The Co-Op increases funding for British Youth Film Academy

A professional youth film company that has worked with over 10,000 young people in the past year has received a massive boost with The Co-operative Group announcing its continued support and funding until at least 2014.

Forming an integral part of its commitment to Inspiring Young People, The Co-operative’s £1.2 million, six year, partnership with The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) is helping to create the UK’s most accessible youth film making academy.

With eight films in the can and, a further four planned for 2011, students are mentored by professionals from both the film industry and education and offered everything from acting to make-up, wardrobe to camera and, post production through to the red-carpet experience.



Personal filmmaking abounds at impressive 51st Krakow Film Festival


Amateur: barely a few letters from Auteur - but what, in our social media world, is the difference? If there was a dividing line of the 51st Krakow Film Festival, it was between the crowed-sourced YouTube world of Life in a Day and the personal journeys of documakers turning their lives and experiences into art. Less a debate between high and low art, as between the home movie and the knowingly crafted self-expose. 

The journey of Daniela Creutz as her fiance arranged the wedding of his sister in Kashmir in Arranged Happiness. Thor Ochsner's award winning debut film 1989: When I was five years old, about the loss of his father in a tragic car crash as a child. Bente Milton and Mikkel Stolt's Second Life psychosis and recovery tale in My Avatar and Me (which demands its own review and discussion). 20 years of home movies for an Italian teenager-turned-IBM executive who reluctantly concedes to being the reincaration of a famous Buddhist lama, claiming a prince-like life as the guru to hundreds of thousands of Tibettans in Jennifer Fox's My Reincarnation (which just became the fourth highest earning film on Kickstarter). Wojciech Staroń's Argentinian Lesson - widely hailed as a masterpiece, picked up four prizes about transplanting his family to Argentina to teach Polish. All people turning their life and personal circumstances into art - a more informed version of something online video uploaders do every day, without the gala premieres.


So, tho it was decried by some, Life In a Day, winner of the Audience Award, was an appropriate opener, I thought - like an extended trailer for the buffet of global human experience that the rest of the festival was serving up. It might have played a bit like an advert for an airline company (produced by one of Europe's biggest commercials companies, funded by Google) but it seemed to open the festival with that key question - who is a documaker? Is it simply the one with a camera who knows how to edit out the dross and emphasise the good? Or is it one who went to film school or who has the most Twitter followers or Vimeo views? And in a world where any human story can be repurposed as art, at what point does the artist become mosquito, their lens sucking the honesty out of a raw stretch of life for quick fame, views or laughs? I'm not sure I trust the anonymous trolls of the internet to handle that one. Potentially not just commodification of self, to quote Adam Curtis quoting Carmen Hermosillo's (shatteringly brilliant) Pandora's Vox essay, but commodification of friends, family and intimate personal history.

[Some filmmakers I spoke to disliked the way the film was cut - and we agreed it would be good if the films were in a pool where differerent people could cut together stories from that day. Then a few days ago YouTube partnered with Creative Commons to offer the remix friendly licenses to uploaders for the first time, making such collaborations possible.]

There were other highlights in a more traditional form - Swedish emigre to Poland Magnus von Horn's Without Snow, a short film about brutal Swedish peer-pressure amongst teenagers with tragic consequences; Papparazzi by Piotr Bernaś; a brilliant insight into the life of a super-mosquito, hunting small fry, then Polanski, and finally - in a critical twist - the brother of the President after the Smolensk disaster. Battle for Britain, by husband and wife team Jörg Tittel and Alex Helfrecht, a simple and heartfelt hymn to the hundreds of thousands of Polish who fought in WWII for Britain. Horses and Men, a little long but with a deft cinematographic hand and great music was a tender story about the rehabilitation of American prisoners thru horsemanship. A highlight in the fiction strand for me was Glasgow, from the Wajda Studio, which looked at a single mum left pregnant from a famous Scottish footballer - a reference, perhaps, to the curious Scottish law that lets a man who refuses to put his name on the birth certificate to be absolved of all parental and financial responsibility. A relative newcomer to Polish cinema, retrospectives of the Norman McLaren-esque animator Piotr Kamler, and Woyjeck Wiszniewski revealed talents I was unaware of. Wiszniewski's work in particular made me want to quit the world of html and pick up a camera again - his silent jazz-pulsing informational against heart disease 'Heart Attack was both brilliant - like a cross breed of Vertov and Goddard - and disquieting, given it was this that killed him at 34.

