Reel Women: December UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’ve got a couple of Netflix releases, some foreign language films, and the latest offering from the Transformers franchise. There’s plenty to tide you over this holiday season.

 

7 December

Dumplin’
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: Kristin Hahn

Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ (Danielle Macdonald) is the plus-size daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston) who signs up to her mum’s pageant as a protest. But soon things escalate as others follow in her footsteps.

Anne Fletcher is an actress, producer and director. Dumplin’ is her seventh film and some of her previous films include The Proposal (2009) and Step Up (2006). Kristen Hahn is a director, writer and producer, Dumplin’ is her second produced screenplay.

 

Tulip Fever
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Written by: Deborah Moggach and Tom Stoppard

An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.

Deborah Moggach is a film and television screenwriter and wrote the novel Tulip Fever is based on. In 2006 her adapted screenplay of Pride & Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA

 

Mug
Directed by: Malgorzata Szumowska
Written by: Michal Englert and Malgorzata Szumowska

When Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) undergoes a face transplant, he suffers identity issues as he struggles to find his place again in the tight knit community he’s from.

Mug is Malgorzata Szumowska’s seventh feature film and at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival it was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear and won the Jury Grand Prix. Szumowska has won 25 awards and has another 30 nominations to her name.

 

Theatre of War
Written & Directed by: Lola Arias

A documentary that reveals the personal stories of both British and Argentinean former soldiers whose lives were deeply affected by the Falklands war.

Theatre of War is Arias’s first film.

 

8 December

Mortal Engines
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson

Set in a dystopian future where all cities are constantly moving across the Earth on wheels, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) fights for revenge for her mother’s murder.

Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have collaborated with Peter Jackson previously on King Kong (2005), the Hobbit trilogy, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They both won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

 

12 December

Out of Many, One
Directed by John Hoffman and Nanfu Wang

Documentary about immigration has become a divisive issue in the United States.

Nanfu Wang is a director, editor, cinematographer and producer.

 

14 December

Free Solo
Directed by: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A documentary about Alex Honnold, the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall.

Free Solo is Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s sixth feature-length documentary. Her previous film Incorruptible (2015) is currently on Netflix.

 

21 December

Bird Box
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Written by: Eric Heisserer

After a mysterious event leaves the world in fear, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her two children must travel through a forest blindfolded in order to survive.

Susanne Bier has over 20 directing credits to her name and she’s also a writer and producer. In 2016 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special for her work on The Night Manager.

 

24 December

Bumblebee
Directed by: Travis Knight
Written by: Christina Hodson

Set in the 1980’s, a teenage girl finds and befriends Bumblebee, an alien robot from another planet.

Bumblebee is Christina Hodson’s third produced screenplay. Her next screenplay is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).


That’s nine films made by women released this month – three of them are on Netflix. As always, we’d love to hear what you think of any of these films if you get the chance to see them. We’ll see you next year as we continue to shine a spotlight on female filmmakers.

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INTERVIEW: Morgan Neville

Interviewed by Dave Curtis

Morgan Neville is a well-known documentary filmmaker,  he has made numerous films that focus on music and culture. His latest films include Won’t You Be My Neighbour which is about iconic children’s television host Fred Rogers and They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead which tells the story of Orson Welles and his last film The Other Side of the Wind. Whilst he was at the London Film Festival premiering not one, but two new documentaries we got to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his love for Fred Rogers, Orson Welles and we get into the process of documentary filmmaking. 


Was this a passion project for you or did somebody come to you?

It was my project, I mean it was a passion project in that I loved Mister Rogers as a boy and then I didn’t think about him for decades but every time he came back in my life as an adult it surprised me somehow. So, it was something as an adult, these viral videos would go by as Fred Rogers in America and they always just struck me as a voice that is missing in the culture. And so, the real instinct to make the film was not a nostalgic instinct. I am not a big fan of nostalgia, it was actually ‘how do we get a voice like that into the cultural discussion today.’ So really for me it was a film about the same issues I come back to again and again in my movies which is “how do we find common ground as a culture,” “what happened to all the grown-ups in our culture.” So, I’ve made a couple of films that circle these same issues but it is something I care a lot about and in America, if there is any figure who transcends partisanship then it is Fred Rogers because he was dealing with kids that zero sense of partisanship.

I’ve never seen a program like it, I didn’t know who he was until I told my Canadian wife I was doing this interview and watching the movie and her face lit up and she gave me a crash course in all of it. It bought loads of memories back for her as well which was really exciting to watch.

Did she watch it when she young?

Oh yeah. She watched it with all her sisters when they were growing up.  She was surprised when I said he didn’t really come here. I think all we had was Gordon the Gopher with Phillip Schofield on a Saturday morning, but we never had anything like Mister Rogers It was very emotional watching it with her. Did you cry when you watched it for the first time?

Well I was making it but it was very emotional to make and even when we were watching the mix back for the sound I started crying.

I don’t think you can help it. Especially that last question (when you had to think of someone). Was that always going to be your endpoint?

 No, it wasn’t. He (Fred Rogers) had done that in speeches so I just thought from the first interview I’ll ask people. I didn’t know if it was going to make it in the film, but I just thought let me try it and then it became the ending.

It is a really strong ending. It packs a punch. I could imagine if you saw it in a cinema people would be sobbing everywhere. 

The first screening we had at Sundance, because I didn’t really expect that, you know.

 It’s done really well in the States…

It has been the biggest documentary in five years in America (laughs). So, it has been a smash in America.

I think it just shows that so many people still connect with Mister Rogers and his themes which is good.

It is. It’s interesting because also a lot of people went to see the film who didn’t watch him as a kid but maybe were a  parent at the time. It’s been interesting, it has also played for liberal audiences and conservative audiences which is really rare.

He was a Republican, wasn’t he?

He was. Being a Republican meant something and there were different types of Republicans then,  particularly in Pennsylvania, there were a certain type what they call Rockefeller Republicans which is a Liberal Republican, which seems like an oxymoron now, so he was of a type that doesn’t really exist anymore. But really all of his ideas that you could consider to be liberal were based in theology. So, to him it’s not a big leap to go from won’t you be my neighbour to love thy neighbour.

Is that going to be the sequel?

[Laughs]

Was it emotional talking to the family? Were they all up for it when you purposed the documentary?

The sons had never done interviews before. They had always kept it at arm’s length.

You can tell that one looks like Fred and the one looks like his mother.

