A cold winter…

As I thought, it is a bitterly cold winter and I cannot wait for spring to arrive – hopefully with some warm sun!  We have had a tiny sprinkling of snow, but it was hardly anything to get excited about. I don’t mind the cold if there is a lot of snow about – as it can be fun.

The first few weeks of the year have been very busy at work and there is no sign of this ending. I usually get home from work and after dinner I usually I am too tired to do anything. As the nights draw out though and things at work start getting calmer, that will change hopefully.

I am going to the BSC Expo 2017 on February 4th to start looking at filmmaking equipment. I am mainly looking at a camera to buy later in the year. I will be using the camera for my film and for other projects that I may get involved with to fund my film. I will also try to do some networking and see what contacts I can make.

This will be a good distraction from work and will allow me start thinking about what I can achieve this year. I am also hoping to get to the cinema in the next couple of weeks to watch La La Land (2016) and Silence (2016). I need to get to the cinema much more…

I am looking forward to many other films later in the year – so will definitely be at the cinema much more…I can’t wait to The Lego Batman Movie (2017) is released. The trailer looks great, it will be very funny and we all know that Lego Bruce Wayne/Batman is better than Ben Affleck! Logan (2017) looks like it is going to be fantastic and will be different to all the recent superhero films – refreshing! I hope they don’t decide to re-boot X-Men (again). Hugh Jackman has been amazing as Wolverine/Logan and who else can play Professor X other than Patrick Stewart?

There is Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017) mid year that I am sure will be another great film to add to his impressive CV. Then towards the end of the year there is Blade Runner 2049 (20017). The trailer looks great but I am still nervous as the film has to live up to the cinematically astounding Blade Runner (1982). Then, we end the year with another Star Wars Christmas with, Star Wars Episode VIII (2017).

I also can’t wait to see what new wondrous films I will discover at Locarno…What a year!

2016: Review

This year has been very busy and emotional. Work has been very hectic and stressful and this will continue for the first part of the year at least. I was hoping to get round to doing some filmmaking this year but due to unforeseen circumstances, I was just never able to get round to organise something.

IMG_1650In May I went on holiday to Spain as normal. I spent a few days in Barcelona and then went up the coast to Lloret to visit friends. When I got to Spain the weather was not the best (it was than back here!). It was raining and there were a couple of storms. However, I still had a great time and the weather did eventually clear. Whilst I was there, I did something new and Girona (a filming location for Game of Thrones) during the Temp De Flors, a flower festival where the city is decorated with flowers in various exhibits and settings. This was amazing and the impact Game of Thrones can clearly be seen [Sic].

It’s no secret that I love Barcelona and want to live there but people find it hard to understand why I love it so much. The only way I can explain it is that Barcelona feels like home. I am more relaxed there. I know my way round (I know lots of good places to eat and drink) and I have friends just up the coast who are like family. That is why I have the goal of living there, I don’t feel like this at home or anywhere else in the UK. I feel awkward, I never seem to get comfortable – always on edge. It’s hard to explain. It’s just how I feel.

When I got back from Spain, a curveball was thrown at me – work asked me got to Boston for 5 weeks to work at a suppliers office for the Project I am working on. The opportunity to go to America and work was something I could not say no to. The experience was very helpful and the work I did with my coimg_0283lleagues has been very beneficial to the project. Boston is a great city (we stayed in a nearby town called Burlington). It was about a 30 minute train journey into Boston and I managed to get a few day trips in over the 5 weeks we were there. I loved the area of Cambridge (where Harvard is) and the fact that I can honestly tell people now that I went to Harvard! [sic] I particularly looked forward to attending a baseball game – as I have become a big fan of the game over the last few years. I have also been following the Boston Red Sox  and I was not going to miss a chance to go to Fenway Park. The game was great and I although I did not see a home run; I was able to see David Ortiz (aka Big Papi) hit an amazing shot in his farewell season. I also made a couple of visits to The Cheesecake Factory times and had a some great steak.

14051834_10153822705112688_5434941402416404245_nWithin 2 weeks of returning from Boston I was off on holiday again. But before that, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of 2 close friends, Rich and Anne-Marie. The wedding was amazing and held in the stunning St Audries Park. I wish them both many years of happiness together.