The city

It was my first time in Krakow and Poland, the home of my grandfather, and the source of my strongest memory of cinema inspiration, watching the Three Colours trilogy back-to-back in a cinema in Bradford as a teenager. My impressions could fill an article in itself - it is beautiful, buzzing and quite irresistible.


The office where I booked my apartment was also selling a variety of bubble machines - and this seemed an appropriate metaphor as too long in the old town and it's easy to believe the whole of Poland shares the picturesque fairy tale Disney charm and affluence. It's hard to believe Aushwitz, grave to 1.5 million, is half an hour away, but it's only referred to by tour-guides selling trips alongside the Salt Mines and the mountains. The filmmaker of Descrendo, about a camp but likeable nursing assistant in an old people's home, was apparently warned that a film with a gay character would never win an award, and the walls sported the odd swastika. But it is perhaps unfair to make too much of this in a country that is but a few decades out of a repressive and brutal regime, bedrocked in Catholicism and struggling to position itself in the centre of Europe amidst the onslaught and lure of free market capitalism, when centuries of foreign invasions have culminated in an endless round of stag parties, puking and pissing their way around the city.

Yet despite the cheap flights and drunk stag mobs, culture runs fast thru its veins - stepping off the train, instead of being confronted with a Burger King or WHSmiths, there's rows of second hand book stalls. The impressive new museum of modern art Mocak had opened just before the festival and showed a city with its feet comfortably astride both the past and the future. On the grounds of the Schindler Factory - which has a moving museum about occupied Krakow that is definitely worth a visit - Mocak's launch exhibition is about the reflection of history thru art (you are eerily welcomed with a glowing sign 'Kunst macht frei'). The historical presence of the Schindler factory (a short walk from the grounds of camp that is central to the film), besides a well curated museum digging deeper into the past, coupled with a smart new polished concrete art gallery reflecting this thru the prism of the 21st century. Old and new not battling each other for centre-stage but comfortable side by side - or at least face to face.

And it felt like this was the strength of the festival as well - a festival adapted to the modern age, but not surrendering a focus on great stories told well, to eye catching initiatives. So there was a daily newspaper, a daily video bulletin (remarkably well put together), a pitching forum, industry events, nightly parties, networking, videotheque, a filmmaking challenge (which resulted in the most brilliant four minute film about umbrellas you will ever see), outdoor screenings, a host of prizes presented at a ceremony with a leading Polish jazz band, a beautiful city plastered with posters and banners made from stills from the films, and most importantly, a big programme of cinema you will probably never see on TV or at your local 'plex. It's not perfect but it was gimmick-free and unashamedly cultural and human-centered. And my week in the city soon became two - thanks in part to the good company of fellow Man City fan James Hopkin and a sense that you could spend months exploring the city. It was an overdue and much needed reminder of the pleasures of being part of Europe and I left feeling recharged - I should have listened to Laurence Boyce before (it was his eighth festival) and got myself there years ago.

The awards are listed after the jump.


MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, 26 –28 August 2011

The MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is the essential annual event for anyone working in television.

Featuring prominent industry voices, the Festival is packed with over 50 individual sessions covering the most pertinent issues facing the industry from policy to programme making. Over 2,000 UK and international delegates descend on the medieval city of Edinburgh for three days of keynote speeches, masterclasses, debates, networking parties and screenings.

In 2011, the Festival will look at themes relating to the future of television, product placement, non traditional funding streams, international co-productions, as well as the established menu of controller sessions, creative masterclasses, networking events and a host of free workshops which are guaranteed to inspire and excite.

For the latest information and to register online visit


2011 Short Form Script Contest

We have officially released the 2011 Runadun Movie Production (RMP) Short Form Script Contest.  This contest will focus on finding a talented writer who can script a new short form screenplay for D. R. Hirschberg to direct and produce with Runadun Movie Production (RMP).

