Genuis. Pure Genius.
credit to http://www.cinematical.com/2010/07/28/check-out-this-rather-awesome-inception-infographic/ for this. Amazing work.
Earlier this week, the UK Film industry took a massive blow as it was announced that as part of the governments cost cutting, The UK Film Council was getting the axe after a decade of funding film and nurturing new film makers.
There are many people, some who I know, who have a personal grudge against the Film Council, the criteria, for example was quite stringent and therefore for some it was difficult to get funding for short films – it seemed to favour projects which had established film makers attached, or in an effort to promote ethnic diversity, it was difficult to obtain funding unless you were an ethnic minority.
A friend of mine wrote on his twitter this morning “#ukfilmcouncil was an elitest organisation, & it was near impossible to get any type of funding unless you were a one legged muslim lesbian.” (sic)
I can understand his gripe with the UK Film Council. We both have worked on short films and have been unsuccessful in securing funding from the UKFC or from any of the regional bodies set up to ensure filmmakers were filming in and promoting the region to which the funds were coming from.
A while ago, I attended a meeting for young producers; we were encouraged to find a director and a writer as they were going to fund several micro-budget features with budgets of £150,000. Sounds good, but there was one catch – One of the three had to be living in Merseyside, and have a Merseyside address. When this was heard, we all rolled our eyes at one another. This meeting was being held in central Manchester and not one person from Merseyside was attending.
So the UK Film Council and its local bodies seemed to have gotten the wrong end of the stick.
However, since the evolution of the Council, film production in the UK has risen. More and more films are being shot here and tax incentives, introduced by the labour government surely would have brought more film work to the UK. This would mean more jobs for freelancers, and more money into the economy. As is stands, many films are shot on the Isle of Man, which uses its own tax system, favouring the film industry. And for the record, thanks to some Canary Wharf bankers, the proposed tax breaks never saw the light of day. Pity, because In 2008/9, three films alone brought in over £100m into the economy – Quantum of Solace, Mamma Mia and The Dark Knight, these films were partly UK funded and were shot in the UK, with British crew. Films supported by the UK Film Council have attracted massive attention from abroad and in 2008/09 British films took £2.3bn worldwide, a 15% global market share.
Some have argued that for every £1 the government put into the UK Film Council, it would generate £5 in box office revenue. Not bad, when you think about it. The film industry in the UK supports over 40,000 people and the investment from the Film Council has generated fantastic revenue in export earnings. Of course, we’ve had our flops, one that come to mind is the recently publicised “Sex lives of the Potato men”, Okay, I didn’t see it – and let’s be fair, we don’t always get it right. But Slumdog Millionaire, Man on Wire, Kidulthood and Adulthood have all had a decent return and have given British film making talent an international platform.
I want to mention one more thing about short films. Short films are the way filmmakers break into the industry. No one (unless you’re very lucky) is going to hand you a quarter of a million pounds to make your first feature film, unless you have something to back it up. So a short film is your way in. We all know the film Saw. Saw started as a short film that was taken to Sundance, investors saw that something special in the writers and directors and based on this short invested. The Saw franchise recently was awarded the Guinness world record for the most profitable horror franchise. Not bad.
So the UK Film Council, along with Working Title and Pathe and Film4 have all managed to really bring together new film makers, nurture them, so the British films that we have sitting in our DVD collection can actually be sitting there.
It is important to mention also, that the funding for comes from The National Lottery. The Film Council is a body that helps to distribute this cash to different projects. The government has also announced that this will continue, but without an experienced body, such as the film council, the process could become unorganised, and without strategy; allowing for film makers to go elsewhere to shoot their films, which will mean that freelancers will find it more and more difficult to find work, studios will sit empty and post production houses will have nothing to edit.
The knock of effect of this decision could be catastrophic. And what it boils down to is the sums.
The government pays £15m per year to the Film Council. This investment, bring far more money back into the economy, therefore I don’t quite understand what the coalition government is thinking, because if it intends to close down organisations that are wasteful, then WHY choose one that generates a lot of income through box office takings and international studio collaboration?
I have a theory on this. Some of you may disagree, and that’s fine.
I think it comes down to socialism vs. capitalism. The government seems to be cutting everything that has government support, that it believes can thrive in the private sector. The problem is the funding comes from the lottery and the UKFC helps to distribute that funding in a fair manner in line with the criteria it has decided. The majority of the choices that the UKFC have made have been pretty good to be honest, promoting digital film making, in a world where we can’t turn on the TV without someone mentioning High Definition, and now 3D TV, Street Dance 3D was the first UK film to be shot using 3D cameras, and the film is still drawing an income from international territories, and without an organisation that has the experience and the foresight, then I’m afraid that the UK film industry may be the bigger casualty of this terrible decision. This is one cut; I think that even the majority of Conservative voters shouldn’t even stand by. But Conservatives are people who don’t believe in public support, because public sector businesses do not generate as much capital. Because it’s all about the sums at the end of the day – so if someone from the coalition would take a look at the income generated from the film council, then maybe they’ll see this is short sighted decision – at the moment, it currently stands that there is no plans with regards to the distribution of this continued lottery funding.
So for all its faults (Merseyside funding aimed at Manchester residents) the UK Film Council does do a pretty good job, supporting festivals, training and cutting edge digital and 3D cinema and without it – well, we’ll be like that three filmmakers that got lost in the woods looking for a witch.
In the meantime, I’m thinking What if the Film Council became a private organisation which would still be authorised to distribute the lottery funding, then receipts from box office taking from projects directly linked to the UKFC would go back into the company? It’s just a thought I’ve just had, and since it costs £15m a year to run, perhaps our good friend Richard Branson would like to oblige?
