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Low Cost Lighting Solutions For Filmmakers  American video producer Richard Andrewski has solved the studio director's double  dilemma. First, how can you keep people comfortable in a studio sweating under from high-wattage floodlights all pumping out plenty of heat along with plenty of light? Second, how can you get enough cool light instead and keep it under control, w...

Where did the summer go eh? About two days of sunshine and the rest of it grey and miserable. As always, thank goodness for the joys of the shiny discs which provide us with so much entertainment and edification. In Special Edition # 26, Laurence Boyce has a bumper selection of DVDs for you to enjoy in the latest column with feast of films, TV shows and shorts for you to devour over the comin...

Did anyone miss me? Didn’t think so…. Anyway,  due to an extended absence due to illness, work and alien abduction (OK, not really on the last one) the column that gives you all you need to know on the most eclectic DVD’s around has been conspicuously absent. Indeed, given its number, Special Edition # 13 has felt somewhat jinxed. But thanks to a combination of willpower...

Ken Loach finally gets a DVD collection worthy to his name, the horror continues seven months after everyone thought it has ended and Shane Meadows proves that he's still one of the best UK directors today. Add in more classic and contemporary films and - of course - some of the best comedy and TV shows available then you've really got no excuse: read Special Editon # 22 before you go shopping ...

It’s a British Summer, which means two things: football and Big Brother on a never ending loop. So, unless you’re a football fan or enjoy watching freak shows, then there’s not much to watch at this moment in time. So in Special Edition # 5 let Laurence Boyce point you in the right direction of some of the very best DVD’s available to buy, rent or borrow at the moment....

The London Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland, and the movie directed by Mark (One Hour Photo) Romanek. The story takes place in an alternate England, where medical research has solved most illnesses, and the aver...

Will Self, I think, once blamed Hollywood in part for the current 'war on terror' because its depiction in epics such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter of good and evil as black and white absolutes leads the audience to simplify incredibly complex situations. Even Star Wars  – where Obi Wan rebuked Anakin's Bush-like 'you're either with us or against us&...

    Michael Powell's The Edge Of The World, a black and white classic film of 1937, filmed in Scotland's remotest island community, has been released for the first time on DVD by the British Film Institute. The film has been printed afresh and the DVD package comes with a wealth of supporting documentary material that shows just why this was such a remarkable testamen...

Francois Truffaut memorably said that there was “… a certain incompatibility between the words ‘cinema’ and ‘Britain’.” Stephen Frears had an equally memorable retort, stunning in its simplicity and epic in its sentiments: “Bollocks to Truffaut.” Yet aside from certainly glorious moments – the Free Cinema movement, the Swinging Sixti...

Tim Burton has always had something of a schizophrenic career. On one hand he’s the eccentric visionary who works on the fringes of Hollywood with such films as the fabulous Edward Scissorhands and the commercially unsuccessful yet brilliantly twisted Mars Attacks. On the other hand he’s at the heart of the Hollywood machine, helming the merchandise monster that was Batman and ...

  Britain's latest and remotest filmfest in the Shetland Islands got off to a great start with a screening of BBC 4's drama Reichenbach Falls, a fast-moving drama made by a BBC Scotland team. The TV programme clearly proved that low budget does not exclude high production values - something known to indie filmmakers for a long time - but clearly the message is now getting through to TV...

You remember where you were when you saw it happen. It was a normal Tuesday lunchtime in the UK, just after Neighbours in fact. Flicking through the channels, every one of them seemed to be showing a disaster movie, involving cinema’s most recognisable skyline. Like most of the western world, you watched, incredulously, as fiction and reality merged. No one knew then what was going ...

What is the difference between torture and punishment? According to Ridley Scott’s latest thriller, which casts a harshly critical eye on the spy game, it is simply the fact that one is efficient and the other is not. Set against the backdrop of the infamous “war on terror”, Body of Lies centres on the hardships of a CIA agent who heads to Jordan to track down a high-ranki...

  Producer: Generic Pool Productions Wildlife films have long been family favourites on TV, but the smooth and easy presentation of the earth's fauna on the box belies the infinite patience and dedicated professionalism of the men and women who set out to capture it on film. This special interest video DVD gives us the inside story. And for those who feel they would enjoy th...

Under director Hannah McGill, Edinburgh International Film Festival has been steadily building its reputation as a platform for great animation - showing the UK premieres of Ratatouille, Wall*E, Up - and this year Toy Story 3 - in a bumper year which includes the world premiere of the hotly tipped 'British Team America': Jackboots on Whitehall. But few films could be better suited to open the...

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 ...

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...

  Stranded on that no-man's land between graduation and a media career? So was Engish Television and Film graduate Sabrina Ferro, but no more. Instead she's launched a high quality glossy mag aimed at people like herself and at those on the lookout for rising talent. Media Directions, as the director's chair on the front cover exclaims, is dedicated to showcasin...

As ever, there will be spoilers   Elite Squad has its UK DVD release tomorrow Rio de Janeiro, 1997. The Pope is about to visit. Some doofus has put him up right next door to a notorious favela. The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) have to clean it up before he gets there. So we get to take a look at a Brazilian slum through the eyes of the supposed law enforcers. ...

The first post-war film from Iraq - shot by British filmmakers - makes its UK debut in Leeds ahead of a Foreign Language Oscar campaign Ahlaam, which means dreams or utopia, made it's British premiere in Leeds last night, and is a dazzling display of world class filmmaking using guerilla techniques. Producer-writer-director Mohamed al Daradji, formerly of Leeds Met film schoo...

There were no accidents. Nothing blew up. So, unless I spontaneously combust in the middle of writing this column, then it seems we can go ahead with Special Edition # 25. Yay. And, yes, we’re on number 25. Laurence Boyce would have got some mugs specially produced but who needs merchandise when – as always – there are a multitude of delightful DVDs for your perusal. T...

Subtitled "The Oil Crash," this is, as co-director/producer Basil Gelpke puts it, "A film that promises to be a bit of a downer." He isn't  really joking: the documentary looks at the amount of oil likely to be left in the ground (not much) and what preparations have been made for a post-plentiful-oil society (not many). It's a wake-up call that comes without...

With the rise of  so-called 'user generated content', a strange phrase that conjours up images of cinemagoers as drug users, and 'professional filmmakers' as dealers who would never use their own supply, it's inevitable that the film industry would have something to say on the matter. And as with buses and most films from those dealing with the massive (Armagedon, Deep Impact) to the mic...

The introduction and development of Apple’s Final Cut Pro software has created positive and negative waves of opinion throughout the various strands of the media industry in the UK and worldwide. You could say it has thrown a spanner in the works for its long-established competitors.   THE REVOLUTION The introduction and development of Apple&rsqu...

  This is a pocket book in three acts; Inspiration, Preparation and Delivery. Simple as that. But as we should know by now, making a pitch can never be as simple as it seems, even when it has been reduced to three acts. Help is at hand though, in this little book, a distillation of pitching wisdom from producer Eileen Quinn, filtered and polished through one of her faithful disciples, ...