Friday, October 31, 2008

No more festival

Well that's it, the LFF is finally over, and my liver is rather glad about that. Last night was the party for Slumdog Millionaire, and also the final night party all rolled into one. It was held in some very posh bar in St James St and was absolutely rammed. In what has become my signature move I drank far too much and then embarrassingly introduced myself to somebody I really admire, this time Stephen Frears. I'd be very surprised if they ever let me into another party again.

Worst thing about the LFF ending is the fact that if I want to see a film now I'll have to pay. No more just turning up and waving a pass, no more press screenings, no more anything. Roll on the next festival.

Something is obviously in the air (or water) as in the last two days we've had a flurry of emails from agents and production companies who want to see the film. I've no idea how this happens as I'd imagine most people keep their cards fairly close to their chest, but it's been most odd, but really, really nice. Fingers crossed the next month will see some good news about getting the next film off the ground.

Meanwhile we sit back and wait for people to come in for distribution for 1234. By all accounts it's a long old process, especially in the current climate, but the sales agent are off to the American Film Market (AFM) next week, which is the biggest market in the US, so with any luck there will be some interest stateside, provided they haven't all got completely caught up in their elections.

Actually the next thing I really need to do is get some work in. These last two weeks I've pretty much lived off canapes, free beer and the chocolate bar they put in every goodie bag, but that's all over now and I'm hungry. One little plate of thai chicken and some tuna carpaccio would go down a treat right now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brave new world

Well, it had to happen one day, but finally, after years of flatly refusing, I've set up a Myspace page for the film . I know, I know, I'm so last year, it's all about twatter or twitter or somesuch but I don't care. I've made a myspace page and I think it looks lovely, so pop by and say hello, or whatever the term is.

Meanwhile we're busy having meetings with all and sundry, talking about next films with companies, and all the time waiting to find out what happens with distribution. By all accounts it's a slow moving process, but even more so as the worlds economy collapses. Still, one day we'll get there, one day...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

London calling

More parties and more screenings. Had our second screening at the Roxy in Brixton. I didn't go but was there at the end and there seemed to be positive mumblings as far as I could hear. Somewhere in the audience was a journalist from Screen International, so here's hoping general audience laughter will have had a positive effect on him. After that it was dinner with the family then off to a party for British directors, where I chatted to Nick Abrahams and Sallie Aprahamian which, as Mark Williams used to say, was nice.

Next day I got to see Vicky Christina Barcelona, which I was really unsure about seeing but loved, and then it was off to introduce our final screening at the NFT studio. It was a great place to have our final screening as almost a year ago (I'll have to go and check the diary, if I can be arsed) we screened Home in the NFT studio at a Shooting People evening, and now here we were showing the feature. Later we went to see Telstar (Mathew Baynton's in it) and while we were queueing up to go in a couple came over and told us how much they'd enjoyed the film. It's little things like this that make the whole festival exposure really worthwhile.

And finally, just when it appeared things couldn't get any better, we went to the Che party at Aisa di Cuba. Everyone there was trying to chat to Benicio del Toro, but I didn't care about meeting him because I got to shake hands with Paul Simonon of the Clash, who was also there. Meeting him may well have been the highlight so far. How can you not be impressed at meeting someone who smashed his bass on stage in such a brilliant way?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More festivalness

The weekend was quiet after the premiere, just what I needed. Monday, however, and it all started again. Had to go to the Hospital (swanky club not A&E) with Simon to do a panel discussion for aspiring film makers. It was quite odd, but fun, the questions all seemed good, it just seemed a little weird to be being held up as an example of how to do something. To celebrate afterwards we all went to a drinks reception, which then moved on to the buyers and sellers party at soho house. Not sure how I got home.

