Maligned Midnight Cult Classic

There was a time up until the late 90’s where late night television cult oddities were shown to fill out the schedules. To most people this was just fodder but for some people this was THE place where b-movie fanatics discovered cult classics like Race with the Devil, or The Keep and the now forgotten classic Night of the Eagle with Peter Wyngarde. Appearing in the graveyard slots, these films were in their element for those who stayed up in the ungodly hour and are 200 percent better and scarier than anything released in recent memory.

In America there has been more of a foundation for cult movies like the Golden Turkey Awards and Joe Bob Briggs getting airtime. In the UK some took a masterly appreciation of the art form such as Alex Cox’s Moviedrome which started its movie night in 1988 on a Sunday evening with a great incisive intro. Previously tossed to the side classics were brought centre stage such as The Parallax View and various Robert Aldrich films with full appreciation but nowadays these films are rarely shown in these slots that are now filled with reality TV and cheap TV repeats.


Glimmer 2010 kicks off next week, featuring Herzog's Plastic Bag

glimmer_2010THE 8th Hull International Short Film Festival - Glimmer - gets underway on the 19th of April (until the 25th) and includes a look at the work of Jeff Keen, a retrospective of a 14-year-old filmmaker and the UK festival premiere of the Werner Herzog narrated Plastic Bag. While I wonder if it is the same plastic bag who made an unforgettable screen debut in American Beauty, you can check out the full line up of the festival online at Famous for their pay-what-you-want entry fee - introduced by fest director (and Netribution's DVD editor) Laurence Boyce - key competitions include the Anthony Minghella Award for Best International and Best UK Short. This year for the first time the event is run in association with the University of Hull.

With the majority of films in competition being screened for the first time in the UK, this will be a chance to be the first to check out some of the great talents working in short films. Highlights include Curtains, a dark but comedic UK film that marks the co-directorial debut of Julian ‘The Mighty Boosh’ Barratt, and the UK Premiere of Plastic Bag, an elegiac film about the life of a plastic bag with narration from legendary film director Werner Herzog (see below in mini). The competitions will be judged by a jury of industry professionals, including scriptwriter Dominic Minghella who will oversee the award named in memory of his brother with prizes of £500 and £1000. Other competitions including the GLIMMER Award for Best Yorkshire Short, with a prize of £250 sponsored by the Hull School of Art and Design, and the GLIMMER Award for Best Hull Short, with a prize of £500 sponsored by Hull City Council.


From Free Film Movement to Cluetrain: the importance of personal filmmaking

Streamers by PixieTart from Flikr CC"As filmmakers we believe that no film can be too personal. The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments. Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude.”

"For every entry in the encyclopedia, there is now a Web site. For any idea you can imagine — and some you can't — there are thousands of articles and images electronically swirling around the globe. But that's not the real story. That's not the big news. The word that's going around, the word that's finally getting out, is something much larger, far more fundamental. The word that's passing like a spark from keyboard to screen, from heart to mind, is the permission we're giving ourselves and each other: to be human and to speak as humans."

Looking again at James MacGregor's guide to the Free Film Movement  this morning, I was struck by how similar its founding statement is to some of the central ideas of Cluetrain. For those who haven't heard of it (which until a few months back included me), The Cluetrain Manifesto is an essay published by Rick Levine, Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger in 1999 looking at how business and communication was evolving on the Internet. Unlike the typical corporate sponsored report of that period, Cluetrain recognised a massive sea change in nature of business transactions, shifting from heavy top down systems (we will tell you what to buy) to loose non-heirarchical structures like eBay, and tranposing this shift to communication and the media saw a revolution brewing. At its heart is the idea that only by becoming more personal - as personal as is humanly possible - would an organisation or individual be able to stand out on the web where there are billions of pages and products competing for attention.

What's remarkable about the essay is that, with the explosion of blogs, vlogs, and sites like Flickr, MySpace, Digg, DeviantArt and is how true this has proven to be, especially in the creative world. Like Hakim Bay's Pirate Utopias and the Temporary Autonomous Zone, it has been one of those defining texts that in retrospect look almost prophetic.

