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By midlandsmovies, Jun 17 2019 06:46AM



"Don't Talk About It - Just Do It" - Midlands Movies interviews Toby Osmond


Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales speaks to Game of Thrones and Henry VIII and his Six Wives actor Toby Osmond about his starring roles, the significance of Mark Rylance and his prolific acting in the region.


Hiya Toby, could you tell our readers a little about yourself and career?

Hullo! I was a late starter coming to acting having been an environmental campaigner throughout my 20's. My brother Jim suggested I audition for the role of Hamlet at our local Shakespeare Society - and I got it! I then did the next show there - Gormenghast - playing the lead and it may sound cliched but I had found my calling. I handed in my notice at the office and began my love affair with Stage and Screen. I was very lucky to land a good role in a C4 Docu-Drama about the Crusades shooting in Morocco and it's been a roller coaster ever since.


Great. You’ve also worked with prolific Birmingham filmmaker Tom Paton for a few years now – what is it like working in the Midlands region?

It feels quite lovely to say I think I'm turning in to the Johnny Depp of Tom's Tim Burton! He's been good enough to cast me in all 3 of his films since he edited a previous project that I was the male lead in. Black Site which won quite a few awards I only filmed over in Essex on, then Stairs we had both in Essex and Nuneaton so that was lovely - exploring Coventry and the local area. We were on the principal investors land which was a fantastic site - he collects Militaria - including several tanks!


Can you tell us about Tom’s last films G-Loc and Stairs and your involvement in those?

As well as working on Stairs as the central character 'Jack Ford' who's essentially a combination of class clown and bad-ass merc-assassin, Tom auditioned me for a big role on G-Loc which is a space sci-fi with some brilliant names involved including Lord of the Rings John Rhys-Davies and none other than the Starship Trooper himself Johnny Rico aka sci-fi royalty Casper Van Dien. Unfortunately I didn't get the role hahahaha - it went to the wonderfully talented Mike Beckingham however who is a lovely guy and very good actor - and having seen him on set on G-Loc actually much more suited to the role than me! Tom being the super star he is offered me a role as the Captain of the spaceship instead - which was fantastic as I got to do a scene with Casper. I was a bit star struck as Starship Troopers was for me one of the great films of the 90's. Casper was hilarious to work with as well - a bit of a joker like myself - he's a great guy.


Tom is quite prolific - is it easy for you as an actor to jump from role to role in a short time?

I love playing different roles - I often get type cast as either the villain or some sort of romantic boyfriend or some such. I much prefer the villains! But I love all acting - especially if there's time to really get in to a role. It was probably hardest for me on G-Loc as my first scene was a death scene - and I'm speaking in a made up language! hahaha. Great fun though - I love a challenge.


As well as challenges, you’re currently most known as the Prince of Dorne in Game of Thrones. Can you tell us how that opportunity came about?

Yes my wonderful agent Patrick Warrington who splits his time between Yorkshire and London got me the audition. It was the standard process - he told me Nina Gold's company wanted to see me for this role on Thrones but they were being very tight lipped about what it actually was. So I then get to the audition not knowing I'm about to be asked to ad-lib a complex scene in a Dornish accent! Luckily I'm a fan of the show and fairly good with accents - I think largely as I'm ballsy and will just go for it - not much sense of shame haha. So I ad lib this scene involving multiple characters (who of course aren't actually there) and as I'm leaving and seeing all of these other guys waiting to audition who look like me but are more muscular and better looking I think 'well at least it's nice to be seen for GoT'. Then in less than a fortnight I've flown to Belfast and back for the costume fitting, said hi to Peter Dinklage and Anton Lesser who were there, popped my head in to Kings Landing and am waiting in the VIP lounge at the airport to fly to Seville to film!


And how did it feel to be in such a well-known and esteemed series?

