Empire States: Start Your Career - New Opportunity For Young Filmmakers
Posted on Tuesday February 5, 2013, 13:42 by Ian Freer in Empire States
So here's something that might be of interest to our younger readers. As you’ll know, many of the world’s great filmmakers from Martin Scorsese to George Lucas to Nick Park started their career at film school. Now, if you’re aged between 16-19, you can too.
In a BFI/Department for Education initiative, The National Film And Television School, whose alumni include Nick Park, David Yates and Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins, will be accepting applications from 16-19 year olds all over England to select 54 participants for a once in a lifetime educational opportunity. The BFI Film Academy Talent Campus is an intensive 13-day training course which will enable the UK’s most promising young film talent to develop a range and breadth of film disciplines.
“The NFTS has a commitment to educate the best creative talent to the highest professional standards for tomorrow’s screen...
Comment Now (2 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Lesser Spotted Bridges... Ian Freer On Overlooked Jeff Bridges Classics
Posted on Monday June 13, 2011, 11:18 by Ian Freer in Empire States
It is often a shame when an actor becomes so identified with one role that it is to the detriment to a whole body of work that came before it. Take Jeff Bridges. For the Empire generation, he is El Duderino — we’re not into that whole brevity thing — in The Big Lebowski, cinema’s greatest slacker, a man who has done more for toking, White Russians and bowling than anyone in history. It is a performance of laidback, sly comedic perfection that has come to characterise Bridges’ persona and the perception of it.
Which is a crying shame for as the current BFI season reveals, Bridges is an actor whose early résumé is filled with with a raft of overlooked gems. Throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s, his consistency rivaled De Niro but without any of the flash and grandstanding. Bridges specialized in playing bruised but obviously recognizable human beings, not only in classics like The Last Picture Show but also less well known flicks; the drifter turn...
Comment Now (5 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Why Bambi Matters: Is This Cinema's Greatest Death Scene?
Posted on Tuesday February 8, 2011, 11:50 by Ian Freer in Empire States
Pete Docter’s thoughts on the brilliance of Bambi make for fascinating reading. He makes smart observations about the film’s lack of storytelling convention, the elastic quality of the art direction and the relationship between Bambi and his very own Up — chiefly the inspiration of Bambi’s Thumper on Up’s gregarious boy-scout Russell.
Yet, Docter fails to make the most obvious comparison between the two movies. Within the first ten minutes of Up — and stop reading now if you have never seen it — there is a beautiful montage depicting the ups and downs of a lifelong marriage that ends in a death. It’s a heart-rending moment and one so powerful that the rest of Up might not recover. Thankfully Docter has plenty more tricks up his sleeve to make his movie magic.
Now, like Up, Bambi is a movie choc-full of great moment...
Comment Now (56 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Ray Harryhausen's BAFTA/BFI Birthday Tribute
Posted on Tuesday June 29, 2010, 11:44 by Ian Freer in Empire States
The titans of the film fantasy world came out in force on Saturday night to celebrate stop motion legend Ray Harryhausen on the occasion of his 90th birthday (the actual big day is Tuesday June 29) at a joint birthday bash thrown by BAFTA and the BFI at the BFI Southbank.
Hosted by lifelong fan John Landis with wit, showmanship and a real passion for Harryhausen’s menagerie, the night saw the best of the best of the visual effects community (Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, Phil Tippett, Randy Cook, Ken Ralston), the Aardman troika of Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton), academics (Sir Christopher Frayling, Rolf Giesen), Harryhausen acting alumni (Gary Raymond and John Cairney from Jason And The Argonauts, Caroline Munro from The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad) line up to pay tribute to the only visual effects artist to become a brand name.
The rapt audience, including Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Reece Shearsmith (all soon to be seen under Landis’ direction in Burke And Hare) and direct...
Comment Now (6 comments)
Back To Top
Off The Wire: David Brown 1916-2010: A Tribute
Posted on Thursday February 4, 2010, 10:41 by Ian Freer in Off The Wire
As a huge Spielberg-phile in general and Jaws-freak in particular, I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of producer David Brown aged 93 this week.
It seems to me that Brown was a dying breed of gentleman producer. As Ron Howard, who worked with Brown on Cocoon, put it Brown was "less the wheeler-dealer than the great judge of content. He knows that story drives everything. He loves writing, and he know what ideas will translate and what won't." Which didn’t mean that Brown wasn’t above the odd gimmick or two. Spielberg had made up some Jaws T-shirts at the start of production. When the director turned up for a meeting with Brown and producing partner Richard Zanuck with every intention to quit, the pair were sporting the Spielberg-sponsored Jaws T-shirts, guilt-tripping the director into returning to work.
Having the nous and foresight to give Spielberg his feature film directing break The Sugarland Express, Brown supported Spielberg...