"From another perspective, the news is not good at all. Everybody's miserable. Everybody's had about enough. People are sick to death of being valued only as potential buyers, as monetary grist for some modern-day satanic mill.

They're sick of working for organizations that treat them as if they didn't exist, then attempt to sell them the very stuff they themselves produced. Why is a medium that holds such promise — to connect, to inspire, to awaken, to enlist, to change — being used by companies as a conduit for the kind of tired lies that have characterized fifty years of television? Business has made a ventriloquist's trick of the humanity we take for granted. The sham is ludicrous. The corporation pretends to speak, but its voice is that of a third-rate actor in a fourth-rate play, uttering lines no one believes in a manner no one respects.

Oh well. That's OK. We'll get by. We've got each other.

I have to laugh as I write that. The Internet audience is a strange crew, to be sure. But we're not talking about some Woodstock lovefest here. We don't all need to drop acid and get naked. We don't need to pledge our undying troth to each other, or to the Revolution, or to the bloody Cluetrain Manifesto for that matter. And neither does business.

All we need to do is what most of us who've discovered this medium are already doing: using it to connect with each other, not as representatives of corporations or market segments, but simply as who we are... Tell us some good stories and capture our interest. Don't talk to us as if you've forgotten how to speak. Don't make us feel small. Remind us to be larger. Get a little of that human touch. "



UKFC launch new £15m fund, appoints Wharton, Collins & Franke, confirms Innovation Fund

  • Biggest shake-up since UKFC's creation
  • £15m film fund open for applications today
  • £5m Innovation Fund confirmed for Autumn 2010
  • New online application system for funds 
  • An ambitious sounding 'web-based.. national filmmaking community' 
  • Producers to receive equity in UKFC recoupment
  • WT2's Natascha Wharton joins BBC Film's Chris Collins and Em Media / EIFF's Lizzie Francke on team

The UK Film Council today published its three year plan and launched its new £15m Film Fund to be headed up by Tanya Seghatchian. In developing the final plan, the UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses. The plan specifically:

  • opens up for business a £15m-a-year Film Fund (topped up further by film recoupment) for emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers;
  • ring-fences money for development;
  • confirms production companies will for the first time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council’s recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, following State Aid approval of the measure by the European Commission;
  • sets up a think tank chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale;
  • proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in Autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community;
  • confirms £5m is allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in Autumn 2010 (more details to follow);
  • provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan;
  • confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund - which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films - will, like the Film Fund, top up that fund’s budget.

Alongside this plan, the DCMS have been leading merger discussions between the UK Film Council and the BFI. These discussions have been underway since August 2009 and continue.

The new appointments to Tanya 'Harry Potter/Heyday Films' Seghatchian's team include: 

  • Lizzie Francke, former head of EIFF and BFI Governor, will focus on experimental feature length films, national engagement and showcasing new talent;
  • Chris Collins, executive for Pawel Pawlikowski's Last Resort, amongst others will focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro/low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.


Special Edition # 38

Come on the long days! Laurence Boyce has been stuck in front of a computer for the past few weeks, watching many, many films and currently needs a tanning machine to ensure his skin resembles the colour of porridge. Thankfully, the stuff that he’s been watching for Special Edition # 38 means that Laurence Boyce has at least got to enjoy some really good films and TV shows. But, for the love of humanity, get the man some Vitamin E as soon as possible...

Otherwise I very well may be mistaken for one of the protagonists of Zombieland (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) in which Woody Harrelson teams up with Jesse Eisenberg to blast the undead and ensure the ‘un’ prefix of their description no longer applies. On first look there’s not much here apart from gory set pieces and witty one-liners; not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, as the film does it with such gleeful abandon that it’s pretty difficult not to have enormous fun with it all. But if you look under the rotting skin and you’ll find some quite funny mickey takes of Hollywood (especially thanks to a cameo from a pretty major US actor) and there’s an intelligence here that’s refreshing (watch it Michael Bay and you’ll learn thing or two – nope, I still haven’t forgotten Transformers 2). Most likely it’ll become a franchise where all the freshness is beaten out of it and it becomes a shambling corpse, but this is enjoyable (and refreshingly gory) mainstream fare.


