Sunday, 28 April 2013

One Mile Away

''A riveting portrait of the complex, contentious reality of the streets, and the courage it takes to make a difference, it could well be this year's most important British film.'' - Time Out

This authored documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Penny Woolcock chars the attempts by two warring gangs in inner city Birmingham, the Burger Bar Boys (B21) and the Johnson Crew (B6), to bring peace to their neighborhoods.It follows Penny Woolcock's Hip Hop musical 1 Day which depicted these postcode wars. One Mile Away was initiated by Shabba, a young man affiliated to the Johnson side who met Penny during her research for 1 Day. He saw her as a neutral and as someone who had built trust on both sides. Penny agreed to get involved and introduced Shabba to Dylan Duffus - the lead actor in 1 Day and affiliated to the Burger Side. The film follows their painstaking journey over two years to recruit more supporters from both sides. Along the way, they get advice from Jonathan Powell, who oversaw the Good Friday Agreement, and the riots erupt in Birmingham, with surprising consequences.

Having directed an earlier movie set in Birmingham's black community, Penny Woolcock was called in bt local gang leaders to document an attempt to create a truce. It starts with representatives of the Burgers and the Johnsons meeting in a neutral hotel room, where everyone is suspecting it might be an ambush. Both gangs belong to areas with high crime and unemployment rates, whose postcodes are separated by a mile. Subsequent discussions are conducted mostly on the streets, though one conversation between gangsters, a local white parliamentary candidate and Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street adviser and participant in the Ulster peace process.

''England is a divided country, divided even within communities who have almost everything in common. Before I saw One Mile Away I had heard about postcode warfare, where gangs who live in different postcodes are sworn enemies. But One Mile Away brought that reality alive in Birmingham, where a dual carriageway divides the Burger Bar Boys and the Johnson Crew. The documentary follows the efforts of one member of each gang as they try to forge a truce. Their efforts are mediated informally by the film -maker Penny Woolcock, who for many months is the only one who can cross the divide. The film depicts a world where the teenagers have guns and knives and use them and where the 'elders' are in their twenties and many have spent years in prison. Its a brilliant film. Its partly about leadership- the two truce makers are not the chiefs of their gangs, but they are very brave in their efforts to influence, and incredibly persistent. For months, Shabba cannot get his side to listen at all, and his motivation is distrusted. Its the persistence that in the end pays off. The film is also notable for the absence of women. Its a man's world where women play no role in gang politics, and appear to have little influence. Its also a world of black people and teenagers, where the only white figures are the police.''

The film was funded by Channel 4, Barrow Cadbury Trust and Creative England, with development grants from PUMA, Fallon and Influence Film Fund. Also distribution and the social impact work of the film is funded by Bertha Foundation as well as donations from the public.

Promotion was largely done through social networking sites such as Twitter, for various reasons. This includes the fact that they only had a small budget so capabilities of promotion were limited. Also, most teenagers are on one or more social networking sites so it is an easy, quick and cheap way to spread the word as word of mouth is powerful. This was successful as it reached their target audience at the same time. This contrasts with a large mainstream film such as Skyfall which had a huge budget so was able to advertise world wide, attracting larger audiences, thus making it more well known.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Timed essay question

''The spread of new technology is damaging the film industry''. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

There is no doubt that the introduction of new technology is having an immediate impact on the film industry. This can be seen through, cinema attendance rates, increasing demands for the top mobiles that supply catch up apps. Furthermore online websites and DVDs increase the likelihood of people watching films in the comfort of their own homes.

Over the years, as cinema tickets have gradually become more expensive, attendance rates have decreased as their are various alternatives of going to big cinema complexes. Not only is the ticket itself expensive, but the snacks on offer are disgustingly overpriced, causing an outing to the cinema ending up at an average of around £10 per person.

The instant releases of new smartphones is another factor damaging the film industry. These phones not only have good sized screens that are of excellent quality, they also provide access to apps in which people can watch films on. Moreover, there are on demand apps such as 4OD and ITV Player, where films and or programmes that have been aired on that channel can be watched again and again. In relation to One Mile Away, this would probably benefit it as if people missed it on channel 4, they will be able to catch it on demand which increases the likelihood of people seeing it. Additionally, this is cheap as these apps are free and is easily accessible as everyone now has a phone with these capabilities.

Online websites and film channels are slightly controversial. Whilst some are legit and require a payment scheme in order to watch the films, such as Netflix and LoveFilm. LoveFilmn is a UK based provider of home video rental. In January 2012, LoveFilm announced that it had 2million subscribers and claims over 70,000 titles and over 4million DVDs and Blue Ray rentals across 5 countries. Others are viewed on illegal websites where the films can be downloaded or simply watched online. This is often a popular choice as more recently, people do not want to pay the extortionate ticket prices at the cinema. Finally, they get to watch it when it is convenient for them, with snacks that were not overpriced and in the comfort of their own home. Whilst this is illegal and should not be condoned, people will always chose it whilst they still can. This causes problems for the film industry as the box offices are not making as much money as they should, and the film could essentially cause a loss if people are watching it in alternative ways rather then visiting the cinema. In the case of Skyfall, most of their funding came from advertising as they put themselves out everywhere. They had the stint at the London 2012 Olympics with the Queen and the theme song sung by superstar Adele to name but a few. DVDs also contribute to damaging the film industry as people often wait for the film to be released onto DVD so they can make a one off payment which is probably a fraction of the ticket price, and watch it over and over at their convenience.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Exhibition Research

'Have you ever been to an independent cinema? If yes - how was it different? If no - why not?'