I was on cloud 9! I'm also a big fan of the show so it was not only fantastic from a career perspective but also I was just loving the hell out of every second. It was a total thrill to be on set surrounded by so many of the stars of the show, having lunch with them, nicking and sharing cigarettes with them (I've since quit btw! In case my mum's reading this). I especially loved a chat about theatre with Tobias Menzies (Edmure Tully) - I've followed his career since seeing him in the great TV show Rome. Interestingly the fantastic Indira Varma who plays Elariah Sand was also in Rome. Alas she wasn't in the scene - but if there's ever a spin off I think first thing on the Prince of Dorne's agenda is to go and rescue her from the dungeons!


Staying with Game of Thrones, how has the experience affected you as an actor? Are you recognised in the street?

They don't, no! I had a chat with a very talented actor friend who I trained with - Calum Bowie - who was on 'First Dates' and he said he gets recognised on the street haha. For Stairs however, which was filmed after Thrones, I cut my hair off. I also don't usually have as much of a beard as I did as 'the PoD on GoT' so I don't look much like I did on screen. It's been wonderful for me as an actor as in the same week that Thrones came out I got a meeting with the fantastic writer/director Jessica Swale and was promptly cast in her film 'Summerland', starring Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sir Tom Courtenay and Dame Penelope Wilton. Which was rather exciting! It was also nice getting such exposure for my work - I wasn't on screen a huge amount on Thrones but I did a lot of research in to the role and I hope that paid off. In fact all the people and memes saying I looked bored in the meeting are great - because that's what I was trying to portray! haha.


I currently live in Leicester which is the final resting place of Cardinal Wolsey who was buried in Abbey Park. You’ve played another Henry VIII adviser Thomas Cromwell in the recent Channel 5 show Henry VIII and His Six Wives. How was that experience and did you do any research before filming?

I always try to do research for roles I'm playing and Thomas Cromwell was one where I got to do a lot of reading in to it. I also watched all of Wolf Hall prior to the audition and a running joke on set between the director - a fantastically talented guy - Chris Holt and myself. He would say 'more/less Rylance please Toby' - Mark Rylance famously being a very subtle actor so it was a gauge of if Chris wanted me to up or lower the performance level. I actually looked in to Leicester for another role I played in a great comedic play by the wonderful Sharon Jennings who is sadly no longer with us. 'The King Must Lie' was about Richard III - who of course also has his final resting place in your cathedral. One of the things I love about acting is the chance it affords to research in to things you just wouldn't ordinarily come across. For instance the fantastic history of Leicester!


Jumping from the princely Game of Thrones to the courts of Henry VIII, you are also due to appear in Summerland set during World War II. Do you specialise or favour any particular genre?

I love period dramas and fantasy - I'm a geek at heart so the holy trinity for me is Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. One down two to go! haha. To be honest I love it all though - from Westerns to War films and Doctor Who to Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. After working with Tobias Menzies on Thrones I got in to 'The Crown' and am loving that - he's set to play Prince Phillip and was going through his lines while we were on breaks. I also love comedy and horrors - I'm a big fan of Neo Noir too and David Lynch - loads of stuff! I just love good film and television (and Theatre!) and also the opportunity to play in them.


And finally, what projects are next on the horizon for you?

I'm actually hitting a bunch of conventions because of Game of Thrones - which is super exciting. I've been to a few comicons before with Tom Paton for qna panels for his films but this is the first time I'll be signing pictures of my face haha. I'm really looking forward to them as I'm a bit of a fan boy myself so the enthusiasm of other fans gets me going! I love the excitement at the events. I've had some offers of films roles which is exciting and my agent has me up for some TV and film projects - so we will see! Can't really talk about the specifics I'm afraid! Tom is directing another film later in the year set in WWII and says he has a role for me - so that's very exciting!

Thank you Toby


Catch Toby's latest updates on his social media pages:


www.twitter.com/tobyosmond

www.facebook.com/TobyOsmondActor

www.spotlight.com/1413-1279-9342

www.tobyosmond.com






By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 02:50PM



David and Goliath


2019


Produced by Nisaro Karim and directed by Sheikh Shahnawaz


Five Pence Productions


“You have to, brother. You’ve been chosen to defeat the giant Goliath”.