They had never done anything or talked about it and Joanne, she is amazing- his widow.  In the beginning, when I told her I wanted to make the film, I said I want to make a film not about the biography but about ideas. She said that sounds like a great idea because Fred had always said if anybody made a film out of his biography it would be the most boring film ever made. Which I don’t entirely agree with. The advice she gave me when she gave me permission to make the film was “don’t make him into a saint.”

I think you succeed with that. You made him very human.

Well, that was the thing, no ever treated him as human, they treated him as a cardboard character. I think that was frustrating for him.

Do you think that bothered him after a while?

I think when bad things happen and he had to talk, I don’t think that bothered him because I think he thought that’s when he was needed. I think the other thing is at one point he got more mail than anybody in America, and he responded to every letter he got. So, he would spend 15 hours a week doing letters.

Obviously all hand written that point.

Yeah, and for him, that was as important as the show. It was like if a child writes to me, you have to write them back and to them, that is a real relationship. Part of his thing was ‘my relationship with a child through the television is real to that child, to that child it is a real relationship’ and he also only ever talked to a single child through the lens, he was never saying ‘Hi kids, he was like, how are you today?’ So if you were a child, you thought he was talking to you. So it was a one on one relationship between you and him.

When did you start the process, are we talking years?

It was probably the very end of 2015 that I started thinking about it, and then really 2016 that we kind of put it together and started production in October 2016, just before the election.

That’s quite a quick turnaround for a documentary.

We premiered it at Sundance in 2018, so that was pretty fast.

How do you go about picking what goes in and out because there must be hours and hours of footage?

There is tons of stuff but I have been doing this long enough that I have refined my process and I feel a lot of times people who are doing archive documentary or documentaries, in general, cut a six-hour version of the film and then cut down it down to four hours, then three hours and I can’t stand doing that.

So, there are no director cuts out there or anything?

Well, there are scenes I cut out but I think the idea, in the beginning, is what is that we really want to say and what are scenes we want to talk about. I put together a list maybe 32 scenes and we cut those first and we had 100 minutes.

Was the animation always intended to go in, because that really works.

Yeah it was intended, just because I didn’t want to just talk about his childhood in an expository way ‘he did this and in this kind of house, he was born here at this time.’ I wanted his childhood to be told from his point of view in terms of how it related to the show and for it to be more in his imagination. So the only idea was to do animation and to come up with something that felt that animation I kind of based on 1940s children’s books and some Orson Welles actually, some magnificent “Ambersons” bit of lighting and things. I was really happy how it turned out.

So you grew up watching Mister Rogers, do I dare ask when that was?

I was born in ’67, the show went on in 68. So I was the first generation. Right from the beginning. Before Sesame Street, in America there was Mister Rogers, so that’s what I watched. So I love the show and I watched it every day. But I barely remember much of it because a lot of me watching that show pre-dates my memory. So it’s interesting revisiting him as an adult because you’re revisiting parts of yourself that you can’t even remember. So it accessing your earliest memories, which you don’t spend a lot of time doing in your modern life, and really trying to think about it. So, it’s all these things that are familiar that come back. You see an image and it reminds you of something.

I know you were very young, but did it teach you stuff that you have carried with you?

It must have done. And I’m sure it did with millions of people, but there is nowhere to gauge that impact which is one of those things about culture. We can’t say the culture is 10% more empathic because it watched Mister Rogers. But anecdotally, I heard story after story from people I’ve met talking about what the show meant to them. Even people who maybe didn’t have a father or had never seen an African American child on television before, or a handicapped child on television before.

That last scene of that clip when he jumps on stage, he didn’t even use the stairs.

Not even without waiting for him to get to the podium, he just jumps up there!

Why do you think this is a story worth telling?

I think its actually critical in that we live in a time where our culture has been built around divisiveness, you know people can get votes and eyeballs by pitting one group against another, stoking resentment. We live this cycle of resentment and it feels nobody is advocating for the opposite of it, reminding us that building societies takes hard work and is a fragile endeavour. So, I just feel like “who’s reminding us of the stakes here?” and what we have in common. So, for me, it was just trying to advocate for the opposite of what I see happening in our culture, in a loud way. 

Well I think it has connected, especially in America.

Well in America it has, so for me I couldn’t think of a message that I wanted to put out there more than this. It’s just my way of dealing with the past couple of years. It was a really therapeutic process to work on this film. It was hugely helpful.

When you were watching it all back did you have any favourite episodes?

Again, it was all dimly familiar and there are episodes that probably won’t mean anything to you like him visiting a crayon factory or these episodes that stuck in my mind but it was more the land of make-believe and the puppets and the trolley and all these things that were very familiar.

My wife loved the little town apparently, she wanted that town.

Oh the model, I remember being so fascinated by that. The model is there in the office and I took my picture with it.

So there are museums somewhere?

There are two museums. All in Pittsburgh. You can see a lot of the things there.

Do you think the film has merit in UK, because he wasn’t really known, but it is a global message?

I didn’t make the film thinking about it, but I’ve screened it for people including for a couple of British audiences and I’ve had a lot of Brits and people see it at festivals that had no idea who he was.

I’ve been telling people at the London Film Festival about it.

I’ve been surprised at how well it has worked for an audience for people that didn’t grow up with him. Because ultimately it is a humanist message. What he was talking about is basic human values and how to treat people and how to treat yourself.

 I can’t believe that there isn’t something on TV now which is similar.

That’s the thing, it’s like the idea he was talking about civil rights or war or hunger to two to six-year olds. Nobody has done that since.

The Bobby Kennedy footage for example.

Yeah that’s unbelievable talking about assassinations!

I’m going to have to ask about ‘They’ll love me when I’m dead’.  How did you get involved in that project?

Another passion project.

So you weren’t approached for it.

There was a book about 4 years ago called Orson Welles Last Movie by Josh Karp who became my producer on the film and when I read that book, I decided if I can ever get my hands on that Orson Welles footage, I would love to make a documentary about it because it was Welles making a film about himself essentially, shooting it for years and years.

When I was young all I knew of Orson Welles was the Transformers movie.

Exactly! So, I actually put a tiny bit of the Transformers movie into Mister Rogers movie with Orson’s voice. That was me doing an Easter egg for myself between the two films.

I love that. So I’ve guessed you have seen the new film (The Other Side Of The Wind).

Yeah I’m such a Welles fan.

Do you have a favourite film of his?

I mean it isn’t his best film, but the film I’ve always just loved was ‘Lady From Shanghai’.