No, I have never been to an independent cinema, this is partially due to the fact that I was unaware they even existed! This is due to the fact I have never seen them advertised, and am unaware of the films they are showing. Furthermore, multi-complex cinemas are more accessible and customers are familiar with them. Moreover, the large majority of films advertised on a large scale are shown in mainstream cinemas which attracts large audiences. Also, these large cinema complexes have offers reeling in more people. Finally, the films shown at independent cinemas are not known to the public and therefore people do not go to see them as they do not know they are there.

'What is more appealing about viewing at the cinema than viewing on DVD/online/TV?'

It is more appealing to watch films at the cinema because it is a large screen with surround sound and there is no interruptions, you can be in your own world for the duration of the film. Also, going to the cinema has become a large scale social activity, when meeting up with friends it is easy to meet at the cinema and enjoy a great film together with your favourite actors/actresses in it.

'Why has there been a recent trend in Hollywood re-making a lot of films?'

Hollywood have recently re-made a lot of films including, Snow White (Snow White and The Huntsman), Spiderman (The Amazing Spiderman) and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which was originally a Swedish film). This is done to make a lot of money out of them as they will attract new audiences and also original audiences that love the story. Additionally, they are modernized and new twists are included. A lot of foreign films have been re made and translated into English, again attracting new audiences. Finally, there is a simple reason that companies are running out of ideas and therefore recreating classic films.

'Can you see any patterns or trends in films of the last 5 years?'

There has been an increase in the amount of apocalyptic films produced which became a hysteria as the year 2012 came round, a prime example being the film '2012'. Also, story-lines have been recycled and films are now becoming predictable and films with original story-lines are decreasing. Finally, there has been a noticeable increase in animated films as it has become so much easier to make them.

'What were the top ten highest grossing films of 2012?'

RankMovie Title (click to view)Studio
Total Gross / TheatersOpening / TheatersOpenClose
1Marvel's The AvengersBV$623,357,9104,349$207,438,7084,3495/410/4
2The Dark Knight RisesWB$448,139,0994,404$160,887,2954,4047/2012/13
3The Hunger GamesLGF$408,010,6924,137$152,535,7474,1373/239/6
5The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyWB$302,944,3894,100$84,617,3034,04512/14-
6The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2LG/S$292,324,7374,070$141,067,6344,07011/163/7
7The Amazing Spider-ManSony$262,030,6634,318$62,004,6884,3187/310/14
10Madagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedP/DW$216,391,4824,263$60,316,7384,2586/810/18

'How many of these films were America/British?'

- Marvel's The Avengers = American
- The Dark Knight Rises = American and British
-The Hunger Games = American
-Skyfall = British
-The Hobbit: An unexpected journey = American and British
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 = American
-The Amazing Spider-Man = American
-Brave = American
-Ted = American
-Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted = American

Monday, 18 March 2013

Independent vs Mainstream

World cinema - Foreign language films e.g A seperation (Iranian)
Mainstream - Anything that is not independent or world cinema

You can tell Blue Valentine is an independent film because:
1. Handheld camera for filming
2. Small cast
3. Diegetic sounds used(guitar, and cars going past in the background)
4. Lots of background music to make it realistic
5. Smaller scale, more gritty.

You can tell Precious is an independent film because:
1.Realistic/gritty subject matter that a mainstream film would not produce
2.Urban/social realism used

Lots of actors start off in independent films then cross over to mainstream films

Mainstream films are big budget films that include:
-Harry Potter
-Pirates Of The Carribean
-Plant Of The Apes

Section B question:
''Media production is dominated by global institutions, which sell their products and services to national audiences.'' To what extent do you agree with this statement?

- Bigger budget to spend on advertising
- People want escape from the depressions of life
- Fantasy/escapism of real life
-Safe/generic genres
- About making money
- Very well known (relationships with directors)
- Production/Distribution companies have relationships, usually UK and US (Paramount, Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, MGM)
-Branding; Convergence and Synergy
- Audience expectations because of money spent making the film
-In English (Globally dominating the industry)

SKYFALL  has an independent production company - Eon, but was distributed by MGM, a mainstream company, however it ticks every box of the above list, so it is a great example of global domination. MGM was on the verge of going bankrupt but by distributing Skyfall saved them. Heineken paid MGM over $30 million to have their product placed in the film.

Independent films don't want to be Mainstream and instead provide an alternative - it's about non conformity and not being materialistic.