The next day and I'm determined to do tihngs a little quieter. I meet up with scriptwriter jeremy drysdale for a quick pint, then head over to the NFT to apologize to Nick Abrahams for missing the screening of his film. Have drinks with him, meet up with some other people and somehow find myself dragged off to the party for Vicky Christina Barcelona, the new woody allen film. At aprty I drink more but manage to meet Shane Meadows and Atom Egoyan, which is excellent. Drink even more and once again end up unsure of how I got home.

I'm staying in tonight.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The premiere

Finally. I spent most of the day wandering round in a slightly terrified daze, trying to use up time. The festival sent a car to pick me up, which was very nice but meant I was there a good few hours before, so I wandered round the southbank trying to find anything to take my mind off the evening.

I don't know what I thought was going to go wrong, but I certain ly had the feeling that something could go wrong. Mass walk-outs, booing, who knows, this was going to be the first time a paying audience would see it and I had no idea how they would respond.

Thankfully they seemed to like it. People laughed, in the right places too, and then they clapped at the end. The Q and A session at the end wasn't as painful as I feared, though I did manage to get the wrong end of the stick on one question, but all the questions were good and thoughtful, even the ones we could only give short answers to, and nobody asked 'why'?

After that the festival put on a drinks reception for us and guests in the bar, which was excellent, and for the first time that day (or even week) I found I could properly relax. And beer is good. We just got another really nice review from so fingers crossed that with some nice words and a good screening we might now get some distribution. Plus the Film Council people were there and enjoyed it, so with any luck that might make getting the next one off the ground a bit easier.

Eventually the bar shut but a hardcore fifteen or so of us (including all of Betty and the werewolves) then headed off to the Pit bar underneath the Old Vic. I eventually got home sometime after 2am, though I'm not exactly sure when. I had a bottle of champagne in the fridge and nearly opened that, but I'm very glad I didn't, so did the next best thing and sat down to drunkenly watch another episode of the Box of Delights on DVD.

It was great to see so many of the cast and crew at the screening, fingers crossed we can get a screening sorted quickly for the rest of them. Must have been an interesting watch for Mathew Baynton (Neil), as that was the first time he'd seen any cut of the film. He's a brave man going to his own premiere like that, but I'm glad to say he seemed happy enough at the end.

So the next hurdle is the industry screening on Monday morning when all the distributors sit down to watch it. I think I'll avoid that one, I don't think my heart could take it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The party

I've been to many parties. I've been to super posh ones, though always as someone elses plus one, and I've been to smaller ones in my own right and had a blast (yes Uppsala, Leuven and Brest, I'm looking at you) but this was the first big party I'd ever been to when i didn't have to lie to get in, and it was great.

I spent half the night spotting famous people, and the other half trying to remember their names. The great and the good of British film were there, as well, thankfully, as a lot of people we knew. Highlights included one very drunk distributor mouthing off about bad How To Lose Friends was just as Toby Young squeezed past, and, best of all a woman from another distribution company who asked to be introduced because she loved the film. It was an absolute joy to be able to talk to someone you'd never met about the film and have them bring scenes and situations up rather than you having to tell them about the film. She works for a label we all very much admire, and so it was doubley nice to hear she'd enjoyed the film.

The bar ran out of drink just after all the tubes stopped running, but the event made up for the fact by giving away excellent goodie bags, including a bag stuffed full of Armani bits and bobs. I can safely predict that the delegates centre tomorrow will smell of the Armani code, so I shall wear my Tom Ford aftershave instead as a way of marking my territory from everyone else. It's a great improvement on my other plan for marking my territory out in the delegates centre, something I think I shall save for week 2.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's finally here

Today marks the opening day of the 42nd London film festival and things are starting to get a bit mental. We've had lots of little mentions in things, and a lot of them say there's quite a buzz about 1234, all very nice, but I do hope it doesn't get too out of hand and lead people to think the film is something it's not. It's a nice, little film, and in someways I think it's better knowing very little and being surprised than by being told too much and not having your expectations fulfilled. In fact, that's always right, not just in some ways.

