Star date: 5th September 2010 

Salford’s Splintered Gets UK Cinema Release

Stuff your Hollywood big budget blockbusters, Salford based production company Not A Number has just got its first feature film on nationwide cinema release.

Splintered, a psychological thriller with lots of blood and gore, was shot on a tiny budget but managed to swing a swanky premiere last Friday at London’s Empire in Leicester Square, and is being shown locally this week by the Odeon at the Trafford Centre.

More details here…

Splintered Splintered Splintered
click image to enlarge

The posters for Splintered announce that `Curiosity Can Kill’, and this sets the scene for one disturbing horror movie full of blood, guts and tension.

The film is set in North Wales, where a beast has been ripping up humans, and teenager Sophie (played by Holly Weston who starred in Madonna’s film Filth and Wisdom) manages to put herself in its path. Can she escape its clutches or will she end up shredded meat, like her mate? Even the poster and the film stills are enough to put you off your breakfast...

But Splintered is more than a wild beast chases teenager and disturbs your head in the process movie. It’s trailblazing a path for local small budget films to compete in the big time.

 “Splintered represents a real breakthrough” says Splintered director Simeon Halligan, of the Not A Number production team “Despite the continual cottage nature of the British Film industry, filmmakers keep finding innovative ways to finance and make movies, particularly in the North West.”

Splintered first got national exposure last March when it was shown as part of a Coronation Street scene with characters Sian, Sophie and others watching it on telly and getting scared out of their wits (see Salford Star article here).

Now we’ve all got a chance to join the fright fest at the Trafford Centre Odeon this week. It’s also out on DVD next week. For further details see www.splinteredthemovie.co.uk


