We have just picture wrapped on my new short film ‘Bardo’, following a four day shoot in London and Oxfordshire. ‘Bardo’ is a really exciting project that began when actor Luke Dejahang contacted me through this website. Starring Luke, alongside Sarah Ridgeway (Black Mirror, Halo) and Wil Johnson (House of the Dragon, Waking the Dead), the film was written by Geoff Thompson (Bouncer, Brown Paper Bag). We’re about to enter the edit and more information about the film will be released soon. Watch this space!
My company Grand Union Productions is joining forces with Sam Lockyer’s Iconic Productions in making the documentary ‘The Fastest Bicycle in the World’. Sam and I first worked together on 2014’s ‘Bicycle’ and 2019 saw Iconic release ‘501 Not Out’ a feature documentary about legendary cricketer Brian Lara and the greatest ever score in cricket. 501 opened the Trinidad and Tobago film festival in 2020, there are further screenings in the pipeline and a digital release of the film is set for 2021. As far as ‘Fastest Bicycle’ is concerned, with much of the film now shot, we are preparing for release in summer 2022, whilst continuing to follow the team’s adventures in speed. If you would like to support the project, please do get in touch. You can see the trailer here
More information about 501 and Iconic Productions –
For the last six years I’ve had the pleasure of being a mentor for the BFI academy scheme, which aims to introduce 16 to 19 year olds to the film industry. One really exciting thing is that over that time span, I’ve been able to see some of my input bear fruit in the career paths of the scheme’s graduates. Pictured here (second from left, middle row) is Michael Fearon, who I mentored in 2015. We had a long chat about the departments that make up a film production and identified the sound department as one he could aim for. Following on from the 2015 scheme, Michael helped out with some of my shoots, we kept in touch and I wrote the occasional reference for him. Then all went quiet… until this popped up in his social media, a team photo of the 1917 sound crew. He’d only gone and got himself a job on one of the biggest movies of recent times and one packed with innovation in both picture and sound. Nice!
This year I will be doing more ‘one to ones’ for the academy over the October half term and also leading a workshop on directing actors, with Tim Parker who stars in Number 3 and Claire Lebowitz. The scheme takes place over half term, 26 – 30th of October.
More info on the academy –
I’m really pleased to announce that our feature documentary ‘Bicycle’ will be screened at this years EcoFair in Toronto. EcoFair is for all things green and beautiful ‘a celebration of the wonderful people, environmental groups and eco businesses that are helping create a greener and healthier planet for all’. The film will screen online from the 30th of October to 1st of November 2020. I’ll be taking part in the panel discussion on the 31st of October at 4pm. I think that will be 8pm for me in the UK. Anyways, that’s my Halloween sorted! I really like finding out what cycling is like in different parts of the world, especially cities, so loved that EcoFair sent me their recommended bike rides around the city
Find out more about Eco Fair
Suggested bike rides around Toronto
Booking for the screening –
I’m thrilled to announce that our short horror fantasy ‘Number Three’ will premiere at this year’s Birmingham Film Festival (13-20 November 2020 at Millennium Point) and has been nominated for best short film and best local film. Look out for further announcements via the films website number3film.co.uk.
Special anniversary film release
‘Scala’ was the first film I made as a professional film maker. To celebrate thirty years since the shoot, we’re releasing it online for free until the end of September 2020. Back in 1990, I was coming to the end of my post grad film studies at Middlesex Uni. By chance I heard about an opportunity at a new TV company – Cable Camden, they were commissioning some films for their new channel. I pitched them an idea from the borough, a documentary about London’s notorious and legendary Scala. Jane Giles was heading up the Scala at the time and opened the doors not just to the building but to the menagerie of characters that were as much the Scala as any building or film programme. Filming took place during the autumn of 1990 and it was completed by the end of the year. For me ‘Scala’ was certainly a momentous event, I met my wife during the production, one of the things we had in common was a love of the old place. By the end of the process, I had a piece of professional work that I could show to the industry. I was a Producer/ Director. What I didn’t realise was that going in at that level, with no other industry experience, would have its own challenges, but that’s another story. I also didn’t realise that the film would have special value in years to come, as the cinema closed just a few years later, following the ‘Clockwork Orange’ court case. Today, September is the month of ‘Scalarama’, an annual UK nationwide festival ‘inspired by the energy and creativity of the legendary Scala’. As with many things, Coronavirus has severely limited its activities this year, the tenth edition. I hope that this release of my documentary can go some way to filling the gap. See the film here https://vimeo.com/457742668 More on Scalarama https://scalarama.com/about/ Scala the book https://www.fabpress.com/scala-cinema-book.html
I was recently contacted by Marc Powell who wanted to see this film I directed for Channel 4 in 1997. Marc is an engineer and credits ‘The Flying Scrapman’ with his choice of career. He says ‘I was only a teenager when I watched it but I remember thinking, I really wanted to be like Shaun’. Thank you for the prompt Marc, it certainly would be great to see it again, here you go
Road CC has named my film ‘Bicycle’ as one of the best ever made on cycling, lining up alongside the likes of ‘Bicycle Thieves’ ‘American Flyers’ and ‘Kid with a Bike’. What an honour! You can see the full list here https://road.cc/content/feature/18-best-cycling-films-streaming-and-dvd-267122#mozTocId415981
Since lockdown I’ve been offering film education on line via Zoom. Every Tuesday evening I’m hosting a lively film chat. We’ve even had our own virtual film awards! Right now we’re looking at Japanese cinema and soon we’ll be discussing the eagerly anticipated new documentary from Mark Cousins and Tilda Swinton ‘Women Make Film’. If you’d like me to host a film discussion group, get in touch.