Quick sum-up of some the things I’ve seen at the EIFF, whilst I remember :
* Film : Hallam Foe – review in an earlier post. Still recommending it to people.
* Film : My Life As A Bus Stop – a funny, original and scottish feature. Made me laugh… out loud.
* Film : Stardust – didn’t quite match up to the hope and hype BUT bits of it were beautiful and dreamy. The special effects were gorgeous, and any film that gets Michelle Pfeiffer into prosthetics, Robert De Niro into ladies underwear, and Sienna Miller playing frankly, a bit of a bitch, is worth a shot. I think the film’s main problem (if you could call it that) was that it wanted to be a little more adult and poetic, but ended up hitting the middle ground in order to appeal to the ‘Harry Potter’ market. Those are my reservations, but I would still say it’s worth seeing. It’s ambitious and delicious, and certainly has enough going for it to warrant a trip to the cinema, including an engaging and handsome (hey it helps!) leading man, Charlie Cox, and Claire Danes playing a rather unconventional falling star. I’m a sucker for a fairy tale.
* Q&A : Mike Leigh at a warm and friendly Skillset session where we learned a little more about how he manages to draw out such intimate performances from his actors. The media likes to portray him as some sort of magician who creates out of thin air, but Leigh revealed that the reality is far from this fantasy. He comes to a project with ideas a-plenty, and creates his character’s back stories and quirks with each individual actor. Once he’s sure everything’s in place, that’s when he lets the unexpected happen – bringing characters together to let them play off against each other, finding their similarities, connections and watching as they attempt to keep hidden their personal secrets and lies. Instead of shouting ‘action’, he goes with ‘warm up’ which gives the actors time to themselves to get into character so they don’t have to ‘start cold’. Sometimes, he revealed, he never does have to say anything else, he just starts filming when he feels they’re ready. I could’ve listened to him for hours more than the 90 mins he spoke for. He was fascinating and much more open than expected, although he wasn’t averse to keeping some cards to his chest. He spoke generally about a project that he’d love to take on, but doubted it would ever happen as it would require at least a 20 million pound budget – but wouldn’t be drawn any further. He admitted that he’d rather stick with the freedom that comes from working to the budgets he gets, without having to hand-over some of his freedom in exchange for the big budgets.
* Industry Events : Working Writer, MetLab, How to Succeed in the Film Industry by Really Trying, Rise and Fall of Rennaissance Films, UK Film Council breakfast, Make it to Market, Finding the Right Producer, Meet The Experts (which will forever be my ‘Waterloo’ as I totally dried up and then spent the rest of the valuable 20 minutes pretending I wasn’t dying), and still to come –
* Writers Role
* premiere of Breach (Ryan Philippe is attending afterwards for a Q&A along with Chris Cooper and Billy Ray)
* Q&A with Stephen Frears.
Can’t wait……… but then I’m going to lie on the floor and make like I’m a vegetable.