Indie filmmaking, the Minimum Wage, BECTU, Co-Ops and all that

tompagenetAbout eight years ago I sat in a cosy Islington pub with BECTU acting general secretary Martin Spence to discus his problems with Shooting People's posting of non-union (and non-NMW) jobs.

It was the first time I'd found myself conflicted with the pro-uinion leanings I'd been brought up with. My parents met in the Salford communist branch and as a teen I cut my teeth in graphic design making the monthly newsletter for my mum's college union, NATFHE. I can't dispute the wonders of unions in protecting workers the world-over from unscrupulous employers, saving lots of lives in the process.

But sometimes passions cloud judgement and indie film is a strange fish*. No-one would suggest a musician who gets out her guitar at a house party should earn Musician's Union rates, yet because a film require a group of workers working with an employment-like relationship, there is room for confusion.

I'm not talking about broadcast TV on cost cutting cable networks, or commercials and pop promos shot on the cheap. But the shorts, micro-budget features and documentaries made by crews often with little experience, frequently helmed by a director shooting their first or second, that may never make it to any screen beyond the local pub or Vimeo. There's very rarely funding and a huge number of people keen to help out on them. Many are terrible but a few are masterpieces. And it's so rare that any of these films recoup their costs, let alone make a profit, that no-one worries about cash other than getting their expenses covered.

Martin Spence's point when we met was, as it is now, that people working for free should be collaborators, and therefore co-investors. He saw the co-op model as a suitable structure, and having explored the co-op principles myself in recent years I agree that they are great structures. But there is still an admin overhead - a co-op requires a legal framework, eg. a limited company - to be formed. So for one short film there would need to be a company created, annual accounts and returns made, as well as a co-op members agreement drawn up, which all parties should sign up to. Annual accounts would then need to be distributed before the company was eventually wound up. 


Suzie Templeton’s Oscar-winning PETER & THE WOLF now available online

"It’s a wolf eat duck world. But it’s a world where little boys can find extraordinary courage and catch the wolf!"

Content Republic are pleased to announce that BREAKTHRU
FILMS’ OSCAR® WINNER PETER & THE WOLF is now available to watch online.

Peter & the Wolf, produced by BreakThru Films, is the animated film version of Prokofiev’s classic work directed by an extraordinary new animation talent, Suzie Templeton and set to a special new recording by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Prokofiev’s story has resonated deeply with over five generations of children worldwide, enchanted by its power and sense of fun. This new film re-works Prokofiev’s popular tale, giving it some 21st century twists and an environmental theme, whilst staying true to the original story.

Peter, a young orphan, lives in a fortified cottage on the edge of a deep Russian forest, guarded by his over-protective Grandfather. Isolated from those who live in the town and ignored by the local children, Peter’s only friends are his pet Duck and a mischievous Bird, who entice him to seek adventure outside the walls of the cottage.  Despite his Grandfather forbidding Peter from going beyond the boundary walls, Peter’s curiosity gets the better of him.  Stealing the keys, he bursts out into the wild forest to explore.

The film is now available for download from iTunes at £1.49 from iTunes. A preview clip of the film is below:


Does being Final Cut Pro Certified mean anything?

When Avid and Lightworks systems came out in the dawn of the digital editing age there were specialist outlets that provided specific training courses to make the transition seamless. Equipment like that was expensive and you really had to be lucky to work for a company that invested in one (I was).

Obviously the courses were aimed at those in the industry (with the tab usually picked up by the facility houses) and very few people outside the system invested in the courses with Film Schools taking up the slack, as the prices were pretty steep...


2Weeks 2Make It – the North’s music video contest

The South Yorkshire Filmmakers’ Network (SYFN) is staging their music video competition ‘2Weeks 2Make It’ for the 4th time.