The first part of my holiday was in Milan, where I would spend a few days before heading on to Switzerland where I was staying in Lugano to attend the Locarno Film Festival and then a weekend on Zurich. I had a great time and really enjoyed each part of the trip, although I was a little disappointed by Milan. The Duomo in Milan is amazing on the outside but I did not get the same feeling of “Wow!” as I do with Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or I had with the Cathedral in Seville. The food was good though, and it was not as expensive as I thought it would be.

image1Switzerland was amazing! Lugano is a lovely city and really did feel like the “Monaco of the  Mountains”. The weather was great my entire time there and I had chance to explore some of the nearby towns. I also took a few long excursions by train. First, I went up into the mountains to First in Grindelwald. That was amazing and I got some amazing photos of the mountains views from the top. I would love to go back. I also loved my short stop over in Lucerne (Luzern) and will be going back there again. When in Zurich I took a short train journey to Bern and spent a few hours walking around the old town which was really enjoyable and I got some great photos.

The Locarno Film Festival has always been on my bucket list and I was not disappointed. I was amazed at the films I saw and it really has inspired me to follow my ambitions and get back into doing film stuff. Watching films in the Piazza Grande was a fantastic experience and I would urge you all to attend and experience what I think is the most amazing communal cinema experience in the world – 8000+ people watching a film on the worlds larger screen, outside – under the Swiss night sky!

When I got back from Switzerland, work was really became busy but I still managed to attuned my 10 year university Reunion that I had organised in London and managed to catch up with some of my great friends. In November, my Granddad passed away and this really was a shock. Although he had been  ill for sometime and we knew that he could pass away. The shock, is still so overpowering. My mum has done amazingly well to manage and cope with everything and day by day we are getting by. However, it still feels strange. He is missed by all of us and we will never forget him.

Next year, I am going back to the Locarno Film Festival, where I will be staying in Ascona (in what should be a Lake front room of the stunning Lake Maggiore!). I will be heading to Spain for my usual holiday in September to see friends in Lloret and for a few days in Barcelona. I hope I get chance to go to another Barcelona game (if the dates work out!)  I am not sure what else will happen but I am sure there will be some more surprises.

I am very excited about what 2017 will bring for me but I need to start focusing on my goals and what I want in life.

I wish you all a happy new year and I hope 2017 brings you good fortune!

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

rogueone_onesheetaThe opening titles of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977/1997) is a major handicap for Rogue One – they let slip ending of the film – so there is no escaping the films ending but as the old saying goes (“it’s not where you are going but how you get there”) Rogue One has opportunity to throw up a few surprises.

In short, Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebellion recover the Death Star plans. We have never been given details of this happened before. The setting of the film has given writers a great opportunity to introduce new characters and also to provide more background to some more familiar faces. There are subtle references to “what is to come” in the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Moments where you honestly think to yourself “Isn’t that [Insert Character]?”. This is fun, but what is interesting is the differences to the other films.

The special effects are exceptional as you would expect for a Star Wars film. All the sets are densely layered full with lots of details – the transformation of Canary Wharf underground station is unbelievable.

For a Disney film, this is quite a departure. Rogue One is darker and more violent than you may expect – it is a war film. You may be shocked by some of the actions and motivations of the characters of the Rebellion. This I feel is refreshing and reflects reality and ugly truth we must face about humanity.

In the original trilogy, the Rebellion are full of Heroes, fighting the good fight against the evil Galactic Empire. But in reality – as we have seen through TV during the civil war in Syria – a rebellion is dirty business and although it is hard to understand at the end of the day and when you appear to have no hope, you may begin to believe that the ends justify the means. Now on to the new characters…

Felicity Jones, who plays Jyn Erso, is a little underwhelming at times in my opinion. In a film universe, where the heroes are force wielding Jedi, a princess and a dashing rouge, she is an ordinary girl and understandably she has a lot to live up to. I think this expectation may have hindered her performance.

I would love to have seen more of a back story for Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). There are moments where we begin to scratch the surface of a tired soldier but we don’t get chance to go any further, as we are rushed off to a new star system. I feel is a he had a darker past to explore, and believe this was a missed opportunity.

Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen – who play Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus respectively – are fantastic and its again disappointing that we don’t see more of them on screen. Disney, if you read this you should do a TV series about them – The Adventures of Baze and Chirrut!

