Mumbai: Fusing elements of mystery thriller and documentary filmmaking with animation, the Israeli film Waltz with Bashir is one of the latest films to be supported by the UK Film Council’s Prints and Advertising Fund. The fund continues to help give UK film fans more choice and gain exposure for films which might otherwise only have a limited distribution.
Ari Folman’s award-winning Waltz with Bashir is an animation film which sees the director delve into his memory on a journey of self discovery. When an old friend tells Ari about his recurring nightmares, the two men decide the dreams must be caused by a traumatic episode which Ari has no memory of during their time as Israeli soldiers in the Lebanon War. Through interviews with former comrades and flashbacks to the war, the film pieces together the mystery of Ari’s past, revealing a devastating conclusion.
Artificial Eye was awarded £250,000 to broaden the release of the film from 25 to 60 screens, to pay for national advertising and an online PR and marketing campaign in the lead-up to the film’s UK release on 21 November.
Artificial Eye also received £5,000 to widen the digital release of Erick Zonca and Camille Natta’s thriller Julia about a recovering alcoholic (Tilda Swinton) who tries to extort money by kidnapping the son of a wealthy businessman. The film is being released simultaneously at the cinema and via video on demand. Artifical Eye received a further £4,412 for Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri’s French comedy Let’s Talk About the Rain, about a self-centred politician who has to deal with the politics of relationships when she returns to her small hometown in Provence.
Icon Film Distribution was awarded £159,146 for Toa Fraser’s UK-New Zealand co-production Dean Spanley, an eccentric and moving Edwardian comedy drama, starring Peter O’Toole, Jeremy Northam and Sam Neill. A cantankerous old man has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair attend an obscure lecture by a Hindu Swami, they set out on an unpredictable road to reconciliation. The award will widen the film’s release on 12 December from 25 to 60 screens and pay for a national media advertising campaign.
Vertigo Films received £5,000 to widen the digital release of Kenny Glenaan’s Summer, in which Robert Carlyle plays a disaffected man coming to terms with his past when confronted by the imminent death of his best friend. The film weaves together a complex character portrait of a man trying desperately to break free from his past.
Park Circus received £5,000 for Bicycle Thieves, the 1948 neorealist classic directed by Vittorio De Sica, set in poverty-stricken post World War II Rome, which has won a number of awards including an honorary Oscar and BAFTA; and £5,000 for Michael Curtiz’s White Christmas, the classic 1954 Christmas film starring Bing Crosby. Park Circus was also awarded £2,250 towards soft subtitling and audio description for White Christmas.
Drakes Avenue Pictures received £5,000 for Steven Sebring’s award-winning Patti Smith: Dream of Life, a portrait of the legendary singer, artist and poet which explores themes of spirituality, history and self expression. The film is narrated by Smith through her own spoken words, performances, lyrics, paintings and photographs.
Revolver Entertainment received £5,000 for Steven Sheil’s Mum & Dad, a horror about a couple and their ‘adopted’ children who work and scavenge in an airport and draw a young Polish cleaner into their nightmarish world of torture, murder and perversity. Mum & Dad was the first film to be completed under Film London’s Microwave scheme, and will be the first film to be released simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, and digital download.
Mumia Ltd was awarded £5,000 for Welsh filmmaker Marc Evans’ documentary In Prison My Whole Life, about the notorious case of Mumia Abu-Jamal who has been on death row in America since 1981 following his conviction for murdering a police officer. The film features Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Noam Chomsky, Steve Earle and Alice Walker.
Verve Pictures was awarded £4,776 for Raymond De Felitta’s ‘Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris, a documentary about the mysterious life of the unheralded American jazz vocalist who achieved success in the 1940s and 50s but is now largely forgotten. The film poses the question of how much we need to know about an artist to understand their art.
Metrodome Distribution received £5,000 for Philipp Stölzl’s North Face, which tells the true story of four young men who in 1936 attempted to become the first to summit the Eigers North Face in the Swiss Alps. Imminent war looms in the background of their expedition as the story of the two Austrians and two Germans is used for propaganda by the Nazis.
Cinefile Ltd was awarded £4,627 for Jean Becker’s Conversations With My Gardener, a touching and poignant story about a middle-aged landscape painter, recently separated, who after living for many years in Paris moves back to his childhood home and revives a friendship with an old school friend whom he employs as his gardener.
Unanimous (formerly Halcyon) received £4,900 for Jonás Cuarón’s Año Uña, an unusual love story told through a series of still images about the impossible romance between a 21-year-old American woman and a Mexican boy in the throes of puberty.
ICA Films received £4,000 for Shin-yeon Won’s A Bloody Aria, an edgy, unpredictable Korean thriller full of genuine suspense about a lecherous music professor and his young student who, on a country drive, encounter a group of murderous youths.
The BFI was awarded funding towards the cost of soft subtitling and audio description for the following films: £2,500 for Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City (previously awarded £48,350 to widen the film’s release and boost publicity); £750 for Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’s Winstanley and Pat Holden’s Awayday.