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Mad, Sad and Bad [2009]

Written & directed by Avie Luthra

Mad, Sad & Bad is a thirtysomething comedy about an endearingly dysfunctional family and group of friends whose personal lives are continuously messed up by their own selfish needs and neuroses. Atul is a sitcom writer who despises the work that everybody else loves. Rashmi lives at home with her mother, craving a life of her own but dreading all that goes with it. And Hardeep is a psychiatrist who can diagnose everyoneas problems but his own. Award-winning writer and director Avie Luthra turns a sharp observational eye towards an ensemble of often extreme and complex characters, played by a talented cast that includes Meera Syal (The Kumars, Anita & Me), Nitin Ganatra (Bride & Prejudice, Shifty) and Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Brighton Rock). Mad, Sad & Bad is nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009

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Mario and Nini [2009]

Directed by Chloe Ruthven

From the Guardian, 25th August 2009:

“In 2003, Chloe Ruthven got a job at a London primary school, giving extra help to kids who were falling behind and becoming disruptive as a consequence. Two of them, nine-year-olds Mario and Nini, were so consistently disruptive that Ruthven began teaching them in a separate room for short periods. Eventually she brought in a video camera as a teaching aid, to encourage the boys to express themselves. She interviewed them, and they interviewed her.

This footage formed the basis for the excellent documentary Mario and Nini: A Childhood (Sky1), which followed the pair out of primary school and into adolescence, into a world dominated by gangs, drugs and crime. Ruthven filmed them with their friends and in their homes. It soon became clear that the time the boys spent with her was the only mitigating factor in their otherwise stunted expectations; it was also pretty obvious that this might not be enough.

“Can’t read, can’t write, that’s it,” is the nine-year-old Mario’s blunt self-assessment.

“Are we the dumbest of the class?” asks Nini.

This would have been deeply depressing if it weren’t for Mario and Nini themselves, who are both charming and open: mostly honest when talking about their feelings and fairly transparent when they’re lying. Everything they are thinking is etched on their faces.

Later on, of course, they develop gangsterish mannerisms and start swearing a lot. But even at 13 they retain much of their vulnerability, at least in the company of Ruthven. When inter-viewing each other about their lives, they show themselves to be worldly and naive at once. “I’m not gonna be a proper gangster, killing people and stuff,” says Nini. “But I’ll be having my own car, all customised and stuff.” Occasionally you get a glimpse of just how close these boys are to sliding into criminality. At one point Nini mentions that his friends have gone off on a robbing spree. “I was gonna go with them,” he says, “but then I went to get my hair cut.” The bit where they go camping, and instantly revert to being boys again, is particularly heartbreaking.

Through all the filming, Ruthven hoped to get the boys to make more considered choices in life, but the viewer is left with the feeling that without her they wouldn’t have had any choices at all. From their point of view, the idea of joining a gang, carrying a knife and committing increasingly serious crimes seems like a logical progression. That the future facing two fairly average British nine-year-olds could be so unpromising is scandalous. That someone paying them a bit of attention between the ages of nine and 13 might make all the difference is correspondingly heartening. According to a postscript, Mario hopes to join the Paras, and Nini wants to be a commando.” – Tim Dowling

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Teens and Tiaras [2009]

Produced by Jo Hughes

Minnow Films

The London Season was once at the heart of the upper classes, providing a marriage market for the young daughters of Britain’s most privileged. Today, “The Season” remains one of the last bastions of British elite society, surviving into the 21st Century thanks to its determined organisers, Jennie and Patricia.

Although it remains a glamorous and sophisticated world, the traditions of the Season have had to evolve in this age of social equality. Now it’s more about charitable fundraising rather than decadent partying; the majority of girls are from middle class rather than titled families; the numbers have dwindled to just a handful and the royal patronage comes not from the Queen but from a princess who is 100th in line to the throne. Most importantly, the girls aren’t interested in husband-hunting but are looking forward to university and high-powered careers. Its formidable organisers Jennie and Tricia are hell-bent on keeping the Season alive, seeing it as one of the last vanguards of Britishness. As Jennie says, ”one of the most important aspects of the Season is to preserve it as a tradition, because we’re losing our English traditions, they’re going… we should be proud of our traditions. They are the things that give us our national characteristics”. But does the Season have a role to play in the 21st Century – and what do the girls gain by becoming Debutantes?

