Archives for posts with tag: william brown

Beg Steal Borrow Films is delighted to announce the launch of a crowd funding campaign to finance their new film, This is Cinema.

Running until 3 June, the campaign is being hosted by LiveTree, and is hoping to raise £3,000 to support the production of This is Cinema, the 11th Beg Steal Borrow feature.

If you are interested in supporting the film, then please sign up to the campaign here.

The film tells the story of Ben, a university lecturer who is grieving the loss of his wife and child. One day, his brother-in-law, Dennis, unexpectedly arrives on his doorstep with Radhika, a homeless woman who is fleeing an unhappy marriage.

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Meanwhile, Latoya is a diligent and popular student taking one of Ben’s classes. Her brother, Wilhelm, is also in Ben’s class, but he hardly attends, preferring to sell weed on campus in a bid to finance his musical aspirations.

Things become complicated when Ben and Latoya get a match on a dating app while Ben is on a drunken night out. Furthermore, Ben’s world also unravels when he is threatened with redundancy for not being productive enough.

Tensions rise, then, as Dennis struggles to rearrange his life after losing his own marriage and falling into drink, while Latoya wrestles with depression and Wilhelm a mounting debt that sees him turn to dealing cocaine.

As Ben tries to work through his grief, and as all of the characters try to find meaning in their lives, This is Cinema explores the lives of two very different families as worlds collide in contemporary London.

The film is thus about those who desire intimacy and trust in a city where neither is easily forthcoming, and where traditional barriers must perhaps be broken down if trust is to be found.

Set against the backdrop of the neoliberalisation of British university education, This is Cinema will partially be shot in the areas of London where François Truffaut made his 1966 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s famous 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451. In this way, the film’s setting will echo Truffaut’s use of south west London spaces in order to investigate how in addition to politics, the very architecture of the city plays a role in placing the freedom of thought under threat.

Starring Al Trevill as Ben and Dennis Chua as Dennis, This is Cinema is set to feature performances from various Beg Steal Borrow stalwarts, while also featuring performances from brand new collaborators, including Radhika Aggarwal as Radhika, Cherneal Scott as Latoya and Femi Wilhelm as Wilhelm.

Shot by stellar cinematographer Tom Maine, we also look forward to sound recording from Julio Molina Montenegro, as well, hopefully, as musical contributions from many of our long-standing collaborators (Radhika is the drummer in Extradition Order for whom we have shot a couple of music videos).

This is Cinema thus looks set to be a wonderful addition to the Beg Steal Borrow canon. And if you are interested in supporting the film, then please take part in our crowdfunding campaign, a link to which is available here.

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Beg Steal Borrow is delighted to announce that Selfie will screen at Kino Kultura in Skopje, Macedonia, on 14 May 2016.

The screening, which has been organised through talented and local low-budget filmmaker Vladimir Najdovski, will take place at 8pm.

Director William Brown is hoping that he’ll be able to make it to the screening – depending on flight price and availability!

Kino Kultura is a centre for contemporary performing arts and independent culture run jointly run by LOKOMOTIVA and Theatre Navigator Cvetko.

Kino Kultura was a thriving cultural venue in the 2000s, having recently reopened in February 2016 after a 10-year absence. It has been described as ‘the symbol of urban life in Skopje’ – and we can think of no better venue for a film like Selfie.

Selfie Poster

The Selfie poster, designed by the talented Angela Faillace.

Selfie is an essay-film about selfie culture. It was shot between January and May 2014, and it is composed almost entirely of moving image selfies taken by director William Brown during that period.

The Kino Kultura event will follow soon after a screening of En Attendant Godard at the University of Roehampton on 18 March 2016, as part of the Film History & Criticism module taken by first-year students on the university’s Film course.

We are happy to announce that filming has begun for Beg Steal Borrow’s new documentary, Circle/Line.

The premise of the film is to interview people at all of the 26 stops on the ‘regular’ Circle line of the London Underground (this does not include the stations that stretch from Edgware Road to Hammersmith and which now are part of a combined Circle and Hammersmith & City line).

