‘INTERCOM’ FEATURE & NFM/UK FILM COUNCIL FUNDING
Northern Film & Media are funding development of a feature version of Intercom by Mark Gutteridge with producer Jack Tarling. Mark and Jack have been working with acclaimed author Richard T Kelly whose most recent commissioners are the UK Film Council, BBC Films and Ruby Films/Channel 4. Richard will be commencing the script in January 2010.
MARK GUTTERIDGE AND SHUDDER FILMS ARE COMMISSIONED BY THE UKFC/FILM LONDON/SOUTHERN EXPOSURE
Jack Tarling of Shudder Films will produce Mark’s next short in 2010, ahead of their upcoming feature 'Intercom'. They will be working with long time collaborator Tom Clutterbuck to realise Mark's script about a young ballet dancer who, while facing the difficulties of being analyzed in adult terms, meets up with a local boy who doesn’t care. There is an assessment of each other where urban and rural environments collide and are explored by the film's remarkable lead. Commissioned by the UK Film Council/Film London/Southern Exposure and titled The Assessments, it was described as “excellent“ and “the most ambitious” script they’d had this year.
The British Film Institute has acquired ‘Intercom’ for the National Film Archive, which preserves films “of cultural and/or historical importance”.
The archive is one of the world's greatest collections of film and custodian of the UK's moving image heritage.
Packaging is progressing on Mark’s next short. Written and directed by Mark, the film is currently titled ‘The Assessments’ and will be shot in London.
Intercom is In Competition and Official Selection at two more Academy Award approved festivals used to compile Oscar Nominees
In gaining a nomination certificate for ‘Best International Short’ at Short Shorts in Tokyo, Japan’s largest festival, Intercom was shortlisted to gain eligibility for Academy Award consideration.
In Competition at Palm Springs International Shortfest & Market, USA,
Nomination for Best International Short at Short Shorts International Film Festival, Tokyo
Intercom wins Best Screenplay at The End Of The Pier International Film Festival, UK.
And… Forthcoming screening ‘in competition’ at GLIMMER: Hull International Film Festival, UK.
Broadcast premiers in UK & France of Intercom coming up on SKY in a selection throughout April, May, June & July…
MARK, JACK TARLING AND RICHARD T KELLY MEETING
During Northern Lights Film Festival, 25 directors and producers were invited to introduce or take questions on their work throughout the 7 day festival. Director of selected short Intercom (Short Film Award, Special Mention), Mark Gutteridge met up with producer and Bright Sparks Award Winner at NLFF 07, Jack Tarling after a screening. This meeting had ignited collaboration between the pair to turn Mark’s short into a feature. Richard T Kelly (author of Crusaders) whose most recent commissioners are the UK Film council, BBC Films and optioned by Channel 4/Ruby Films, is writing the treatment and they are looking forward to working together shortly on the script.
Honorary Mention Award at Australian Film Week, Sydney.
Opening night and Official Selection screening of Intercom at European Independent Film Festival, France 13.03.09 6pm.
Mark wins ‘CIFF Rising Star Award’ at Canada International Film Festival.
We’re pleased to announce the British Council is representing Intercom at selected film festivals abroad. As one of their top British short films of the year, Intercom will be promoted to over 60 International festivals the council work with.
Intercom wins a Special Mention Award at Northern Lights Film Festival, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, coming a close second in the audience vote for Best Short Film.
Also, Special Mention Award at Passau International Film Festival, Bavaria, Germany.
Forthcoming Official Selection screenings of Intercom throughout the UK between now and December:
Opening Film at Salford Film Festival 15.11.08 7pm & 20.11.08 6pm
Northern Lights Film Festival 03.12.08 6.15pm
Filmstock Film Festival 08.11.08 7pm
Foyle Film Festival – The Northern Ireland International Film Festival 22.11.08 4pm
And the rest of Europe:
Opening Night at Passau International Film Festival, Bavaria, Germany
Opening Film at Tirana International Film Festival, Albania supporting the Dardennes brothers' The Silence Of Lorna 01.12.08 7.30pm
WORLD PREMIERE OF INTERCOM
After its world premier and official selection screening at Brooklyn International Film Festival, NY Intercom returns to New York State to be the opening film at Woodstock Film Festival supporting Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky in Rhinebeck Cinema 02.10.08. 7.30pm.
Intercom signed up for worldwide distribution with Shorts International for SKY Movies, iTunes pay-per-view and Shorts TV channel after the festival run. Distribution for theatrical release is through Future Shorts.
Jenny Agutter is cast alongside Marc Warren and David Calder in the short film ‘Intercom’ hitting international film festivals from January. See the trailer on the Films page.
INTERVIEW WITH MARK GUTTERIDGE, DIRECTOR OF INTERCOM
It’s an unusual story, a sort of social thriller. What was the inspiration for it?