I love the quote in your film when they are talking about ‘Citizen Kane’ being the greatest film ever but it isn’t even his best film.

Yeah exactly.

I guess it was a lot of fun making that.

That was great fun.

Were you making it as the same time as ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbour’?

It overlapped, but we didn’t edit at the same time. Right when I picture locked Mister Rogers we started editing Orson. That was a big gear shift going to one from the other. Although the similarity, because I thought about that this week having both films here (LFF) is that they are both people who didn’t care what other people thought about what was popular and what was good. They each had their own internal guidance for what they thought was important and what is right and wrong. As an artist that is exactly the kind of heroic figure you want, somebody who marches to their own drummer.

One last question. What is next for you?

I am working on some TV shows. I have a couple of shows for Netflix that I am doing.

That seems to be a good partnership at the moment. They are nailing it at the moment, Roma is so good.

It is! What is great is that they just give you a lot of freedom. It’s less of a burden to do a TV show than it is to do a feature. To direct a feature doc just takes so much time.

Are you going to stick to documentaries, are you not tempted to do a full length feature film?

No I love docs, I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I’m trying to find the next subject to fall in love with and part of is that I haven’t had time. I came up with Mister Rogers and Orson Welles just because I was able to read books on vacation.

So really you need a holiday to read books etc.

Yes, because there are a lot of things I’m interested in. I go on holiday and take a pile of books and I usually come away with some ideas.


We’d like to thank Morgan Neville once again for taking the time to chat with Dave whilst premiering both his new documentaries in the UK at the London Film Festival. 

UK Blog Awards 2019

We’re excited to announce that you can vote for JUMPCUT ONLINE at the UK Blog Awards 2019!

Voting is now OPEN and we’re on the ballot for both the ARTS & CULTURE and GROUP category! If you think we deserve your vote this year click the below image to open the official UKBA19 ballot.

Once on the page, find our box and tap the heart next to it.

If you vote for us, be sure to send us a Tweet to let us know! We’ll be giving anyone who votes for us a huge heartfelt thank you and a special shout out during this year’s Odyssey Awards! 2018 has been such a huge year for us for many reasons and making it on to this ballot just makes our smiles even bigger. 

Voting closes 21st December 2018

Reel Women: November UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. The clocks have gone back, it’s dark and cold outside, so what better way to spend the dark evenings than in the cinema?! This month there’s dramas, rom-coms and the start of the Christmas-themed releases. Oh, and there’s a little film about wizards and another small animated film featuring well-known Disney characters.

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2 November

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Written by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is transported to a magical world of her mother’s making, she’ll do anything to protect it.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Ashleigh Powell’s first produced screenplay. She’s attached to adapt the books The Paper Magician and The Hazel Wood into screenplays.

 

Juliet, Naked

Directed by Jesse Peretz
Written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins

After Annie (Rose Byne) breaks up with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), she embarks on an unlikely romance with a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Duncan’s favourite musician.

Tamara Jenkins is a writer-director who was Oscar nominated for her original screenplay The Savages (2007). Her latest film, Private Life, is a new Netflix Original. Evgenia Peretz is a writer and producer, Juliet, Naked is her second produced screenplay.

 

King of Crime

Directed by Matt Gambell
Written by Linda Dunscombe

The biggest player in British cyber-crime goes head to head against some Islamic extremists by playing the biggest scam of his life.

As well as writing King of Crime, Linda Dunscombe was also a producer on the film, and the films casting director.

 

 

6 November

Widows

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen

Four women whose dead husbands’ criminal actives leave them in trouble, conspire to come together to survive the forces that are out to get them.

Gillian Flynn is an author and screenwriter who adapted her own novel, Gone Girl (2014) to critical acclaim earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

 

 

9 November

Wildlife

Directed by Paul Dano
Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

A boy witnesses his parents’ (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart.

Zoe Kazan is an actress and screenwriter whose acting credits include What If (2013), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and The Big Sick (2017). Her previous screenplay was Ruby Sparks (2012) in which she played the titular role.

Our review

 

Outlaw King

Directed by David Mackenzie
Written by Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes and David Mackenzie

The story of how Scottish Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine) fought to defeat and repel the much larger occupying English army.

Outlaw King is Bathsheba Doran’s first feature film, but she’s written episodes of multiple TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Masters of Sex.

Our review

 

The Other Side of Everything

Directed by Mila Turajlic

A documentary about Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, who learns more about her family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance after opening a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade.

Mila Turajlic is a producer and director who was also the cinematographer for The Other Side of Everything.

 

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16 November

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who believes wizards are better than muggles.

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction. After writing the Harry Potter book series that turned into a global phenomenon, Rowling is now the writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts series.

 

The Princess Switch

Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger

Netflix’s first Christmas themed film of the year, The Princess Switch is about how one week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her.

Robin Bernheim is a writer and producer of films and TV shows including Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager. The Princess Switch is Megan Mertzger is first produced screenplay.

 

Hell Fest

Directed by Gregory Plotkin
Written by Seth M. Sherwood, Blair Butler and Akela Cooper

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal hunting ground.

Blair Butler is a writer, director and producer. Hell Fest is her first feature film. Hell Fest is Akela Cooper’s first feature film screenplay as well but she has written multiple episodes of the TV shows Grimm, Luke Cage and The 100.

 

 

23 November

Back to Berlin

Directed by Catherine Lurie-Alt

Documentary about eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil.

This is Catherine Lurie-Alt’s first film.

Nativity Rocks!

Written & Directed by Debbie Isitt

The fourth film about St Bernadette’s Primary School in Coventry and the staff and students there who audition for a coveted place in a spectacular Christmas rock musical competition.

Debbie Isitt has written and directed all four Nativity films – the first two films, starring Martin Freeman and David Tennant, are on Netflix if you fancy getting into the Christmas spirit early.

The Judge

Directed by Erika Cohn

Documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East.

Erika Cohn is a producer and writer and The Judge is her second feature-length documentary.

 

 

30 November

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Ralph and Penelope discover the internet and go on a whole new adventure.

Pamela Ribon is an actress, producer and writer whose previous screenwriting credits include Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns home to her Jewish community after being shunned by them years before for her attraction to a female friend. When Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) meet again their passions reignite.

Disobedience is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s second feature film. Her previous film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her next film is Colette starring Keira Knightley which is released in the UK early next year.

 

The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

Ebru Ceylan is a writer and director whose debut short film Kiyida (1998) was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival. The Wild Pear Tree is her third feature-length screenplay.