Jonathan Stuart-Brown wrote
at 8:53:16 AM on Sunday, September 5, 2010
Britain is the only country in Europe that does not protect its film industry. Indeed it is the only one in the world. They do not come any more British patriot and thespian than Jonathan Gems and he wrote this letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's Department. I and others welcomed the abolition of the UKFC not so much because it was a way for the government to save money but because the UKFC actively suppressed British Cinema. You must be aware that, apart from a portion of UKFC funds going into 'educational projects' (i.e.wasted), and a small cosmetic portion going to a few rare and already-financed British films, most of the funding went to Hollywood film companies to induce them to shoot their films at British production houses. The British film community felt coruscating spasms of pain every time a government official bragged about the 'success' of the so-called British film industry when what was being referred to were successful American films that had been partly made at British production houses. We all remember seeing Tony Blair, for example, in the House of Commons, claiming that the success of the Harry Potter films (Warner Bros) were due to "his" policies and represented a success for British films when, in reality, they demonstrated the humiliating failure of British films. In a newspaper interview the patriotic J.K. Rowling announced she would not 'go Hollywood' but would sell the rights to her Harry Potter series to a British film company. She didn't know there were no British film companies capable of financing and releasing the Harry Potter films. Later, she had to sell her rights to Hollywood or not see the films made. She had no choice. Another recent ignominy was the drubbing received by Channel 4 when it made the excellent low budget film "Slumdog Millionaire" only to be forced to give it away to foreign studios in order to see it released. All the profits went to these foreign studios, not Britain. And this is an old story. The film "1984" (which I co-wrote) starring John Hurt and Richard Burton has been seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. This was a British film financed by Richard Branson (Virgin Films) that was released in only one cinema in the UK. Why only one? Because Britain's cinemas are controlled by Hollywood and the Hollywood cartel was threatened by Richard's intention to start a British studio, so made sure to strangle it at birth. In most years, about 99% of the films shown in UK cinemas are foreign films. (About 95% are American; 3% from other countries and 2% indigenous.) There is no nation in Europe whose film culture has been so thoroughly wiped out as ours has been. Back in 1970, Britain still had its own cinema. We had three major studios: Associated British Pictures, British Lion, and The Rank Organisation. Between them, they produced and released between 30 and 40 films a year. In those days, we had home-grown stars like Michael Caine, Peter Sellers, Dirk Bogarde, Alec Guinness, Vanessa Redgrave and Norman Wisdom - and a plethora of character actors. For example, John LeMesurier (best known for Dad's Army) appeared in over 100 British films. Today, to become a star, a British actor must go to Hollywood. To write movies, a British writer must go to Hollywood. To direct movies, a British director must go to Hollywood. Okay, there are a tiny few exceptions - such as directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. But their films were made by British TV companies until they stopped funding films in the early 90's since when their films have been made by French and Spanish studios. By helping to fund American films, the UKFC suppressed any chance of a revival of British Cinema, which is why it's good news it has been abolished. We have tremendous talent for filmmaking in this country. But most of that talent has left (or wants to leave) this country because there is no real film industry here. Sometimes people are confused because American-financed production companies (such as Working Title) have offices in London and purport to make 'British films'. In truth, Working Title, and other such production companies, are part of the Hollywood industry. Their business is done in LA and their films are owned and controlled by Hollywood studios. Why did British Cinema disappear 40 years ago? Simple. Protections were removed. Without protection British Cinema could not compete with Hollywood so it disappeared. Britain is the only country in Europe that does not protect its film industry. In the past, when Norman St John Stevas - Arts Minister in Margaret Thatcher's government - lobbied to bring back protections, he was told 'no' on Free Market grounds. This was puzzling because the American film market has never been free. It has always been closed to foreigners. No French, German, Spanish or Scandinavian film company is allowed to release a film in America. No British film company is allowed to release a film in America. And yet we allow America 100% access to our domestic market. Hardly fair, is it? When we finished "1984", we could not release it in America but were allowed to sell it (at a loss) to a Hollywood studio. Richard Branson lost £3 million but the film went on to make a fortune for MGM. The solution: Write and pass a bill reserving, say,15% of the UK film market for UK films. This is what's done in other countries. How it works is the government decrees that (say) 15% of all the films shown to the public in cinemas are indigenous. Cinema owners - to retain their licenses - must show that, each year, 15% of their screen time has been devoted to British films. This is not a lot to ask. Hollywood will still control 80% of the UK market. The French government reserves 12.5% of France's film market for French films. Although done for cultural reasons, it has created a very lucrative industry that releases over 100 movies a year - in spite of the fact that roughly 80% of the screen time of French cinemas is devoted to Hollywood movies. When, in 2003, the Spanish government reserved 20% of its domestic market for Spanish films, there was (unsurprisingly) a boom in Spanish filmmaking and now there are three robust Spanish movie studios not only releasing Spanish films in Spain but also selling them world-wide and earning foreign currency. I urge Jeremy Hunt to take up the standard and champion British films. The restitution of protections will revive British Cinema, give us back our own indigenous cinema and improve our balance of payments. Not only would this be of ineffable value culturally but would, I think, be a vote-winner. There is no rationale for not protecting British films. After all, terrestrial British television is protected. The percentage of foreign material permitted on the BBC and ITV channels is limited to 40% Please promote this policy to Jeremy Hunt. And I'm sure David Cameron would see the sense in it. Once again, many thanks for delivering us from the treasonous UKFC. (Hm...UKFC - looks like an anagram, doesn't it?) Best wishes, Jonathan Gems This first appeared on http://www.pleasedsheep.com/forums/topic/9080-jonathan-gems-on-the-abolition-of-the-ukfc/ I spoke to Gems before putting it on the web. Please also see: http://pinkonionmedia.