First up today was the Guardian Podcast alongside Lyndsey Marshal. This was done by Xan Brooks and Jason Solomons from the Observer / Guardian. It was very relaxed and quite good fun, though as usual I rambled on too much. Jason hadn't seen the film yet, but Xan had (he interviewed me about the LFF a couple of days before) and said he liked it. All in all, quite easy.

Then it was off to radio five live to be interviewed on the Simon Mayo show. Thankfully Michael Hayden from the LFF was there as well, which took some of the preassure off, but it's still really nerve-wracking thinking that something like half a million people are listening. Try as you might to forget it you're always aware of that fact and it makes everything very tricky. Simon Mayo was very nice, Michael was as complimentary as ever about the film, and then the man from the Film Council came on and said nice things about it as well. Overall, not nearly as easy as the podcast but OK.

Was dreading the next one, a live interview with SKY TV. Radio seems much less harrowing to do than TV full stop, but a live piece filled me with a degree of terror. And then, once again, Madonna gave the world of cinema a proverbial kicking by announcing her divorve thereby moving the LFF off the top spot and bouncing my proposed interview right off the schedule. Was hugely relieved.

Now just have to have a shower and change into my smart suit and it's off to the Hilton for the opening night party. No idea what it's going to be like, but I bet Madonna doesn't turn up.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Press day

We got our first review today, and a lovely one it was too (here's a link). Reading the review it struck me that it's funny because you spend all this time making a film, and then when it's finished you kind of give it away and it belongs to anyone who sees it. It's something I guess we have to get used to (though if everyone hates it I'm taking it back). I never in a million years thought we'd get Four Weddings mentioned in review of 1234 - though with a quick bit of mental arithmatic I reckon that if we got 0.01% of their worldwide gross we'd go into profit - but it crops up in this one. I was dreading reading the first review, and so it's nice to have got that out the way with such a positive one.

Meanwhile, at the Southbank it was our press screening, and thankfully we needn't have worried about attendance as it was packed. I have this information second hand as I couldn't face turning up to see for myself. Apparently there was laughter, hopefully in the right places, and fingers crossed it went down well. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

The next level of dread is going to be the premiere in 8 days time, which will not only be hell having to watch the film with a full audience for the first time but will also then feature the Q&A session after. Roll on Saturday morning and we can all start relaxing, unless of course I end up saying something really out of order by accident and have to then go into hiding in Belgium.

Meanwhile, best film seen so far (though they've all been good) is documentary Beautiful Losers on the outsider art movement. It's excellent.

Friday, October 03, 2008

One film, handed over

So that's that (for now). Film, with a full grade and stereo sound mix handed over to the people at the London film festival. Obviously that's not all the work done, we still need to get a 5.1 stereo mix down for release, and then there's the small matter of trying to get someone to buy the film for distribution, but for now, that's it.

Next up is our press screening on the 9th, so it's time to email every journalist we can think of and try to get them down to see it. There's supposed to be somehting about the film in the Times tomorrow, and the Observer requested a copy, so fingers crossed we could get a mention there as well. The odd thing is that this part is so important but is completely out of our hands. A couple of good reviews will make selling the film so much easier, but we've made the film, now there's nothing we can do but hope people like it.

All screenings are now sold out, and I'm somewhat dreading the premiere. Kearney and I have to do a Q and A session afterwards. I wasn't keen, but Michael Hayden (head programmer at the LFF) really wants to do one, and he's been so supportive of the film we really couldn't say no. I have visions of him asking the audience if anyone has any questions, only to be met with stoney silence before one person puts their hand up and just asks 'why?'.

So as a way of not thinking about things I'm going to lots of press screenings. this week so far I've seen Il Divo, which caused such a storm at Cannes and is excellent (modern Italian political history told in the style of Goodfellas) and Dean Spanley, which our friend Alan Harris produced, and which is wonderful. Peter O'Toole is amazing in it, and with the right marketing I think it could be a huge hit.