Because I really do think it should be saved.
Earlier this week I went to see Toy Story 3, the latest Pixar offering. Already a critical success, the film will no doubt become a commercial success too. So, I’m not going to go on about the film, which I thoroughly enjoyed because you’ve no doubt heard it all before (yes, take a box of tissues with you)
The film is also offered in 3D – again, this is nothing new. If you’re like me, you’ll instantly understand how 3D works better with animation. Sorry, Avatar purists, but I’m right. In fast sequences the image doesn’t break up, or blur. 3D animation will always trump 3D live action.
For me, seeing Toy Story 3 has one big selling point; the introduction of Dolby Surround 7.1 which brings 2 extra audio channels into the cinema. When it comes to audio in film, trust me –more is definitely more.
From the moment the CGI 7.1 sting was played on the cinema screen, I knew I was in for something special, and right now, unique. – But let us take a step backwards.
It’s easy for the average cinemagoer to forget about the sound in a film. It’s probably one of the elements that we take for granted. It’s often that I’ll come out of a cinema and over hear people talking about the grand special effects, or the leading actor and sometimes the director. But I have never heard anyone talk about the sound. Why is this? I think the reason for this is simple: if you’re totally engrossed in the film, you don’t really notice it. For a while now 5.1 or 6.1 channels (if you’re lucky) have been enough – you hear the action from the side, from the back from the front – In horror movies, it’s usually the sound that has you jumping out of your seat. Remember Cloverfield? The film split audiences – some people thought it was a masterpiece – some people wanted to see more. I can tell you now, I came out and said “Everyone needs to see this film in the cinema, because it was the sound that made it” – and what friends of mine have told me, who didn’t see Cloverfield in a cinema, was that they didn’t like it. That’s how important sound is. It enhances the film and in some cases turns a good film, great. This is why it’s important for film lovers to have the best audio experience when watching a film.
7.1 is upping the ante.
It gives you a feeling that the film is not only around you, but penetrating you. As an audience member, you’re no longer an outsider looking in, but it allows you to have a stronger emotional attachment to the film; When Woody and Buzz were in Peril, I was in peril. When characters are being chased, I was being chased.
What Dolby 7.1 Surround does is add an additional 2 rear channels into the mix, encapsulating the audience into the film, creating a bubble in which, for the duration of the film you can go anywhere the director intends.
5.1 has 6 channels: Centre, left, right, rear left, rear right and the Subwoofer. But there was nothing coming from behind, the film was essentially coming from 3 sides of a square, cinemas may have speakers at the back though, but the audio isn’t specific.
The great thing about having specific channels of sound coming from each of the four walls of our hypothetical square means that something can be thrown from a point behind you and land in front and you can be completely sold that it’s totally real because it doesn’t feel like an emulation. It feels real.
Unfortunately, a lot of cinemas are yet to install 7.1, but here is the good news – it’s not expensive – most cinemas have rear speakers, so a few extra wires and some fancy new hardware and those rear speakers could be blasting specific sounds, literally turning the film up to 11.
It’ll make 3D films, truly three dimensional.
You can search for cinemas that currently have Dolby 7.1 Surround installed here
If your local cinema isn’t listed – ask them why? And if they say it’s because it’s too expensive to install, tell them to get their facts straight – and also tell them this:
With Blu-ray, 1080p HD screens and 5.1 home audio becoming more and more available, coupled with the fact that films are being released for home entertainment 3-5 months after their release. Why should people pay for overpriced drinks and popcorn, when the cinema isn’t offering anything extra that isn’t available at home?
And, the next time you’re watching a movie – listen carefully – because it might be right behind you.
The Brilliance is in the detail
I wanted to write a review praising Inception soon after seeing the film, but a film as complex as this needs a little time to digest. So, after 24 hours I went to see the film a second time; and believe me when I say, this film gets better on a second viewing – why? Because with brilliance is in the details. Every shot, and I mean every single shot means something, it’s a clue to a later plot point, or it tells you something about the characters. This is shooting from the hip, this is shooting from the head.
Leonardo DiCaprio, plays Cobb, who is the self claimed “most skilled extractor”. His ‘job’ is to utilize the technology to enable dream sharing to steal ideas or secrets from the subject. He is a man who is haunted to a piont where it threatens the success of his job and the safety of his colleagues, his back story is one that balances the action and visuals perfectly.
When Cobb is offered the chance to plant an idea into a subjects head, known as Inception, this is where the story really takes off. Weaving through the mission itself, Cobb’s back story the film is expertly written so the audience is left with a full understanding of how inception works, and the consequences of dream sharing.
I have to also mention the impeccable ensemble cast this film has; Joseph Gordon-Levett has proven that he deserves to be promoted out of the teen rom-com ranks and Tom Hardy also deserves a special mention, who brings some lovely comedic moments to break up some of the tension.
Obviously, a great cast can only be as good as the director, and Christopher Nolan has in the last few years proven himself great when it comes to balancing action and drama. He is able to really bring the emotion of the characters, their worries, concerns, fears and absolutions though so unlike in other large productions like this, you care for the characters – you want them to succeed.
The most impressive fact about this film is that it was mostly shot in-camera, with CGI kept to a minimum. This I respect most about Nolan. Film makers have in recent years become too dependent on CGI, and in many cases it seems a screenplay is written around that fact that new and exciting visual possibilities are achievable. Whereas it should be the other way around.
I couldn’t recommend this film highly enough. Go see it as soon as possible.
Then go see it again.