Thursday, 26 April 2012

Last Belle in Brooklyn

The Last Belle is to receive its U.S premiere at The Brooklyn Film Festival (June 1st - 10th). For more details click HERE

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Soundtrack Recording

Stuart Hancock, composer of The Last Belle score.

Here's a new piece of behind-the-scenes footage from the scoring session of The Last Belle (click here).

As I wrote a zillion posts back, working with Stuart and the orchestra was an absolute highlight of the whole production process. I can't wait to do it again on another project. Pure magic.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Cake and Jelly

Oscar Grillo, Geoff Dunbar, Mark Moore (headteacher at Clifton
College), Nick Park, Peter Lord, Richard Williams and me.

I went to a wonderfully sociable dinner in Bristol a couple of weeks back with various figures from the animation industry (Oscar Grillo has put all his photos and his accompanying commentary on his Facebook page here). At one point Dick Williams and Oscar - both superb draughtsmen themselves - were discussing various artists, including Kathe Kollwitz, and I had to confess that I had never come across her work until Dick showed me some prints of hers only a year or two back.

Kathe Kollwitz: images of great suffering...

... and tenderness.

Surely one of life's great pleasures is that rare occasion when somebody introduces you to the work of an artist, writer, film maker or composer and their work hits you squarely between the eyes - that feeling of 'how could I possibly not have known about this person all these years?'

The reason I am mentioning this? Today is my birthday, which as far as I'm concerned means I get to be self indulgent, and fly off on a tangent that has nothing to do with my usual Last Belle posts.

Here are two painters and one writer/director who have brought me enormous inspiration over the years, but whose names often draw blank faces when I bring them up in conversation. If you don't know them then please let me introduce you to:

Giovanni Boldini (1842 - 1931)

Does this man want his paintings
to move, or what?
The sense of movement, of life, is amazing to me.
These are snapshot moments, captured on paper
and canvas.

And Boldini always has a wonderful,
deliberately off-kilter sense of composition
that creates a feeling of movement in the frame. 

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836 - 1893)

If Ridley Scott had been born before the invention of cinema
then he would probably be making paintings like this...
I can't think of any other painter who captures light
quite so cinematically.

A fleeting moment of light captured on canvas.

Alexander Mackendrick (1912 - 1993)

One of the great film writer/directors (The Ladykillers, The Man in the White Suit, Sweet Smell of Success) but - possibly even more importantly - one of the great teachers of the craft of storytelling and directing. The collection of his teaching notes, published posthumously, as the book 'On Film-Making: an Introduction to the Craft of the Director' remains, in my opinion, the best book ever on the craft of storytelling and film directing. I've read dozens of 'how-to-direct-a-film' type books, and this is by far the best. I re-read it constantly, and get new things out of it each time.

Mackendrick directing Alec Guinness on the
set of 'The Man in the White Suit'. 

So there you have it... Happy Birthday to me... Three treats I wanted to share with you. If I'm ever feeling a bit jaded by the incessant deadlines of the commercial world, or a just a bit under-inspired, these are three of the people I turn to for a bit of vicarious mentoring.

Back to The Last Belle next time... after, perhaps, a little cake.