon's second feature in Lars von Trier's Scottish Advance Party Trilogy, Donkeys (the first being Andrea Arnold's acclaimed Red Road).

The development awards include new work from Lynne Ramsay, Andrea Arnold, Lee Hall, Nick Hornby, Conor McPherson, Jeanette Winterton, Hanif Kureishi, Noel Clarke, Simon Beaufoy, Danny Huston, Paddy Considine, Frank Cotrell-Boyce, Michael Winterbottom, Christopher Hampton, Matt Greenhalgh, Stephen Fry and Tony Grisoni.

Africa United

Marking the feature film directorial debut of Debs Gardner-Paterson, Africa United is the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children who run away from home in a bid to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in Johannesburg. On their epic 3000 mile journey they gather a "dream team" of displaced kids through whose eyes we witness an Africa few have ever seen. Written by Rhidian Brook. A UK/Rwanda/South African co-production produced by Mark Blaney, Jackie Sheppard and Eric Kabera alongside co-producers Mark Hubbard and Lance Samuels.
Funding awarded: £500,000 (production)

Attack the Block

The writer-directorial debut of Joe 'Adam and Joe' Cornish, about a gang of south London teenagers defending their tower block against an alien attack. Produced by Nira Park, James Wilson and executive produced by Matthew Justice, all for Big Talk Pictures.
Funding awarded: development (Big Talk slate); £1,094,239 (production)


Who's Idea is it anyway aka pardon me if I didn’t read the smallprint?

You have a camera, some editing equipment and a great idea and you want to get it out there, you can put it on youtube.com and tell everyone where it is but do you read the smallprint before uploading? You are, in fact, giving up the rights of your magic idea to them if they decide to sell it on for a profit of which you will not be in on. They don't actively try to steal your work and the upside though is you have an open platform to show your talent to the world, it can be a small price to pay and the quickest way to get recognized considering the success stories you hear.


Top animators around globe collaborate on Coalition of the Willing

Coalition of the Willing is a collaborative animated film and web-based event set in our 'post-Copenhagen' world exploring the role of the Internet. Directed and produced by Knife Party, it brings together a network of 24 artists using a range of different filmmaking styles and techniques including the likes of Decoy, World Leaders, Foreign Office and Parasol Island.

In the gloom post-Copenhagen chill, this 'optimistic and principled film' explores how we could use new Internet technologies to leverage the powers of activists, experts, and ordinary citizens in collaborative ventures to combat global environmental disaster. Through analyses of swarm activity and social revolution, Coalition of the Willing makes a case for new online activism and explains how to hand the fight against global warming to the people. And as a global collaboration presenting a coherent narrative, it also practices exactly what it preaches. Indeed the animations and films can be viewed as they are created via various other sites (featured above and below) - and discussed in their forum.

Like a moving jigsaw falling into place over many weeks, the film has a staggered online release. From 3rd February 2010 the script for the film has been fully available on the site. The completed animated sections will be uploaded in 6 different ‘waves’ 2 weeks apart, over a 12-week period, as they are finished by the contributing artists.  Each wave of uploads will introduce 3-5 new sections of the film. The film’s staggered release and the online forum will allow the site to be a crucible for debate on the issues it raises, and allows the audience to collaborate in re- defining the argument even as the film is being made. The film will be complete by mid-April 2010.


Preparation for VI Edition of ASTERFEST in Macedonia

from Sofija Trenchovska at AsterFest:

The new, sixth edition of our newest festival in the Macedonian country, as well as in the region and beyond, is dedicated to the professional film (documentary and fiction) culture and emphasizing its affirmation, popularization and valorization towards the audience.

VI Int'l Film Festival ASTERFEST: ODYSSEY 2010 (Deadline for Entries: 15 March!)


StudioCanoe's Facts About Projection

"This is a short film about my job as a Projectionist. I am quite proud of this film, mostly because I’m so proud of my job – it seems like a fulfilment of my childhood romantic notions of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Nonetheless what it most discernibly omits is how truly magnificent all the other staff are who work there too. It is dedicated to the other projectionists I know; some of whom are under threat of redundancy, and unquestionably to Sammy; for the lessons and facts about Projection."

Temujin Doran, aka StudioCanoe


Netribution at ten years


Sometimes it takes a good film to put things right. Like when your computer needs to be rebooted to get it working normally, or the benefits of a good night's sleep. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was just that calibration, a tale of doing the right thing, of endurance and redemption, and a reminder that of how important cinema is to me, and how great cinema has far less to do with technology than it does to do with the questions, hopes and problems that face us as a species.