My only criticism of the film is that the pace of the story is simply to fast. All Star Wars film have a fast pace (ignoring parts of Episode’s I-III) bur Rogue One did not need to have a fast pace and I cannot think of a reason why it has to be fast paced. This may have impacted Felicity Jones performance and contributed to the lack of screen time and character development mentioned above.

The pace of the film is likely the product of the re-shoots. I am also left wondering what was left on the cutting room floor and what did the re-shoots change about the film? We may never fully know the real reasons for the re-shoots but I hope those scenes make it onto the deleted scenes for the Blu-Ray/DVD release.

What Rogue One does really well is to show the potentail of the Star Wars Universe to tell a differnet story and I am excited about the possibity for new films and TV series.

Gareth Edwards has gone a long a way since making Monsters (2010). Monsters was an amazing accomplishment for an independent film. He has done a good job with Rogue One but I get the feeling that he is would be a more confident and comfortable director without a bunch studio executives looking over his shoulder.

3.8 / 5 – A good film. However, the pace of the film is just a little to quick and this makes the film feel more like Episode 3.5 rather than a stand alone film.

November 2016

It has been a rough few weeks as you all know my granddad was ill and had been diagnosed with cancer for the 3rd time but I am sad to say he passed away peacefully in his sleep, in the early hours of Friday on 4th November.

The last few weeks have been a mix of sadness, anger, frustration and trying to get on with our lives as best we can. My mum has done extremely well over the last fe weeks. She has been on autopilot for the last few months visiting him at hospital and doing her usual chores. But I am not sure if it has really sunk in yet.

I will miss my granddad a lot as I had a close relationship with him. From talking about football to just having a laugh. I still remember when he surprised me by joining us of a family holiday shortly after he won the lottery (it was only £24K but it was a big deal). We will cherish and hold on to the memories of the good times. I would like to thank everyone for their love and support.

This year was meant to be a year where I focused on my goals and ambitions and due to factors outside my control I have had to put things on hold. I am not sure what 2017 will bring (hopefully better fortunes than 2016) but I am more determined than ever to focus on me and what I want to achieve in life.

Despite the sadness of the last few weeks, I have had some highs in 2016. The best of which would be finally attending the Locarno Film Festival. It was an amazing experience and re-engergized my passion for film. I have booked a hotel to go back again next year and I cannot wait. It was also great to catch up with my friends from university for our 10 years reunion. It was such a success that we are going to try and do another next year.

I am not sure what else I will do in 2017. Work is pretty crazy as normal but I have no idea about anything else yet. Over the next few weeks I really need to work out what I need to do to achiev my goals. For me – considering everything than has happened – 2016  has not been the year I had hoped for. To many unknowns impacted my plans and I still feel I need to find the right work-life balance.

When you all look back the year, I hope for you all find that 2016 was filled with more joy than sadness and I wish that 2017 brings joy for everyone. I am going to be positive about 2017 as I have hope. It is also important to remember that adversity teaches us face our fears, fight our weaknesses and to break barriers to help us to be stronger and wiser.

 

 

 

 

Spot the GoT referance!

The last few weeks have been hectic…

My granddad has not been well the last week or so. He has cancer (again) but we don’t have a clear diagnosis. the last few weeks he has been really tired and complaining about not getting a good night sleep. Last Monday, he was rushed into hospital last week compiling of pain and spent a few days in hospital. The doctors are not sure what it is but he is home now. Fingers crossed things stay the same and he doesn’t have to go back in.

Work has been very busy as well and the end result is no progress with my film. Not sure what I am going to do to catch up as I am so far behind now…just going have wait and see…(sad face)

Anyway, it is the end of summer. Hard to believe that this time last year I was in San Francisco. It seems like yesterday I was strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge and having a hot dog while watching the Giants. I wish I was there now…it was a great holiday and I am sure I would be inspired to write…

Anyway, Autumn is on the here and the winds of winter are building on the horizon…Winter is Coming [sic]

Back from Locarno/Switzerland

14051834_10153822705112688_5434941402416404245_nWell I arrived back on Monday from Zurich and have caught up in work. I had a great time in Switzerland and at the Film Festival. I was also able to relax and enjoy myself.

