We are delighted to announce that William Brown’s short film, Clem, will be screened as part of Besides the Screen, a festival-cum-conference that will take place at the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil between 9 and 12 September 2019.

The screening will take place at 20.00 on 12 September 2019 as part of the final session, which focuses on Consciência Corporal (‘corporal conscience’). Clem will screen alongside work from Belgium, Brazil, Iran, Norway and the USA.

Besides the Screen

The full program for the festival, which has an especial focus on essay-films, can be found here.

Clem is a short essay-film about William’s cat, Clem, while also being a self-portrait that considers the role of the self in relation to others in the contemporary world.

The film consists of original and ‘found/appropriated’ footage from filmmakers as diverse as Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Laura Mulvey, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jordan Peele and more – while also featuring artworks by numerous painters and sculptors, especially Gustave Courbet.

The screening is the second screening of William’s work in Brazil, following a screening of En Attendant Godard at the Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná in 2016.

Besides the Screen follows promptly on from the World Premieres of Golden Gate at the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival in July and of La Belle Noise at the Fest Film Festival in Espinho, Portugal, in late June.

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Guy Farber (sound) and Tom Maine (cinematography) relax in between scenes during the London leg of Mantis in July 2019.

Furthermore, William has been busy during the summer shooting his new fiction feature film Mantis, which took place in London and Collioure, France, while also helping out on the production of short film, Kin, which he co-wrote with director Mila Zuo, and which was shot in Oregon in August, with Frank Mosley playing one of the leads.

William is also working on the post-production of The New Hope 2, while also hoping for imminent screenings of his other films. Stay tuned for more news here…

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We are absolutely delighted to announce that the short essay-film, Golden Gate, will have its international premiere at the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival on 21 July 2019.

The screening will take place at 9pm in the Little Roxie room at the iconic Roxie cinema in San Francisco – as part of a programme of shorts on Science Fiction and Horror.

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This is especially exciting because MovieMaker Magazine voted Frozen one of the 20 Coolest Film Festivals In the World.

Golden Gate is a short essay-film that comprises clips from 43 experimental and feature films shot on or around the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

If you’d like to read more about the film, you can check out this essay that director William Brown wrote on his film criticism blog.

The screening takes place during the shooting of our new feature film, Mantis, which is shooting in Collioure and Port Vendres in France, and which tells the story of three young women celebrating the life of one of their late friends.

Golden Gate also recently played at the Film-Philosophy Conference at the University of Brighton on 10 July 2019.

La Belle Noise premiere at Fest Film Festival
We are very excited to announce that our experimental documentary, La Belle Noise, will have its world premiere at the Fest Film Festival in Espinho, Portugal, on 30 June 2019.

Shot at the Fest Film Festival itself in 2018, La Belle Noise stars Colin Morgan as himself and as a sleaze ball film producer who is at the seaside town of Espinho in order to wreak havoc on the minds of hopeful filmmakers.

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Meanwhile, Beg Steal Borrow legend Dennis Chua turns up at Cthulhu, the ancient one from Lovecraftian mythology, who also is in turn to have fun.

Various actors and other filmmakers reflect upon their desire to be involved in film, as well as their relationship with love – and as the film blurs the distinction between fiction and documentary, so it blurs the distinction between signal and noise, suggesting that there is beauty to be found in those aspects of cinema that typically we discard or overlook.

The screening takes place at midnight on 30 June (as it transitions into 1 July) at the Casino. It follows right after Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell, which is the festival’s closing film.

Other news
These screenings are accompanied by a preview screening of This is Cinema at the Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image on Saturday 13 July – ahead of what we hope to be a festival run for that film.

This will take place just ahead of the shooting of Mantis, a new Beg Steal Borrow production that will be shot in Collioure, France, in mid-July – and about which we hope to announce more later.

And then there is in August the shooting of Mila Zuo’s short film, Kin, co-written by William Brown, and which stars Frank Mosley, with principle photography taking place in August.

Finally, look out for The New Hope 2, which we hope to complete some time in the autumn!

We are very excited to announce the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for Kin, a new short film to be directed in August by the highly talented Mila Zuo – based on a script co-written by Zuo and Beg Steal Borrow’s William Brown.

The campaign comes on the back of Zuo winning the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship, sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission and administered by the NW Film Center.

The crowdfund campaign is being run through Seed&Spark, a site dedicated uniquely to filmmakers. For more information about the campaign – and to donate – check it out here…!

It is only between your help and the award from the Oregon Arts Commission that Kin will get made.

About Kin
Kin tells the story of three 20-somethings who live together in beautiful rural Oregon, passing their time with beer, TV, home repairs, and vague dreams about a better future.

Conversations about love, security, and taste punctuate the film’s depiction of three young adults in a forgotten Pacific Northwest town, as a shy young man is enthralled by the overconfidence of the couple he lives with.

