The BBC’s ongoing commitment to British film-making is amply illustrated by the selection of four films by this year’s Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival. Already enjoying early buzz is Eran Creevy’s debut feature Shifty, the second film to emerge from Film London’s Microwave scheme, a groundbreaking collaboration between Film London, BBC Films and Skillset which challenges young film-makers to shoot a feature for less than £100,000.
Written and directed by Eran Creevy, Shifty is an urban thriller charting an exhilarating 24 hours in the life of a charismatic small-town drug dealer, and stars Daniel Mays, Riz Ahmed and Jason Flemyng.
Shortlisted for the FIPRESCI International Critics Award for the best first or second feature in the Festival, Shifty will be released in 2009 in the UK by Metrodome. Terence Davies’ Cannes smash Of Time And The City is one of three features produced for Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 through the Digital Departures initiative, a joint venture by Northwest Vision and Media, BBC Films and the Liverpool Culture Company.
Following the film’s appearance at the recent Toronto Film Festival, it will screen at San Sebastian before London. Both a love song and eulogy to the director’s birthplace, Liverpool, Of Time And The City is a response to memory, reflection and the experience of losing a sense of place as skylines change and time takes its toll.
Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter produce for Hurricane Films, and the film will open in the UK on 31 October through bfi Distribution. British writer/director Ben Hopkins’ wry Turkish-set comedy-drama The Market has been selected for the Cinema Europa section.
This follows its success at Locarno, where Tayanc Ayaydin won the Best Actor award for his performance as a small-time entrepreneur trying to buy his way into the mobile phone business. The film was bought at scri pt stage by the BBC’s Programme Acquisition department, for eventual transmission on BBC Four.
The Market is produced by Roshanak Behesht Nedjad, and co-produced by Nikki Parrott and Ceyda Tufan. The Works is handling international sales. Stephan Elliott’s sparkling Easy Virtue, also pre-bought by Programme Acquisition, has been selected for this year’s MasterCard Gala. Adapted from Noel Coward’s stage comedy about a knowing older woman and her marriage to a younger man, Easy Virtue stars Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes.
It is produced by Barnaby Thompson, Joe Abrams and James D. Stern. Odyssey is handling international sales, Ealing Studios International US sales and Pathé will release in the UK on 7 November.
“I am delighted these four very contrasting films have been selected for the London Film Festival,” commented Steve Jenkins, Head of Films in Programme Acquisition.They really show the range of support the BBC offers to British film. In particular, that films from the two micro-budget schemes in which we are involved have made it into the festival is a fantastic tribute to the film-makers involved. Together with my colleagues in BBC Films, we are determined to support British talent, from a first-time director to a ‘master’ like Terence Davies, through as diverse a range of films as possible, and the LFF provides the perfect showcase for the results.”