The first part of my holiday was in Milan. I was only there a couple of days but to be honest I was underwhelmed. The Duomo and Sforza castle were impressive but the rest of the city and especially the San Siro did not live up to the expectations I had. Navigli was a really good area full of bars and restaurants. I only had 1 pizza in Milan (honest) but it was quite good…

For the next part of my journey and for the film festival I was staying in Lugano in southern Switzerland. It is a 14054215_10153822708907688_2827719544685494036_nbeautiful place and I will be going back there again. I managed to visit a few places locally and really enjoyed the food. The weather was also very good (hot!) and the food was good, although very expensive. As I had a travel pass, I used the rail network a lot to see as much of Switzerland as I could in my time there. I did day trips to Interlaken (and Grindelwald) to see the mountains and Bern (from Zurich). The Swiss Travel Pass is a great value and I recommend anyone who goes on holiday to Switzerland to consider it.

After the film festival I headed up to Zurich where I spent a few days relaxing exploring the city. Overall Switzerland is an amazing place and I enjoyed every part of the trip there. I just wish I had taken more money as I had to budget a lot due to the costs of food and drink. I already know of a few things I want to do next time I go!

13938175_10153822706227688_795095372382476441_oThe film festival was amazing I managed to see lots go great films and have come back refreshed and full of ideas. Watching films in Locarno’s Grande Piazza is amazing. The atmosphere is really electric. The screen (one of the biggest in the world) fills one end of the Piazza where 8,000 people sit. The sound is also really impressive for being out doors. I can’t wait to go back again and I hope to have a film screen in the Grande Piazza!

The night I arrived at the festival I was able to watch Jason Bourne (2016). Great film by the way and it was packed so the atmosphere was amazing. No Matt Damon, but he did send a video message. While I was there several big names were at the festival (Gemma Arterton, Bill Pullman, Harvey Keitel, Roger Corman and Ken Loach).

 

Now I am back in the UK I have to start work on my film and see what I can do before the end of the year. I have decided that I am not going to rush anything, as I want to focus on quality. I want to make a film and tell a story that I can use for entry into Locarno in 2018 (its seems the most realistic date). In the meantime, work will keep me busy and I have to work towards my ultimate goal of moving to Spain…

 

 

Back from Boston!

Well, I am back from Boston!

Working in Boston was an experience. We all worked long hours and but hopefully the 13719483_10153749393892688_751864468164720865_owork we have done has helped and things should improve, going forward. I definitely had cabin fever though…being in a hotel for an extended period is not for me!

Apart from work, Boston is a great city with lots to see (I like Cambridge – where Harvard is) and there are some great places for food. I also managed to catch a Red Sox baseball game when I was there and that was awesome. Over the last few years I have realised grown to like baseball.

I have 2 weeks in work and the I am off to Milan, Lugano/Locarno and Zurich. I can’t wait for the film festival now. Very excited about sitting in the Piazza Grande for Locarno69 – will be watching Jason Bourne (2016) on the 5th August and the possibility of meeting Bill Pullman. I wish could I spend more time in Milan. A day and a half is not enough time really – especially as I will not be able to see The Last Supper.

I need to start thinking about my film and what I am going to do, Work has been very busy and has taken over my life-it always has when I plan to do anything. I have to write the script something very soon if I am going to do anything in the near future. But I don’t want to rush it though as I want to have a script I am completely happy with.  There is not enough time to do start filming this year but I can make a start in the new year hopefully.

Well, I will be posting more regularly and I will be working on my film going forward…that a guarantee!

Curve ball

Well, as I eluded to in my last post a curve ball has thrown at me at work. I have been asked to go to Boston, USA for 5 weeks for work.

This sort of puts a massive halt any plans I had for working on my film for the next few months. It also means that when I come back to, I will only have 3 weeks till I head to Milan and Locarno.

So. I won’t be posting for the next few weeks as I have lots of things to do organise.

When I get back I will need to re-think a lot of things…

 

Hola Amigos!

My holiday was amazing. The weather was not brilliant for most of it to be honest but I was able to relax and enjoy myself. Just what I needed to forget work for a few days to relax and re-charge my batteries.