And that’s it for this month’s Reel Women. That’s 16 films from a wide range of genres that are released in the UK that are made by women in November. Do let us know what you think of any of these films if you get a chance to see them – some might be easier to find than others!

INTERVIEW: Jim Cummings Talks Indie Filmmaking, Thunder Road, And The Value Of Creative Ownership

INTERVIEWED BY JESSICA PEÑA

Remember this name: Jim Cummings.

He’s been on the road (Thunder Road, if you will) promoting the release of his feature length film, which took home the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. A total knockout of a film, it blends together comedic ingenuity with grounded tragedy, which results in a film you won’t stop thinking about for some time.

We were fortunate enough to chat with Jim and pick his brain a little about the state of the film industry, his creative process going from short to feature film and the way he used his time to create a haven of creativity and support for ten independent filmmakers.


So, you seem to be having quite the week with Thunder Road, premiering here in the US. So I wanted to ask, How have you been? Are you exhausted at all? Do you need some coffee?!

That’s very kind of you. I’m drinking coffee right now so I’m okay. I’m better now. It’s been- It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been pretty well. I flew from LA to Milan Film Festival, then to Montreal, then to Raleigh. And then over the last couple of days have been charging it up to the coast to different Alamo Drafthouse screenings and waving and saying hi to everybody. And that’s really cool. No, I’m not tired. I’m thrilled. It’s cool. I feel like it’s been so long since everybody’s been able to see it. And we’re finally getting to put it out there. So yeah, I’m happy as can be.

Yeah, I’ll bet you’re very grateful but tired. But it seems like you’re chasing this high and you’re just going along with it. So that’s great. And you’ve been on fire lately traveling around for press for your film right now. And I’m so thankful to squeeze in a chat with you. I wanted to start off a little light- what was the last movie you saw that wasn’t your own?

Whooo, that’s a great question.

How do you have the time?!

Yeah, I don’t know. I think that the last movie that I remember seeing at the cinema, that wasn’t mine… I see a bunch of movies at film festivals. So I saw this film, STYX, that was really good. That was at the Odesa Film Festival. It’s a German film. But the last movie that I paid for that I went to the cinema for was First Reformed. That was really good.

Oh, wow. Very dark.

It’s great. It was great. I loved it. Yeah, it was great.

You know, it sort of reminds me of your film right now, actually.

Little bit. Yeah. It has a harsh ending.

I watched Thunder Road actually back in May at the Nashville Film Festival. And I’m not kidding when I say that, the more I thought about it since then, the more I love it! You really made something so unique with this film.

You won a string of awards, both at the calibre of Sundance with the short and at SXSW earlier this year for your feature. And it begs a realization that filmmakers should be seizing their voice and their passion and make it into a film at any given day, really. I’m just so grateful to be talking to you today, because I love your ‘give no fucks’ attitude, ‘do it yourself,’ approach to filmmaking.

Through this whole ride with the feature, have you learned anything new about yourself or the way you work on ideas?

Yeah, sure. And and I hate to say it- like, when I say that stuff of you know, don’t wait to make movies with your friends, and turn yourself into a movie studio. It’s a nice sentiment but I still have to wake up and tell myself that everyday. There are very distracting encouragements from people who are telling us that they’ll give us money to make stuff and you know, more than nine times out of ten, it’s false. It just won’t happen or it falls through or something happens.

It’s very important to remember that at every level and just because we’ve had some moderate success over the last few years, it doesn’t mean that I’m in any better position than anybody else to continue to make stuff and make more movies. So, yeah, I think it’s crucial for everybody to continue to make stuff. But I think the thing that I’ve learned the most is that it’s possible and that if you do do this enterprise, if you do seize the means of production and just go and make things, you’ll be rewarded for it.

Like people, if you can make something that’s different and you can do it on a small budget with your friends from a Kickstarter campaign, and it’s any good at all, people will be happy that it’s not a superhero movie and support it.

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And with the Kickstarter campaign for the feature film, I think you were asking like $10,000. What was your reaction when you saw just how much that amount grew to be?

Yeah, shock really. Okay, so we knew that we would probably be able to raise more than 10,000. We were thinking it’d probably be like 15 or 16 or 17 and we asked for 10 because Kickstarter has a policy where if you don’t raise the full amount, you get none of it. And so we asked a little low, but we didn’t dream that we would get, you know, 38 or 36,000, or that we would be able to raise the 10 in the first like, seven hours, which is crazy. Um, and then also the other shocking thing that when we were asking for help and making the film, we met a lot of associate producers who came on board who were strangers to us or were, you know, Twitter followers of ours until they joined the production and now they are good friends and they came and helped out, and it was just a really wonderful experience of tapping the community, and they learned a lot. We learned a lot. Yeah, it was a really great kind of collaborative experience through a crowdfunding campaign. We’re very lucky.

That’s really great. Yeah, I’ll bet the perseverance really paid off there. And just the song itself, “Thunder Road” is just so riveting and how he’s telling us to just pack our shit, forget about the troubles, and just hit the gas, you know? Would you say you’re tied to your work in very personal ways? Because Thunder Road is in itself a very intimate character study.

Yeah. I sympathize with that call to arms of leaving your life if you’re unhappy or if you’re on the verge, just hop in the car and pack things up. I think that is a really beautifully American anthem. But no, I don’t have a whole lot to do with the guy, I think. I am a divorcé, but I don’t have children of my own. Both of my parents are still alive, luckily. And yeah, I have very loving sisters. Yeah, there’s not a whole lot– I mean, I do feel that pathetic sometimes and I’ll put my foot in my mouth often, so I think everybody has that. So yeah, he’s just a product of me trying to make people laugh and trying to make people cry.

Yeah, and you did it very excellently, by the way.

Thank you.

You’re welcome! And his relationship with his mother just seems so far gone from the things he needs to deal with on a daily basis, like being a good father upholding his job, and it just continues to destroy his psyche and he becomes irrational because of it, although he means well. So how did you build up his traits and who this character would become in the film?

Yeah, so I guess it started out with story where I was like writing different ideas for scenes and trying to build out the plot of what the story would be and having it be structured for maximum audience engagement and fulfillment. And so I wrote down, you know, like 50 or 60 scenes and then narrowed it down to, 30 or 35. And some of them were crappy, some of them were fun. But then yeah, it was just that. It was throwing this person into interesting experiences and creating a scene where we were able to see a different side to this guy or an interesting side of this person from the Thunder Road short film.