We interview people about life in general, especially regarding whether they are happy, with the idea being to compile a vox pop film along the lines of two of the great documentaries from the 1960s, Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été, France, 1961), and Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s Le Joli Mai (France, 1963).

The rationale behind the film is to see how happy people are in 2015, with a particular emphasis on people in London. The reason for shooting at Circle line stations is because our hypothesis is that this will take in a mix of locations, at least within central London, while at the same time setting a natural limit on the film.

Meanwhile, given that I (this is William Brown writing) am not sure what happiness is, or if it can exist in the way that I think it could (everyone being happy), then I am intrigued by paradox, which ties in with the idea that a circle is somehow supposed also to be a line at the same time.

Tom Maine is shooting the film, but in portrait style. The idea is also, then, to film the architecture around the Circle line stations, and to see how organic and/or symbiotic is the relationship between the people whose portraits we take, and the buildings that surround them.

This post is intended not only to announce that we are making the film, but also to act as a journal of sorts about making the film. There may not be too many entries, but it can function as news about the production nonetheless.

Day One (Friday 1 May 2015 – Liverpool Street)

I am a nervous sort, in that I don’t particularly like approaching strangers to talk to them, and yet this is the basic remit of this project. Having hovered at Liverpool Street for a few minutes – during which time Tom and I bumped into Rosie Frascona, our star from Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux – we finally decided to set up by Broadgate Circus.

And who should walk past for our first interview but my old friend Jonathan Stanley? He agrees to take part, and so suddenly talking to strangers feels very easy – if in fact we are only going to have to interview friends whom we bump into randomly on the street.

Buoyed by the luck of bumping into Jonathan, Tom and I then interview various other people for the next couple of hours, including a group of British lads who had been comically walking into the shot of and trying to sabotage the interview that we filmed with a couple of Spanish women. All seems to go well as we rack up several interviews in no time, with only one or two people actually saying no. Clearly filming in decent weather on the Friday evening of a bank holiday weekend is a good strategy. Most people seem happy.

Day Two (Saturday 2 May 2015 – Temple, Embankment, Westminster)

Tom and I meet at Temple and progress from there down to Westminster. Our interviewees include a devout Christian, a Big Issue seller, a couple of musicians who discuss Nietzsche and their baby with us, and more.

More people than not are saying yes to being interviewed, which surprises us still, while more significantly more people than not are saying that they are happy, which also surprises us.

We get our first unhappy person at Westminster, a footballer from Portugal who feels that he has not achieved his life goals. We get a few interviews at Westminster, but Tom and I think we’ll come back at a later point to do some more.

A few preliminary observations: most people talk about their jobs first of all, suggesting that work is the balance between happiness and not. Family comes second. No one has discussed love necessarily. And no one has mentioned politics. I feel that I need to devise some more questions in order to draw out different shades of happiness and how people feel them.

It also strikes Tom and me that perhaps only people who are going to say that they are happy are going to be drawn towards speaking on camera. Anyone who is not happy likely is to be unwilling to talk with us. This is interesting, but also problematic for the film. Can one truly get a cross-section of people to talk to us?

Day 3 (Sunday 3 May – Kings Cross, Euston Square, Baker Street)

Kings Cross is easy pickings, oddly enough. Lots of people waiting around, lots of people happy to talk given the good weather: a Danish-Vietnamese woman discusses leftist politics, we have our second person tell us he’s unhappy, a cheerful group of French tourists, and our first older lady talks to us. Tom and I are happy more or less about the mix of people that we are interviewing, but older people seem in particular wary of us.

At Euston Square we talk to an ethnomusicologist at some length. She is most interesting. As are some young men at school and a student at UCL. It strikes me that many people have wise things to say.

Tom and I skip Great Portland Street. e will be back, but our thinking is that the place is pretty dead at the weekend, and after spending a long time at Euston Square for few interviews, we decide to go straight on to Baker Street.

