•   EVENT REPORT - Thurs 17 April, 2014


    My 3 part report on the Bond in Motion launch event and walk through of the London Film museum Bond in Motion exhibition ... read more

  •   In Conversation - Sun 6 April, 2014


    Last Saturday I went along to the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds Global Final which as expected turned out to be a great ... read more

  •   EVENT REPORT - Thurs 3 April, 2014


    For the last two days I have been telling everyone within ear shot of what an awesome night I had on Thursday... read more

  •   EVENT REPORT - Thurs 1 April, 2014


    Ok! So on Sunday night Jameson & Empire may have brought out the big guns for the 2014 Jameson Empire Awards but... read more

  •   IN CONVERSATION - Weds 19 Mar, 2014


    Some say he has precision skills that can only come from being cast from a mould made from melted parts of an Autobot... read more

  •   IN CONVERSATION - Fri 28 Feb, 2014

      Sang-il Lee talks remaking Unforgiven Yurusarezaru Mono

    Director Sang-il Lee's weighty Samurai tale Unforgiven or Yurusarezaru Mono is in cinemas from today... read more


I got a preview of the 5 Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition winners short films - You can see them right here - FILMMAKING COMPETITION

2014 BOMBAY SAPPHIRE IMAGINATION SERIES: FILM COMPETITION PREVIEW EVENT REPORTAs I sit here gently sipping a delicious Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic ® I'm reminiscing back to last Wednesday, when I was invited along to Soho House for an exclusive early look at the five winning short films from the 2014 Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition - ahead of their world première today, Tuesday 22 April at Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

If you are a regular reader you may know that I went along to the London launch of the first Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition hosted by Bombay Sapphire's Lindsey Charlesworth and Oscar winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher.

We are all born with imagination it's just that life gets in the way a lot of the time,”
                                                             - Geoffrey Fletcher


Fortunately in London there are many film making competitions that anyone wanting to pursue film making and willing to put some work in - can find, but much like their brand the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition is a premium competition. It has the fewest barriers to engaging your imagination and requires very technical know how of filmmaking to enter - allowing aspiring filmmakers to focus on the things that matter. You see all you need  to enter the prestigious Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition is to apply your imagination as half the work is done for you already.

To enter the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition all you have to do is get hold of the skeleton script written by Oscar winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, you can see this year's script below, and flesh it out into a short film story.

If your story is chosen you'll work with Bombay Sapphire creative partner Gravity Road to bring it to life as a six minute short film. Simple! Or as UK winners Anthony Khaseria and Chris Cornwell let us know in a short QA afterwards it really isn't all that easy.

On the judging criteria... the brief was to just pick the most imaginative project,”
                                                             - Mark Boyd - Gravity Road

After Cocktail and canapés we headed into the screening room for a short introduction to the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series from Gravity Road Founder Mark Boyd hosted by film critic James King.

When we sat down with the Bombay Sapphire team nearly 2 years ago we discussed how we would communicate this idea of imagination to a wider group and there was a feeling that we could do something more interesting than saying it through the usual advertising channels

Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition Imagination Distilled
Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition Imagination Distilled
Imagination was important to the Bombay Sapphire brand and product because it has always been part of its long history. From the original vapour infusion process to make gin through to how they package their bottles in it always been a key value.

So the thought developed along the lines of why couldn't we create a competition that would spark the imagination of people who were interested in film? So that was the origin of the project.

James W. Griffiths one of last years winners, couldn't be here tonight because he is working on a big budget ad campaign.

James' career has taken off in a big way, last year he was shortlisted and then went on to win a BAFTA for Room 8. He is doing fantastically well, he took this opportunity and was able to give up his job and is now a fulltime director and doing really well.

Room 8 - Winner of the BAFTA for Short Film 2014

We had a panel in Tribeca made of great directors, writers and producers and talented actors - the panel included Academy Award winning actor, Adrien Brody; screenwriter and film director, Lucy Mulloy; screenwriter, Naomi Foner; actor, Peter Facinelli; and senior curator at Vimeo, Sam Morrill.

The brief was to just pick the most imaginative project and we would work out the production solution after, so they weren't constrained. It was really tough and it was like that scene from 12 Angry Men

There were 20 films at the end with very vocal champions that had to filter it down to these last 5. It was really exciting to be honest to get a sense of what people came up with with a limited amount of stimulus, just a springboard really.

But before settling in to watch the shorts Bombay Sapphire had one more surprise to get us in the mood Bombay Sapphire UK  Brand Ambassador (and master Mixologist) Sean Ware introduced us to a pleasure? a mix? of Gin based cocktails, each bespoke to enhance the mood and flavour of the unique short films.

 DRINKS TIP:  Sean Ware assures us that Campari and the warm red drinks will be making a comeback this season.