Well, I have been back at work a  week and I am exhausted and need another holiday! lol I had planned to do some work on my film whilst I away. But to be honest I have not done any work on my film. I was too tired and needed to relax. I also don’t think I will get chance to do much work on it over the next few months (news about why coming soon).

IMG_1608Barcelona was stunning as always even if it was raining (well short bursts of drizzle really). When I arrived I walked up to the Bunkers Del Carmel and all I have to say is wow! The sore feet were worth the walk up the hill for the stunning views of Barcelona. I will be going back up the hill again next time I am there for sunset, as I am sure I can take some amazing photos!

 

Thankfully, the heavy rain happened over night so you could walk about without getting drenched. I have been before in winter but it was great to see the city like this as it gave me chance to see what it can be like there when the sun is not shining. It has not put me off moving there one day! I felt at home and calm. Something that oddly I never feel like in Bristol. I always feel on edge and that I have to keep moving when in Bristol and its hard to explain why…I guess it is true what they say – home is where the heart is.

My friend from university, Miguel arrived Friday night for the weekend and I gave him the grand tour of Barcelona taking in as many attractions as possible. It was surprising how much we fitted in during the 2 days – and also a shock at how much of the city I didn’t show him! Was great to catch up and laugh about the times we had at university.

IMG_1996-1

Whilst in Barcelona, I did a few things I have never done before. On Saturday, me and Miguel visited the Basilica Santa Maria Del Pi for the tour up the bell tower – 54 meters above the streets of Barcelona. It was a good tour with a fantastic tour guide. The views of the city were amazing – despite the cloud, fog and rain – I will be going back. Hope the tour guide is the same as well 😉 [sic]

I also did a day trip back down to Barcelona when the weather had improved and visited one of the newer attractions in Barcelona, the modernist/Art Nouveaux Sant Pau Recinte Modernista (picture above). The site is a world heritage site and use to be a hospital. The mosaics on and inside the buildings are amazing.

IMG_1733On Sunday night I went to the Camp Nou for the last home game of the season, a derby against Espanyol. Barcelona won 5-0. Great game! I the atmosphere was electric and the weather held. It was a shame that we didn’t win the league that day. When I saw that Levante had gone 2-1 up against Atletico, I was hoping for a Valencia equalizer. I will go going to another game next season – Visca Barca!

IMG_1800After Barcelona, I went up the coast by Train to Lloret De Mar. It was great to see all my friend up in Lloret, even if it was briefly. They will get to see more of me in future though…when I move out to Barcelona though. Seeing the weather and the beach was shocking when I arrived. It was like a winter storm and I through the waves were going to erode the entire beach! The added irony was that back home, there was a heat wave so everyone felt disappointed for me. The staff at hotel I stayed in, Hotel Ninays were amazing and very helpful as usual.

IMG_1877-1Whilst in Lloret, I visited Girona where there was a festival on, Temps de Flors. It was amazing to see all the displays and settings decorated with or inspired by flowers. Some are small and simple while others are larger very theatrical. The photo on the right it just an example of what the displays were like. The sword has been thrust into the steps of the city and it (the city) is bleeding.

Girona itself is an amazing city (its got a large medieval history) and there are several museums. The city also has lots of festivals and events on through out the year.

Whilst I was in Lloret there was also the Formula Weekend  (the weekend of the Catalonia Formula 1 Grand Prix) was different and quite interesting. There were some cool sport cars, karting and a stunt show.

I also managed to eat a lot of food whilst on holiday. I really need to start a diet! [sic] I recommend the gourmet burgers at Bacoa (Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona). I had a Japanese inspired burger covered in teriyaki sauce.

The first week back in work has been hard and the next few months will be very busy. So I may not be posting as much as I can (or should). I will be trying to work on my film but I doubt I will make much progress…

 

May Day! May Day!

It’s the start of May. The weather has been rubbish and summer seems to be a world away.

I have not had chance to work on my script or think about my film the last week. I need to spend some time over the next few weeks on the script but I am remind to the fact that my plan to film this year is gone…I might with some luck start filming before the end of the year!

I am going to take a 2 week break and see how I feel when I get back…need to make some changes to get back on track.

Next weekend, I am off to Spain for my first holiday of the year. Beer, Tapas and football in Barcelona before heading up the coast to Lloret to visit friends.

I need this break. I have to re-charge my batteries.

Take care.