Five Pence Productions are a new West Midlands company and David and Goliath is its first ever production and one which recounts the famous Biblical tale from yore.


We open in the woods where a reluctant David (Sam Malley, The Chase) is given a slingshot by his mother and tells him to have faith in a planned fight with Goliath - whilst his younger brother optimistically offers to help him on his quest.


A stirring soundtrack sees David then walk into the distance to begin his journey before meeting a girl (Return of the Ring's Rhi Hardman as Abigail) who chides him for his use of a slingshot to best the “crusher of skulls”. But she too offers to join him and his brother on their expedition.


However, just moments later Goliath (Nisaro Karim from Reversal) arrives at their feet – literally – as he pratfalls down a hill but warns them of an even bigger danger in their midst – a colossal Titan!


Some nifty scripted word-play and a splattering of dead-pan delivery of the dialogue gives the short some pep and liveliness that is certainly refreshing to see in a world of regional shorts that are often dramatic and serious in nature.


And filmmaker Sheikh Shahnawaz uses a bit of Lord of the Rings-style forced perspective and woodland locations to echo the tropes of cinematic fantasy – albeit on a small budget.


From coy flirting to embarrassing slip-ups, the short undermines mythical legends but does so with enthusiasm and its tongue firmly in its cheek. Visual gags add to the humour and each jokey sequence shows an affection for the classics – but one the production is happy to poke fun at.


It is also great to see the director again jump genres by trying out various filmmaking styles and tones in their body of creative work. And this has clearly helped them develop an excellent grasp of different aspects of cinema – including a bloody and frantic fight between David, Goliath and the “lofty” Titan towards the end of the short.


A pleasing parody, David and Goliath therefore ends up being as an amusing and silly spoof with a lot of warmth generated by the terrific cast - who are effective at delivering both punch-ups and punchlines.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 08:25AM



Midlands Spotlight - The Pocket Film of Superstitions


Midlands Movies Mike uncovers a dark new feature film currently in production from Tom Lee Rutter, the writer/director of regional flick Bella in the Wych Elm.


THE POCKET FILM OF SUPERSTITIONS is a planned creepy docu-fantasy almanac and will explore a wide range of superstitions both well-known and not so well-known through the ages.


Produced under the director’s Carnie Features production company, Rutter promises a more “polished, feature-length progression” after his short film Bella In The Wych Elm (our review here) was released in 2017 to acclaim despite a low budget.


Director Rutter tells us that with this new film audiences should expect “dreamscapes, Victorian gothic, practical effects and nods to the haunted screen of the silent-era through to the seventies”.


“I am half-way through production now and up till now have completely self-funded but due to the ambitious jumps through time with period set-pieces and the SFX I have had to start up a Gofundme campaign”, he adds.


This will help “to raise a little money for us to achieve some exciting sequences on the horizon”.



He goes on to explain, “My films have always been proudly self-funded and are very independent in nature. Despite the limitations brought about by very little in terms of finance it has always given me the freedom to explore styles and create projects that I feel don't get explored enough in indie circles today”.


Hoping to be a one of a kind West Midlands movie you can find out more information and donate to their crowd-funding campaign here: GoFundMe LINK


You can also follow further updates from the official Facebook page here which includes some exciting behind-the-scenes photographs and lobby-card stills - click here for Facebook page




By midlandsmovies, May 30 2019 01:19PM



Midlands Review - Hope


Directed by Tee Visuals


2019


Hope is a new emotional drama from local director Tee Visuals starring Tenisha White and Andre Pierre as a couple facing sadness and sorrow in their poignant relationship.


Filmed with heavenly sunlight streaming into a bedroom, Hope opens with Jesse (Pierre) waking up his partner Faith (White) before he finds a pregnancy test in the kitchen which she confirms is positive.


