A wealth of offbeat and surprising films from New Zealand

We are so looking forward to our annual visit to Isfield Community Enterprise Field this coming Saturday. It’s our first of two screenings as part of Scalarama Festival, and we have a sort of mini-festival within a festival planned for the marquee this year! We start with three fantastic short films by British filmmakers, ‘Infinite’ by Lowkey Films, ‘Next’ by animator Barry Purves and ‘The Cutter’ by Carl Prechezer. We will then cosy down to watch Taika Waititi’s ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’. The evening costs just £5, payable at the door – it is a marquee screening, so do bring blankets and cushions – whatever you need to feel extra cosy and comfortable!

In preparation for this fabulous film, we have been thinking about some other great films from New Zealand. Here are just a few picks:

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

The first of two Peter Jackson films on this list. After gaining a cult following a couple of intensely graphic splatter-fests, Peter Jackson took critics and audiences alike by surprise with this stylish and fascinating thriller, with a fascinating study of the obsessive nature of teenage female friendships (here, taken to the extreme) at its centre.

The Whale Rider (2002)

An inspiring story of a young Maori girl, who’s ambition is to become take up the traditionally male role of chief of her tribe. On release, the 13 year old star, Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest person to be nominated for the best actress academy award – well deserved, because her outstanding performance really carries the film!

An Angel At My Table (1990)

Jane Campion is possibly better known for ‘The Piano’, which should of course feature on this list, but I’ve opted for her adaptation of author Janet Frame’s autobiography. Beautifully shot, with a lightness of touch, the film takes its paint a portrait of Frame’s complex character.

Forgotten Silver (1995)

I don’t usually include two films by the same director, but I couldn’t resist – this is quite possibly my favourite Peter Jackson film, a fascinating mockumentary about ‘forgotten’ New Zealand film pioneer, Colin McKenzie. The beautifully shot ‘early’ film footage and colourful details of McKenzie’s life were all created by Peter Jackson, and betray a deep and obsessive love of cinema.

Boy (2010)

Finally, a film by Taika Waititi, Director of ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’. Similar in some ways to our headliner next week, ‘Boy’ is a charmingly offbeat comedy/ drama set in 1984. A coming-of-age tale seen through the eyes of a Michael Jackson-obsessed child named Boy.

…so that’s it for a warm up. We hope to see you in the Marquee in the ICE Field (behind the Laughing Fish Pub) next Saturday night!

2015: Filmspot’s planning a fun year!

Happy New Year, Filmspotters! We’ve been putting our programming hats on recently, and lots of exciting plans for 2015, so keep an eye on our website and blog for details. We’ve got some great cinema screenings, events and more workshops planned, so check back soon!

We are delighted to announce our first Filmspot of 2015:

Filmspot CMPCA Pop Up Cinema Present ‘It Happened One Night’
21 February, doors 7pm for 7.30pm film

 We continue the popular series of film screenings with Frank Capra’s delightful It Happened One Night. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert this screwball romantic comedy was the first film to win ‘the big five’ Academy Awards (best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay).

Here’s the ever-reliable Criteron Collection’s ‘Three Reasons’ to watch It Happened One Night:

A spoilt socialite, Ellie Andrews (Colbert) has married an opportunistic aviator against the wishes of her father, who keeps her prisoner on a yacht. Ellie escapes, swimming to shore, and plans to reunite with her husband. She manages to get onto a Greyhound bus destined for New York, where she meets Peter Warne (Gable), a newspaper reporter who was recently fired for drinking on the job. He strikes a deal with Ellie, agreeing to help reunite her with her husband, provided she gives him an exclusive story. As they travel towards New York, they get involved in a series of misadventures, and they begin to fall for each other.

This film set the pace for the ‘screwball’ comedy – and was one of the first ‘odd couple’ films, featuring the eventual romance between two people with very different personalities from different social stations. The film is as breezy, light and fun as it was on initial release, and represents a director and two actors all at their peaks!

Tickets £5 in advance (£6 on the door, subject to availability). Advance booking recommended, by emailing info@lja.uk.com or telephoning 01273 328683.

2014 round up

Last year was a great 5th year for Filmspot, featuring a programme of WWI films for Newhaven Fort, screenings of silent and cult films as part of the Scalarama Festival, outdoor screenings in Isfield, a screening for the hard of hearing in Seaford  and a continuing programme for the CMPCA in Brighton. We finished the year with a bang, though, with our first Filmspot Animation Workshop, at the Crypt Gallery, Seaford, as part of The Big Draw. We invited people to help us create a fantasy version of our local landscape, which we then brought to life by animating flick book animations also created by the participants. We are so pleased with the resulting film, which can be seen here:

Special thanks to everybody at the Crypt Gallery for being so supportive – we hope to bring some film and animation events to Seaford again very soon! Finally, thank you again to the wonderful Penguin Cafe for giving us permission to use their very uplifting track ‘Pale Peach Jukebox’ on the film.