Often when I was writing the feature, I’d be thinking a lot about the short film, what made that valuable, what audiences took from that. It was just like, you’re watching this person having a public meltdown, which is very interesting. That’s like number one, and then it’s also this love story for the mom and then this scary depiction of a possible future with his daughter. And it’s all contained in this performance piece and sometimes it doesn’t use a whole lot of dialogue, or it’s all monologue. And so I was like, kind of using that as the visual language of the movie. And that was part of the construction of the screenplay as well.

Yeah, it’s really magnificent how it all plays out on screen. You can see he’s put on such an act to the world trying to create this tough layer. And I thought it was so interesting how he’s a cop and yet the world just continues to disarm him. And it was so sad to see, but also somewhat cathartic to his character. Even his phrase, “See me wrestling an alligator, help the alligator,” as a viewer, you see just how defeated he is the next time he says that. It just goes hand in hand with how this guy continues to feel emasculated, humiliated, and yet this is actually just his way of grieving his mother. And I wanted to ask how did you come to the structure of the feature when the short film has become the opening scene here?

Yeah, so for a long time I thought that should be the climax because that’s a really big scene in this guy’s life and then I didn’t really like the idea. I couldn’t really find a way to make that work. I didn’t know what his real life relationship would be with his mom, but I’m a huge fan of short stories. When we’re writing a short story, they always say, “show up late and leave early.” So, you jump in the middle of a conversation and it kind of forces the audience to find out what’s happening, and it’s kinda like a riddle that you have to parce out and try to understand what’s happening, and I find that to be a really interesting and fulfilling experience. I don’t know, it’s like a game you’re playing with the with the filmmaker.

And so yea, I thought that eventually would be a good idea, to just start the film with that instead of have it be the crescendo in the movie. And then I, you know, started writing scenes with it in the beginning of the movie and then introducing the character this way and then having to have his daughter like him again, and the struggle of that, and then it just came like that. The goal was to never back down and to continue to build up the tension and the aggression, and the interesting dilemma that this guy is in all the time. So although it is a challenge to do that, having seen the short film, we just had the world crumble around him. He gets fired, he loses custody. I realized that it was going to be far more interesting to watch this guy take all of his clothes off in a parking lot and get fired than at the funeral, possibly.

Yeah, I love the part in the opening scene where they’re trying to get that Hello Kitty boombox to work and he’s like, “Should we just call the manufacturer?”

Yeah. Yeah, that was one of my favorites, too.

Do you have a favorite scene in the film?

Yeah, I really like the scene of me getting fired. I think that’s like, just a really awesome moment. And we get to see different sides of this dude. But it was also very similar to the short film. And I like that. I like the fact that there are a lot of similarities in the cinematography, the pacing, and the comedy and drama of that. And I think it stays true to the short film while also being something new and different and big. So I’m proud of that. It’s kind of like the sequel of the short film and I’m happy with that.

I think my favorite scene in the movie is at the ballet at the end. That’s probably what I’m most proud of because it’s so big and small at the same time. It’s like using the story that we’ve built up for the last 85 minutes or 87 minutes and then in these last few moments, you get catharsis. You get to watch this guy have a very important moment in his life in private in a ballet, and he’s crying and he has nobody to talk to about it. But it’s a lovely little moment. That’s probably my favorite moment of the movie.

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Yeah. And how was it directing yourself with all the emotion you had to bring to the table? And was there ever a point in production where you thought you’d give up or did you just keep yourself steady on that high you’re chasing?

Oh, no. All the time. Yeah, I was always nervous that it wasn’t going to work. But we rehearsed it 1000 times. Like, at every moment of the day that I wasn’t doing something, I would go off at a Starbucks here, you know, into a parking lot and just act out some of the scenes and talk to myself and try and make it as good as possible. Um, but yeah, we shot it in 14 days in Austin. It was a very small budget. We were always nervous that something was going to go awry, and that’s the nature of independent filmmaking in America. So no, I was always nervous. And I’m not an actor. I’m not a trained actor at all. And so it kind of required me to rehearse a great deal. And in order to make sure that it was any good at all.

And at what point did you realize that you’re just gonna have to do this on your own as far as coming up with a budget with your team and the self distribution part of it?

Basically, whenever anybody who was supposed to be in charge of us or in charge of helping us out failed to do so. So like, you know, the production companies that had turned other very famous successful movies from short films into features were telling us no. So I was like, all right, well, there’s kind of nobody else to go to. Why don’t we just fucking– I guess we have to do it ourselves. And it was kind of better that way. We’d already done 10 short films independently and well, you know, this is gonna be nothing new. It’s just gonna be a longer duration.

How was the mindset changing from looking for the help that you thought you were gonna get to helping yourself and taking that ownership?

Yeah, ownership is something we talk about a lot. It’s not in the metaphorical sense, but in a literal sense of it. If you’re able to do it yourself, you own the thing. And really, the idea of getting greenlit in Hollywood is that they give you a little bit of money, and then they own the thing forever, and you don’t make anything off of it. And so although that sounds like the word “greenlight” is a really cool thing and success, it’s actually less successful since, you know, filmmaking has become more democratized. And so although our movie’s very small, we’re not spending a whole lot of money on marketing. We own the thing. And it’s our first movie. And it’s the first of many, and so I’m glad that we took charge. And we weren’t, you know, spectators of our futures.

We were able to say, okay, no we’ll put in a little bit more work, and maybe not even. The distribution of course is a lot more work. But you know we’ve had films, when I was a producer, we had films distributed and there’s still a lot of work, we still do a bunch of spreadsheets and do all these deliverables and pay a lot of money to get the DCP’s made and all that stuff. It’s no different from what we’re doing now. We just have to spend a couple more months doing other things too.

You mentioned before, I think, how you like to stand as you write and perform the script as you come up with it. So in your writing process, do you prefer to work in solitude? Or do you like to have those people around you to bounce ideas off of?

It depends on the script. So for the short films, for something like Parent Teacher or The Robbery, both of those were written and co written by my friend Dustin Hahn. And he is so much fun to work with because you just get to bullshit all the time and, like, come up with funny things to make each other laugh. And then that becomes the script. But then with this one, I wrote it for the first, few months, maybe the first month, kind of in private. And it was a very sad endeavor and I kind of wanted to do it that way. And I felt like I had to. I was crying a lot while writing and it was kind of a much more personal and private kind of experience in writing than many other things. But then I opened it up as soon as I had a first draft. I sent it to everybody and got good notes, and then it changed. We always say we’re building the plane while we’re flying it. So there were times where like, we’re actually on set and Dustin has a funny idea for a line, and we ended up using that instead of what was written on the page.

