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BLOG: Out and About - Winter Round Up

  • Ramallah Stories - a workshop with young Palestinian filmmakers

Ramallah Stories - a workshop with young Palestinian filmmakers

January 2013

It’s been a busy winter for the British Council’s Film team who have been out and about working on a vast range of projects alongside colleagues around the world.

December’s 2nd British Film Week in China, with screenings in Beijing and Xi’an, was one of the closing events of UK Now, the biggest ever festival of British arts and creative industries held in China. This rare exposure for British film in China saw a week of features screened for the first time including Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea, Carol Morley's Dreams of a Life, Hitchcock's silent The Lodger (with a new soundtrack by Nitin Sawhney), and the digitally remastered Yellow Submarine.- and found highly enthusiastic audiences eager for more.

Yet more ambitious British Film Weeks at the end of 2012 played to packedaudiences in Russia,  Ukraine and Morocco. Our Russian event the 11th New British Film Festival - was staged in partnership with local exhibitor/distributor, Cool Connections. 19 contemporary features plus a range of industry guests led by BAFTA-winning James Marsh (Project Nim), travelled to present their films between three locations in Moscow, St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg.

Ahead of her surprise (and hugely well-deserved) BAFTA nomination for Outstanding British Debut, in December writer/director Tina Gharavi headed to Khartoum, Sudan as our guest to present her film I Am Nasrine as part of an EU Film Festival.  Whilst there she took time out to deliver a documentary workshop to young filmmakers but after two long, hot and exhausting days, Tina and crew were stopped by the Intelligence Service and hauled before the police to account for their activities. Despite having official permission to film, the team was forced to delete much of their footage - but, this didn't stop Tina’s students who’ve continued with their project, now named Deleting Sudan. We’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing more of the project shortly - and you can find out more about Tina as she goes under our Spotlight this month.

Kicking off what promises to be a busy 2013, in January our partners from the Scottish Documentary Institute travelled to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to help stage 'Ramallah Stories',  a workshop in partnership with the Palestinian Young Filmmakers Society. Following hot on the heels of our hugely successful international ‘Stories’ workshop programme which ran throughout last year, this time 80 young filmmakers applied for just 12 workshop places, so we’ve added local facilitators to observe the workshop in order to develop similar programmes in the future. The programme features an additional ‘Doc Express’ surgery - an intensive, three day intensive pitching session for more experienced filmmakers, and as a final bonus, a selection of films from our previous Stories workshops are also being screened in Gaza.

Back in London, over the last few months we’ve hosted Preview Screenings of new UK feature films for the programming teams from the most prestigious international festivals (including Sundance and Berlin). We’ll be heading to Berlin to see the fruits of our labours on screen at the international film festival in February and to help lead the UK Film presence with a number of events. We’re also supporting 24 talented emerging filmmakers to attend the Talent Campus and hosting a networking 'Shine & Dine' dinner in association with the British Embassy.

Just before Berlin we’re also heading back to Israel to celebate UK film talent with a week-long British Film Festival travelling to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa with additional screenings in Herziliya, Holon, Sderot and Rosh Pina. Films previewing include the opening gala, Seven Psychopaths, and a packed guest rosta includes writers, directors and performers from Ed Hogg, James Marsh, Tom Shkolnik, Glenn Leyburn, Lisa Barros D'Sa, Jeff Simpson, Ben Tremlett, Bill Jones, Sightseers' Steve Oram and our very own Will Massa. Read more here.