Are you a talented screenplay writer?  CLICK HERE to enter your short form screenplay today.  Official rules and conditions apply.


The Edinburgh Pitch 2011 - Observer Passes now available!

Observer passes for the The Edinburgh Pitch: 14 June – 9:30-17:30 are now available!  

Entering its 5th year and running alongside the Edinburgh International Film Festival (15-26 June), the Edinburgh Pitch is the only international documentary pitching forum in Scotland. Independent filmmakers and companies developing and raising finance for creative feature documentaries will pitch their project in front of an international panel.

So join us to meet our decision makers in a relaxed atmosphere and support independent creative documentaries and the people who make them!

Leslie Finlay (Creative Scotland), Flora Gregory (Al Jazeera), Charlotte Gry Madsen (DR Sales), Doris Hepp (Arte/ZDF), Andrea Hock (Autlook Film Sales), Simon Kilmurry (POV), Jamie King (VODO), Jo Lapping (BBC Storyville), Catherine Le Clef (Cat & Docs), Anna Miralis (C4/More4), Catherine Olsen (CBC), Wim van Rompaey (Lichtpunt), Jo Roe (BBC Scotland), Jenny Westergard (YLE)


Studio Beyond Launch May 25th: A Groundbreaking Concept For The Movie making World

Like many successful businesses, Studio Beyond was created to solve a problem. In Hollywood, there are often significant barriers for film makers who often find themselves unable to tap into Hollywood resources.

Since Hollywood is a giant business oriented towards making ‘safe’ decisions, it favors cautious choices, tending to use ‘proven’ people to work with (actors, directors, producers, editors, etc.). While this low-risk approach is understandable, it is not always the ideal way to put together the most creative or profitable product. 


Reality Capture Pitch - Calling for UK Documentary Ideas

Step2RealityTV have joined forces with Metropolis to uncover talented documentary filmmakers and reporters from the UK. Metropolis is a globally produced website and TV show, which captures real stories from around the world. We love their unique approach to factual reporting: all of their stories are produced by local filmmakers. So if you’d like to gain online exposure with the chance for a primetime broadcast and the opportunity to produce a captivating documentary, submit your pitch now!

We are looking for inventive pitch ideas from UK correspondents to tell the world stories about UK people and culture. Being a correspondent doesn’t mean you have to get in front of the camera (you can if you want), you can pitch an idea but get someone else to introduce your film – simple. The idea is to discover British stories and innovative factual films.

DEADLINE: 20th May 2011

For more information and to pitch your idea please go here.


How to Light and Shoot Interviews for TV and Video

lighting-interviews-dvd-pack-shotTelevision interviews for set-piece programmes somehow always get everything just right; the framing of the subject on screen, the facial modelling that gives definition to the features without making the face into something more like a silhouette. In the best interview examples, the lighting camera operator’s skill appears to put an apparently 3-D image on to a 2-D television screen – and in HD too.

Nigel Cooper is a lighting camera operator who regularly does all this and more, to get quality interview images. Video images looking as rich as film, where the viewers eye is focused on the perfectly natural-looking subject, concentrate full attention on what the subject has to say, which is the whole point of an interview.
If you aspire to upping your camera work to this level, you need this instructional DVD as much as you need hard and soft lights, gels and gobos. It will take you to where you want to be within 30 minutes, followed by practice from you and a patient model.

It is a slick, but easy-to-follow production, in sensible steps presented by Nigel Cooper himself. The presentation style never patronises and a clear delivery at a sensible speed, allows the viewer enough time to absorb quite intricate details ata comfortable rate. 


Michael Moore’s impassioned plea on UK healthcare reforms

"All I can do is really beg you not to go this route" Michael Moore

Michael Moore, whose film Sicko highlighted the inefficiencies and unfairness in private healthcare, has warned that the changes are ‘absolutely the last thing you would want to do'.

In a passionate six minute tribute, he sounds warning bells over allowing private companies to dominate healthcare, as they are legally bound to generate the biggest possible profit for their shareholders. They only way then can do this is to provide less care, and what care they do provide, to do it as cheaply as possible.

