Olympics shorts — including one by Mike Leigh — to premiere in Edinburgh on June 24 before screening in London; Woolcock, Temple and Eyre projects also planned.
Further details of the London 2012 Festival film programme (part of the Cultural Olympiad) were confirmed today at the Hackney Picturehouse in the presence of several of the filmmakers involved, among them Lynne Ramsay, Asif Kapadia, Hugh Hudson and Streetdance team Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini.
Also in attendance were Christine Langan of BBC Films and Katherine Butler of Film4, as BBC Films and Film4 have jointly commissioned four short films by leading British directors.
Lynne Ramsay is in post-production on her short film The Swimmer, which she described as “a stream of consciousness” drama about a swimmer on an endurance swim.
Footage was shown from Mike Leigh’s movie A Running Jump, starring Eddie Marsan, and from What If, the film by Giwa and Pasquini. Asif Kapadia took to the stage to describe his project, The Odyssey, which he described as “a mixture of aerial photography, audio interviews and archive.” The idea behind it is to canvas the opinions of Londoners from “the point where the Olympics were first won by London up to the point when it happens…with all the ups and downs on the way.”
All four films will receive their world premieres at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 24 before screening in London at the Hackney Picturehouse the following day.
“It was Ruth Mackenzie (Director of the Cultural Olympiad) who spoke both to Tessa Ross at Film4 and myself. We very instantly agreed that it was a great idea,” Langan commented of the idea of BBC Films and Film4 partnering on four films. “We’ve all co-funded and collaborated…it has been a very easy, smooth and happy process.”
“All our filmmakers rose to the challenge and have expressed something quite distinct from one another which fit together very nicely,” Langan added of the four titles. Plans for the international roll out of the four films are yet to be confirmed.
During a presentation by Ruth McKenzie, it was also announced that Hugh Hudson’s Oscar winner, Chariots Of Fire, has been remastered by Twentieth Century Fox and the BFI and will be re-released nationwide to tie in with the London Olympics.
“It’s a golden weight but a weight of gold,” Hudson joked of the impact of the movie on his career
The film programme will also include new Shakespearean productions for BBC 2: Richard II, directed by Rupert Goold, Henry IV Part I and II directed by Richard Eyre and Henry V directed by Thea Sharrock. These will feature an all-star cast including Jeremy Irons, Ben Wishaw, Tom Hiddleston, Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, David Suchet, Richard Griffiths, Simon Russell Beale, David Morrissey and Julie Walters.
Likewise part of the Festival is Penny Woolcock’s Birmingham-set documentary What’s Going on?, about two rival gangs in Birmingham.
Meanwhile, Julien Temple’s project Babylon/Don, which will show as part of the BBC’s London season and is billed as “an epic time-travelling voyage to the heart of his hometown,” will tell the story of the city’s musicians, writers and artists.
Other initiatives include Ridley Scott’s Britain In A Day project, the Film Nation: Shorts (showcasing 30 short films made by 14 to 25 year olds) and a cinematic relay that will start with screenings at the Shetland Film Festival and will include further screenings all over the UK.