There we have a long conversation with a couple who talk Tom and I into going to watch an experimental short film in Shoreditch that night.

Day 4 (Wednesday 6 May – Aldgate)

The first of our weekday evening shoots. The time of day makes us think that less tourist-driven stops might work well at around the end of office hours. Aldgate is a relatively tough stop, but Tom and I get some interviews with some interesting people, including an Indian cricket fan and a chap about to get married.

Day 5 (Thursday 7 May – Farringdon, Barbican)

Thursday is the new Friday, it would seem, since Farringdon is busy and lots of people seem happy to talk to us, including an Irish construction worker, two ladies who work in fashion, an ambitious wannabe barrister.

Nearly everyone with whom we speak still seems remarkably to be happy. It being election day, we do ask people about their political happiness. Not many of those to whom we speak profess to care about politics at all.

Tom and I suspect that Circle line stations that are next to pubs work well, because we move along to Barbican – where suddenly it seems very difficult to get people to stop and talk to us. This surprises us, since we think that pre-theatre types going to the visually impressive Barbican might be interested in having a chat on camera – but apparently not. Without a pub, and being a bit of an in-and-out station with nowhere really to loiter, it’s not necessarily that good for interviews.

Day 6 (Friday 8 May – Monument)

Oceans of people wave past us, with barely anyone willing to stop to talk. This despite the fact that an entire office block has had a fire alarm and is loitering just by the station. However, none of them talk to us.

As Tom and I begin to get a few rejections, it is amazing how it knocks the confidence out of you. The suspicious look as the person you approach feels that you are going to sell them something, the head ducking down into the mobile phone, the ‘no’ and walk away before you have even opened your mouth to explain what it is that you’re doing.

Nonetheless, after some struggle – and this on a Friday, thereby scuppering our belief that it would be easier after Liverpool Street – we manage to interview three lads in sales, one of whom professes to have voted UKIP at the election (and who looks me up and down, sees my shabby trainers and hole-marked jumper, and remarks sarcastically that ‘you’re obviously doing all right for yourself’), and a lady who is studying for her accountancy exams and who takes the longest time out of anyone so far to think about how to answer the question.

Day 7 (Tuesday 12 May – Moorgate)

Our first washout. About 75 minutes at Moorgate station, asking maybe 50 to 60 people if they’ll talk to us – and every single one, without exception, says no, including a couple of ‘talk to the hand’ gestures that refuse any eye contact whatsoever.

Finally, we manage to speak to someone, Kai, who refuses to be on camera (or for us even to record his voice). He suggests that Moorgate is a bad place to talk to people because everyone is unhappy with their jobs, it is the end of the financial year, and the weather in May is too changeable for anyone to feel comfortable. It is a good conversation, not the first of the evening that would have been great for the film, but for the fact that the interviewee does not want to be recorded.

For, upon arrival at Moorgate Tom and I start chatting to Lulu, who is working a shift handing out flyers for a homeless charity. Her shift ends at 7.30pm, so jokingly we tell her we’ll collar her then.

Seventy thirty pm rolls around – and since we have had no joy whatsoever, we decide that we will collar Lulu, who packs up her charity stall with two of her colleagues. We’ve told them about the project, but not what our question is, since we like to keep responses unplanned to our first question (‘are you happy?’ – the only person to have heard the question in advance is Jonathan Stanley at Liverpool Street).

However, Lulu and her friends – who have been stopping people in the street to discuss charity – say that they are too busy to talk to us. I ask them what their charity is. Jehovah’s Witnesses, they tell me. ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have the time to talk to us?!’ I reply, and they laugh.

We then have a great conversation with these and other JWs who join them and in which we explain the project in more detail. Even though we talk for 10-15 minutes or so – easily the time required for an interview – they still don’t agree.

And so Tom and I leave Moorgate empty-handed. We are not sure whether to leave the station blank in the film (a black screen to indicate the lack of willing participants), or whether we shall return back soon to try our luck again, maybe on a weekend or at a lunchtime if we can.

