British Independent Filmmaking
Six weeks on Thursdays from 19 March to 23rd April 2020, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Lecturer: Dan Turner
This course gives an insight to the workings of the British Film Industry, and explores the filmmaking process from idea to cinema screen. The teaching will draw on a wealth of personal knowledge as well as drawing on examples ranging from the work of stalwarts like Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold to brilliant new voices such as James Gardner (Jellyfish) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Farming). We will also discuss the current landscape and explore the challenges of finding a platform for new talent in a changing distribution landscape.
Week 1: An introduction to British independent Filmmaking.
This week presents a historical overview of the British film industry, contextualising this 6 week course and the trials and tribulations of the filmmakers that fight to get their films made. From Powell and Pressburger to Andrea Arnold and Steve Mcqueen and from Carry On to Merchant Ivory and through to emerging talent in films like Blue Story.
Suggested Viewing: Kes (1969), Sexy Beast (2001), Chariots of Fire (1981)
Week 2: Establishment or Maverick?
We explore the work of Mike Leigh, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Lyn Ramsey.
This week we look at how these outstanding British filmmakers went from fighting the system to being embraced and lauded. We will consider their approach to storytelling and the balance struck between artist integrity and establishment acceptance.
Suggested Viewing: Ratcatcher (1999), Fish Tank (2009)
Week 3: Gangsters vs Dandy’s.
The last four decades have seen two very disparate genres become touch stones of British cinema: The gangster film and the period piece. In many ways these two genres represent more of an imagined England, rather than a truly reflective one.
This week we explore the cultural and societal context in which these genres have become so popular.
Suggested Viewing: Another Country (1984), The Long Good Friday (1980)
Week 4: The unspoken audience.
The massive popularity of the films Kidulthood and Adulthood took the british film industry by surprise. A large proportion of the UK audience were simply not represented in cinema, Noel Clarkes films put their lives on screen and showed there was an audience hungry for the kind of stories he was telling. This week we look at Noel’s work and the battles he has undertaken to become a production powerhouse in film and television.
This discussion widens into the broader topic of the continued marginalisation of black cinema that’s recently been highlighted once again with Andrew Onwubolu’s Blue Story.
Suggested viewing: Kidulthood (2006), Shifty (2008), Blue Story (2009)
Week 5: Contemporary British film in depth.
We take two recent British films – James Gardner’s Jellyfish and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming, and chart their story from script to screen, highlighting the battles that British filmmakers have to get their work to an audience in these times of changing distribution models and the squeezing out of independent film in the multiplexes.
Suggested Viewing: Jellyfish (2018), Farming (2019)
Week 6: Getting your voice heard.
Throughout the history of British cinema individual voices have punched through the mainstream to tell their stories. In this final session we look at the challenges the modern filmmaker has in getting their films seen and celebrate the successes of artists like Ken Russell, Steve Mcqueen and Gurinder Chadha who are making their voices heard despite changes in the landscape of film.
Suggested Viewing: The Devils (1971), Shame (2011), Blinded by the Light (2019)
Tickets are £80 for the full six-week course (£75 concession / £70 Picturehouse Members).