While the men repair their neglected home, the young woman works at a small motel, as Kin builds towards a violent climax, exploring its origins and testing how far audiences can go in their ability to sympathise, identify with, and even forgive characters.

Cast and crew
Kin looks set to feature various actors who are well known from the realms of American independent cinema – and it will be exciting to update people about that as soon as the cast is confirmed.

Meanwhile, the film’s director, Mila Zuo, is best known for her short film, Carnal Orient, which premiered at Slamdance in 2016 before going on to play at a host of other festivals in North America and further afield.

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Mila Zuo preps a new film shoot

The film has since been picked up by online horror distributor ALTER, where Carnal… has thus far received over 77,000 views.

In addition, Zuo’s visual essay Détourning Asia/America premiered at CAAMfest 2019 in San Francisco. The film features and is made in collaboration with renowned Asian-American film director Valeria Soe.

Kin will be lensed by Edward P. Davee, who is an award winning writer/director whose films have screened in several film festivals and art galleries around the world.

His first feature, How the Fire Fell won Best Feature Film at the Seattle Film Forum’s Local Sightings Film Festival and was distributed by FilmBuff.

In 2012, Davee also won the Oregon Media Arts Fellowship as well as additional grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The proposal for his 2nd feature film, Lost Division, won him the annual RACC Innovation award as well.

 

Followers of Beg Steal Borrow will be pleased to hear that our film, The Benefit of Doubt, recently enjoyed two screenings in the USA, including one at the Oregon State International Film Festival in Corvallis, Oregon, and one at East Tennessee State University at Johnson City, Tennessee.

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The Darkside Cinema in Corvallis, Oregon, where The Benefit of Doubt played on 4 April 2019.

Both screenings were accompanied by talks given by director William Brown, with the movie being warmly received.

ETSU Screening

Nick (Nick Marwick) does an impression of Al Pacino for Ariadne (Hannah) Croft) during The Benefit of Doubt – taken at the screening of the film at East Tennessee State University on 10 April 2019.

Many thanks to all those who helped to arrange these visits, including Mila Zuo, Sebastian Heiduschke, Matthew Holtmeier, Chelsea Wessels and Lange. We are delighted always to reach new audiences – wherever that may be in the world.

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A poster for William Brown’s talk on digital cinema and low-budget filmmaking at Oregon State University. Poster designed by Mila Zuo.

Meanwhile, final touches are being put to This is Cinema, which should enjoy one, maybe more, preview screenings in the summer, with editing about the begin on The New Hope 2.

This will take place simultaneous to preparation for a new film, Mantis, which will be shot in the south of France in the summer. Meanwhile, we are also planning towards various films in the autumn and into 2020 – with Beg Steal Borrow regulars and with new blood alike.

William has also just completed the editing of Golden Gate, a short essay-film about the role that the Golden Gate Bridge has played in film history. This will enjoy a premiere at the Film-Philosophy Conference in Brighton in July.

Finally, we are pleased to announce two new posters for Beg Steal Borrow films, both designed by the hugely talented Angela Faillace.

The first is for The Benefit of Doubt:

BoD Poster

And the second is for our experimental documentary, La Belle Noise:-

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Many thanks to Angela for her wonderful work on these!

 

 

So, it looks as though 2019 might be a productive year, as we have just completed – finally – The Benefit of Doubt.

This follows hot on the heals of the completion of Vladimir and William and La Belle Noise, and surely precedes by a short while the competition of This is Cinema and The New Hope 2, meaning that we should have 5 (five!) new feature films to present within the next few months.

A mood trailer for the film can be seen here:-

And hopefully there will be screenings of the finished film to follow (after some preview screenings over the last 18 months).

About The Benefit of Doubt
Made for a mere £4,000, The Benefit of Doubt tells the story of Ariadne, a young woman who travels to Nice in order to rediscover herself after the end of a 10-year relationship.

In Nice, Ariadne meets first frustrated actor Nick and then hedonist nomad Greg, fellow travellers with whom she explores the city and its surroundings, as she learns once again to smile.

In its tale of a lonely woman who encounters a performer and a bon viveur, The Benefit of Doubt is a reworking of the myth of Ariadne, discovered by Dionysos on the shores of Naxos – as famously painted by Giorgio di Chirico.

The film takes visual inspiration from Jean Vigo’s classic city symphony, A propos de Nice (1930), reworking various of the themes that Vigo explores in his classic text (sport, leisure, overlooked workers, the infrastructure of tourism). What is more, the film sees the characters wander around Nice and its environs in a manner that recalls the French practice of flânerie.

Furthermore, The Benefit of Doubt lies tonally somewhere between Eric Rohmer’s The Green Ray and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, while the film also takes in various of the museums in Nice and its surroundings – including the Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence.

