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The BAFTA Short Film Nominees 2017 (Live Action)

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Feature by Hannah Woodhead

This year BAFTA have chosen a selection of vastly different films, telling stories from across the world. They touch on a variety of themes, from the refugee crisis to environmentalism and war, and show a breadth of voices not heard.

Consumed

A factory worker in China tells his life story in Richard John Seymour’s film, set to mesmerising visuals that reveal what goes on in the industrial powerhouses a world away from us. The pace is incredibly slow, instilling a sense of the monotony of the production line, and as we watch Christmas decorations produced on mass, the eye-watering cost of our throwaway culture can’t be forgotten. Despite only having a 19-minute runtime, Consumed seems much longer – Seymour tries to do an awful lot, and the short might work better if it had more focus; there are several long landscape shots which don’t add much to the film, and the most interesting part (the story of the factory’s workers) is almost lost. Still, it’s a valiant attempt at highlight not only the human but the environmental cost of Western materialism.

Home

Focusing on the reality of the refugee crisis, Home might be the timeliest of all this year’s nominees. It follows a British family (headed up by Holliday Grainger and 2015’s BAFTA Rising Star winner Jack O’Connell) who set off on what initially appears to be a holiday, but the heart-breaking reality quickly becomes all too apparent. Harrowing in every sense of the word, it’s an assault on the senses featuring stellar performances from the principle cast – it might be 20 minutes in length, but the haunting imagery will stay with you long after, and rightly so. It’s sad that the refugee crisis should have to be framed in terms of white protagonists to have an impact, but even so, Home highlights the truth of the matter – no one wants to be a refugee, and it’s pure luck that keeps us from being in the appalling situation that faces so many today.

Mouth of Hell

Mouth of Hell tells the story of Anant, an eight-year-boy living in Jharia, India – one of the most dangerous places on earth. As he risks his life to sell coal in hopes of saving his sick mother, a twist of fate leads him to meet a wealthy woman and her young daughter in a shopping mall. It’s a stunning, impactful film, with an incredible lead actor in the young Suraj Mondal, highlighting the devastating poverty in the Jharia region, as well as reflecting on the universal strength of parental bonds. It could easily be adapted to feature length, and the stunning cinematography of the harsh Jharia coal fields is also worth mentioning – it highlights a world beyond the headlines, and it’s not hard to see why Samir Mehanovic chose the moniker ‘Mouth of Hell’ for the film.

The Party

Belfast, 1972 – at the height of The Troubles, a group of Catholic teenagers welcome home their cousin and friend Mickey for a night of drinking and dancing. Unfortunately the threat of violence is never far away, and by the time morning comes, they’re forced to confront difficult truths. Reminiscent of the stunning and underrated film ’71, it’s a short, sharp shock to the system – perhaps all the more poignant for its brevity.

Standby

At only six minutes long, Standby is the shortest of the short film nominees – a whole nine minutes shorter than its nearest rival. That’s not a lot of time to pack in a plot and character development, yet somehow director/screenwriter Charlotte Regan manages it. Showing the relationship between two police officers recently partnered up through snapshots of their time spent in their patrol car, it’s a touching, funny little story – and features a brilliant use of Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ at several key moments. It’s an interesting choice given the tensions between police and public in the UK at the moment, but definitely shows the human side of the force – and Regan employs a lot of skill in the editing and production side of things. There’s not a lot of depth to this film, but it’s cheerful and touching, somehow managing to make you care about characters that are only on-screen for a tiny amount of time.

Journalist who spends most of her time professing her love for Oscar Isaac and Jeff Goldblum. The female version of Jay Sherman.

Awards News

TIANA – Hollywood Music in Media Awards

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American singer-songwriter TIANA has been nominated Best Independent Music Video, for the official music of her debut record ‘Just My Type’, by the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Award, being held at the Avalon Hollywood on November 14.

Directed by Ali Zamani and produced by Zeus Zamani of AZ Films, with choreography by Reyna Joy Banks, of F.H.G Entertainment, the ‘Just My Type’ music video, filmed in Los Angeles, stars recording artist TIANA, Marlon Wayans (White Chicks), Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live) and Brely Evans (Just Wright).