Jesse’s happiness is at odds with Faith’s reticence but he suggests the name of ‘Hope’ if the baby is a girl. “We’ve got a long journey ahead of us”, he adds. Very true indeed as we’ll find out later. The director frames and films shots well and the visuals have a high quality sheen to them. The on-set sound is okay but could perhaps do with another pass in the editing suite to balance/boost the consistency of the dialogue volume.


However, the editing is steady and measured and the film has good use of fade-outs and metaphorical white-outs alongside some slow but meaningful scene transitions.


As the couple take their car out into the countryside for a walk in what looks like the Peak District, the tone moves into darker territory with a secret torment apparently under the surface of their relationship. More great shots are filmed here amongst the rolling valleys and hills and the director does well to capture the wide vistas and dramatic lighting of the location.


With a few drone shots as well, the filmmaker really does explore the expansive horizons, perhaps representing an unknown future to come. But here the film flashbacks to 6 weeks prior and we see the couple arguing about the difficulty of conceiving - leading to their potential break-up. 3 days after this, the couple decide to not give up despite the circumstances. But their good intentions may not be enough to see them through.


Hope's use of flashback to uncover plot details is a good but simple device to change and switch focus and create an air of intrigue over the different narrative questions the audience has.


* Some spoilers ahead*


However, as the couple begin to repair their relationship, a slow motion sequence sees Jesse involved in a hit-and-run and even though Faith says ‘yes’ after finding an engagement ring in his pocket, she cannot save him and Jesse passes away.


Sadly, a character as a ghost “twist” is quite overused in the local arena. Even last month with Leaving Home, it used the same conceit and, although I watch more local films than most, it’s a common – albeit powerful – trope that means the short isn’t quite original as it could have been.


That said, there’s enough positives to let it slide as the film has emotional gut punches and scenes that also tug on the heart-strings. And this is down to the performances of the talented White and Pierre. Both convey strong feelings of blame, guilt, sadness and loss and whether it’s a teary glance (White) or a longer passionate speech (Pierre) the two leads really hold the story together.


A bigger but slightly less welcome surprise was Hope’s post-credit scene set 25 years later (!) which featured a note that says “dad’s killer”, police sirens and a young man with a gun. I have to admit that it’s a brave choice but the sequence jolts you into another film entirely and may have been best left off this particular short.


And a melancholy piano-led song adds to the sad tone throughout and a great soundtrack overall from Marco Micucci and music from Punch Records help give the short an angelic vibe.


The (non post-credits) ending of Hope finishes on a positive note with Jesse giving some virtuous advice to instil strength and positivity to Faith to help her deal with the unfortunate situation she is facing, before he leaves her forever.


And as we are shown a drone shot that takes the audience up and away into the celestial heavens, the film’s wholesome and hopeful message very much shines through. With two divine and passionate performances and some heart-breaking scenes, Hope ends up being an impressive short containing a whole host of tender themes provided with conviction and a lot of flair.


Michael Sales



By midlandsmovies, Apr 14 2019 08:27AM



Sustain movie releases brand new trailer


Award-Winning producers Troy Dennison and Keiran Bowers have unleashed the newest trailer for the Midlands-based crime thriller/drama Sustain, directed by Dave Hastings.


With the film in deep post-production, editor Sam Woodhall has been working closely with Hastings on fine-tuning the now locked visual cut of the film. The next stage sees film grading whilst James Hall will be supervising a new sound mix. And with a composer for the film being announced in the near future, the picture is close to completion for audiences.


However, the second trailer for the film is here to whet audiences’ appetites even more. “And we’re very proud to unleash the new footage from Sustain which we all hope you will find exciting” teases producer Troy Dennison.


Featuring lots of new footage that illustrates the wide-ranging scope of exciting Midlands locations, the filmmakers had help from people Sophia French at Walsall Council and beyond. "The new trailer raises the stakes and gives you an even more thrilling look into the dangerous world that protagonist Kieran Flank (Brett Dewsbury), finds himself slipping into after the brutal murder of his step-brother Toby (Joshua Sewell)”, says director Hastings.


