Friday, 1 August 2014

Man With a Movie Camera tops Sight & Sound documentary poll

Man With a Movie Camera
Dziga Vertov’s silent film Man with a Movie Camera (1929) has topped Sight & Sound magazine’s first ever poll to decide the world’s greatest ever documentary. Vertov shot his kaleidoscopic record of urban life in the cities of Odessa, Kiev and Kharkiv, then part of the Soviet Union but now major urban centres in Ukraine.

Man With a Movie Camera came in at 8th place in the Sight & Sound magazine Best Film poll of filmmakers and critics, which has taken place once a decade since 1952. Vertov’s film was the only documentary in the top 10 of 2012 poll, which was topped by Hitchcock’s Vertigo receiving the most votes in the last edition in 2012.

The BFI magazine poll to discover the greatest documentaries saw over 1,000 films nominated by 200 critics and 100 filmmakers from around the world. Over 100 of them voted for Man with a Movie Camera. The Critics’ and filmmakers came remarkably close to the same list.

Critics’ top filmmakers
1. Dziga Vertov (11 votes across 5 films)
2. Chris Marker (91 votes across 8 films)
=3. Claude Lanzmann (68 votes across 1 films)
=3. Alain Resnais (68 votes across 6 films)
4. Errol Morris (67 votes across 13 films)
5. Werner Herzog (65 votes across 13 films)

Nick James, editor, Sight & Sound said: “What’s remarkable about the top 50 is that it feels so fresh. One in five of the films were made since the millennium, and to have a silent film from 1929 at the top is equally surprising. That essay films feature so strongly here shows that nonfiction cinema is not a narrow discipline but a wide open country full of explorers.”

Ivan Kozlenko, deputy director, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, said: “Man with a Movie Camera was created at the Odessa VUFKU Film Factory in Ukraine in 1929. It is full of an almost incomprehensible lyricism which offers a powerful sense of the city. Researchers often overlook the fact that the film was made mostly in Odessa, Ukraine but to ignore it makes a thorough interpretation of the film impossible.

“This is a very ‘Odessian’ film: it has so much sun, sea, and space in it; its emotion is lively and vital likely inspired by ‘romantic vita-ism’ a popular theme in Ukrainian art in 1920s. It comes from a long line of brilliant propaganda films by Vertov but is in fact itself totally apolitical, although its ‘non-Russian’ aesthetic was rejected by Sovkino in Moscow and it could only be made in the Ukraine, which had become a haven for artists fleeing from Russia where attacks on dissent had begun. We are absolutely thrilled that such a great film should win the Sight & Sound poll for best documentary.”

The poll report is released in the September edition of Sight & Sound, which published on Friday 1 August. The full lists of all the votes received and films nominated will be available online from 14th August.
The Critics’ Top 10 documentaries
  1. Man with a Movie Camera - dir. Dziga Vertov (USSR 1929)
  2. Shoah - dir. Claude Lanzmann (France 1985)
  3. Sans soleil - dir. Chris Marker (France 1982)
  4. Night and Fog - dir. Alain Resnais (France 1955)
  5. The Thin Blue Line -  dir. Errol Morris (USA 1989)
  6. Chronicle of a Summer - dir. Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin (France 1961)
  7. Nanook of the North - dir. Robert Flaherty (USA 1922)
  8. The Gleaners and I - dir. Agn├Ęs Varda (France 2000)
  9. Don’t Look Back - dir. D.A. Pennebaker (USA 1967)
  10. Grey Gardens - dirs. Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer (USA 1975)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Production Guild selects MediCinema as charity

The Production Guild has selected MediCinema as its chosen charity at the Production Guild Awards, which place on 27 September at The Grove, Hertfordshire.

MediCinema is a charity that uses film to support patients, their families and carers by building and running permanent cinemas in hospitals and care facilities across the UK. It provides a space for patients to escape the isolation of their wards and spend quality time with their loved ones.

The free cinemas are designed to accommodate hospital beds and wheelchairs, with patients are supported throughout by volunteers, cinema managers and dedicated nursing staff, all while maintaining a real cinema experience with the latest releases.

Alison Small, CEO of The Production Guild, said: “We are delighted to partner with MediCinema on The Production Guild’s biggest night of the year. It’s a perfect fit for us as all of our members work so hard to make films that have some emotional effect on their audience. MediCinema takes that a step further by using film to give patients and their carers an uplifting experience and some precious normality during their treatment. It is a wonderful cause, and we’re proud to support MediCinema’s work.”

The Production Guild will raise money on the night through a silent auction and a raffle, and will place pledge cards on the tables for individual donations. The Production Guild of Great Britain supports production professionals working in UK film and television drama, across production, including accounts, location management, assistant directors, post-production and the production office.

Kat Mason, CEO of MediCinema, said: “We are so pleased that the Production Guild has chosen to work with us.  We know through patients and medical staff that the therapeutic effects provided by the opportunity to enjoy an immersive social experience with family and friends through cinema, in a medical environment, are remarkable. The funds raised on the night of the Production Guild Awards will help MediCinema reach more people through the magic of film and enable us to invest the money in to where it is most needed.”

MediCinema currently reaches 15,000 people a year via its six existing   cinemas around the UK and several more new MediCinemas are in development. This is what some patients’ and staff have said about the cinemas:
  • “They say laughter is the best medicine, but I think MediCinema is the best medicine.” - Katie Gallagher, paediatric nurse
  • “Many patients here are facing the toughest challenge of their lives, fighting illness. MediCinema provides a community during this terrible time, and brings some joy back into their lives. It does so much more than people realise.” -
  • Rob, age 37
  • “The experience was beyond my expectations – a real cinema! I think all hospitals should have a MediCinema on-site, it is just so good for the patients.” - James, age 23
  • “It is so nice to get away from the ward even for a short time. After telling our bay [about MediCinema] we are planning on going all together on a night out!” - Susan, age 73
  • “I liked the cinema and was really excited to go there. Going there helped me feel a bit better.” - Melissa, age 4

Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event set to start one week

Secret Cinema's screenings of Back to the Future are to begin in London tonight, one week late. The opening week of screenings was cancelled because the organisers could not meet local authority technical requirements.

“We are extremely sorry for the delayed communications of last week,” a Secret Cinema statement said. “We know we let our audience down and will do everything we can to make it up to them.”

The event is the most ambitious Secret Cinema has yet staged. The company has built an outdoor set, which includes replicas of buildings such as the Town Hall from the 1985 film. The event will feature a cast of 80 performers and a DeLorean time machine car.

Secret Cinema founder Fabien Riggall told the BBC:  “Secret Cinema is a very different kind of experience to a normal concert or show, and it has taken longer to demonstrate to [the authorities] so they are happy.”

The screenings were due to begin on 24 July, but the first four nights were cancelled on the day, leaving many fans arriving at the designated assembly points with no show. Secret Cinema promised those with cancelled tickets, which cost £53.50, will be able to use them at subsequent performances. Additional refunds in excess of ticket charges for those who travelled from overseas are being considered on a case-by-case basis.