I'm not sure of how much an influence the delicious cocktails had on the evening but I was summarily blown away by the 5 short films. It is truly astounding to grasp the scope and variety of the films imagined all derived from the same source - Geoffrey Fletcher's skeleton script. Especially when you consider that these are the 5 finalist chosen from 1,300 entries from across 64 countries.

The 2014 Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition winning films we saw are:

The Other Side of the Game from Kiara Jones
A newly married couple are battling to get out alive from an unfamiliar hostage situation in this taut
psychological thriller. You won’t expect what happens next.

The Other Side of the Game by Kiara Jones -- The Imagination Series

Graffiti Area from Maite Fernandez
A mesmerizing look at the inexplicable and unpredictable nature of our own fears. When two young
graffiti artists start painting, the graffiti takes on a monstrous life of its own. Can they escape their own creation, or even themselves?

Graffiti Area by Maite Fernandez -- The Imagination Series

Need for Speed (Dating) from Allyson Morgan
Need for Speed (Dating) from Allyson Morgan poster by ilovedust The Imagination Series: Animated film posters

Need for Speed (Dating) from Allyson Morgan
Nate and Polly have the perfect relationship. A nice house, a white picket fence. There’s just one problem – the relationship is just a dream. In this light hearted comedy, Polly tries to find her dream date at a speed dating event. But will anyone live up to her dream boyfriend?

Need For Speed Dating by Allyson Morgan -- The Imagination Series

Reflections from Anthony Khaseria
A beautiful couple in beautiful surroundings - it should have been the start of the ultimate love story. But a romantic meal turns dark and fantastical when they discover a hidden mirror which shows their true reflection.

Reflections by Anthony Khaseria -- The Imagination Series

Exit Log from Chris Cornwell
In 2249, two space engineer’s journey through deep space takes a dramatic turn when they discover an emergency message from the past. They’ll have just three minutes to decipher the message and decide their fate forever.

Exit Log by Chris Cornwell -- The Imagination Series

To choose one favourite would be difficult as each clearly had merits of its own. I enjoyed the dark wit of Kiara Jones' The Other Side of the Game. The streetwise special effects employed in Maite Fernandez's Graffiti Area were a winner on their own.

Allyson Morgan's Need for Speed (Dating) brought the emotion whilst Reflections from Anthony Khaseria is twisted and a neat riff off an Tales of the Unexpected or The Twilight Zone style darkness. Chris Cornwell's taut sci-fi Exit Log is reminiscent of Heavy Metal or early 2000 AD Future Shocks which enthralled throughout.

In the short QA afterwards James King explored the London based winners experience of the competition as well as their process process to come up with the stories.

Anthony Khaseria, who had just seen his film Reflections for the first time on a big screen said:
I really want to say no and just be cool. But I had nothing for ages as you can see there isn't much to go on - but it is oddly deceptive as there is clearly drama in the dialogue, there is a location and there are two people that aren't getting on with each other or the situation they're in. I used that as a starting point and worked backwards from there. Once the mirror idea came to me I figured out that A must be the one that doesn't want to be doing this, so for me it was more that persons story. So in the situation I made that was Alice and it was more her journey. Yeah but it was tough.

I did I sat with a pot of coffee and I had nothing man. I nearly didn't enter. But something happens, there a little bubbles, suddenly one pops up to the surface and you want to grab it . You don't want to destroy it so you watch it for a while. And then it fell into place.

I also drew little diagrams of the mirror and the two characters to make sure it made sense.
Chris Cornwell the man behind Exit Log explained:
I found it kind of scary, but it's actually liberating to have certain parameters to work within.

So it was kind of fun to have these few lines which are open to interpretation. When you have something you can kind of enjoyed pushing it and having as much fun with it is possible I think with short film you can have an idea that is imaginative and can run with it for six minutes and have great fun with it. I think when you are trying to get 90 minutes out of an idea it might lose steam but with a six minute short you can go at a breathless pace."
Mark Boyd added: We had a wave of almost every genre you can imagine and every time period from romantic comedies set in ancient Rome through to futuristic sci-fi themes. I'll go back to a comment Geoffrey made about imagination - "We are all born at imagination it's just that life gets in the way a lots of the time".

We we felt that if we made it a competition about creating a theatrical feature it would appeal to a much smaller group. It's hard to carve out the time to apply yourself ...  but a short film of only six minutes long - then that's the kind of thing people could tackle in a much achievable period of time.

In the first year we had entries from 34 countries this year we had we had more than 1300 entries from 64 countries!

Thousands of people registered online, downloaded the script and considered it, they took their own journey of imagination and  they didn't necessary enter but we had people from all over the world engaging with it.