Are you like a meticulous planner or do you just prefer to go with the flow and let everything fall into place?

No, no, no. It’s gotta be planned out with long takes, specifically. It has to be like, everything has to be planned out because everything has to be in focus and if there’s anything that’s different or a stand out from the other takes, it’s not going to be in focus or it’s not going to work and everything has to be planned.

Yeah, and I actually just watched The Robbery the other night. I was like, how did I not go find this in his pile before?! It’s interesting. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Thank you. Yeah, so that poor girl, yeah. That’s funny.

She just wanted to save her pet.

Yeah, exactly.

So, juggling your personal life with work and passion, I can’t imagine it’s all that easy. How do you strike the right balance to ensure you’re keeping all the plates spinning?

Yeah, I might not be the best person to ask about that work/life balance. I’m not too good at it. And really, we have eight or nine projects going on all the time. So yeah, I struggle with it a lot, to be honest with you. I think really, work/life, I see them as both the same. I’m a filmmaker and I’m kind of the same person, you know, in the writing process as I am in the filming process. I’m just always trying to make something and get something going. So yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know how I do it. I think it’s just project management. I have five producers who are really wonderful and keep us all on task and you know, keep me calm. It’s nice.

Well, that’s really good. And something I can’t shake since seeing Thunder Road and the press you’ve done for it is the need for more unique voices as your own and we here at JUMPCUT ONLINE, we’re super grateful for the opportunity to talk to you right now, because honestly, you’ve become a necessary voice in film today and your message and the things you champion just go on to validate every single filmmaker out there who just wants to turn their passion into a living and just ignore the industry standards. So I was kind of hoping you can expand on that.

Yeah, so I didn’t have anybody to do that, really. I heard Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass saying the kind of stuff like, ‘the cavalry isn’t coming,’ and, ‘you have to do it yourself.’ And I just saw that as this big endeavor. I didn’t know how to do anything. And so it scared me a great deal. And then I met a filmmaker named Trey Shults and he made a film called Krisha which is one of my favorites, and to see him making movies in his backyard with his family, you know, I’m sure John Cassavetes is doing the same thing, but it was so much more relatable to see him do it.

But he doesn’t have a Twitter account, really. And you know, he’s a very quiet person. He’s not a big braggart like I am. And so I feel like I was the only person who was really inspired by him and his story and his family, directly. And so, that’s what got me off the couch to make the Thunder Road short film, for sure. I was like, well shit, I get to be that now. And, you know, I get to pretend to be him and try to help people who were going through hell like we were, for years and years, trying to make projects, you know.

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Yeah, and it seems like making a movie these days, really, when you think about it, it’s just as easy as grabbing your iPhone and just shooting the thing because Sean Baker and Steven Soderbergh have clearly proved its capabilities, as of late. So going into what you’ve been working on lately, with the Short to Feature Lab, I was wondering if you can talk about its conception, how it all went down and if you’ve built some strong relationships with all 10 of your fellows as you guided them.

So yeah, the Short to Feature Lab was an invention of Benjamin Wiessner and mine’s. We  were talking about the toolbox that we have now of turning shorts into features. Our buddy, Danny Madden, turned his short Krista, which won SXSW, two awards at SXSW this year, into a feature a few months ago that Ben was the producer on and I’ve helped out on. Jocelyn DeBoer and Don Levy both shot the feature of Greener Grass, which was a short film at our production company as well, with the help of our producer Natalie Metzger for the Thunder Road feature. And, I don’t know. We just had the experience of doing that path of short-to-feature that we were like, well, why don’t we just start something to help people. We were so incensed that nobody would help us to turn our short film into a feature, despite the fact that we were good candidates for it.

Like, we know our short film is very, luckily, incredibly successful, and still, the channels of Hollywood were not there to help us out or catch us when we were falling. So it really just became this instrument of philanthropy for us of wanting to help people and we did it. We ran a Kickstarter campaign. We were able to raise almost $9,000 in total from donors and submissions, and we brought out these 10 filmmakers who have really cool short films.

Yeah, so we were able to meet these 10 filmmakers and bring them out to my parents’ house in Malibu and spend five days with them workshopping their features and just, like, giving them all of the tools that we learned how to do for free. We helped them with their Kickstarter campaigns or you know, just taught. There’s a lot of bullshit in the film industry and there’s a lot of strange old wives tales that get passed around. Like, one of our filmmakers said, “well, I need a million dollars to make my movie.” like that’s how much it’s gonna cost. Like, “everybody who I’ve spoken to said this is at least a million dollar movie.” But one of the arguments that the filmmaker made was, well this stuff happens. Movies get made. Like, people spend a million dollars on a movie, that happens, but it’s just, I’ve never seen it before.

And like, we’re doing fine. We’re making movies in the film industry. But there’s just these rumors that gets spread around that are very dangerous and can often make filmmakers spend years and years, and years not making movies, because they’re waiting for somebody to give them permission to or give them money to.

And it’s just a daydream that’s like, you know, verging on gambling addiction of wasting all this time and spending your whole life daydreaming that someone’s going to help you out and waiting for your boat to come in. And it’s just, it’s imaginary. And so really, reprogramming that kind of film school thinking was the first step and then walking them through Facebook ads, building your own audience, and all that stuff. It’s empowering the next generation of international filmmaking and I’m stoked about it.

Yeah, like going off what you said are the next generation of filmmakers, it sort of seems like the industry a lot of times is rigged against their best interest. So, it’s so refreshing to see how the Short to Feature Lab has been working, and you said it was five days that you took?

Yeah.

Were you able to fit in all the information and everything you wanted to teach them within that time frame?

Yeah, so the first evening were, you know, we were hoping to just have a meet and greet and then have the majority of the lectures and stuff the next day. But it very quickly turned into like, hey, you know, everybody had questions and so we were able to hang out by the fire that night, talk through stuff, and then have our full workshops the next day and then throughout the week. So the first three days of the five were mentorships and workshops where we had incredible filmmakers join up, like Derek Cianfrance, Rick Alverson and Sean Baker was actually really close to doing it, but couldn’t because he’s shooting a movie right now.