It’s primarily a human story but with this other intermediary. It’s been said that apathy to what’s seen on the TV news is due to a detachment caused by the medium. We can switch over and watch another programme or turn off. So the installation of a new video intercom in my block of flats made me wonder whether it could initiate a similar reaction to that of the TV. I was also interested that the word ‘intercom’ is made up of ‘inter’ and ‘communication’, which denotes closeness when Intercoms are normally used to edit people outside the front door.
Class seems to rear its head too. Was that deliberate?
It’s always there in the background. I read a poll recently that found most people in the UK still described themselves as either working class or middle class. Which is amazing today.
How did you cast Intercom?
Firstly by holding casting sessions for the character of Simon, which didn’t result in the right person. I then started thinking about actors I knew would be right. I think I was lucky inasmuch as I was calling agents who passed the script on. It was only a short after all.
What did the cast end up bringing to the parts?
Themselves. That’s all I wanted. Jenny was only in for a day but she wasn’t just doing actor stuff. The same went for all the cast. Marc Warren brought a different presence; he’s more of a catalyst. He wasn’t playing the cheeky chappie he’s well known for in Hustle or the other extreme in BBC’s Dracula. He also kept us entertained in-between set ups with his sleight of hand tricks! David Calder on the other hand brought a glint of dark humour to his character, improvising a line that was funny. I was very lucky to have him join us. He hit the tone I was looking for and had this extra dimension I mentioned.
Dick Pope is known to be very busy and a regular collaborator with Mike Leigh; he’s also this year’s only UK Oscar nominee for Cinematography. How did he come to do Intercom?
I thought that if he took it he might also operate the camera and I knew that he was great at shooting in small interiors on location. When he returned my call he told me it was, “the best short script and the only one I’ve ever wanted to be involved with”, so you could say I was pleased. He gets into a project and is passionate about it. After that it was about availability.
What did he bring to it?
Dick was to light micro expressions on faces and to help create unobtrusive camera movement that serves the story. I thought the answer was tracking and he came up with the long tracked opening shot of the flats (as another character). We’re fans of Losey and the shot in ’Accident’ with the titles. So I knew we were ‘reading from the same script’. His use of reflection via any mirrors and glass that were around opened the spaces up differently in a lot of almost identically shaped flats. I’m very glad he did it. I learnt a lot from him and he was keen to interpret what I wanted.
What was left for post production on this?
A final optical grade at the lab and Dick also kindly did a pre Avid telecine grade. It was apparent in pre-production that there would be no digital Intermediary in the budget, which was fine. The tones I was after were largely obtained either by costume and art direction or by lens filters and lighting. So what you’re seeing in the theatre with the show print is purely film. Apart from one shot, it’s not been anywhere near a computer and that meant that the ‘look’ we were getting and high resolution stays undiluted. It’s a very lucid experience for the audience.
Then we did the sound, which was an important part of the script requiring foley, effects and voiceover artists.
Why was the sound scripted?
As well as dialogue the sound generated by the characters is part of the texture of the story. Some of the characters are beset by a need to communicate but replace it by having the TV or radio for company. As the story unfolds, the programmes they’ve chosen give us an insight into their personalities. That involved me scripting and recording with voice artists all these various background parts, allowing the background stuff to play with the foreground a little and hinting at what’s happening next. I had some fun with that.
- It was no fun getting to the recording session for the music being trapped in a bomb scare on the Piccadilly Line for 3/4 hour. In that time the only announcement made was that the army were on their way to look at the suspect package on our train. We were then left to think about it… This was all just one stop from the studio. When I got there it was harp to be recorded, the most soothing music in the world!
How was directing it?
Easier than producing. It was a relief to be directing frankly. The actors knew how to use the camera so we could concentrate on what was happening in the scene and therefore the shoot ratio was kept down. Later that started making it economic to shoot a rehearsal, to see if the initial freshness worked best.
Jenny was wondering about different ways her character might react to what she’s seeing on the intercom in a particular scene. It was close up, a long take and her eye line was straight to camera with nothing to bounce off. I asked her to imagine her character being at the Colosseum in ancient Rome, getting a kick out of what she’s watching but then correcting herself. On the next take all she did was think it and her doing that saved time and film not taken for granted when you’ve been used to working with members of the public etc.
- Serendipity can play a useful part too though. A supporting artist took several takes trying to hang up a phone correctly. In all fairness it was the last set up of the day but the man playing her husband in the shot grabbed it from her during a take and hung it up himself. It happened to work well for the scene and get it done so that was the one we used.
There are three projects, two at an advanced stage. One of these combines social realism with the thriller and the other is a non-romcom romantic comedy drama.
Postproduction is commencing on INTERCOM a short co-written, produced and directed by Mark. The main cast are: Jenny Agutter, Marc Warren, David Calder and David Garry. A trailer is available to view on the film page. Completion is expected in October of this year. It will hopefully be available to view at UK festivals from the New Year.
BBC journalist and writer Hugo Fay is currently collaborating with Mark on a feature script for a romantic comedy drama set in the world of television and politics. Mark said, “I’ve been enjoying writing with this gifted friend who brings an authentic voice to the subject”.