Ariadne is played by Hannah Croft, one of rising comedienne duo Croft & Pearce, and the star of En Attendant Godard (William Brown, 2009) and The Repairman (Paolo Mitton, 2013). The film also features performances from Nick Marwick, Greg Rowe, Mark Hodge and Lucia Williams.

In addition, the film’s soundtrack includes music composed by David Miller (responsible for the film’s main theme), Amy Holt, Alex Fixsen and Sam Pauli & Reiver.

Regular Beg Steal Borrow cinematographer Tom Maine is responsible for the images of the south coast of France, while the film is written and directed by William Brown, who has made some 15+ no-budget feature films since 2009.

 

 

Just as we put finishing touches to a succession of films, including Vladimir and WilliamLa Belle NoiseThe Benefit of Doubt and This is Cinema, and just before we undertake editing of The New Hope 2, we are delighted to say that #randomaccessmemory has been listed among the best video essays of 2018 in the prestigious Sight & Sound magazine.

Listed alongside work by filmmakers including Jean-Luc Godard and Lars von Trier, as well as among video-essay luminaries such as Kevin B Lee, Catherine Grant, Cristina Álvarez López, Adrian Martin and others, we are delighted that #randomaccessmemory gets a mention.

You have to scroll pretty far down (well, to the bottom) of the article to see where Michael Witt has named the film…. but it is there indeed.

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From Sight & Sound‘s website

If you want to watch #randomaccessmemory, you can do so here (or watch it directly at the foot of this entry).

With regard to the film itself, #randomaccessmemory is an experimental feature that uses all of the smartphone footage that William Brown shot in 2016 in order to offer up an investigation into love.

Filmed in the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Macedonia, Lithuania, Brazil and the USA, #randomaccessmemory looks at art, landscape, moving images and nature to try to understand love.

Loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey (culminating in Ithaca, no less), the film also draws upon the work of authors as diverse as Antonin Artaud, André Breton, Miguel de Cervantes, Luce Irigaray, Molière, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf in order to make its argument about the truth of love.

Featuring music from the wonderfully talented Anna Eichenauer and Alex Fixsen, #randomaccessmemory also makes visual references to filmmakers as diverse as John Akomfrah, Hito Steyerl, Kidlat Tahimik, Harun Farocki, Lav Diaz and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, while also referencing other artists like Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso and Tacita Dean.

 

 

While we are busy working simultaneously on This is CinemaLa Belle NoiseThe Benefit of Doubt and The New Hope 2, we are also delighted to announce the completion of Vladimir and William.

Vladimir and William consists of eight video letters sent between William Brown and Macedonian experimental filmmaker Vladimir Najdovski between 2017 and 2018.

The film is inspired by various epistolary movies, such as Chris Marker’s Sans soleil, Erik Baudelaire’s Letters to Max and Mark Cousins and Mania Akbari’s Life May Be.

Featuring images of Skopje, London, Edinburgh, New York, Paris and Abu Dhabi, the film offers thoughtful considerations of various contemporary issues as well as perennial philosophical conundrums.

Here is a link to the film. If a password is required to view the film, then do get in touch with us and we shall happily send one to you.

We are pleased to announce that our film Circle/Line has a couple of screenings over the coming weeks.

Firstly, the film will play at the University of Zaragoza in Spain on Thursday 4 October at 7pm in Room 05 of the Nueva Facultad de Educación (that is today!).

Secondly, the film will play at the University of Skovde in Sweden on Tuesday 16 October at 10am.

Finally, Circle/Line has also been named as a finalist at the Blow-Up Chicago International Arthouse Film Festival in Chicago, USA.

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This may not necessarily entail a screening – with the films that are to be screened being announced on 16 October.

Nonetheless, the festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago on 11 and 12 November.

Naturally, we are delighted to have been included as a finalist in their line-up. And here’s to hoping that we manage to be selected for a screening in one of the great American cities!

First things first.

Pre-production
We are still working on all manner of projects, including a possible sequel to The New Hope, a film about a group of university friends holding a reunion in France called Mantis, and a film about members of a singularity cult who decide to blow up server farms called How to Get Killed in the UK. This is not to mention our unnamed musical project about London’s French community. Hopefully one or more of these will get made in the next few months.

Production
Recently we travelled to Portugal, where we did the principal photography for an experimental film about actors and acting called La Belle Noise. The movie stars Beg Steal Borrow regular Dennis Chua and newcomer Colin Morgan in the lead roles. Alya Soliman and Guy Farber helped out on the production, which featured numerous contributions from participants at and around the Fest Film Festival in Espinho, just south of Porto.

Fest provided the backdrop to the film, with William Brown also delivering a masterclass on zero-budget directing at the festival.