For more info and to view the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series: Film Competition short film winners head over to:



Craig Grobler read all about it
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond. When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.  A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 
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Bond Legends gather to launch the Bond in Motion Exhibition at The London Film Museum, we bring you an inside look & Bond Producers drop some Bond 24 updates Part 3 - EVENT REPORT

Bond in Motion London Film MuseumT he third and final part of my write up from my brilliant day at the Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film MuseumThere are many more pictures from the day over here! and part 1 of my write up can be found here! and part 2 here!

Moving past the Tomorrow Never Dies display I find the The World Is Not Enough display with a model BMW Z8 driven by a Pierce Brosnan Bond doll and the King Industries Buzzsaw helicopter as well as the BMW Z8 from the film. I've never been a particular fan of BMW's car design but being up close to the BMW Z8 I was reminded of its retro stylings and beautiful curves all very reminiscent of the gorgeous 50s 507 BMW, it is possibly the most beautiful production car to come out of BMW from the last couple of decades.

Bond Production Designer Peter Lamont & BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough @ London Film Museum Covent Garden


Bond Legends gather to launch the Bond in Motion Exhibition at The London Film Museum, we bring you an inside look & chat with Museum Founder Jonathan Sands Part 2 - EVENT REPORT

Bond in Motion London Film MuseumC continuing my adventures at the Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film MuseumBeyond the first room in the cavernous underground level - the museum has been expanded and walls have been put in to divide the underground into displays areas by Bond film. But two distinct grouped display areas have also been created - one for marine vehicles and the other housing mainly non car vehicles, with the large remainder of the exhibition spread out along the sides of a walkway categorised by film. There are many more pictures from the day over here! and part 1 of my write up can be found here! and part 3 here!

Further still, a restaurant area with smaller models on display, a museum shop and still being constructed on the day I visited a dedicated games room.


I'm guessing when the exhibition is open to the public it would make sense to walk along the right side along the walkway the entire way round as the car & model displays are on either side, or navigate via the audio guide I stick to the right side to check out the Die Another Day vehicles; James Bond's Aston Martin V12 Vanquish or Vanish as Q calls it, Zao's Jaguar XKR and the Bombardier MX Z-REV Ski-Doo.


Bond Legends gather to launch the Bond in Motion Exhibition at The London Film Museum, we bring you an inside look Part 1 - EVENT REPORT

Bond in Motion London Film MuseumA couple of weeks back I was privileged to attend an absolutely brilliant preview of the outstanding Bond in Motion Exhibition right in the heart of London at the London Film Museum. I'm trying not to lay it on too thick but as a Bond fan - the day was a definite Bond milestone for me personally and the Bond in Motion exhibition is absolutely magnificent! As much as I dislike it I have had to split my write up over 3 posts, sorry, I hate it when other people do it so I know how it feels but I wanted to fit as much in as possible. There are many more pictures from the day over here! and part 2 of my write up can be found here! and part 3 here!

Earlier that morning full of anticipation I headed out into the sunny but crisp morning crossed the bridge, swerving out of a little Chelsea square into King's Road, pushing fast up Sloane Street pointed in the direction of Covent Garden. As usual I passed 22b Ebury Street, today this had extra significance, as I made my way into Central London - the space between Covent Garden and Strand to be exact. Once I located the fairly discrete (by London standards) London Film Museum at 45 Wellington Street - I paused to savour the moment.


I have a long relationship with the London Film Museum, I was a regular visitor at their previous Waterloo location and for a few hours I could be lost in the magical world of film that I love, find inspiration, be blown away by the varied and incredible props on display or just relax with a coffee next to a piece of film history next to me as well as on occasion bump into one of my heroes browsing the museum. For any film fan it is a must visit. Seriously I don't want to bang on about it but, the guys behind the London Film Museum deserve serious kudos and thanks for turning a film lovers fantasy world into a reality everyday. When I heard that Bond in Motion was coming to the London Film Museum I was over the moon finally I could immerse myself in  the world of Bond at an accessible location.

I knew it was being billed as the largest (and most up to date) official collection of original James Bond vehicles (cars, bikes, sleds and boats), miniature models, action sequence boards, vehicle concept art and props from all of the James Bond films on display for the first time in London - but I had not looked into too much detail of what delights the Bond in Motion exhibition had in store for me - so as not to ruin all the surprises. But I did have chats lined up with four Bond luminaries that would be visiting to support the launch of the Bond in Motion exhibition. You can read my chat with Bond stunt precision driver Ben Collins here!, my chat with special effects master Chris Corbould here! and my chat with legendary stuntman Vic Armstrong here!. During the chats whenever a Bond film scene is referenced any I try show pieces from the Bond in Motion collection so you'll get an idea of what to expect.