Dewsbury comments that “people should be excited by the film because it was produced locally, made by local talent, cast filled with raw local talent and promotes the Midlands area so very much. It is exciting because it shows what hard work, passion and creativity can achieve when you virtually have a non-existent budget. It’s a beautiful, gritty and very emotional piece that people should be happy to support because it touches on many issues we face in our day to day lives”.


The trailer also features an expanded glimpse at some of the films ensemble of other actors such as Richard Buck as the dangerous Kevin McKenzie as well as Matthew Kinson and Jay Podmore who make up the film’s chilling trio of villains who set off the dramatic chain of events the film follows.


As well as this, are the good guys like Greg Yates as DI Bridge and Laura Evenson as local news reporter Kara Marshdale, who form an uneasy allegiance in an attempt to expose the dark heart of humanity.


All of them in the trailer “shine so very much, giving audiences a new compelling glimpse into a story we’ve been incredibly excited to share with everyone”, comments Dennison.


Sustain is a joint co-production between Lightbeam Productions, 5cm/Sec Films, ICI Films, Faceless Films and Pat The Bull Films. You can follow the film on Facebook and Twitter for more exciting developments.


By midlandsmovies, Apr 2 2019 03:30PM



Midlands Review - A Helping Hand


Directed & written by Debbie Daniels


2018


Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers present A Helping Hand, a short film about an elderly man who is now sleeping during the day and active throughout the night. This isolated way of living forces him to seek help, with surprising results.


Arf (Arthur Fletcher) due to continued lack of sleep has now resigned himself to operating during the night and falling asleep in the day. The audience can see early on that he isn't happy with this arrangement as he is seen routinely opening his bedroom door, longing for normality, longing for sleep.


Writer and director Debbie Daniels, through a series of shots show the viewer how Arf lives his life. Because he cant sleep at night he is forced to carry out tasks such as shopping, gardening and cleaning in unsociable hours. Mute and glum with depression.


Arf decides to visit Dr Spellman where he reveals he is a widower, and since his wife's passing he has had trouble adjusting to sleeping alone. The good doctor discourages medication and recommends a “co-sleeper”, someone who will physically take the place of his late wife in bed to give Arf the familiar feeling of sleeping next to someone. Arf, taken aback by the unusual prescription agrees to give it a go.


Leah (Fiona Dunn) is introduced shortly after, lifting Arf's spirits immediately. The introduction of this character also elevates the films pace, as I enjoyed watching Arf and Leah's relationship grow in what should have been an awkward encounter. In stark contrast to Arf's conventional way of living, Leah brings with her otherworldly candles, props and music to help lull Arf into a deep slumber. Both characters are written beautifully, Arf's willingness after his initial scepticism warms me to his character whilst Leah's hunger for helping people make her a joy to watch.


“Remember, you can do anything you wan, be anything you want, you've got your whole life ahead of you” Arf says as he waves Leah goodbye after an unsuccessful effort to help him regain a normal sleeping pattern. Dave, another co-sleeper is introduced but to no avail until a third co-sleeper, an elderly lady Ann enters Arf's life. Will Arf be able to succeed in Dr Spellman's counselling and be able to live the life he wants to?


A Helping Hand is a light hearted story regarding a sombre subject which another director might have been heavy handed in their approach however director Debbie Daniels handles the story with a gentle touch surrounding Arf's evident discomfort with humorous moments.


Daniels is also responsible for the inspired choice of casting Arthur Fletcher as Arf as he gives a great performance. Fletcher is the films anchor as he commands attention in every scene and also to have great chemistry with all three of the supporting actors is a serious achievement.


The aspect that stood out for me the most whilst watching this film was friendship and the potential strangers have to be of importance to one another.