With the finishing touches being put to The New Hope, and with Selfie and Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux slowly beginning to be submitted to select festivals (keep your eyes open for screenings!), Beg Steal Borrow Films has moved for the first time into the world of music video direction.

William Brown directed the video for Extradition Order’s new song, ‘Boy in Uniform’ in early December 2014. The video was edited over the Christmas period, and is now just awaiting grading and a confirmation of release date from the band’s label before becoming available shortly – online and in other places, no doubt.

The clip tells the story of the band playing an illegal concert that the police disrupt. However, the music is just too seductive for the coppers, who soon find themselves seduced into having fun, rather than doing their job!

Inspired by Banksy’s famous ‘Kissing Coppers’ mural, the video features performances from Beg Steal Borrow regular Dennis Chua and first-timer Ariel Pozuelo, while Tom Maine was as usual in charge of cinematography.

Beg Steal Borrow's video for Extradition Order's 'Boy in Unifirm' takes inspiration from Banksy's famous and controversial mural, Kissing Coppers.

Beg Steal Borrow’s video for Extradition Order’s ‘Boy in Unifirm’ takes inspiration from Banksy’s famous and controversial mural, Kissing Coppers.

Beg Steal Borrow newcomer Tony Yanick acted as assistant director, while the crew was made up of Angela Faillace, Bahareh Golchin, Sara Janahi and Dasha Sevcenko.

Friends of the band acted as party goers and crowd as shooting took place in Roehampton, London on 6 December 2014.

Extradition Order consists of lead singer Alastair Harper, bassist Nick Boardman, lead guitar Jez Walton, with Radhika Aggarwal on drums and Matt Bergin on keys. For the video, the band all wore costumes inspired by the Village People.

Extradition Order‘s new album, Kennedy, is due for release in early spring 2015.

Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux enjoyed a preview screening at the prestigious Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, on 25 May 2014.

The film tells the story of six disaffected people who are on holiday in the south of France – and who do not realise that the zombie apocalypse is taking place all around them.

The preview screening garnered an enthusiastic crowd, who overcame technical difficulties to watch this first airing of Ur.

Leading zombie film scholar Stacey Abbott was on hand to lead a Q&A after the screening with stars Edward Chevasco, Dennis Chua and Laura Murray, cinematographer Tom Maine, assistant director Alexandra Brown (who was/is nine months pregnant!), and William Brown.

Rosie (played by Roseanna Frascona) says good bye to the world in Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tabeaux.

Rosie (played by Roseanna Frascona) says good bye to the world in Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tabeaux.

On Facebook, various of those in attendance commented on the film. One viewer described the film as an ‘excellent zombie apocalypse film yesterday – funny, engaging, astute and beautifully shot.’

Another commented on the ‘fine work’ from cast and crew.

And Stacey Abbott herself described Ur as ‘a most unusual and fascinating zombie (but not zombie) film.’

Many thanks should be given to Mairead Murray, Will Orpin and Rick Gould at the Olympic for all of their help.

It was particularly a thrill to have the preview at a cinema where Jean-Luc Godard shot the Rolling Stones for his 1968 film, Sympathy for the Devil. Godard was, of course, at the heart of the first Beg Steal Borrow film, En Attendant Godard.

Edward (Edward Chevasco) and Rosie (Roseanna Frascona) talk love in Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux.

Edward (Edward Chevasco) and Rosie (Roseanna Frascona) talk love in Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux.

 

After a successful run at the American Online Film Awards (AOFA) Spring Showcase in May, Common Ground has been invited to take part in the AOFA’s follow-up Autumn Showcase.

Common Ground is a contemporary film noir set against the backdrop of the economic crisis and Occupy. It tells the story of Dennis (Dennis Chua), a Guatemalan in London who goes looking for his missing brother – only to discover that his brother owes money all over town. Common Ground was shot for a mere £500 (or US$750).

The Showcase runs from 1 October to 14 October 2014. It features numerous films from all over the world. So if you have not yet had a chance to see Common Ground, do be sure to log in and to watch it at/on the Showcase when it starts.