Ten years ago, on the second of Februa

ry 2000, Netribution formally launched, after a month of tests, at Peeping Tom's short film gathering at Global Cafe in Golden Square.

It's hard to recognise myself in the photo from the night - alongside fellow co-founders Wendy Bevan Mogg and the legend that is Tom Fogg - bubbling with passionate naiveté and blind optimism. A more innocent time, before YouTube and torrents and Bush and 9-11, when David Cameron was still head of PR for Carlton TV, and publishing a new issue once a week seemed impressive. Now tweets come every few seconds I miss that space which was forced upon us in the early days by dial-up modems - the gaps between thought, writing, coding and the reader that might have prevented some of my more indulgent rants of later years.

I can't find the launch page of the site anywhere. The first front page I can find is pulled from the Wayback machine and is Issue #24 from May of that year, there's other front pages with broken links from Issue #47 (our 2000 Christmas issue), Issue #56 and Issue #62 which has more of the site intact. The old features page probably gives the best idea of what we were about then.

As I searched my hard drives to find our first issue, I found the first barely coherent business plan from November 99 through to the Netribution 2 presentation from November 04 which reads like a naïve sales brochure for Web 2.0. Even in 99 our plan was filled with talk of 'open source webisodes' that people could remix and add to across the world and a network of indie screening venues and groups across the country for filmmakers to distribute their work to directly.


DVD Review: Disgrace


Any film adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author J. M. Coetzee's 1993 Booker Prize-winning novel would have a daunting reputation to live up to, and the husband-and-wife team behind this 2008 effort, director Steve Jacobs and screenwriter/ producer Anna Maria Monticelli do Coetzee's big themes justice. As ever, eatch out for spoilers, although the book has been out for over a decade...


Glimmer submission deadline and new title sponsor

glimmerThe University of Hull is to become the title sponsor of GLIMMER: The Hull International Short Film Festival in a partnership between the two organisations announced today. The renowned short film festival, which will run from 19th-25th April 2010, will bring a selection of screenings and special events to the University campus whilst showing off a number of eclectic and exciting screenings across the city in venues such as the Reel Hull Screen

If you would like your film to be considered for GLIMMER: The 8th Hull International Short Film Festival, then be quick as the deadline is Friday 5th February. For more information, visit www.hullfilm.co.uk where you’ll be able to download an entry form with everything that you need to know regarding entry rules and application criteria.


DVD review: (500) Days of Summer


As dedications go, the one to (500) Days of Summer tells you immediately that we are definitely not in rom-com land anymore, Toto: "Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.” Wow. And although the film is fun, occasionally true and makes you feel incredibly sorry for the main character, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the underlying bitterness makes the female lead (Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel) a mysterious caricature. Why does Tom bother falling for her at all? But first, the good stuff. Watch out for the spoilers...


Special Edition # 36

Now, as the holiday season has come to an end, it’s come to that time of year when you have loads of vouchers to spend (“Oh, thanks for that Auntie. A voucher I can spend in a specific shop, as opposed to money which I can spend – you know – anywhere”) and DVD’s to exchange for something better. So Special Edition # 36 is here to point you in the right direction as Laurence Boyce examines some of the latest releases in the cold light of the New Year.

Currently riding a wave of award nominations, The Hurt Locker (Lionsgate and Optimum Home Entertainment) is a return to form for Kathryn Bigelow who reasserts her status as one of the most accomplished directors of action working in cinema today. Here she tells the story Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team working in Iraq in 2004. With a job to disarm bombs in the desert heat, these are soldiers who live their lives on the edge. But when a new sergeant is placed in charge of the team, everyone is poised to lose their balance. Bigelow’s direction is amazingly taut and manages to capture the general insanity and confusion of war. Indeed, this is one of the most intriguing movies about the Iraq War made over the past few years: initially it’s less concerned with the political situation of Iraq and concentrates on being an amazingly tense examination of men and masculinity pushed to the limit. But in focusing upon the people who risk their lives every day, the film  still provides a fresh insight on the conflict whilst still managing to contain some of the finest action sequences seen over the past year.



Now available to buy on DVD, September remains one of the most affecting and beautiful British short films of the past few years. The film beat off stiff competition from the likes Sam Taylor Wood’s passionate and impressive Love You More to walk away with the 2009 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) to add to its numerous other awards and accolades.