Frankie Shaw, Jocelyn DeBoer, Danny Madden. We have all these awesome filmmakers who took time out of their day to workshop these movies for these filmmakers that we paired them with, and it’s great. They are now on their way to making their movies. So that was the first three days. It was like, heavy workshops and hangout sessions. And then that afforded us two full days to just allow them to start working on whatever part of the project they’re on. So like some of them were writing scripts. Vishnu, who’s one of our fellows, spent the first like, day and a half workshopping, and then he spent the next three days writing the entire first act of his movie, which is really cool.

Same thing with Joey Izzo, he was workshopping his movie and writing out scenes and dialogue. It was a very, very cool collaborative process that we’re thrilled to do again and expand. We want to expand to other labs and do specific ones for sci-fi, or female stories, or LGBT stories, and basically anybody who needs help making their feature out of a short, we’re going to try and expand to.

Yeah, that’d be awesome if you guys expanded on that. And throughout the whole thing, the whole process of it, did you see a part of yourself in these filmmakers?

Yeah, sure. So like, I mean, they submit to me and I watch all of the films. So of course the movies are playing to my sensibilities, but they’re all original. Like, a lot of them are not the happy, sad kind of movies that I make. They just have really great craftsmanship. And that’s what I feel like most audiences respond to, is craftsmanship. So we picked movies that had a really great sensibility of cinematic storytelling. Um, but yeah, I was nervous showing up you know. It was Ben and me, and we’re like prepping and building the tents in the backyard and, you know, getting all the craft services and stuff. And we’re nervous that the filmmakers might not get along. But we picked the movies and all the movies were great. And so of course, they got along. They’re all now very good friends of ours, because they’re so cool, because their movies are cool.

That’s awesome!

Yeah, we’re lucky.

So what can we expect next from you and your team? How much can you tell us about your next project? I hear you’re working on a werewolf movie?

Yeah, I’m doing a werewolf movie right now with a major studio and then I am in development with a streaming platform to do a show about astronauts, which I’m really excited about.

That’s really cool stuff! I do want to stress how thankful we are for you as an emerging creative in general. Because seeing your strong success so far can actually go on to validate someone else out there who’s trying to lift their project off the ground, and as you say, anyone can do it, right?

So yeah, anybody can do it. Exactly right. Always keep that in mind.

Thanks so much for your time, Jim! Last question before I leave you, does pineapple belong on pizza?!

Absolutely not.


We really hope you enjoyed this interview with Jim Cummings! I encourage you to seek out his work and continue to support and talk about unique perspectives and what it really means to be fulfilled with your filmmaking and carving your own methods for success.

You can totally go ahead and pre-order Thunder Road on iTunes right now!

You can follow Jim on Twitter: @jimmycthatsme

You can check out all the amazing fellows and mentors Jim talked about on the Short to Feature Lab and be sure to check out Jim’s Vimeo page! There, you’ll find a couple of the shorts mentioned in the interview, as well as the glorious Thunder Road short, which inspired his feature length film.

LFF 2018: Widows

Year: 2018
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell

Written by Dave Curtis

Back in 2011, I was a runner in a post-production house in London. At the same time, an up and coming director had finished filming his second feature film and was deep into the sound mix. This man would go on to win an Oscar and become one of the most wanted directors in the industry. His name was Steve McQueen.

He was just finishing Shame, his second link up with Michael Fassbender. (The first being ‘Hunger’). Steve was nice enough to answer all my questions. He enjoyed Nandos most days (he likes his chicken dry with no spices if you were wondering) and most importantly he was polite to the runners (many directors were not). It’s fantastic to see him doing so well. After the success of 12 Years a Slave it seems he has the pick of any actors or project he wishes. Fast forward to 2018 and his new film Widows opens the London Film Festival, a great honour for any British director.

Based on a British TV series from the 80s and popular book, Widows has been relocated to Chicago from London. Viola Davis plays Veronica, a recent widowed wife whose thief husband (Liam Neeson) died with his gang in their latest heist. After being threatened by a local gangster, the wives take on their husbands debts.

McQueen’s latest feels like his least personal project but also his most ambitious. It has given him the chance to try something different and use all his tricks that he has learnt from his previous films. When Widows is at its best it really does soar. The all-star cast elevates it and the smartly written script really cements it as a solid film. McQueen’s control shines through, a man so comfortable and confident in his abilities as a director.

The film starts with a bang and the tone is set.  The pacing rarely lets up and that is mostly down to the cast. Coming off the back of an Oscar win for Fences, Viola Davis once again delivers a performance which she has come to be known for. The backbone she gives Veronica is also the backbone to the film; strong and unwavering. She also has eyes of steel which are so intense. Out of a cast of so many it is always hard to mention just a few. Daniel Kaluuya is truly menacing as Jatemme Manning (the brother to Brian Tyree Henry’s Jamal Manning). He surely is the best Britain has to offer at the moment. Elizabeth Debicki offers some laughs as Alice, a fellow widow. She clearly is having fun in the role.

The director of photography Sean Bobbitt work also stands out, the camera work is exciting and ambitious. Some of the shots are inventive, in particular a scene which involves Colin Farrell having a very heated discussion in his car. The editing is also smooth which helps with the pacing and some of the music and song choices are very clever.

What Widows does well, is overshadow the very few flaws it has. Some of the characters aren’t really all there, I know the original husbands aren’t really it in but a bit depth to their backgrounds would have helped (Jon Bernthal is once again under used). Also, dare I say it, but some of the twists and shocks were a little predictable.

This is a fine piece of cinema where a great director has assembled a stunning cast who all contribute. There are no weak links. Widows is a character-driven heist film, not the other way around (the heist comes second). That doesn’t stop it being exciting, it’s very brutal and feels uncomfortably real for its entire runtime.

DAVE’S RATING:

4

LFF 2018: Thunder Road

Directed by: Jim Cummings
Starring: Jim Cummings, Kendall Farr, Nican Robinson

Screening at LFF: 10th, 11th, 12th, 20th
UK Release Date: Not yet announced

Written by Sarah Buddery

Sometimes going into a film with little prior knowledge results in the biggest of surprises, and that was very much the case with Thunder Road. Jim Cummings’ passion project (he writes, directs, and stars in this) is an extension of his short of the same name from 2016.

In what is perhaps one of the best opening scenes of the year, we meet Jim Arnaud (Cummings) at his mother’s funeral, delivering the greatest eulogy/dance sequence ever. No, really. Veering wildly between emotional hysteria, and deadpan asides, the sequence is nothing short of genius, and immediately establishes the tragi-comedy tone. If you’re not sold from this incredible opening diatribe, then the rest of the film is unlikely to hook you, but it is hard not to be lured in with Cummings enigmatic performance.