Post-production
We are continuing post-production work on This is Cinema and The Benefit of Doubt. Imminently our collaborative epistolary film with Macedonian filmmaker Vladimir Najdovski will be completed and will enjoy a screening in London. Keep an eye out for this!

Exhibition
William’s recently completed short film Clem, which is about one of the cats that lived with his family during his childhood, played at the 2018 Film-Philosophy Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, where it was generally well received.

On a separate note, though, Circle/Line was accepted into the Jogja International Film Festival in Indonesia, where it received an International Award of Merit.

While this sounds like good news, there was no actual screening of the film, since the organisers of the festival insist that all filmmakers be present if their film is to be screened – and William could not afford the cost of the airfare to Indonesia.

Failing the presence of the filmmaker, one can pay a local representative to be at the film, while the festival also only accepts films that have been burnt to DVD/BluRay by the local designated company. Oddly, the festival does not accept file transfers.

The combination of these quirky policies has led William to question whether the festival is really one aimed at getting the filmmaker to spend money locally in Indonesia, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but which does reaffirm the way in which many festivals are not screening stuff because they really like it, but for other reasons, perhaps here economic.

This prompted William to survey his festival submissions over the past few years. Looking at FilmFreeway alone, William has submitted his projects to a total of 128 festivals.

There have from this been 11 acceptances, 113 rejections and 3 submissions the outcome of which has not yet been decided. This means that less than one in 10 submissions has resulted in an acceptance.

Of those 11 acceptances, two were for film scripts (or rather, for the same film script, namely Kiss & Make-Up – at the Oaxaca FilmFest and at Scriptapalooza respectively), while six acceptances were for films that ultimately did not have a screening (with those screening-less festivals being the Beijing International Film Festival, the Stockholm Independent Film Festival, the UK Monthly Film Festival and the Barcelona Planet Film Festival, which supposedly accepted three of our films at once).

This then leaves three festivals alone as having taken our work and actually screened it – with one of those being a screening of The New Hope at the Bad Film Festival in New York, where there was an audience of zero people (although this number has not officially been confirmed). Otherwise, Letters to Ariadne played at the Validate Yourself Film Festival in New York (where over two thirds of the audience walked out and where the festival organiser himself tried to clap the film off the stage), and Circle/Line played at the wonderful East End Film Festival in London.

This means ultimately that 128 submissions have led to three film screenings, a hit rate of less than one in 40. And it means that a sum of roughly £1,500 has led to about 100 people watching our films. In order words, we are paying about £15 per head for people to watch our films.

(This is not as bad as the £400 paid to a cinema in London recently to show a preview screening of The Benefit of Doubt, and to which 10 people turned up. A simple case of mathematics: for that screening we paid £40 per person to be there!)

A couple of things follow from this, the last of which will be a typical performance of self-deprecation.

The first is that if you want to make some easy money, we suspect that you could do worse than to set up a film festival that never actually runs, or which if it does run, plays only one or two films from among those ‘selected.’ All you need really to do is to give to people ‘palms’ (if that) so that they can put them on their poster to give their film the air of having had ‘festival success.’

Charging a small fee in order to attract those filmmakers who do not have the money to foot £75 entry charges, I imagine that you would have a steady stream of 50-100 submissions each month (especially if you create a ‘rolling’ festival, like the UK Monthly Film Festival). At, say, £10 a pop, that would make you between £500 and £1,000 per month, minus your fee to Film Freeway. It would certainly help with the rent and/or to pay for one’s own creative projects – including the hire of a venue at which to the screen your own work (something that William has also spotted some festivals as doing).

The second point is that such a low hit rate would suggest that our/my/William’s filmmaking is shit – since no one wants to watch it (we have to pay people to watch our work).

Even after a high profile screening of Circle/Line at the East End Film Festival, not a single door has been opened in terms of giving to that film a further festival life – in much the same way that no festival screening has ever in our careers led to further festival screenings, with none of our 14 feature films having played at more than two festivals (and with none of our shorts having ever been selected for a film festival at all).

This compares very negatively with numerous other filmmakers, whose work seems to enjoy a ‘run’ of 30 or 40 festivals with a single film.

Perhaps one day we’ll work out what it is that we do wrong. But certainly we are just wrong, or we just get it wrong the absolute vast majority of the time. We certainly very rarely get it right – in terms of not just having a screening, but also in terms of people actually liking what it is that we do.

I guess, however, that we carry on – even if it is to the displeasure of those who wish that we would just give up, and even if it is to the displeasure of those who enjoy having a good laugh/bitch at our expensive when our work is mentioned in conversation.

Because if we didn’t carry on, then the feeling of not being right would become overwhelming, since it also is linked with not being right for this world. And the logical thing to do for someone who is not right for this world is to remove oneself from it.