Sunday, 23 November 2014

Five Miles From Woodstock

Five Miles From Woodstock performing at Howl At The Moon in 2010, filmed in glorious Standard Definition:

Five Miles From Woodstock are playing the Horse and Stables London on 6th December - find out more on their Facebook page.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mortals! You Defy The Gods! [Review: Interstellar]

Heroic archetype Cooper (Matthew McConnaughey) leaves behind his family and pilots a ring-shaped starship through a wormhole created by mysterious, godlike entities. His voyage takes him across an unfamiliar galaxy, accompanied by a crew who spend most of their time in stasis and a robot with a disturbed sense of humour. Yes! As you have probably guessed, Chris Nolan's new film Interstellar is pretty much a re-make of Ulysses 31.

Interstellar is space opera with a 21st century feel. The first act takes place on a bleak, near-future Earth where the farming ecosystem is slowly failing. The interstellar mission of the middle act is never a voyage to seek out new life and new civilizations but a desperate last chance to avert the death of humanity, and the story remains personal at all times, helped by some soul-wracking performances by McConnaughey and Anne Hathaway.

There are one or two silly scenes - the father-promises-daughter-he-will-return-home subplot (although it's there for a good reason), and the scenes where the Endurance crew brainstorm complex maneuvers and solve physics problems too quickly - it might be totally justified but it sounds like plot-hole technobabble.

On the other hand this is a compelling vision of the future, with so many elements that do make sense, including the technology. No Ulysses 31 remake would be complete without NoNo, but TARS and CASE are worthy additions to the canon of science-fiction robot companions, with their original physical design and programmable levels of honesty, sensitivity and humour. As you would expect from yet another Chris Nolan / Lee Smith collaboration, the cinematography, effects and editing are superb.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Now We Are Six

David Novan, Joshua Westbury, Brandon Butterworth and Molly Brown. Photograph by Michael To

The Sci-Fi Gene blog has made it to exactly six years today, and I have been making short films for almost six years. Saturday's screening of Last Zombie Standing at Croydon International Film Festival was a chance to reflect. This is one of my favourite projects from the last six years and I'm proud of what we achieved in that 48 hour period.

Croydon was also a chance to look forward and be inspired: the films on show were diverse but all packed with originality. The prizes were all well deserved - you can find out more about them on the festival website Hard to pick favourites but I particularly enjoyed the winning animation Mend and Make Do by Bexi Bush, Katie Garrett's experimental film combining poetry and dance, and The Cleaners, a mockumentary about the hard-working staff responsible for keeping the ocean floor tidy.

Meanwhile the story goes on - work continues on Reply To All and on the Broken Bird music video. I'm considering projects for next year, possibly including a 3D film, and I enjoyed connecting with filmmakers and film enthusiasts at Croydon - who knows where those connections will lead?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Last Zombie Standing [posters]

I'm looking forward to being part of Croydon International Film Festival on the 25th October. You can now check out the full programme and find out more about this event on the extremely friendly festival website. Meanwhile here are two alternative Last Zombie Standing movie posters for your enjoyment.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Stonely's Pet Dinosaur Book Trailer

Book trailer made for the launch of Stonely's Pet Dinosaur, a new rhyming picture book written by Naomi Burman-Shine and illustrated by Callum Graham. This was a lot of fun to make. The book is available now from the Stonely's Pet Dinosaur website here, or via Amazon here - so if you know any kids that like dinosaurs (rare I know) then check it out.