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!

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Scalarama: Brighton & Beyond 2017!

Hi Filmspotters!

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog… suddenly here we are in September – and September can only mean one thing: Scalarama!

We love taking part in this fantastic DIY festival of cinema. Filmspot have been involved for the past 4 years. This year, the festival has been renamed ‘Scalarama Brighton & Beyond’ – and we’re delighted to be running two screenings in the ‘Beyond’ category – one in Isfield, and another in Seaford. Details follow below, but we thought we’d have a glance through the whole programme – here’s the trailer!

Scalarama Brighton and Beyond Trailer 2017 from Filmspot on Vimeo.

Exciting stuff, huh? Well, we’re five days in already, so sadly I’m too late to urge you to see ‘Lost Highway’ on 35mm at the Duke of Yorks, ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ at Seaford Community Cinema or the haunting ‘Mortido’ at Diva Coffee Shop (the latter two were both sell outs!)… HOWEVER, there is still time to see one (or all?) of the screenings in the Luxbry at BomBane’s ‘Spirit of 77’ series, which kicks off this Wednesday with Derek Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’, then continues with screenings every Wednesday through September with classics such as ‘The Great Rock n Roll Swindle’, ‘Sid and Nancy’ and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’ (if you haven’t been to BomBanes before, now is a good excuse to go – it’s a totally charming little gem of a place!). There’s also a screening of the documentary, ‘The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead’ at the Caroline of Brunswick.

There are a couple of ‘festivals with the festival’ – with Heritage Open Days this weekend, there are some great tours of the Duke of Yorks, as well as a tour of Brighton’s lost cinemas; and the Women Over Fifty Film Festival kicks off next week, with a screening of ‘Mama Mia!’ on 14 September, followed by a full weekend of short films directed by, written by or starring women over 50.

Shorts and experimental film feature prominently in the programme too, with Short Circuit screening unique and compelling short docs at the Nightingale Room, and Open Colour screening Isiah Medina’s acclaimed experimental film ’88:88′.

Our friends at Rain Goggles are screening the underground cult classic ‘Singapore Sling’, and The Old Market’s Film Club are screening two great features directed by women: Anna Biller’s ‘The Love Witch’ and Elaine May’s ‘A New Leaf’. Fabrica’s Fresh Perspectives group are organising a screening of underground coming-of-age classic, ‘Deep End’.

Silent film is another intriguing thread in the festival this year – as well as our screening of ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ at the end of the month, Fabrica are screening the new silent, ‘London Symphony’, and the Duke of Yorks are celebrating their 107th birthday in style, with a live scored showing of ‘Metropolis’.

…and there are still some great screenings planned for the ‘Beyond’ arm – Seaford Community Cinema are launching their new programme with a screening of ‘Atonement’ on 15 September and there’s classic B-movie action with ‘Journey to the Seventh Plant’ at the Electric Palace in Hastings on 24 September.

A very special fundraiser screening of ‘Car Wash’ will run at the new Depot cinema in Lewes on Sunday 17 September, in support of Zest – a charity which supports and trains adults with learning disabilities and autism. The screening will launch a new documentary about the project, and there will be an afternoon of celebrations, including the chance to see two classic American cars on the Depot forecourt. The cinema are inviting attendees to join in the fun and wear 1970s dress!

Phew – what a month! Full listings can be found on the Scalarama website

…but of course, we can’t forget our own screenings!

16 September: The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and British short films in the ICE Field

Wilderpeople_Ricky.0.0

We’re so pleased to bring a mini film festival to the ICE Marquee in Isfield. We are screening three fantastic short films by British Filmmakers: ‘Infinite’ by Lowkey Films, ‘Next’ by Barry Purves and ‘The Cutter’ by Carl Prechezer. These will be followed by the feature film, ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ – a quirky, big hearted charmer – this mismatched buddy movie follows a troubled orphan, and his grizzled foster ‘uncle’ as they go on the run across the New Zealand wilderness, pursued by the authorities. A hit with critics and audiences alike, this promises to be a fun family screening.

Tickets cost £5, at the door. The ICE Field is located in the Infield Community Enterprise Field, behind the Laughing Fish Pub!

29 September: A Cottage on Dartmoor comes to Seaford Little Theatre

cottage_on_dart_1‘Out Hitchcocks Hitchcock!’

We are bringing ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’, with our specially commissioned live score written and performed by Joss Peach to the charming Little Theatre in Seaford.

A simple tale, but beautifully told, ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ tells of assistant barber Joe, who is in love with Sally, a manicurist. His jealous reaction when Sally rejects him in favour of another leads to terrible consequences. This is, however, not a clean-cut ‘good vs. evil’ picture: the film has layers of both ambiguity and suspense. While touching on the themes of loneliness, lust and mental illness, ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ is ultimately about both the joys and savagery of love.

Tickets can be bought online from Eventbrite or in person at the Seaford Tourist Information Centre.

… September is going to be a busy month! Hope to see you at one of our screenings soon!

Russian Fairytales: The Animation Edition

Friday’s festive screening of ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ went with a real swing – thank you to everybody who came along.

…but there’s no time to waste, it’s focus forward to our next event: Sing Russian! Earlier this summer Opera Coast approached us to create some animated projections to accompany two concerts of arias and pieces from Russian operas – one concert in Brighton and one in London. We have been beavering away ever since, creating pen and ink drawings of backdrops to create a projected ‘stage set’ for each piece in the performance. We hope you can join us at one of the concerts. Details follow at the end of this blog.

Photographs and clips will be available after the first performance, but in the meantime you might be interested to see some of the fabulous Russian fairytale animations we have come across during our research.

The Snowmaiden (2006)


Fairytales should be, in my humble opinion, 1 part magic, 1 part romance and 2 parts horror! This rather delightful 30 minute stop motion animation adheres to that formula – just check out the wood goblin… *shudders*

Rusalochka (The Little Mermaid) (1968)


An intriguingly stylised combination of hand painted cel animation and cut outs, ‘Rusalochka’ sticks somewhat more faithfully to Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale than the 1989 Disney version. Bold, experimental and beautiful to behold, this is definitely worth a watch.

The Ball of Yarn (1968)


Something about the uncanny nature of stop motion animation gives many stop motion short films a strange atmosphere, but the story of this short also adds in to that strangeness – it is about a ball of yarn, and a knitting hobby which quickly escalates and becomes something altogether more sinister.

Nalim Malinych (2015)


This imaginative mixture of styles and techniques tells a delightful tale inspired by the works of Stepan Pissakhov, famous painter, writer and storyteller in the tradition of North Russia.

Hedgehog in The Fog (1975)


This charming short film is probably the first Russian animation I ever saw. Master animator and storyteller Yuriy Norshteyn weaves a tale that is so enchanting it completely transports you. If you only settle down to watch one film from this list: get yourself and cup of tea, relax and enjoy this atmospheric little tale.

Hopefully that little taster has whet your appetite for some Russian fairy tales and folklore. If so, be sure to come along to ‘The Old Tales of Kitezh Grad’ – to book tickets, at Unitarian Church, Brighton: Saturday 10 December, 7.30pm, click here or Pushkin House, London: Friday 16 December, 7.30pm, click here.

Full details of the project are on our website