DIRECTING WITH MICHAEL LENNOX
Background on Michael Lennox
From an early age Michael Lennox was inspired by cinema and began to make plans for a career as a filmmaker. In 2008, he made his first short film called Rip and the Preacher. The film was shown at the Californian cinequest film festival, the LA Shorts Fest and a lot of other film festivals around the world. In 2010 Michael Lennox made his Television debut with a 30-minute drama called Eclipse. Then Michael Lennox gained a place on the Master of Arts in Fiction directing-course at the NIFTS. Michael Lennox has since collaborated on the feature film Hives, which was selected for the San Sebastian film festival and the result of a coproduction – project between five European film academies. In 2014 Michael returned to his home in Northern Ireland. HE directed the short film Boogaloo and Graham which had its world premiere at the Toronto film Festival. Boogaloo and Graham won a BAFTA for the Best short film and was also nominated for the academy ward for Best short film, action. Michaelis currently working on his debut feature A patch of fog.
The first master class I attended was Directing with with Michael Lennox. This masterclass took place on the 29th of October. I was feeling really excited going to attend this class as it would be my real first experience listening to the views of someone who has earned a BAFTA which is a position I would love to be in someday. Throughout the day we listened to Michaels story on how he achieved his career goal by starting off as being a Cinemagic participant like myself to directing his own short films and now beginning to create his very first feature film. During the class we where able to view his award winning short film ‘Boogaloo and Graham’. This was the very first time I was viewing the film and I absolutely loved it! It had a very humorous and unique story line to it which really captured my attention. I learned from Michael that reading books on filmmaking was beneficial which was something I had never looked into before. Since this I have read a few articles on ‘Bafta Guru’ mentioned by Michael. I have saved this on my bookmarks and read it regularly.
MAKEUP WITH CHRISTINE BLUNDELL
Background on Christine Blundell
Christin Blundell born October, 1961 is a British make-up artist who won an Academy Award in the category of Best Make up. She won for the film Topsey Turvey. Christine started off working as a hairdresser before becoming involved with the film industry. When starting off in the industry she began with low budget films working her way up to where she is now.
During the masterclass Christine spoke a lot about her background and how she made it into the world of hair and make up for tv and film. Christine first started off by working in a salon in London’s Kensington Market during the seventies. Christine’s first job was on the production of the long-running musical, Phantom of the Opera, at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, where she worked on stage prosthetics. Christine then found herself employed on TV shows and then movies. The first film Christine worked on was on Mike Leigh’s film, Life Is Sweet. She then gained an Academy Award (Oscar) for her design work on Topsy Turvy; a BAFTA nomination for Finding Neverland ; a Woman in Film Achievement Award, as well as a Fellowship in Hairdressing, in recognition of her work on The Full Monty. Christine now owns her very own Make up and Hair academy for Tv and Film but continues to work on films throughout the year. Christine is recently working on the new Wonder Women film set to be released. She also remains as a current BAFTA jury member. The master class was very interesting and she also brought along her make up so she could show us some demonstrations. Christine taught me that you need certain lighting to match different looks for example using harsh lighting will highlight an actors blemishes and wrinkles.
FILM PRODUCTION MASTER CLSS WITH GARETH ELLIS UNWIN AND JESSICA MALIK
Background on Gareth Ellis Unwin
Gareth Unwin is a British film producer best known for producing the 2010 film The Kings Speech for which he won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Bedlam Productions. Gareth grew up in Slough, Berkshire. He attended Herschel Grammar School. He worked part-time at Pinewood Studios. Gareth graduated from Ravensbourne College. Gareth rose quickly through the ranks to be assistant director and production manager for a number of drama and documentary projects. His first feature film as producer, Exam(2009), earned a nomination at the 63rd British Academy Film Awards. Gareth then produced The Kings Speech and then picking up the Audience Award at Toronto International Film Festival, seven BAFTAs, including both Outstanding British Film and Best Film, and four Academy Awards, including Best Film.
Background on Jessica Malik
Jessica is a film and theatre producer. She graduated with a First Class Law degree. She grew up in and around the film industry and is now the third generation in her family to work in film production. She started her career producing theatre and produced the award winning play Guardians and sell out comedy Angry Young Man at the Edinburgh Festival in 2005, before moving to produce for the Pleasance Theatre in London. Angry Young Man transferred to London’s West End in 2009 whilst Guardians continued on to Broadway in 2006. She returned to the Pleasance in 2011 with Hywel John’s Rose.
Jessica’s career in film started in marketing and progressed to international sales at Capitol Films. Jessica later became the Senior Sales Executive at Exclusive Media Group. To date she has handled international sales for over 30 feature films including multiple Academy Award winning Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, Paul McGuigan’s Lucky Number Slevin, Peter Howitt’s Sliding Doors, Matt Reeves US DVD chart topping Let Me In, James Watkins’ Woman in Black and multiple Academy Award nominee Peter Weir’s The Way Back with numerous other films with budgets ranging from $5m-$40m.
In 2010, she moved into producing full time, raised development finance and set up Pari Passu Films Ltd in 2011 with producing partner Jessica Parker. They are based in London.
Gareth Ellis Unwin (The producer of the kings speech) and Jessica Malik came to the Europa hotel to give us a masterclass on Film Production. This masterclass consisted of Gareth telling us about his background and how he decided that he wanted to become a producer. Gareth explained to us the thorough process of going from pre production to post production. Gareth is recognised as an Academy and BAFTA Award-winner and the CEO of the London-based Bedlam Film Productions. Since the masterclass I have realised this is one of the most important roles within filmmaking as it holds a lot of responsibility.
Jessica began to talk about the marketing side of filming. This is a side of film which I have never really thought about however, it was very interesting to hear Jessica’s view from her role in film. As someone who is so engrossed in the making of films, I’ve never really thought of the marketing end of it. I was shocked to discover under £3O million was considered a low budget film as this is quite a sum of money.
In Northern Ireland one of our main resources for career opportunities in film is on the NI Screen web page. Here we have Calls for crew and some Job Opportunities to work for NI Screen. There is also the opportunity to take on an apprenticeship with the BBC when advertised. The opportunities in NI are limited but it is a growing industry and the future looks bright and hopefully this will bring new opportunities.
From this experience I feel certain that this is where I belong. I have had positive feedback from people within the industry which has given me the confidence to pursue a career in editing. The BFI group and I are now creating other short films that we hope to enter into competitions and festivals. I am also involved with Cinemagic which gives me great support and encouragement with my ambition. This year (2016) I have been accepted into Queens University,Belfast to do a degree in Film Studies.