"Abolishing slavery you were ahead of us. Giving women the vote, you were ahead of us - you've always been ahead of the curve here. Why would you want to fall behind the curve and follow a very broken, rotten, inhumane system makes absolutely no sense to me." 

He also warns that the wider social costs of healthcare reforms will be huge, pointing out that the biggest cause of bankruptcy and homelessness in the US is healthcare bills. In his video of support, Michael Moore, says:

“Speaking as an American to you, and in terms of what I have witnessed, as someone who has experience of this private system that we have, this (privatisation) is the absolute last thing that you want to do.

“You can watch my film and see so many examples of what happens when you let the private companies rule the system. They have a responsibility to their shareholders, in fact they legally are required to do everything they can to make as much money as possible for their shareholders, and if they don’t they can be brought up on charges. The whole system is set up to motivate them to everyday to say; how can we make more money off the sick?

“The best way to make more money off the sick is to provide them with as little care as possible; because care costs money. The way we (private companies) get to keep our money and send them out as profits to our shareholders is to provide very little care, and what care we give, make sure we spend as little on it as possible.”

“You will rue the day that you let this happen. We have so many problems; a broken, rotten inhumane system. If you keep growing the gap between the rich and the poor in your country, you are going to end up with more of the social problems like we have, that you don’t have to the same extent. So if you don’t like the current crime rate in the UK, just wait till you have enough people bankrupted and broken because of healthcare bills.

“All I can do is really beg you. Keep the good system that you have. Make it better.”


Doddle and Handheld Production Tools

The very first business plan for Netribution back in 1999 included online call sheets that automatically filled in certain details like location maps and contact details. It never happened, so it's good to see it finally reality in DoddlePro, but this time without having to print the call sheets as it's using smart phones. Brent Burdick submitted the skinny - Ed.

doddlePRO ( is a smart phone production app that allows users to organize film projects by creating paperless call sheets directly on their phone. These digital call sheets can be distributed as PDF's and digitally via e-mail to all of your crew members. Users can view the weather conditions at any listed location, locate vendors, highlight hospitals and police in the area, and with GPS capabilities, can find their destination with step-by-step directions. doddlePRO eliminates the need for bulky, wasteful paper production guides.

doddlePRO is the companion to doddle, a continuously updated database of business and individuals that pertain to the entertainment industry. doddle – slang for "an easy task" – benefits anyone in the film and TV industry by allowing users to search for vendors, crew, talent, locations, film offices and other resources anywhere in the world. In its next generation, producers will now be able to access, amend and push call sheet information from their computer using doddle's call sheets online. Information will sync automatically between the online and mobile versions, allowing a producer to connect and use doddle's resources in even more locations.


Special Edition # 46

Do you want some DVDs? Then you've come to the right place squire as I have Special Edition # 46 all ready and waiting with some tremendously fun new films to see you through the days. This time around we've got violence, corruption and a half shark and half octopus. As you do. 

Danny Trejo plays a man whose family have killed and whose beloved town has been corrupted out of all recognition. Knowing that justice must be done – and deciding that grassroots political action and open dialogue are just not the thing for him – he picks up a large knife and starts cutting a bloody swathe of retribution. Machete (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) sees Robert Rodriguez return to tremendously over-the-top form with a film that has more insanity than Charlie Sheen’s diary. Trejo – as the titular anti-hero – is his usual brilliantly stoic self as he hacks his way through assorted bad guys in such an inventive way that you do sometimes fear for Rodriguez’ sanity.  Also, to the film’s credit, if you look beyond the blood and nudity you’ll also discover some pretty impassioned ideas about immigration and the treatment of Mexicans in particular. But mostly you can enjoy the sheer visceral pleasure of Machete and his now legendary statement that means he won’t be getting a sponsorship deal from Orange any time soon (and if that really confuses you, just watch the film….)


Co-op puts £500k in Youth Film Academy to make features with 14-25 year-olds


A professional youth film company is searching for young movie-making talent for its latest full-length feature-films to be made in four UK regions during this year’s summer holidays. The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) is holding auditions for the cast and crew of its latest films, offering young people the chance to experience the thrills and challenges of professional feature-film production.