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-british-cinema-law.html http://www.puremovies.co.uk/articles/why-we-dont-have-our-own-cinema/ and http://pinkonionmedia.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2009-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=4 and http://www.pinkonion.co.uk/ and please also give Jon Williams North-West writer and producer of 'Diary of a Bad Boy' a column for his film industry analysis which should make him the new Head of any successor to the failed UKFC. He should be special advisor to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey if we want to end the cottage industry syndrome outside the south-east of England. www.jw48.wordpress.com http://jw48.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/shameful-facts-hidden-in-the-uk-film-councils-statistical-report-2009/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/ukfc-announces-that-london-will-now-only-get-15x-more-film-funding-than-the-rest-of-the-uk-big-deal/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/american-bullying-knows-no-bounds/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/2009-swedish-films-take-13rd-of-the-box-office/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/indie-budgets-comparing-the-us-and-the-uk/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/shocking-facts-whos-who-on-the-uk-film-council-board-of-directors/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/some-interesting-statistics-on-uk-film-funding/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/submission-to-the-house-of-lords-select-cttee-on-communications/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/why-doesnt-englands-north-west-make-at-least-as-many-films-as-denmark-text-of-press-release/ http://jw48.wordpress.com/does-the-uk-film-council-serve-any-purpose/ http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/2010/08/now-dragons-den-are-calling-for-the-uk-film-council-to-be-axed/ http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/2010/08/the-pakistani-cricket-team-cheating-and-match-fixing-the-uk-film-council-100-axed-and-x-men-director-matthew-vaughn-so-nearly-gets-it-right/ Meanwhile very best of success to Salford and North-West film makers. We really can have a 250 000 strong and £25 billion a year film industry in The UK with you getting about £5 billion of this. Jonathan Stuart-Brown http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/
Jonathan Stuart-Brown wrote
at 8:53:09 AM on Sunday, September 5, 2010
The first reason that the so-called British Film Industry has been a cottage industry is that it the UK has only had the physical infrastructure in a tiny part of the south-east based on sound stages built in the 1920s and 30s when ironically land was vheap there and they could not afford lands in the West Midlands, North-West and Yorkshire when other manufacturing was at its height. So for example Charles Boot of Sheffield founded what became Pinewood Studios in South Bucks because he could not buy over 100 acres in the North. However, the reason that sound stages have stayed confined to the south-east is a mixture of an elitist in-club wanting to keep the film industry "the best private members' club in London" AND the failure of the regions to get this essential infrastructure built. They are only glorified warehouses. Factories with high roofs can be converted in months, even weeks. The Lottery money was designed in part to create film industry infrastructure (not invest in individual one-off film projects) but has not been used to build sound stages, post-production facilities and state of the art sets WHICH IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN in every region of the UK. The pre-requisite of Hollywood $80 million to $300 million budgets coming to town are big sound stages. It is these NOT the tax credit and Lottery subsidy which brings 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Sherlock Holmes 2', 'X-Men:First Class' two hundred miles down the road (M6 and M40) at the moment. It is Pinewood and Shepperton Studios' 170 acres and 34 sound stages. Even little Elstree Studios (9 acres and 6 sound stages) is booked out by Hollywood for 2 years and just told ITV that 'Dancing on Ice' can not come there. They are turning away Hollywood work. Elstree is in Hertsmere Borough Cuncil whose population is only 94 000. So many parts of The North-West as well as Salford could look at copying Elstree and bringing a real NOT a cottage industry to the region. This is not to disparage indie producers but they would be blessed if the crews, essential equipment, physical infrastructure was on hand (financed by Hollywood) to use in the gaps between the call of the big budget productions. Two to ten days in a real film factory with top trained crew and equipment can turbo charge indie shoots. If the space in the factory, crews and equipment is idle for 10 days, it usually gets put to good use. Much as I personally detest horror movies, Roger Corman was the master of getting the sets in the two days before a big film dismantled them, grabbing a star such as Vincent Price for 48 hours and filming so much that he could tidy up the plot around what looked a quality film. So the point is GET sound stages on ex-industrial land. The next essential for a real UK film industry is access to the UK cinemas (third biggest revenue in the world) which the UK lost in 1970. I will post a letter by Jonathan Gems' writer of 'White Mischief', '1984', 'Batman' and 'Mars Attack' which illiustrates the point. The reason so very many thespians, creatives and film industry folk were utterly opposed to the UK Film Council and cheering its axing is because it opposed these measures and wanted to keep the very small south-east only elitist club for aristocrats. http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/uk-film-council/ We have a real chance now for a Golden Age of British Film Making. This is where political lobbying and learning from Elstree Studios (owned 100% by the local council) and Jonathan Gems. We need buildings, factories, sound stages to get a non-cottage film industry outside the south-east BUT do not under estimate how very much certain people want to prevent the North-West really joinging the party. This is the perfect field for soccer stars to invest their surplus wealth to give their grandchildren an inheritance (after consulting their legally licenced investment advisors). Jonathan Stuart-Brown http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/
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