But wait Craig that's only 3/4 chats I hear you say. Yea I also had a chat lined up with Ms. Caterina Murino the first Bond lady of the Daniel Craig era - or Solange Dimitrios, from Casino Royale. But as the day wore on I finalised a decision that pained me and may well haunt me moving forward. I decided not to chat with Ms. Murino, the reason is simple I am a huge Bond fan, I love delving into the elements behind the magic. The craftsmen & women that turn fantasy into screen reality but I now draw the line at ruining the mystique of the Bond Ladies, for me they are for the most part still rare, exotic, complicated creatures, that add depth and weave to the story, throw wrenches in the works, or sometimes sadly just devices to move the narrative along, or break hearts or have their hearts broken. And for now that is how Caterina Murino / Solange Dimitrios will stay for me - forever etched as an ethereal fantasy. But you can catch more of Caterina Murino in XIII: The Series currently on Sky 2.


Ben Wheatley, Alex Zane & Edith Bowman talk Jameson DISS & the state of the film industry. Ben Wheatley talks A Field in England & updates us on High Rise & casting Tom Hiddleston - In CONVERSATION

Ben Wheatley in conversationLast Saturday I went along to the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds Global Final which as expected turned out to be a great evening celebrating the aspiring filmmakers whose 60 second films ran in the competition. The DISS competition culminated with David Smith being crowned the winner at the prestigious Jameson Empire awards the following evening for his incredibly entertaining Done in 60 Seconds version of There Will Be Blood.

Along with some other film type people I was fortunate to chat with some of the the Done in 60 Seconds judging panel specifically Edith Bowman, Alex Zane and the man in black himself - Ben Wheatley.

The chat was lighthearted with lots of laughs being generated by Alex Zane's sharp wit and Ben Wheatley's black & bone dry humour, whilst Edith Bowman kept it grounded and focussed. Ostensibly we chatted about the importance of initiatives like the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds competition, their judging criteria, recent films they have enjoyed as well as the status of the film industry. But I couldn't resist sneaking in a couple of cheeky questions to the notoriously (albeit rightfully so) very reserved* Ben Wheatley about his much anticipated upcoming adaptation of J. G. Ballard's influential novel High Rise. I have met Ben a couple of times and is never too keen to talk specifics or details - so I was really quite chuffed at his frankness when discussing things at the roundtable. *Wheatley actually expands on his reserved approach towards the end of the chat.

Wheatley follows Steven Spielberg who adapted Ballard's Empire of the Sun and David Cronenberg who took on the controversial Crash. With a tale that seems tailor written for Wheatley's style. Things are going to get insane. From the book's synopsis:

The unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control. Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on 'enemy' floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for technological mayhem...In this classic visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as the inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

Film is kind of an art and shouldn't be analysed like that,”
                                                             - Ben Wheatley


High Rise

The unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control. Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on 'enemy' floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for technological mayhem

...In this classic visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as the inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

Ben Wheatley


J.G. Ballard, Amy Jump

Tom Hiddleston

Jameson Empire DISS Finals 2014Jameson Empire Done in Sixty Seconds 2014 Finals
See: DISS 2014 UK Finalists Films See: DISS 2014 UK Finalists films
See: An inspiring talk from Ben WheatleySee: An inspiring talk from Ben Wheatley
A Field in England Premiere - PhotosetA Field in England Premiere A photoset
Sightseers Premiere - PhotosetSightseers Premiere A photoset
Tom Hooper talks Jameson DISSTom Hooper talks Jameson DISS
Why are these kind of initiatives like the Jameson Empire done in 60 seconds competition so important for young and upcoming filmmakers?

Ben Wheatley: I think any kind of exposure for film is good and it's really encouraging to see people putting in the effort to make stuff. I have always been a believer in having to make stuff off your own back it's how I've got anyway - by making short films and putting stuff on the Internet and moving forward from there.

That is what attracted me to participate I have been asked to go on panels and all sorts of things but have never done so because I wouldn't like to be judge my peers but something like this is great it's not judging it's more like encouraging. I think any kind of encouragement we can give to talent is good.

Edith Bowman:  … and having a platform for entrants like this backed by Empire is great. I did this last year and seeing the worldwide appeal that it has with entries coming from so many different parts of the world and seeing the high quality and diversity of film making is exciting.

Alex Zane: I think there is a motivation aspect to it. Look given the option I would quite happily sit under my blanket in my pants eating pizza and watching Game of Thrones everyday but with something like this - people can be cynical about competitions but I think if it motivates someone who wouldn't otherwise pick a camera and think, you know what I'm going to make this. Being motivated by a competition is a great idea.

What in particular are you looking for from the entries?
Alex Zane: Awesomeness! in one word awesomeness! Last year the competition was so strong. Edith and I were here last year and the entries was so great and it is wonderful to see how different areas of the world interpret a movie and then redefine that movie as 60 second film.