The Co-operative Group’s £500,000 support for BYFA - part of its commitment to Inspiring Young People – this year, enables BYFA to offer more students a chance to experience the many aspects of film-making.

Embarking on its ‘epic’ challenge to simultaneously make four full-length feature films, in four UK regions - East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West - during this year’s school summer holidays, BYFA offers a unique educational opportunity for hundreds of young people - giving 14-25 year-olds, with an eye on a career in film, the chance to showcase their creativity and see their work on the silver-screen.

Todd Carty (left), well known for roles in Eastenders and The Bill, has been involved in three BYFA productions and is a supporter of the Academy, he said: “It is a terrific experience. I have loved every minute of it and the energy of the young people is fantastic. It is extremely inspiring to work with a group of such motivated individuals and the positive impact on all who participate is clear to see.”

Students are supported by mentors from the film industry and education and offered everything from acting to make-up, wardrobe to camera and, from post production through to the red carpet experience.


DESIRE: independent is beautiful and coming to a cinema near you

"Played with estimable intriguing insight into the politics of marriage, the power of language and the dangerous unpredictability of ardour..." 
David Parkinson, Empire Online

Following its successful run of international film festivals from Sarajevo to Amiens, Cambridge and Raindance, British micro-budget indie feature Desire plays the Apollo Piccadilly from 4th March followed by other London cinemas and a nationwide tour of twenty UK cities from mid-March.

Shot on Red Camera entirely in the filmmaker’s London home, with music by his partner/producer Fiona Howe and performances from their children, DESIRE went from concept to world première in under a year for a budget in five figures and was received as one of the most intriguing, best-looking and watchable films of the year

Starring Oscar Pearce (Nicolas Roeg's Puffball) and Paris-based Tella Kpomahou in her first English-speaking role, DESIRE is the story of a screenwriter whose character threatens to take over not just his creative and sexual life but his sanity.

"British film tradition has abandoned too easily the home truths of, say, Coward and Priestley, who opened the shutters on the hidden family life of middle-class Britain"
Director, Gareth Jones 

A first feature by theatre and television veteran Gareth Jones who has worked abroad for most of the last twenty years, DESIRE sets a new benchmark for austerity film.

‘With the dearth of public subsidy and the demise of the UK Film Council, British feature film is looking for a new resourcefulness and new audiences’, says Jones, who draws his inspiration from the continental traditions of Bergman (Scenes from a Marriage) and Pasolini (Teorema) to launch a new, intimate British cinema of ideas.

‘Recession breeds introversion,’ he says, ‘a need to look more closely at who we are’. With songs by the Malian superstar Oumou Sangare, DESIRE plays out behind the doors of a London family home, whose secrets simmer dangerously beneath the surface till desire tips the balance and the highly unstable mix erupts.


The Edinburgh Pitch is back: 14-16 June 2011

Submissions are now open for The Edinburgh Pitch 2011!

The Edinburgh Pitch is the only international documentary pitching forum in Scotland, now entering its 5th year and running alongside the Edinburgh International Film Festival (15-26 June). It’s aimed at independent filmmakers and companies developing and raising finance for creative feature documentaries (52′-90′) and considering international co-productions. Applications are now open and the deadline is 15 April 2011 (midnight).

12 participants will be selected and given the opportunity to pitch their project in front of a carefully selected panel of international and UK commissioning editors, sales agents and producers, followed by individual meetings. The Pitch is also open to Observers.

In addition to The Pitch, up to 6 UK and international documentaries at a rough cut stage will be selected to be screened to financiers and observers, allowing filmmakers to receive constructive feedback with focus on creative decision making and editing. Docs in Progress will take place from 15-16 June 2011.

Fore more information and to apply, please check


itzon – a new film platform. It’s film, but different.

Film is changing, TV is changing, distribution and audiences are changing.

itzon is setting out to showcase and market films on a unique online platform by converging TV, Internet video and film festival with the latest in cloud and streaming technologies.