What follows is a film which manages to constantly surprise and delight, delving into grief in a very real yet humorous way, and exploring other themes such as the joys and trials of parenthood, and examining what it is to be a man and particularly how men deal with emotions as well.

It’s hard to imagine this film as 15 minute short as it packs a lot in, yet in its exploration of Arnaud as a character, it absolutely flies by. As already mentioned, Cummings is the beating heart of this film, and in his direction in particular, he manages to make the film feel precise as well as wonderfully unhinged. It has something of an unscripted feel, yet the comedy and the writing is so well executed and perfectly timed. There is measure and control to his performance, even when the character is wild and hysterical, and it is a performance which is equal parts insane and sublime. In a just world, he would be receiving awards consideration; it really is that good.

There’s a couple of plot threads which are left open-ended which is a little frustrating, but that aside, this is an accomplished tour-de-force from triple-threat Jim Cummings. As a cinematic exploration of one man’s state of mind and his way of coping with tragedy, this film succeeds. Few films can make you laugh and cry until it hurts – almost in equal measure – and also to the point where it becomes hard to distinguish one from the other. Thunder Road is tragi-comedy in its purest form, striking the perfect balance between the two, and also managing to be both simultaneously. A surprise hit, and honestly for that opening scene alone it is worth a watch!

Sarah’s Verdict

4

Reel Women: October UK Releases

Written by Elena Morgan

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. October is London Film Festival month and 38% of the films on show there are directed by women, so if you get the chance to attend the festival, try and see the hidden gems on offer. But if you’re not at the festival, there’s still films being released in cinemas and on Netflix this month that are made by women. This month we’ve got Netflix originals, documentaries, book adaptations and an anti-hero superhero movie.

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3 October

Venom

Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Written by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinker, Kelly Marcel and Will Beall

When reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) acquires the powers of an alien symbiote, he finds he’s not alone in his own mind and body anymore.

Kelly Marcel is a screenwriter, producer and actress. Her previous screenwriting credits include Fifty Shades of Grey and Saving Mr. Banks.

 

 

5 October

A Thousand Girls Like Me

Directed by Sahara Mani
Written by Giles Gardner and Sahra Mani

Documentary about Kjatera, a 23-year-old Afghan woman, tells the story of how she was sexually abused by her father on national TV. She’s seeking punishment for her perpetrator and to shed light onto the faulty Afghan judicial system.

A Thousand Girls Like Me is Sahara Mani’s first film, as well as writing and directing it she also produced it.

 

Jalouse

Written and Directed by David Foenkinos and Stéphane Foenkinos

A divorced teacher suddenly becomes jealous of everyone, including her daughter, friends and neighbours.

Stéphane Foenkinos is an actor, writer, director and casting director. Jalouse is her second feature film, her first film Delicacy was nominated for Best First Film at the 2012 César Awards.

 

Kusama: Infinity

Directed by Heather Lenz
Written by Heather Lenz and Keita Ideno

Documentary about artist Yayoi Kusama who, along with experts, discuss her life and work.

This is Heather Lenz’s first feature-length documentary, as well as writing and directing it, she also edited and produced it. Kusama: Infinity was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

 

Private Life

Written and Directed by Tamara Jenkins

Author Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and her husband Richard (Paul Giamatti) are going through multiple fertility treatments and it’s putting pressure on their relationship.

New to Netflix, Private Life is Jenkins’ third feature film. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for her previous film The Savages (2007).

 

 

12 October

Smallfoot

Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisig
Written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Clare Sera

Animated adventure about a yeti is convinced that the elusive creatures know as humans, or smallfoots, really do exist.

Clare Sera is an actress, director and screenwriter. Her previous screenplay was the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler comedy film Blended.

 

Pili

Written and Directed by Leanne Welham

Pili (Bello Rashid) lives in rural Tanzania, working the fields for less than $1 a day to feed her two children and struggling to manage her HIV-positive status in secret. When she is offered the chance to rent a sought-after market-stall, Pili is forced to make increasingly difficult decisions in order to get the stall.

Pili is Leanne Welham’s first feature film as well as writing and directing it she also produced it. Previously she has directed five short films.

 

 

13 October

Make Me Up

Written and Directed Rachel Maclean

Siri wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist candy-coloured dreamhouse. Despite the cutesy decor, the place is far from benign, and she and her inmates are encouraged to compete for survival.

Make Me Up is Rachel Maclean’s second feature film. She edited it, acted it and was the production designer for the film.

 

 

19 October

Science Fair

Directed by Cristina Constantini and Darren Foster
Written by Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett

Documentary about nine high school students from around the world competing in an international science fair.

Science Fair is Cristina Constantini’s first film.

 

Touch Me Not

Written and Directed by Adina Pintilie

A documentary about filmmaker Pintilie as she and her characters venture into a personal research project about intimacy.

Touch Me Not is Adina Pintilie’s first feature film and has won both the Best First Feature Award and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year.

 

 

22 October

The Hate U Give

Directed by George Tilman Jr.
Written by Audrey Wells

Starr (Amanda Stenberg) has two lives, one in her community and one in her private school. Those two lives come crashing down when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer, and Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

Audrey Wells is a screenwriter and director. The Hate U Give is her ninth produced screenplay and it is an adaptation of the critically-acclaimed novel by Angie Thomas.

 

 

26 October

Utøya – July 22

Directed by Erik Poppe
Written by Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig

Teenager Kaja (Andrea Berntzen) struggles to survive as she searches for her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.

Anna Bache-Wiig is an actress and writer. Utøya – July 22 is her first feature film; however, she’s written a number of episodes of the TV show Acquitted which she also starred in.

 

Shirkers

Written and Directed by Sandi Tan

A documentary about Sandi Tan and her co-creators who made Shirkers which could’ve been a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator who disappeared.

Shirkers is Sandi Tan’s first feature-length documentary. As well as writing and directing it, she also edited and produced it.


And that’s it for this month! Thirteen films that are made by women – ooh, thirteen unlucky for some, well it is October! Do let us know what you think of any of these films, or any of the films made by women at the London Film Festival, if you catch them this month.

Marvel Release Hotly Anticipated First Teaser Trailer For ‘Captain Marvel’

“The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.  Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Cast: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Ben Mendelsohn, Clark Gregg, Mckenna Grace

Release Date: March 8th, 2019