The long-form version of the music video, which has a fun and explosive scene between actor-comedians, Marlon Wayans and Rob Schneider, will be exclusively released during the night of the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

Produced by Jovan Dawkins (Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars) of Heritage Music Group in Hollywood, along with the writing talents of Candace Wakefield, Stanley Green Jr., Jovan Dawkins, Jevon Hill and Theodore Simon, the ‘Just My Type’ single release, is currently topping the Top40 Indie Chart through Universal Music Distribution.

Other Hollywood Music in Media Award nominees include; Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Black Panther’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and ‘Quincy.’ The awards ceremony features presentations, performances, and a special achievement award. Past honorees include Diane Warren, Smokey Robinson, and Glen Campbell.

The Hollywood Music in Media Award nominations are selected by an advisory board and selection committee which includes journalists, music executives, music-media industry professionals comprised of select members of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, The Television Academy, the AMPAS Music Branch, NARAS, and performing rights organizations. A portion of proceeds benefit Education Through Music – Los Angeles.

Follow TIANA – IG | Twitter: @TianaKocher

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Black Panther Aiming For Best Picture, Not Best Popular, According To Chadwick Boseman

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It’s Hollywood’s worst-kept secret; Marvel Studios’ chief Kevin Feige wants an Oscar. And not just a technical Oscar either. Following in the footsteps of Walt Disney, Feige’s ultimate goal is for one of his movies to win Best Picture. With Black Panther being a cultural juggernaut, the producer-extraordinaire sees it as his best chance yet and has reportedly hired veteran award strategist Cynthia Schwartz’s company – Strategy PR – to push for the nomination.

However, The Academy themselves threw a spanner in the works last month, when they announced the introduction of a brand new category at next year’s awards ceremony: Best Achievement in Popular Film. With Black Panther presently the highest-grossing film of the year domestically, and the second-highest internationally, it’s the clear favourite to win in the new category (at least, to the best of everyone’s knowledge – The Academy have, frustratingly, refused to define the new award). However according to King T’Challa himself, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, that’s not the goal.

“We don’t know what [Best Popular] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not,” Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter, “What I can say is that there’s no campaign for Popular Film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for Best Picture, and that’s all there is to it.”

“A good movie is a good movie,” the Get On Up star continued, “and clearly it doesn’t matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be ‘a good movie’ because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win [predominantly low-grossing, highly-praised art-house fare] wouldn’t get nominated; and if it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.”

“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [only] popular, that’s elitist.”

Chadwick has a point – the gross of a film has never, and should not, affect a film’s chances at winning Best Picture. However, whilst The Academy has made clear that a film can be nominated for both Best Film and Best Popular (frustrating many members who have then rightfully asked what the point is), they have somewhat written themselves into a corner when it comes to Black Panther. See, through a very specific sequence of events, The Academy have manufactured a situation where the most likely events to play out on the night will be Damien Chazelle’s buzzy First Man, a movie with an all-white cast and crew, winning Best Picture… whilst the all-black cast and crew of Black Panther accept the new ‘separate but equal’ award for Best Achievement in Popular Film. Yikes.

Black Panther is available on Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K now, and is rated 12A.

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Danny DeVito To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award At The San Sebastian Film Festival

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Batman Returns star Danny DeVito is set to receive the coveted Donostia Award, honouring him for his career achievements, at the sixty-sixth annual San Sebastian Film Festival this September.

“The award recognizes a career of almost five decades related to acting in theatre, film and television, telling stories as an actor, producer and director,” the Spanish festival’s organisers said in a statement, “The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner is known for his roles in television series Taxi and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment, Romancing The Stone, Twins, Ruthless People, and Tin Men.”

“He has also directed – and starred in – hugely emblematic films, including The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), Death to Smoochy (2002), Throw Momma From the Train (1987), Curmudgeons (2016), Duplex (2003), The Ratings Game (1984), and The World’s Greatest Lover (1977).”

The San Sebastian Film Festival will run from the 21st to the 29th of September. Danny DeVito can next be heard in animated children’s flick Smallfoot, which will premiere on the 23rd at the Festival.

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