The platform delivers independent films, documentaries and animations from around the world all scheduled into a linear stream. itzon is a curated, hassle-free, high-definition ‘TV’ experience, available through Internet browsers or Internet-ready TVs.

itzon offers filmmakers a host of services in one place. For example, the opportunity to earn revenue from views, a broad audience and a global reach, festival awards and prizes, their rave reviews sent to industry professionals who may be interested in developing projects, active promotion through our IPG, magazine and social media, the ability to sell their DVDs and merchandise through our site commission free, and so much more.

The itzon team is passionate about providing digital promotion to independent films in all stages of distribution, not just the latest releases. Whether this is a re-launch of a popular film that is now experiencing a plateau in viewing numbers or DVD sales, a date-specific screening, or a simultaneous multiplatform launch, itzon is flexible and curated to maximize the platform for the individual filmmaker’s needs.



Special Edition # 45

Special Edition # 45 marks my return after a hiatus due to things that I can’t tell you about. Well, I could tell but then I’d have to kill you.Which would be a bit unfair given that there are lots of lovely DVDs due out very soon. So, rather than dwell on an emotional reunion, let’s just get straight on with it shall we?

A Facebook movie? Whatever next? A musical about My Space? An opera about Google? Not to worry. In The Social Network (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) David Fincher has confounded the critics and created a compelling drama. Mark Zuckerberg is a precocious Harvard student who, with the help of his friend Eduardo Saverin, creates ‘’. As the site explodes in popularity, Zuckerberg and his colleagues begin to taste the life of celebrities with all the money and fame that it brings. But popularity breeds jealousy and Zuckerberg finds himself in the middle of numerous lawsuits. But has he brought the problems on himself? Aaron Sorkin manages to keep the technogeek banter to a minimum and tell a tale of how pride always comes before a fall. Fincher’s direction is compelling utilising a complex structure whilst Jesse Eisenberg is excellent in the lead role alongside the likes of Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. Like all good filmmaking, this takes inspiration from the unlikeliest of places and shows that whilst technology moves on, the human capacity for hubris remains the same. This is a two edition with commentaries and featurettes. 



Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival Celebrates 36 Years of Weird

Although the final schedule for 2011's Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival has not yet been announced, festival director Garen Daly has already noticed a jump in ticket sales. The festival, which began at the Orson Welles Cinemas, began as a 24 hour science fiction retrospective in 1976 and now stretches ten days, taking place at the Somerville Theater.

Like many other festivals, the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival uses OpenFilm to collect submissions. The deadline this year is January 31st, but Assistant Curator Liz Pratt maintains that she and Daly will have plenty of time to finalize the selections. “We want to make sure we can receive as many submissions as possible,” she explained, “because this festival is a great jumping-off point for young directors and lower-budget films. And since we have so many hours to fill with the 'Thon, we can always find room to fit in something great that we've found at the last minute.”


PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards - Accepting Proposals

PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards

Dear Friends, 

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new international documentary development fund. 

The PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards are here to support the development of your documentary film idea and give you resources to shoot and edit your trailer. The award is open from now until March 2nd 2011.

With four open calls each year, there are 40 awards available of up to 5,000 Euros each. Awards are open to emerging and established filmmakers working anywhere in the world. 


Seize the Future – Master Workshop on Funding, Marketing and Distribution of Independent Films

After the sold-out premier workshop in London, Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Scottish Documentary Institute are bringing Seize the Future to Edinburgh.

Sheffield Doc/Fest is now inviting applications for this special 2 -day Master Workshop on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th March 2011.

This course is designed for independent filmmakers and artists determined to get their work seen widely, create social impact, and earn a living in the digital age. 

Leading distribution strategist and President of Paradigm Consulting Peter Broderick, and Sandi DuBowski of Trembling Before G-d, A Jihad for Love, and Budrus and Outreach Director for The Good Pitch, will co-present this workshop.

The workshop will feature multi-media presentations, breakout groups, and interactive sessions. There will be networking opportunities during coffee breaks, lunch, and throughout the workshop. Everyone will have a chance to connect and lay the groundwork for future collaborations.


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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.