Since 2005 ‘2Weeks 2Make It’ brings together filmmakers with Northern upcoming musicians. Paired up in random teams, bands and filmmakers have two weeks to create a music video. The completed music clips will be presented on 29th April during a Gala Event at the Sensoria Festival of Music and Film.

Rewards for the winning filmmaker will be the chance to make a music video for a signed musician plus a cash prize. The successful band will get excellent distribution opportunities. In 2009, the winners were rewarded with a record contract.


6th Renderyard Short Film Festival Call for Entries

The Renderyard Short Film Festival runs from 8th to 10th October 2010 and supports the screening of new short films and animations including documentaries and this year feature films. The Festival also includes music videos and film scripts and film scores. The Festival is held in London and Spain. We screen in central London at the Roxy Bar & Screen. And in Spain at the Biblotecha in Logrono. The films that are shown have been produced by drawing inspiration from personal sources and influences that allow each director to project their own reflections and ideas as new forms of visual self expression.

Categories : Short Film / Animation / Documentary / Music Video / Micro Film / Film Score / Scripts / Childrens Films / Feature Film | Submit Your Film at | the deadline for entries is the 31st July 2010.


Cambridge International Super 8 Film Fest from 22nd of April

Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival - Free film festival from the 22nd of April 2010 to the 1st of May 2010 in Cambridge (UK).

In 2009, the third Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival was hailed a resounding success with more than 88 short films shown in four days! More than 20 filmmakers from all around the world joined the festival for a great  days of networking and film.


New Producers Alliance Shuts Down

A sad day for British film - the New Producers Alliance, lynchpin of the UK independent film world over the past two decades, and long term friend and supporter of Netribution, has closed its doors. They ceased trading a week ago, blaming the recession and increased competition for training. Indeed it was the NPA's producer training that was responsible for me incorporating not only Netribution Ltd, but Spirit Level Cinema Ltd.

To get a grasp of why there were important, click to read Tom Fogg's interview with former NPA CEO David Castro (now at Screen South), Kevin Dolan (now at Film London) and Rachel Caplan (now running the San Francisco Green Film Fest) from 2000. Below is the full announcement from them:

"It is with great regret that the Executive Committee and Trustees announce that the New Producers Alliance ceased trading on the 8th March 2010. The recession and increased competition for training have contributed to a loss of membership income which, having taken professional advice, has left the directors of the two companies with no option but to close.

"The NPA has been a valued and respected resource for independent filmmakers since its inception in November 1992 and has provided help, advice and assistance to over 10,000 producers, directors and writers over the years. The NPA has attracted a membership of many energetic people, passionate about their projects, embodying the independent spirit. Some of these were members on their way to achieving great things. But there have been countless other great moments, such as learning a trick or two at a training event, meeting a new collaborator at NPA networking event or button-holing someone you admire at one of our panels or a business breakfast.


Roxy’s Extraordinary Film Season

Over the past four years Roxy has screened over 1000 films, from recent releases to classics and cult favourites all at ‘probably the coolest cinema venue in London, if not the UK'!

Coming up soon is the very special 10 week season of 40 ‘extraordinary' feature films with guest speakers, live rescores and much more. Not just the usual classics, but a selection of movies from around the world that have pushed the boundaries of filmmaking, from the landmark to the innovative, the controversial to the ground-breaking.


DVD Review: The White Ribbon

BluRay DVD Cover Image for White Ribbon

Michael Haneke's critically-acclaimed The White Ribbon, which was released on DVD yesterday, is a chilling look behind the apparently normal façade of a small north German village in the lead-up to the First World War.

Narrated by one of the most sympathetic characters, the schoolteacher, when he has become an old man, the film shows us brutal events, some apparently perpetrated by children, but gives us very few answers as to why they have happened. The schoolteacher narrator supposes, with hindsight, that this generation of children were displaying their capability for cruelty before growing up to become the Nazi generation.