I remember a Chilean Spider-Man entry which was just so off the wall and had such a sense of humour that was very specific to the people who made it that we sort of sat here and thought WTF? Did we just see? But it was so wonderful at the same time.

Edith Bowman: They've got a minute to impress you in whatever way that is. For me - it's something that grabs me it whether it be visually or sound or makes me laugh, something that makes a connection in a minute that sometimes isn't easy to do. But there were a lot that did

Alex Zane: What I hope tonight is that someone can make me cry in 60 seconds. I don't cry at anything in real life but put me in a cinema! I laughed a lot last year so today I'm hoping to cry.

Are there any trends or big influences that you noticed in this year's entries?
Edith Bowman: They were a couple of Gravity entries.

Alex Zane: ... as you would hope

Ben Wheatley: The Artist has broken into the global consciousness and that is good

Alex Zane: I think we can agree that 2013 was a phenomenal year for cinema in general so we have this huge mine of great sources to  - I don't want to say parody, because only some entries are parody,  but, what is great is that - some people mine them for laughs, some people have a different take on it  altogether, some people pick up on one thing and turn it into something else - it forces you to tell you a story in 60 seconds.

Edith Bowman: It's really interesting to see what people focus on in 60 seconds whether it be the theme of the film...

Ben Wheatley: . or a moment or if they can compress the whole movie into the 60 seconds which seems to be a very current sub genre - 60 second films which compress whole films I've noticed a lot of that on the net recently.

Ben you broke ground with A Field in England in terms of narrative as well as with distribution - almost a year later on what are your thoughts on simultaneous multiple platform releasing ?
Ben Wheatley: I think it's different horses for different courses it depends on what the film is. If you have enough clout to open up on every screen in Britain then that is probably what you should do.

It is all about how far people have to travel to see a film that is what we found. When we released Down Terrace it got brilliant reviews but it was only on at the ICA. We did alright but I think there is a rule of thumb that people will only walk for 20 minutes or travel for 20 minutes to see a film, beyond that they couldn't be F'ed and that's fair enough.

So that's why people put the Skyfalls on a 1000 screens, so people have an opportunity to see it - but if it's a smaller release like A field in England then a multiple platform release makes a lot of sense. Then you have the momentum of that moment rather than spreading it really thin across months and having a tiny bit of concentrated press at moments

So I was really chuffed with it having that big audience for the free TV launch was great and really helped it.

Was there an entry this year that you think could be a film in its own right?
Ben Wheatley: Gravity, I really hope they make that into a feature film.

With its perfect timing, this quite possibly got the biggest laughs from us, of the whole evening

Edith Bowman: Well it is kind of hard to say as they are all based on feature films - but there are definitely ones that I would like to see more of if they had more time. There are those creative moments when you do  feel it's only a minute and I would love to see more of this

In in all fairness during the judging Edith did return to this point and say that she felt that Ritesh Varma's Modern Times would be interesting to see as a longer film.

How do you think the industry should go about nurturing  these young talents and encourage them to go on to make amazing movies?
Edith Bowman: I don't think you can rely on the industry to do that. As Ben said earlier it is about self-motivation as well, it is about making stuff and getting it out there.

Ben Wheatley: There has never been a mechanism for that really. I think people have to get out there and make stuff. If there is a problem - and the boring convoluted answer is that – it goes back to VHS destroying rep cinemas. You need to have an audience that will go see films, for everyone coming up they need someone to show their stuff to - if there is nurturing that needs to be done - it is there.

How you regrow that audience from scratch I don't know because everyone is used to seeing it for free online now . So now no one will pay for it - so there's no business there.

So you can't crawl up in tiny baby steps through low budget movies that make a little bit of money any more because you are either making The Avengers or you are making nothing at all. That is a problem but I have no answer for it.

Edith Bowman: A really good recent example of keeping at it  - is the Svengali thing. The way they constantly put out his little vignettes of a story, really believing in it and getting people to watch it , that got people talking about it which then got people interested in funding a full feature length version of Svengali. Which is a great story of how the feature film came about.

That is a really good example of just getting on and doing it and not relying on anyone or anything else to give you that foot or leg up it is just doing what you want to do, believing in it and sticking to it.

Not to stray too far from that is there a film that each of you have seen recently that moved or excited you?
Ben Wheatley: Last Tango in Paris which I watched last week.

Alex Zane: Jaws is always good.

Edith Bowman: I was just talking about it last week and I watched it again. It is absolutely heartbreaking, but The Selfish Giant is mind blowing brilliant and not enough people saw it for whatever reason. I think it's a really important film.