The film tells the story of Marvin, a man gradually seeing his life erode as he toils away at a motorway service station. But a chance encounter means his outlook on life begins to change and a life of flipping burgers and unfulfilled dreams seems to become more remote by the second.


Water Colours wins top Awards again..

From Anita Chaumette from the film Water Colours:

The North Sea Film Festival Amsterdam highest recognition & award goes to "Water Colours: A Touch of Fluorescence", with FIRST PRIZE, BEST FILM in the Professional Category!

Once again, the stunning imagery of the secret communication channels of fish has brought the limelight to fluorescence pioneers ‘Liquid Motion Film'. With the invaluable help of Scientific Advisors from three continents and associated directly with National Geographic/NGTI, Liquid Motion's ‘Water Colours' Series started out in pole position, as the blue-chip underwater series of the decade. This prominent First Prize - Best Film Award from Amsterdam, added to the prestigious Grand Prix de L'Institut Oceanographique awarded in France last week, puts Water Colours further on the path to global stardom. Thank you so much to our Scientific Advisors and friends for years of relentless support (and who made this possible): Dr. Charles Mazel, Mikhail V. Matz PhD., Prof. Roy L. Caldwell PhD., Dr. Ulrike Siebeck, Prof. Shaun P. Collin & Prof. Justin Marshall.


Roy Disney : 1930 - 2009

royedisney07Roy Disney, nephew of Walt and general protector of Disney, has passed away. I was lucky enough to meet Roy in 2000 at the Belfast Cinemagic Conference, and it has stood as one of the more memorable encounters of my working life. I was quite nervous beforehand yet without need - he was warm and genuine in his convictions, unassuming with a quiet strength.

[Netribution, Dec 2000] Roy worked for the 'Mouse House' for over thirty years before Michael Eisner pushed him from the board [only to get his own back, pushing Eisner out in 2005 and bring Steve Jobs and Pixar back in]. Responsible for everything from Toy Story and The Lion King through to Wall*E, Roy is an unashamed lover of comedy and escapist family entertainment. In his only interview for online media, Roy talked with Netribution in 2000 about IMAX and the future of Fantasia, the problems with Dinosaur, the secrets of Disney's success, growing up in the shadow of Uncle Walt and his unfulfilled dreams of designing aircraft. He also talks for the first time about the then year's eagerly awaited follow-up to Toy Story/A Bug's Life - Monster's Inc. Roy's Irish routes are quite sincere - he owned a house near Cork where he spends a third of his year - and at the turn of the century the Disney clan found themselves in Ireland en route from France to the States

What brings you to Belfast?
Well we were asked by Shona McCarthy the best part of a year ago to become part of the festivals and over several months we found out more about it, then Shona came to Los Angeles - and she's tough - I couldn't help it really. I was really curious to come up here in any case, spend a little more time than the one day I was up here last summer.

I understand you have a home near Cork?
Yes, I've had that for about 10 years now and we try to spend 3 or 4 months there every year.

Do the Disney family have any Irish routes?
Yes, the name is actually French - it came from a little town in Normandy called Disigny, the name got corrupted and a lot of those people found themselves in Ireland on the way to the States. We have some pretty deep roots here, I married a girl named [Patricia] Daly who's older brother was the ambassador to Dublin back in '81/'82, during Reagan's years. That was the first time I came to Ireland - she was there and we fell in love, wound up buying a place and it’s a pretty solid thing here.


Custodians of a miracle

I'd forgotten I wrote this - about the earth, debt and the challenges for filmmakers - from India almost 18 months ago. But now as Copenhagan enters the last few make or break hours it seemed relevant..

earthfromspace.jpgOn my tenth day in the jungle, the morning after the Shivaratri party, I finally met my first native monkey. Almost human size, like Hanuman, with a white body and black face, and arms long enough to give me a good clobber, he thundered in with graceful side swings over my tent to the tree above - thousands of leaves heralding his arrival like confetti. The sound at first was so great, I thought perhaps I was under attack. We looked each other in the eye and he reclined on a branch before turning to me suddenly, scowling and angry. He indicated beneath him - a pile of pink toilet paper someone had left under the tree and gave me a universal gesture with his outstretched palm: 'clean this shit up', before leaving fast with his entourage through the trees. The conversation couldn't have been clearer.


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Netribution ran through two periods — a static site & weekly magazine/newsletter from the end of 1999 to early 2002; and as a user-generated, open cms-built site running between January 8th 2006 and 27 May, 2014 when the last user-submitted article was received. After this it became a more-traditional occasional blog. It is maintained here for archive purposes.