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As the  50th London Film Festival gets underway, a new update from Suchandrika Chakrabarti, with previews of Penny Woolcock's Mischief Night, the Spanish Dark Blue Almost Black and a real-life Argentine horror story, Buenos Aires 1977.             Mischief Night (Penny Woolcock, UK, 2006)   The third part...

Chosen to be Microfilmmaker Magazine's lead camera analyst and reviewer due to his expertise in camerawork, Andy Yardy has over 10 years experience shooting documentaries in the most remote portions of the globe. Based out of LA, he creates films under his production company, New Link Media. As a filmmaker, I dreamed of the day that I could toss my standard def camera for a high Def on...

Life is a strange thing. It keeps interfering when you want to do a DVD column. Yes, due to lots and lots of things, Special Edition has been away for a long time. But it’s never been forgotten and Laurence Boyce returns with Special Edition # 29 complete with lots and lots of discs, including an absolutely ton of British cinema, that you can get to keep you entertained whilst you absolutely ig...

  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, ...

Propelled forward with the raw exuberance of the music and characters within the dance music scene of Brazil's favelas, rarely is a documentary so sexy, foul-mouthed and downright fun. Refreshingly void of narration or authorial presence, ‘Favela on Blast' drops you in at the deep end of Rio's ‘Funk Carioca' scene, relying only on personal accounts from the D.J's, M.C's and characters within i...

Thanks to the perils of blown up computers and various other technological problems, Special Edition # 4 has been a long time coming. But never fear as Laurence Boyce had managed to move heaven and earth (and, more importantly, has managed to install a new version of Windows XP) to bring a bumper crop of all the DVD’s that are fit to watch when the bright sunshine starts to get a ...

  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...

  HDV Filmmaking by Chad Fahs An Authoritative Guide to the Brave New World of HDV 470 pages Thomson Course Technology $49.99 High definition video is the latest technology to enable filmmakers to capture the best possible image at lowest cost. Because it shares tape transport with DV format, it is often see as the next step up, but this is not DV, it is a very differ...

There's a rather funny viral doing the rounds by UK blog the Shiznit about what if the 2015 Oscar nominations told the truth, following similar posts they've done in previous years. I didn't feel like sharing it however because their poster for Selma ('Challenging Race Biopic: if you don't like it then you basially hate black people') troubled me somewhat. I had to see it to be sure - and no lo...

  by Robert Latham Brown Chalk Hill Books, L.A, March 2006, 416 pages, $29.95 Low budget film production is a chicken and egg scenario. For the production to be successful you need experience to avoid potentially costly mistakes. If you have that sort of experience already, you are unlikely to be making low budget films at all. If you want to go the low budget route, how do you g...

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...

Laurence Boyce takes time out of his busy schedule (well, takes time out of watching DVDs) to bring you the latest round of the DVDs that should either rock your world or destroy your faith in humanity in Special Edition # 12. Note that there's one film he doesn't like at all. I wonder if you'll be able to tell which one it is... Is The Da Vinci Code (Sony Pictures Releasin...

Release your own film on DVD with this step-by-step guide that walks you through the most complex aspects of production and provides detailed information to create a DVD that will sell.   The book passes on insider information used by independent film pros, including   -Authoring high-quality DVDs comparable to major studio titles -Negotiating Distributor deals in your favour -Launching a gueri...

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, ...

The Lives of Others, which won the Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars, will be available to buy next Monday. The critically-acclaimed film, which was nominated in an unprecedented 11 Deutsche Filmpreis categories (German equivalent of the Oscars), is set in East Germany in 1984. It follows a member of the Stasi, the secret police force of the German Democratic Republic, ...

   Dont Go Wild Without it..... If you are prone to that urge for the great outdoors and the call of nature, but haven't yet got around to actually filming it, this little book makes an ideal companion. Slim enough to slip into a side pocket of your rucksac, its 122 pages are packed with  information, making it as essential to the success of your wildlife sa...

Taking Liberties, a documentary which explores the possible erosion of civil liberties under Tony Blair's government, supported by the UK Film Council P&A fund, is out to rent or buy on DVD on 15th October.  Director Chris Atkins has grand aims for the film:  "If there's one thing I've learnt from making this film, it is the understanding that politics is not about s...

Early work by Hideo Miyazaki is cheap fun but lacks the depth admirers of the animation master will recognise in his later works. Director: Hideo Miyazaki Country of origin: Japan Length: 110 mins Format (DV, 35mm, etc): animation Genre: action fairy tale Film website: www.manga.co.uk From any other director this would be a film to write home about - at least if you're an animation fan. But thi...

  There are plenty of surprises cooking up in the Shah family's Indian restaurant in Pratibha Parmar's debut feature, Nina's Heavenly Delights. Described by one of the cast as "My Beautiful Restaurant," the film's director acknowledges that ground- breaking launderette drama's influence upon her colourful and amusing romp across some of the boundaries that...

It’s a chock full column this time around as some of the biggest blockbusters of last year find their way onto DVD. So join Special Edition # 16 as Laurence Boyce reviews the re-invention of one of Britain’s cinematic icons, the re-release of one of the most famous films of the 90s and – just so we don’t start getting too serious – some classic cartoons that a gene...

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. K...

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan will screen tonight at the London Film Festival's Jameson Gala. Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder, this drama/horror is set in the physically and mentally demanding world of New York ballet. Never thought that a film about ballet would have you on the edge of your seat? Think again. It's less about ballet than about perfection...

Given that the UK Film Council have announced that the next few months will be the 'Summer Of British Film' (appropriate given the bloody awful weather at the moment) it's good to see that Special Edition # 20 (yes, break out the champagne as we've made it to 20) has plenty of great British films for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own homes. Alongside the homegrown product,...

  Reviewed by James MacGregor Publisher; Wildeye      ISBN 978-0-9541899-3-8 It has the elements of all good screen stories; the long slow build of anticipation, the tension, the frustrations and finally, the reveal. Yet the wildlife film is film art in a class all of its own, requiring painstaking research and endless patience, often in less than c...

This review is going to be full of spoilers; if you don't want to know, best look away now. So, for the remaining reader: The Reader hinges on the power of writing, and the flexibility of the truth. It can make or break lives. Reading aloud draws two people into a decades-long relationship; the shame of illiteracy leads to a terrible crime and a life of penance; a  Holocau...