Comment Now (1 comment)
Back To Top
Empire States: The Avatar Soundtrack: Our First Reaction
Posted on Monday November 23, 2009, 10:41 by Ian Freer in Empire States
Deep in the bowels of 20th Century Fox, we got a chance to listen to the most anticipated score of 2009: James Horner’s music for James Cameron’s Avatar.
As you would imagine — and even on the tiny speakers we heard them on — the music is huge in scope and heart. Mirroring the film’s dynamic of technology vs. the spiritual, the music splits between synthesised and acoustic instruments, the entire orchestra getting a thorough workout: everything from South American instrumentation to solo violin, choral chanting to driving percussion gets a chance to shine.
Reteaming with Cameron for the third time after Aliens and Titanic, Horner’s score flits between shimmering enchantment (the seven-minute Pure Spirits Of The Forest; The Bioluminiscence Of The Night), rousing battle hymns (Climbing Up Ikinmaya; Gathering All The Na’vi Clans For Battle) and complex, brutal action music (The Destruction Of “Hometree”; Wa...
Comment Now (7 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Mike Leigh: For Or Against?
Posted on Thursday August 27, 2009, 13:24 by Ian Freer in Empire States
In case you hadn’t noticed, Mike Leigh has started improvising his new film in London. While I would like to see Mike Leigh’s Avatar (in which Leigh recreates sitting in a living room with more dimensions than actually sitting in your living room)or Mike Leigh’s Twilight (Timothy Spall IS Edward Cullen), the idea that he’s back with the likes of Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Phil Davis exploring life’s petty triumphs and clanging ironies is cause for celebration round my way.
But it wasn’t always the case. I have been resistant to Leigh’s work for many years. For a start I thought it was rooted in the televisual rather than the cinematic, a visual style that seemed to reduce life to the dimensions of a small box in the corner of the room. It might have had admirable depth but where was the width. French filmmakers have made all sorts of domestic scaled dramas but managed to ...
Comment Now (23 comments)
Back To Top
Off The Wire: Budd Schulberg 1914-2009
Posted on Thursday August 6, 2009, 12:02 by Ian Freer in Off The Wire
The sad news of Budd Schulberg’s passing (click here for the obit) marks the end of of an era for a certain kind of Hollywood screenwriter. Schulberg’s debut novel What Makes Sammy Run?, a scathing attack on Hollywood, provoked so much ire that Louis B. Mayer suggested that Schulberg be deported (ironic given that Schulberg was actually from Hollywood, a film industry rarity) and saw John Wayne challenge Schulberg to a fist fight, the actor getting the writer into a headlock . In a supremely colourful life, Schulberg sparred with Muhammad Ali, nearly came to blows with Ernest Hemingway and accompanied Robert Kennedy to the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of his assassination. You can imagine any of this happening to any of today’s screenwriters, drafting yet another Fast And Furious sequel on a MacBook sipping on frappuccino.
Comment Now (4 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: My First Movie Crush
Posted on Tuesday July 28, 2009, 14:39 by Ian Freer in Empire States
Listening to the piercing screams of 6,000 salivating, slobbering Twihards as Robert Pattinson (or R Patz) bowled onto the stage at this year’s Comic Con coverage provoked a couple of reactions in me.
Firstly, I found it heartening that such a committed dedicated fanbase still exists. It is easy to dismiss the Twilight fanbase as squealing overwrought girls who have graduated from the front row of the Jonas Brothers to the front row of Hall H but from the camping out over night to the fan fic to the homemade costumes it is a fan base bursting with creativity, passion and an interest in fantasy flicks (over say American Idol) that could well spill over into other areas. And surely that is to be applauded?
But more pertinently it reminded me of a time when I first started fancying people on the big screen. The title of this blog is My First Movie Crush but, if I am being honest, the first people who infiltr...
Comment Now (140 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Happy 10th Birthday Episode I
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 17:08 by Ian Freer in Empire States
It might have escaped your attention but Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace opened ten years ago to the day in the US (for some inexplicable reason Blighty didn’t get the film for another two months). It seems to me that What Went Wrong With Episode One arguments is an energy that binds a generation together. Put a group of twentysomething/thirtysomethings who have never met and you can bet your bottom dollar that they can find common ground about Darth Maul’s majesty/Jar Jar Binks’ crapness. Nothing stirs up debate like Episode I
I’ll tell you where I am on the debate. I am a Prequel Apologist. I would even go as far as to say that I would rather watch Episode I than any LOTR film. Are the Lord Of The Rings films “better movies” than the prequels — of course they are. But I don’t love Tolkien’s universe half as much as I do Lucas’ lands, so I would much rather race through the Boonta Eve classic or watch Maul pace arou...
Comment Now (177 comments)
Back To Top