Thursday, 5 January 2012

2011 List #6: Highlights

Beginning the year with an advance screening of 127 Hours followed by a Q&A with one of my favourite directors, Danny Boyle, was my absolute highlight of the year.  Not only did I get to see one of the best films of the year, I also got to ask Mr Boyle a question.  My career in film journalism failed to take off immediately as I'd hoped but my burning desire to tell everybody about this incredible moment was what got me starting this here blog.  Thanks again to Lovefilm for organising this event and for giving me the opportunity to speak to one of my heroes.  See the video of my nervous question-asking here.  That's me asking the first question.

Here are some frankly pretty poor photos of Mr Boyle I took with my crappy camera.  


My other highlight was an advance screening of Attack the Block followed by a Q&A with director Joe Cornish and stars John Boyega, Jodie Whitaker and Luke Treadaway.  Here's another pretty poor photo featuring from left to right: John Boyega (Moses the badass), Luke Treadaway (the posh one), Jodie Whitaker (the nurse in distress) and Joe Cornish (debut director extroardinaire).

Another excellent screening organised by Lovefilm that I was lucky enough to get myself tickets to, the film is another of my favourites of the year and it was great to ask the cast what Joe Cornish was like as a director.  Sadly there is no video evidence of this.  However what was cool was that more of the cast were in the audience and so was a certain Mr Edgar frigging Wright, producer of the film and director of Shaun of the Dead!!!  Here is possibly the worst quality photo of Joe Cornish ever taken. 

After the film and Q&A, I managed to get a few sneaky photos of the cast outside the cinema.  I was convinced this film would be easily as big as Shaun of the Dead and really enjoyed seeing the young cast members hanging around outside like ordinary mates before they get super famous.  John Boyega seems to be on the way to doing bigger things with Spike Lee's new TV series Da Brick already in the can.  As for Franz Drameh and Alex Esmail (also pictured here), the future looks less bright for now.  But here's hoping at least Esmail who played Pest, the comical runt of the gang, can get more work.

And here is the mighty Edgar Wright, who I managed to sneak a quick handshake with before he disappeared.

So those were my two main highlights of the year.  As I have posted about before here, this is the year that I tried really hard to get to as many preview screenings and Q&A's as possible.  Lovefilm, Total Film and ShowFilmFirst have been brilliant, but also Paramount Pictures put on a couple (Footloose and Tomorrow When the War Began) too.  Like an astronomer, I got to see the stars up close including Anna Faris, Jessica Brown-Findlay and Rachel Hurd Wood and I also got to review some films before they actually came out such as Bridesmaids, Stake Land, What's Your Number?, Real Steel and Life in a Day

I also got to go to a test screening of the directorial debut of Ben Drew (aka Plan B) which was a really interesting experience, particularly as I teach about these to media students and have recently written an article for Media Magazine about them. 

I only got up to the London Film Festival once but I got to hear a talk from Kevin MacDonald (director of Life in a Day), Asif Kapadia (director of Senna) and Carol Morley (director of Dreams of a Life) on the boundaries between fact and fiction.  I also met Jonothan Rhodes in the audience; star, producer and co-writer of the great short film Big Society

Another very personal highlight is that this year I started my PhD.  My supervisor introduced me to the director of supremely sick but hugely influential masterpiece/abomination Cannibal Holocaust, Ruggero Deaodato, before a special screening of the film in London.  Here's a sneaky picture I took.  The girl in the background is his grand daughter who I can thankfully add did not stay for the screening.

Finally, every time I get a comment or I see that the pageviews on my blog posts have gone up has been a highlight for me.  I love writing about films and I love doing this blog.  I'm sure many people would think I'm far too old to be starting a blog but it is giving me great joy and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.  So this a massive, huge, incredibly soppy thank you to anyone reading this, and to everyone who has read, commented on or left a link to one of my posts this year.  Special mention must go to Scott at Front Room Cinema who seems to comment on everything I write and every other blog I read and to CS at Big Thoughts from a Small Mind who has posted many a link to my blog. These guys have fantastic blogs and their encouragement makes me feel stronger when I worry that my words will not be read.

And if anyone has any advice about how to get in to more preview screenings, I will be eternally grateful.  Happy New Year everybody and here's to all the film bloggers and makers out there, may you live long and prosper!


  1. Pete!! What can I say, thanks so much for the link.

    Sounds like you had a cool year. SFF and others are a great way to feed our love for film without breaking the wallet. I go to thew cinemas at least 5 times a month and never pay a penny. Either preview or press screenings keep me busy!

    Keep up the good work my friend. Try out Empire's Big Screen in September, easily the most fun I had all year!!


  2. @Scott No worries! I must find out how to get myself onto these press screenings. Yeah I'll be sure to check out Empire's Big Screen this year, thanks for the advice!


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