Filmed in black and white, making the setting feel even more removed in time from our own, The White Ribbon is a film that shows but rarely tells. Children are beaten by their parents, by people who are never caught, daughters are sexually abused by their fathers and women have to submit to the power of their husbands or fathers. The pastor, preaches his puritanical brand of Protestantism, as symbolised by the white ribbon he would tie around his children's arms, to remind them to be good. However, he rules his household with an iron fist, causing his children to rebel in the most extreme ways.


Abandon Normal Devices 2010 - Cumbria, Lancashire & the web

AND 2010 - 15 March - 10 April 2010

AND logo

This Spring, AND will lead you on a digital journey across real and virtual worlds, set against the scenic backdrops of Cumbria and Lancashire - abandon the city and head for the hills....

Expect strange, playful and radical interventions across the northwest's natural landscape, with high-wire adventures in Grizedale Forest,an inflatable cinema in Preston, and organised chaos as we dance on masswith Improv Everywhere in Blackburn. 

With innovative new commissions from pioneering net artists Ubermorgen, James Coupe and Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, a host of projects will map the region as artists, engineers and designers force us to question our relationship to nature and technology.


Five cracking free, pay-what-you-want feature films online

Here's some picks of filmmaker owned and distributed free (as in lunch) feature films you can download or watch online that really stood out over the last year. Most of them are 'pay what you want' and as ultra-indies they are produced, distributed and promoted by the filmmaker - so anything you donate goes to help them pay off their debts and make more.

Nasty Old People

Hanna Sköld, Sweden, 2009,

Pensioners and the far right make unlikely bedfellows in this remarkably accomplished debut feature from Hanna Sköld. It follows the angry, headstrong yet arresting Mette who in her work as a carer is given some of the most stubborn, difficult and neglected old people of her community. She is also a neo-Nazi.

It's a set-up I haven't seen at cinema before and the inevitable turning point for her could easily have been played for cheap and preachy point-scoring. Instead it's a complex and thoughtful drama, often funny and interspersed with mumblecore-y animations. It's peppered with broad and mostly believable characters. It's not perfect, but for a film made mostly on a €10,000 budget, with some completion funds from Film i Skåne, shot over a year in weekends and evenings, it's perhaps the first pay-what-you can live action film that looks and feels like a much bigger budget European arthouse film.

Licensed under Creative Commons, No Commercial, Share Alike
Download torrents: Nasty.Old.People.2009.XviD [837 MB] or Nasty.Old.People_2009.dvd.iso [3.7 GB]
More info and donation links at

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Brett Gaylor, USA, 2008

RIP is one of those films I've resisted seeing for ages because I thought it would just repeat the same arguments we've heard countless times from the copyfighting movement. More fool me - it's an entertaining and fascinating film, with a good pacing things to keep the interest up. It's central debate centres on the contrary attitude of the media industry who have made so much money from hip-hop, fairy tales and spoofs - towards remix, mashups and sampling. This issue, which currently prevents much of the creative sector from monetising such work, without a well paid media team does occasionally get confused with the more complex and debatable area of the pirate movement. Nevertheless it asks fair questions - I don't have a right to opt out from the 3,000+ adverts I see each day, and now they are lodged in my headspace, surely I have some ownership over them. Or rather, if, as Churchill said, 'the empires of the future are the empires of the mind' then the ability to adapt and remix that culture is a vital part of keeping such empires in check.

Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike
Download and streaming options:
How to donate:

Sita Sing the Blues

Nina Paley, US, 2008

Self-funded and made entirely in Flash, Nina Paley's retelling of the Indian epic Ramayana has been screened around the world and picked up dozens of awards and much acclaim. The songs of Annette Hanshaw weave links between the present-day story of the breakup of Nina's relationship, against the classic love tale of Sita and Rama.