Shot on location in Sutton Coldfield, A Helping Hand reminded me of particular type of film that Britain does excellently, the mature comedy-drama. Go check it out.


For more information on Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers please click on this link.


Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGuyer


By midlandsmovies, Mar 23 2019 08:52AM



Midlands Spotlight - KOBE


KOBE is an upcoming short crime thriller film from West Midlands director AR Ugas about a university student who, after his childhood friend is released from prison, decides to enter into a life of crime which culminates in a robbery that goes wrong.


Shot in 5 days in several locations in the Birmingham are, the film was shot, produced, directed and edited by Ugas, who had great success with his Tolkien-inspired first film 'The Return of the Ring'.

AR Ugas explains, "After The Return of the Ring and its success I felt like I was ready to jump into making a feature film. I wrote the script, casted it and was about to start the rehearsal process, but for a variety of reasons and like many other independent projects it failed to launch".

"After that, I decided to go back to the basics and fully develop myself as a one-man team guerilla filmmaker, buying my own camera and editing software and hardware", he added.


The director explains that not only did he make decisions to save time and money in the long run, he also wanted to fully appreciate and understand what it takes to create a film. "Having dipped my toes into shooting and editing myself, I am a lot more confident and comfortable with all sides of filmmaking now".


While 'The Return of the Ring' was very high-concept and flashy, the director felt it lacked an emotional depth - "Everyone saw what happened but not many felt what happened and we watch films not just to see but also to feel".


KOBE will be a lot more gritty and dynamic film and the director hopes it's also a lot more personal too as the film delves into the friendship of an ex-prisoner and a university student, examining their moral compasses and how people change when put in a difficult situation. It also looks at a faltering relationship between a strict out-of-touch father and said student.



Working on the project are the two leads, Mathias Andre (as Kobe) and Dominic Thompson (as Mouse) who also played the hooded wizzard in The Return of the Ring.


Joining them are Tee Morris (Christopher) who recently won an award for 'Best Actor' for the wonderful short film 'Climbing Trees', Alexandria Carr (Serena), Bola Latunji (James), COrey Thompson (Sully) and Summer Carr (Natasha).


With a plan to release the film in the next few motnhs, the production are looking at several platforms for the release and you can find out more about the film and filmaker here https://www.facebook.com/ARUGASUK and check out the two exclusive screengrabs of Dominic Thompson playing 'MOUSE'.



By midlandsmovies, Feb 4 2019 04:26PM



Midlands Spotlight - Cosmos


Midlands Movies Mike Sales looks to the stars to find out about new Birmingham-made sci-film Cosmos which is coming soon in 2019.


Cosmos is a new local feature from directing brothers Elliot Weaver & Zander Weaver who not only self-produced the project but actually took on all major crew roles throughout production.


With the only exception being the writing of the score, the brothers have made a film that mixes local flavour with a story that looks out to the universe for its inspiration.


Making movies since they were children, the brothers have been concocting and creating shorts films throughout their education including music videos and short documentaries and when they finished school decided to set up an online film school themselves.


"We wanted to share with other young filmmakers some of the tips and tricks we’d already picked up on professional projects and hopefully inspire others to have a go themselves. We managed to establish a small following and continue to enjoy interacting with those who benefit from our content".


But with production on Cosmos now finished, the filmmakers are about to embark on a festival and screening tour for a film which cost less than £5000 to make.


Cosmos itself tells the story of three amateur astronomers who accidentally intercept what they believe is a signal from an alien civilisation. Realising they may have just stumbled across Mankind's greatest discovery, they race to document their finding, prove its authenticity and share it with the world before it is lost forever.


But as the filmmakers say, the truth they uncover is even more incredible than any of them could have imagined. Inspired by Amblin-era adventures and set over just one night against the backdrop of a world-changing discovery, Cosmos is promising to offer spectacle and thrills when its released later in the year.


For more information following the film on Twitter or at the official website: https://ellianderpictures.co.uk/films/cosmos


And you can watch the trailer for the film below:





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