Mullan Blasts FilmFour

Director vows he'll go elsewhere to distribute his second film

by empire |
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Actor-director Peter Mullan has hit out at FilmFour, distributors of his debut feature Orphans, vowing he will not make the same mistake by dealing with them for his sophomore effort. Blaming the fact that the company did not know how to sell the film to the audience, he said: "The FilmFour lack of imagination was mind-blowing. At that time, they couldn't see past the fact that it was a Scottish film, thus it should be another Trainspotting. Ironically, we had to go the old-fashioned route. Word of mouth extended its run. We ran 15 weeks in London, three months in Scotland, three months in Italy, four in France, two in Australia." Mullan, who won Best Actor in Cannes in 1998 for Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe, begins pre-production in November on his second feature, entitled Magdalene. To be shot in Ireland, using unknowns, Mullan was inspired to write the feature after he saw Channel 4 documentary, Sex In A Cold Climate, which detailed the plight of women in Ireland's so-called Magdalene asylums. "They were prisons for young women who had committed no crime," he explained. "They were deemed promiscuous either by the state or their family. And they were put into care with these nuns, and they work 364 days a year in these laundries. Between times, they were raped, beaten, tortured, and everyone knew, but nothing was ever said." Mullan, attending the British premiere of his latest movie, Mike Figgis' adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, was also present to launch a new Scottish film scheme, 8 1/2. The brainchild of Antonine Films, who produced Mullan's Orphans and will oversee Magdalene, the scheme aims to select twelve one-page submissions for eight-and-a-half minute short films from Scottish film-makers - new or experienced - ultimately seeing four into production next Spring, after a series of workshops. "A lot of Scottish film schemes go wrong when they start," said Mullan. "For the sake of getting money, they have these agendas. This year, it will be 'the new Scotland' or 'Scotland in the millennium'. And it's always reductive. This scheme is non-prescriptive. Any films you have in your head, any ideas, if you reckon it can be done in eight-and-a-half minutes, then - if it's an idea we can relate to - we'll take you through the whole process and get it made."

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