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Semangat (Spirit) [2009]

Dir. Chu-Li Shewring, Adam Gutch

In the jungles of Borneo, an Iban father begins a river journey to seek help for his sick child.  Troubled by uncanny visions which arise out of the bizarre world of the rainforest, father and son are drawn into a final encounter deep inside the jungle.

Festivals: IFF Rotterdam / Visions Du Reel / In The Palace / Rooftop NY / Krakow Doc Fest / Message to Man: St. Petersburg / Taiwan Int’l Documentary Festival / Zinebi Bilbao / Camerimage- Nominated Doc. Short Film Award / Indie-Lisboa

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The Jung Files (Die Archives von C.G. Jung) [2009]

The story of the tragic consequences of the past life regression practices of Carl Jung.

Written & Directed by Gemma Ventura

Yakima Films

Official Selection of the New York International Film Festival, the Moscow International Film Festival, the Cambridge International Film Festival and the Bunker Film Festival, Ventimiglia, Italy.

First Prize Winner “En Piezas” Film Festival, Madrid, Spain

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The Solitary Life of Cranes [2008]

Winner – Britdoc Festival 2008

“One of the most absorbing… documentaries of the year, and one which could in a minor way be called life-changing because it alters your perspective and, once seen, won’t be forgotten. Graceful and revealing.” – The Observer

“Utterly crafted… wholly transports you to a different physical and psychological space…” – FourDocs

Directed by Eva Weber

Odd Girl Out Productions

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Lickle Bill Um (Coming Up) [2007]

Written & directed by Kate Hardie

Cast includes: Amanda Abbington, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter & Reece Shearsmith

A bittersweet comedy, Lickle Bill Um deals with a mother and daughter relationship. Daughter has not managed to make as much of her life and resents her mother hugely because she has. Mum lives in a nice home, has friends, a membership to a bowls team, and a barking boyfriend – all of which the daughter doesn’t. So daughter decides, as it’s her thirtieth birthday, that she is going to deal with this inequality once and for all.

IWC Media

Channel 4

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Trip [2007]

Director: Harry Wootliff

Yipp Films

Premiered at Berlinale in competition. Winner of Best Short Film Bradford. Runner up Kodak Short Film Competition. Winner of the Northern Lights/Orange funding award. Selected for festivals including: Brest, DC Shorts USA, LA Shorts, Glasgow, Birds Eye View, Brief Encounters, Tehran International Film Festival, Soho Rushes London, Rio de Janeiro, Cambridge, Brit Shorts, Message to Man St. Petersburg, Capalbio, Tofifest Poland, Docufest Kosovo, Uppsala Sweden, Kodak Showcase, Mill Valley, Milan, Marbella, Short Cuts, Ourense Spain, Med Film Italy, Curta Cinema, Zagreb.

A father tries to do the right thing by his two daughters but chooses the worst way to go about it.

 

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True Colours [2007]

Neil picks up his wife Sharon on the way to the supermarket. She can see he has a fat lip, and she’s not buying his story. Inside, Neil’s threshold is tested and Sharon finds him in yet another impossible situation – this time changing their family unit forever.

Directed by Barney Elliott

WINNER – Special Jury Prize – Premiers Plans Film Festival / Agers, France

WINNER – Best Film – Super Shorts / London, UK

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Jetsam [2007]

Apparently made for £3,000, Welsford’s well-mounted debut delivers ambiguity in spades – perhaps too many spades. Yet there’s something about the expressive leads’ plight, the foreboding atmosphere generated by Zac Nicholson’s impressive cinematography and Mat Davidson’s fine score, that makes this often confusing thriller well worth the endurance.” – Derek Adams, Time Out

“its boldness and originality make me look forward to Welsford’s next project.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

A skilfully written and deftly controlled thriller that refuses to be bound by budget limitations, Jetsam marks Simon Welsford out as a potentially significant new director.” – John Fortgang, Film4

Written & Directed by Simon Welsford

Skyman Films

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Tick Tock Lullaby [2006]

A wry comedy about one of life’s biggest decisions – and how the more you have to think about it, the harder it is. Sasha, a cartoonist, is still not convinced she wants to be a mother. Time is ticking by and neither she nor her girlfriend Maya can commit to the idea. Presuming that straight people have it easier, she creates two female characters to investigate various procreative plans.

Written & directed by Lisa Gornick

Cast: Raquel Cassidy, Lisa Gornick, Sarah Patterson, Joanna Bending, Sam Spruell