Tag: alan clarke

Revolver Films and the dark side of distribution

A friend of mine sent me a link of an article stating that Revolver went down the toilet. He also went on to say that it was a good thing they were out of business as they were fleecing people but let’s face it; the distribution industry is full of rip off merchants and badly paying sharks. For those that are old enough to remember there was Palace Pictures run (badly!) by Nik Powell and Stephen Woolley which released seminal classics like Evil Dead, the early John Woo films and a host of others who went under leaving a lot of people out of pocket. Ironically the biggest hit in their history, The Crying Game, was released after their bankruptcy by Miramax who sold it cleverly on the ‘willy surprise’. This windfall would have saved Palace but only for the short term, as they were really bad when it came to bookkeeping and would only have postponed their inevitable death. Miramax themselves (prior to selling out to Disney) were another distributer notable for its financial banditry but champions of films that would otherwise never reach a wide audience.

Quality parts for Black and Asian talent

But not on a television near you…..

I am working on an extremely good short film where the talent consists of four Black and Asian actors and the sterling work on display will be travelling the short film circuit and more pretty soon.

Everyone knows that these short films are a showcase to get better work but in some cases the diverse talent have a great calling card for parts that don’t exist in mainstream television. Why? Simply because the commissioners aren’t pushing through material that is relevant to modern Britain.

I will plainly say that there is racial bias in television at the moment and even though this is being addressed constantly by the powers that be, nothing is really being done about it to level the landscape.

When will the talent that is showcased in in these finely crafted shorts translate to television where they belong To be seen by a proper mainstream audience? When will writing that is worthy of their talents be pushed into production?

Again, I have addressed American television in being broad in diverse talent and much to my chagrin black and asian talent is migrating there to get good parts.

Change will happen but not in mainstream media but in the digital realm but before then stop the talent drain.

Jimmy Savile test card

 

The serial nonce Jimmy Savile gets everywhere with no corner of BBC television safe in his pursuit of the sexual scorched earth policy.

 

 

Alan Clarke Remembered

Alan Clarke. He’s the guy that directed Scum. The brutal cinematic indictment of the borstal system, his most famous film and initially made as a television drama and subsequently banned then remade as a feature film. The television production was only shown for the first time in 1991 on Channel 4.

Lesser known than Ken Loach who, to me, share the same blistering anger at showing society’s darkest moments around them, Clarke seems to be mostly forgotten in history and his work is hardly screened outside of the odd retrospective but filmmakers can learn from his work and his filmic output needs to be brought back for public analysis. Find a copy of Diane, a teenager who lives in a dilapidated block with her father which I discovered in some obscure digital portal and rarely shown since 1975, Christine about heroin addict filmed in an uncompromising manner that far from glamorizes drug addiction or Elephant, about the IRA killings which indirectly influenced Gus Van Sant’s film of the same name. Even Larry Clarke’s Kids has a similar voyeuristic tone.

If you think his films are of another era and not relevant nowadays then think again, they are a stark look at the society around him in showing real people in its most raw. His films have made a difference in the case of Scum and pushed people to see what they want to brush under the carpet (The elephant in the room). The modern equivalent is Hanif Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic and Kidulthood to name two films.

Remember, Scum changed the laws on borstal institutions after it was released and if you want to make films or even documentaries that challenge what the government or society is doing then take note, watch and learn. This is the prime medium to make a change and sometimes people forget that.

Don’t be fooled, his films make for uncompromising and often difficult viewing but you want to make an impact he is the granddaddy of them all.

Tales of Diversity and other Tastes

 

I just read the transcript of Armando Iannucci’s Bafta Speech which is an honest breath of fresh air about the current state of British television and the lack of risks (for the most part) that is being taken. As Mr Ianucci said, compared to American television, we are back in the dark ages in many ways and it’s time to bring back the anger that fueled people like Alan Clarke to make a difference.

My personal concern is the lack of diversity in television and the lack of parts available. It seems it’s ok to be stereotyped in Eastenders and Coronation Street to a point that makes Mind Your Language seem contemporary and I will get to Citizen Khan, the Great Brown Hope of the BBC’s diversity remit in a minute.

there is more–>

Racism is back

Ladies and Gentlemen, racism is making a comeback and now coming from the mouths of people I wouldn’t normally associate with bigoted comments. Yes, immigration has been out of control and The Daily Mail has been doing it’s bit to stoke the flames but now with the steady and increased popularity of Nick Griffin’s party winning over voters with their anti immigration rallying cry we are entering a dark phase of British culture similar to that of the 70’s and communities are becoming more divided. We all suffer from this division.

This country is forgetting the fundamental benefits of multiculturalism as noticed by the 2012 Olympics, which brought this great country together in times of financial hardship but some organisations are hell bent on destroying this vital infrastructure.

I now often hear people saying “they should go back home” in front of me as if I am instantly going to agree with them, on the bus and in public places.

It’s not just verbal attacks but having walked past a pub in Acton, West London with a scrawled Nazi slogan on the side, listened to a disgruntled British customer having a go at the staff’s work ethic and as he walks out openly says that “they” are giving the jobs who need it the least and you have the notorious Emma West’s outburst which will become more common.

I am currently writing a feature script, Microphone Fiends, about the mix of Londoners from different backgrounds and how they use stand up comedy to vent and inform on their frustration and create a snapshot of the dark situation London is at the moment much in the same way that Alan Clarke’s Scum and Franco Rosso’s Babylon showed how the times were.