Alex Zane: Just to go back to that earlier point - people do see movies in different ways now, like watching them online, and this is something I really believe - they should build more IMAX screens. This is coming from someone who is new to IMAX. I went to see a couple of films in IMAX (one of them being Gravity which Alex expounded on when asked) for the first time and it puzzles me that they aren't more screens like that because the whole idea is that people are absorbing movies in new ways and you can only watch a film for the first time once. Watching on my laptop for the first time, destroys it for me. Cinema is looking for a way to get people say I'm leaving the house for this and I think IMAX is the way.

A long conversation/debate ensues about the merits of 3D film, James Cameron's AvatarClash of the TitansFernGully: The Last Rainforest and Alex Zane crying in the cinema when the Avatar forest flowers open.

Ben you recently announced some big news with the casting of Tom Hiddleston in your adaptation of  J.G. Ballard's High-rise. How did this all come about and what can we expect?
Ben Wheatley: Well there's a book that has many clues in it.

Much laughter ensues, but I guess the subtext is that Wheatley may be aiming to stay very true to the book, or possibly in spirit at the least as he gives it his own original Wheatley flavour.

OK! What took you so long seems as the material seems written for you.

Ben Wheatley: Yeah. Well it has always been a favorite book of mine. It was really random how it kind of happened. You know, sometimes you have to be a bit of a chancer with these things I saw it on my shelf and thought that's good no one has made a film of it I wonder why? I phoned my agent and within three days I was talking to Jeremy Thomas who said - Yeah I've got the rights to it.

And I went oh okay that's cool, and he said yeah. It was that quick really. We looked around to see who would fit the part - Tom Hiddleston. So then we asked him and he said yeah I would love to do that.

He had just made Only Lovers Left Alive with [Jeremy] Thomas as well, so all the planets were very much aligned. Which was great.

I'm hoping it's going to be pretty crazy, the film. It's back to the Ken Russell days if we can.

Edith Bowman: When are you filming

Ben Wheatley: I'm not sure yet it's a little merry dance of regional financing at the moment. We keep looking at the script and thinking I can't quite believe we're getting away with this - but we'll find out.

I was hoping to delve into what level of pressure of expectation, if any Ben felt in his approach to adapting High Rise as J. G. Ballard and particularly the much loved/admired High Rise has a fanatical following, additionally amongst recent Ballard adaptations two were taken on by two giants of cinema Steven Spielberg with Empire of the Sun and David Cronenberg with Crash. As well as if any other casting decisions had been made yet. But we took a different but as interesting route.

Why did you think Tom Hiddleston was perfect for the part?

Ben Wheatley: If you read the book the Robert Laing character is very Hiddlestoney or very Hiddlestonian, I suppose. It's that thing of control, but there's a spark behind Hiddleston of perversity as well. Which he plays full-bore with Loki. There is something about him which is establishment but is also wild,which is what we liked about him a lot.

Part of the joy of the Jameson Done In 60 Seconds competition is seeing which scene entrants choose to turn into a 60 second film. Thinking about your films have there been any deleted scenes like to see  turned into a 60 second film?

Ben Wheatley: Well I of try not to put deleted scenes on the discs because I don't believe in deleted scenes. I always think they are depressing when you watch them on other films. I kind of think - Oh that's what happened with that then or that's really boring. It doesn't really move the story on. There are some, on the Sightseers disc just because they are quite funny and we thought you might like them. But on Kill List and others I have actively fought against it.

Which is a long way around to say I'm not going to answer your question because I try not to talk about any of that side of it - I don't want people knowing how how I approach things, as much as possible. Also we don't give the scripts out so no one has seen our scripts so they can't pick the scripts apart and say ooh they didn't film that bit, or they wrote all that that sh-- and didn't put it in. I wonder why that is?

I'm trying to protect the process as much as anything. Because there should be some mystique in this stuff. Otherwise film becomes a bit like sport and its partly to do with box office sh-- that goes on with people comparing movies and whether they succeeded or not by how much they have made.

Film is kind of an art and shouldn't be analysed like that, as soon as you go here are my workings, this is what I did, this is where I made mistakes people read things into it, like  oh they don't know what they're doing.

For more updates you can follow Ben Wheatley here @mr_wheatley,  Edith Bowman here @edibow, Alex Zane here @alex_zane, Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds 2014 Winner David Smith here @daveislink, Empire Magazine here @empiremagazine and Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds here #JamesonEmpire60Secs

To watch the 2014 Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds entries in all their glory, visit the Jameson YouTube channel: youtube.com/jamesonempirediss


Craig Grobler slow clap
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.  A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 
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The Raid 2's Iko Uwais & Yayan Ruhian's short Pencak Silat stunt demonstration from Frightfest's special screening of Gareth Evans' The Raid 2

Win! An exclusive Raid 2 goody bagFor the last two days I have been telling everyone within ear shot of what an awesome night I had on Thursday. Some have asked me why I'm so excited about The Raid 2 well here you go - not only did I finally get to see get to see Gareth Evans' The Raid 2 a film I have been waiting for since the closing minutes of  the original The Raid but we got to see the uncut version. I haven't been this excited about martial arts films since Bruce Lee and Jet Li's early films.