Meanwhile, Common Ground star Musa Okwonga has just completed a two-part radio documentary for the BBC on the forthcoming football World Cup in Brazil – investigating how football was adopted and adapted by Brazilians. It is available via the BBC World Service here. In Common Ground, Musa plays Dennis’ boss.

Furthermore, Common Ground‘s Charlie Partridge, who plays an outspoken tramp, has just completed a new music video, ‘Change The World, Change Your Status’, with his comedy group, the Slacktivists. You can see it below and here.

These are simply the latest exploits of the Common Ground gang. As mentioned in previous posts, star Alex Chevasco has recently been selected for the Sundance Lab in the USA, while co-star Laura Murray will be performing Macbeth in the grounds of Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford, England, over the summer.

 

Beg Steal Borrow’s third feature, Common Ground, has enjoyed a screening at the University of Central Lancashire in Preson.

Director William Brown was invited to introduce the film to various students and staff members at the university, in particular those studying a course on British cinema with Professor Ewa Mazierska.

William spoke about zero-budget filmmaking in contemporary Britain with an enthusiastic group of students, before holding the screening to a gathered audience of around 30 people.

Common Ground was screened at UCLan on 7 April 2014.

Common Ground was screened at UCLan on 7 April 2014.

William was delighted by the invitation – and considers it a real honour to be considered a filmmaker of sufficient significance (?!) to be a representative of contemporary British cinema – even if only of the possibilities that zero-budget filmmaking opens up for contemporary filmmaking in Britain.

The screening took place on 7 April 2014.

Beg Steal Borrow’s Chris Marker-inspired documentary/essay-film, China: A User’s Manual (Films), has had its first public screening.

The film played as part of a series of films programmed by the Centre for Research into Film and Audiovisual Cultures (CRFAC) at the University of Roehampton, London.

The University of Roehampton, London, which recently hosted a screening of Beg Steal Borrow's China: A User's Manual (Films).

The University of Roehampton, London, which recently hosted a screening of Beg Steal Borrow’s China: A User’s Manual (Films).

The screening took place on 12 March 2014, and it involved an enthusiastic response from and an engaging discussion between those present and director William Brown.

The CRFAC series has also involved screenings by Omid Djalili, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Michael Chanan, Suridh Hassan, Rozy Sarkis, Catherine Grant and Austin Vince during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Hopefully, China: A User’s Manual will get more screenings in the near future. Keep an eye out for it!

The first teaser for Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux is now online!

The teaser features music from the multi-talented Giles Hayter, one of The King’s Will (with Musa Okwonga), who also provided music for Common Ground in the form of their excellent track ‘The Swords Are Coming.’

Giles has also recently found great success in the guise of Professor Mathmo, and his pedagogical album, Professor Mathmo and the Voyage to the Times Tables.

William is happy to confess that the trailer was also inspired by the trailer for Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme (2010).

Check it out!

Meanwhile, work on Ur is ongoing – we are now deep into post-production – and are hoping to have the film ready for screening in the not-too-distant future!

Beg Steal Borrow’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the production and post-production of Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux has been a success.

Within a week of launching the campaign, and thanks to the wonderfully generous pledges of numerous benefactors, £1,391 has been raised for Ur in just seven days.

A full list of benefactors will follow when the Kickstarter campaign reaches its close – in 24 days on 19 July (just before production for Ur begins in Monpazier, France).

But just because we have reached our target of £1,000, this does not mean that we cannot put to good use any money that further kind souls wish to pledge. Any money will be useful for the production of the film and/or for post-production costs like festival submission.

So if you are interested in donating, please do by following the link to the Kickstarter site here.

Ur is a film about six characters in search of a zombie apocalypse, a kind of art house zombie film set in the south of France. It features Beg Steal Borrow regulars Dennis Chua, Laura Murray and Alex Chevasco, as well as newcomers Edward Chevasco and Rosie Frascona.

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