Doubtless embittered by her own experiences, Paley scoffs at the Ramayana's portrayal of devotion and patience in the face of a break-up, and the film has picked up some criticism in India. Nevertheless the running improvised commentary by a group of a shadow puppets, the technicolor animation and songs of Leti, which were a discovery for me, plus the openness with which Paley shares her experience, made it a moving experience. And as it's under a Creative Commons license - if you think you can improve any part of it, you can make your own cut. As well as the video file, hosts versions in everything up to 4k size if you're able to get your hands on a digital cinema projector.

Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike
Download and streaming options:
How to donate:

Just to Get a Rep

Peter Gerrard, US/UK

From Edinburgh-based American Peter Gerrard and upcoming Scottish production company Accidental Media (nominated for five new Talent Scottish BAFTAs), J2GAR is a graffiti documentary which takes us around America to explore the route of possibly the most visually recognisable and impacting art movements of our generation. Short at under an hour we don't get to hear from the many people to whom graff is a nuisance or hear mention of Banksy, but everything else seems to be here, including the guys who invented bubble lettering.

More info:

The Hunt For Gollum / Born of Hope

Born of Hope dir: Kate Madison, UK-Int, 2009 / The Hunt for Gollum dir: Chris Bouchard

Want to experience more of middle Earth but can't wait until the New Line Hobbit films arrive, Born of Hope is a 70 minute feature telling the tale of Arathorn and Gilrean, the parents of Aragorn. For an illustration of quite high the production values of 'no-budget' self-financed work can go, the burgeoning Lord of the Rings universe fan-films promise much. The 40 minute Hunt for Gollum was the first serious fan-film from the universe released, set before the first Lord of the Rings book/film and featuring sme stunning British countryside that no doubt must have helped inspire Tolkein when first describing middle earth. Both come with the obligatory copyright disclaimer but also supportive quotes from members of the WETA team suggesting on this occasion New Line/Peter Jackson concluded non-profit fan support will benefit the franchise more than harm it.

The Hunt for Gollum

Watch online:
Learn more and donate:

Born of Hope

Watch the film online:
Donate and learn more:


The Fall

thefall_stillLast night I rewatched Tarsem's, The Fall. I first saw it at Edinburgh Film Festival in 2008 amidst a dreamy stream of great films. Starting with a bong toking Ben Kingsley going through a breakup in The Wackness, to a man named Nick discovering the delights of Swedish spiritualism through the painfully funny Three Miles North of Molkom, onto Wayne Wang's 1000 years of Good Prayers, taking its title from the ancient Chinese saying 'true love comes once in a thousand years of good prayers'. Then before the festival was done I was back in Sweden with Let the Right One In, and finally Wall*E, Pixar's first proper romance and a brutal anti-capitalist statement to boot.

And because of the strengths of all these films I never got round to writing about how much I liked The Fall. It is easy to dismiss it at first glance as the camp melodrama of a music video director, hungry to clock airmiles to shoot eye candy in the most exotic places his lucky location team could find. But beneath the lush visuals is the story of a suicidal and heartbroken man trying to find a reason to live, and how his imagination, and the encouragement of his good hearted friend, help him.


Site design update

Another year, a new design. This has been a while in coming, and is built on the Blueprint CSS framework, with some tableless Joomla code from YooTheme. The backgrounds should change with the time of day and are taken from the Creative Commons BY Pool on Flickr, found via the brilliant (credits and links for the photographers at the foot of the page). I've not yet figured out how to change the site time to show the time (and hence images) correct for wherever you're viewing from, so for now sunrise and sunset times are all based on GMT. There's still quite a few bits to tweak, so please bear with us and speak up if anything doesn't work.


Africa in Motion Film Festival 2010 - Call for Entries for Documentaries & Shorts

The theme of the fifth Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival is "Celebrations" and African filmmakers are invited to submit documentaries relating to this theme to be considered for inclusion in the October 2010 festival. This is an opportunity for African filmmakers to showcase their work at one of the most prestigious African film festivals worldwide and to gain exposure to a wide audience in the UK.

This year 17 African countries are celebrating 50 years of independence, and the documentaries should explore the legacy of colonisation, liberation struggles, independence and nationalism of any of these countries.


More Articles ...


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.