WIN! An exclusive Raid 2 goody pack
Awhile back I was fortunate enough to sit down with Gareth Evans for a chat about the UK release of The Raid. I was pleasantly surprised at how laid back and down to earth he was.

But I was always secretly jealous of guys who got to meet Iko Uwais (Rama) & Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog) the stars of The Raid and serious martial artists. Even more so when I heard they were doing demonstrations of their fighting skills.

Seriously you watch an incredible physical film and then you get to see the a demonstration from the performers in real life it doesn't get more immersive than that.

It's not just that they are the best at what they do, or that are in peak physical shape after training and honing their skills for years, it's not just that there's a certain righteousness or purity about someone who dedicates their lives to a physical art form forsaking modern trappings, it's not the that they are great at what they do, but it has a lot to do with their willingness to leave their homes and travel great distances from friends & family to answer questions and put on a bit of a show for fans like myself who appreciate it.

At the screening I heard there was a delay because because the guys were signing for fans, after seeing this pic below of what was happening outside I'm not surprised the screening started a little late.

Part of our ethos is to bring readers closer to the film experience and I would be very surprised if anyone gets you closer after watching the clip  further below.

The Raid 2 Poster
The Raid 2 Poster ZOOM

It's Hammertime! WIN! Some really cool Raid 2 Merchandise to celebrate The Raid 2 April 11 release - COMPETITION

Win! An exclusive Raid 2 goody bagLast night I was fortunate to go along to a very special Frightfest screening of Gareth Evans' The Raid 2 or The Raid 2: Berandal and boy was it special! We got to see the uncut version and it confirms Gareth's continued growth as a leading action director.

As with The Raid it is all out action as we follow Rama after the events of The Raid as he gets himself even deeper into the murky & bloody world of Indonesian crime - but this time Gareth has fleshed out a complex plot, beautifully designed the look and feel of The Raid world and added a ton of interesting characters. I am not going to delve into it too deeply as I may post some thoughts if I get time.

But I will say that Gareth introduced the screening and mother flippin brought along both Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian who answered question afterwards as well as put on one of their legendary short demonstrations of their fighting skill - pencak silat style. Which was pretty damn awesome, as during the QA I cheekily asked if they would mind showing us some moves. Turned out they had a demo planned anyway. It took about 13 seconds for me to revert to dorky fanboy being in the company of such genuinely talented individuals and they really deserve every success with The Raid 2.

Breaking out of the tower block and into Jakarta's criminal underworld, and featuring some of the most breath-taking and bone-crunching fight scenes ever committed to film, THE RAID 2, released in the UK & Ireland on 11 April, is set to be the must-see action film of 2014.

To celebrate the great evening (and the release of The Raid 2 on April 11) we are super stoked to be able to offer 5 lucky readers some great Raid 2 merchandise, all of which would look great in any fans home. For details on how to get one of these great Raid 2 goody packs see further below.

The Raid 2 Poster
The Raid 2 Poster ZOOM

I head to the very swish Jameson Empire Done In 60 Seconds Global Final #JamesonEmpire60Secs - EVENT REPORT

Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds 2014 FinalOk! So on Sunday night Jameson & Empire may have brought out the big guns for the 2014 Jameson Empire Awards but the real fun went down a day earlier, on Saturday night when fledgling film-makers from around the world had their efforts celebrated at the 6th annual Jameson Empire Done In 60 Seconds Global Final here in London.

From a staggering 800 entries from around the world (which means someone spent 13 hours on the first pass selection), a final set of 24, 60 seconds shorts were chosen to compete in the final round of selection held live on stage at the special  Jameson Empire Done In 60 Seconds Global Final dinner. From the 24, 5 final shorts were chosen by the panel of special judges made of; leading cult filmmaker & the man in black Ben Wheatley, Director Jon S. Baird (if you haven't already check out Baird's latest engaging & mind warping film Filth it is outstanding!), the always dapper/gorgeous & hilarious entertainment polymaths Alex Zane & Edith Bowman and Empire Magazine's main man behind the scenes Editor, Mark Dinning.


Klaxon: Jameson Empire Done In 60 Seconds UK finalists announced! See the UK finalists short films here! ! #JamesonEmpire60Secs - FILM AWARDS NEWS

Jameson Empire Done in 60 SecondsThis weekend the Jameson Empire Awards 2014 will be taking place and that means the winner of the Jameson Empire Done In 60 Seconds 2014 winner will be crowned at the event.

Before that though, finalists for DISS 2014 from across 21 countries, including the the 5 finalists from the UK, will gather for a special dinner in a secret location - where a judging panel that includes; DJ and presenter Alex Zane, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Edith Bowman, Empire Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Mark Dinning and notorious British indy cult film director Ben Wheatley will hone the selection down to the final five finalists that will attend the prestigious Jameson Empire Awards ceremony this Sunday, where one final winner will be chosen and begin their journey to becoming a fully fledged filmmaker.

Joining the ranks of previous winners like; Philip Askins who with his 60 second, film noir-inspired remake of Blade Runner and UK indie Claymation buff Lee Hardcastle, went on to have a short screened at Cannes, worked with film distributor 20th Century Fox and has taken his next major project to Kickstarter to crowd-source funds for a feature length film more information here: http://leehardcastle.com/

The 5 talented UK filmmakers who secured their place on the shortlist after beating hundreds of other UK based filmmakers are; Tony Byrnes, Claire Carter, Jonathan Farrelly, Michael Hall and David Smith you can find more info about these talented up and comers below as well as view their 60 second masterpieces below.

Good luck all! But you are already winners in our book having taking your first steps. In case you don't win big this time around, we have decided to bestow your films with our own awards:

1. Claire Carter's The (con) Artist wins - Fanciest footwork. Most Flagrant Flaunting of Body Parts and Best In Show Dog Pun
2. Jonathan Farrelly's Manhattan wins - Best Woody Allen Walk
3. Michael Hall's Gravity in 2D wins - Best Translations and Cracking Dialogue
4. David Smith's There Will Be Blood (Milk) wins - Best Daniel Day Lewis Impersonation ever, ever
5. Tony Byrnes' Dead Poets Society wins - Best Pre Release Viral Buzz Marketing Campaign aka The Kubrik

I meet stunt legend Vic Armstrong, briefly chat about his extensive career, favourite stunts and upcoming projects, Left Behind, The Sunday Horse, Penny Dreadful with Sam Mendes & John Logan and his inspirational take on his evolving career before racing DB5s against each other at The London Film Museum - In Conversation

Vic Armstrong in conversation Bond in Motion London Film MuseumFor my third and final interview with the legends behind James Bond I chat with Mr. Vic Armstrong. Pretty much every film geek knows his name. But even if you aren't familiar with his name you have most certainly seen his work, as Vic Armstrong is possibly the world's greatest stuntman (if you don't believe look at the title of his autobiography . If you have ever seen Blade Runner, Return of the Jedi, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Live and Let Die, Raiders of the Lost Ark or Temple of Doom. You have seen Vic Armstrong in action as he was the guy doubling for the lead actor when the going got tough or the insurance premiums became too high.

As his name would indicate - of course there is a lot more to a legend like Vic Armstrong, his name is synonymous with Bond stunt work as well as high quality productions that require a man to do the impossible and creatively find away to defy death, not only does he double for A-listers but he has planned and over seen the stunt work for 100s of films - too many to list but you have seen them.  He received an Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema BAFTA in 2002 and a Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 (which is the Oscars of the stunt world). He is known for creating customised stunt devices & equipment that changes the way stunts are done.

As well as directing his own films; he is also assistant director or second location director on many films including; Gangs of New York, Mission Impossible 3, I Am Legend, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Blade: Trinity, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, The World is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day. Armstrong is now a full fledged director with 2 upcoming films scheduled for released. Also he still says bloody in casual conversation – the man is a living legend!

We chat with Special Effects Wizard Chris Corbould about James Bond, Mendes, Nolan, his favourite Bond effects scenes, get to the bottom of the Skyfall helicopter emblem & tease Bond 24 at the Bond in Motion Exhibition, London Film Museum – In Conversation

Chris Corbould in conversation Bond in Motion London Film MuseumHis first listed production credit on IMDB is "Special Effects Assistant" on Ken Russell's Tommy, Chris Corbould has since then he has added 52 more credits with the most recent being "Special Effects Supervisor" on J.J. Abrams's Star Wars: Episode VII. 

In between he has worked with almost every major talent in the film industry, he has worked on almost every film worth mentioning and most definitely the ones we rate, we aren't the only ones who think so as he (and his team) have been nominated for many awards and he went home with an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects on Christopher Nolan's Inception. He has worked on 13 Bond films, overseeing the special effects from GoldenEye onwards, he has worked on the Superman series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, a Highlander film, Willow, Nightbreed, Alien3Lara Croft, ShadowlandsJohn Carter, X-Men: First Class to give some depth to the breadth of Chris Corbould's work. He is very well known for pulling off impossible effects in camera, that is without the use of computer generated imagery. So you will understand if I was daunted going in to chat with man himself.

I could talk and probe Corbould's mind for a whole day discussing just one of the films he has worked on, how on Earth was I going to fit a salient conversation, with one of my heroes into a couple of minutes, with the world's press breathing down my neck surrounded by legends from across the Bond films?


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