UK film premieres at Film4 Somerset House Summer Screen include THE WIFE and AMERICAN ANIMALS

 Glenn Close drama THE WIFE opens this year's Film4 Somerset House Summer season

Glenn Close drama THE WIFE opens this year's Film4 Somerset House Summer season

Though the cobblestones of the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court can kill your backside, there is no doubt that Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is one of the capital's premiere outdoor film events. 

The season returns this August for 14 nights of the expected classic, cult and contemporary cinema mix, with extras provided by Bryn Williams' picnic hampers  plus a range of food to buy on site from vendors, and there's a fully-licensed bar and coffee point. There are  back-rests and blankets and even a very limited number of seated tickets for those who can't rough it.

What spices up the film programme though are the double-bill nights and red carpet premieres. In particular the Smoke Screen can recommend THE WIFE, the opening night premiere, for its superb Glenn Close central performance as a wife who has to confront her internalised submission to her husband's desire for a famous literary career which has in fact been built on her support and sacrifice. If you want to see acting greats like Close and co-star Jonathan Pryce tear chunks off each other in a timely story about wives and the patriarchy, this is for you. Closing the season is heist thriller AMERICAN ANIMALS, based on the true story of four students who mistake their lives for a movie and attempt to pull of one of the most audacious art-thefts in recent US history. It hails from the BAFTA-winning director Bart Layton, who will introduce the premiere.

The Somerset House E-newsletter Subscribers Pre-Sale is open from 10.00 today Wed 16 May. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 18 May at 10.00.

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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Sundance London 2018 is nearly here... and women dominate the lineup

The cream of this year's American Sundance Film Festival crop comes to London again, once more in its Picturehouse Central home. The Smoke Screen's appetite is truly whetted by the line-up, having kept an eye on many of the titles since their original festival debut. Some have since gone on to theatrical release and to drown in evenmore acclaim. Two films stand out in particular. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a wry and empathetic look at an American girl struggling in a gay conversation therapy genre, comes from the mind of Appropriate Behaviour director/writer Desiree Akhavan, and Smoke Screen remains a huge fan of that debut and thus eager for this follow-up, which has garnered great reviews since its original Sundance US appearance. Then there is Ari Aster's Hereditary, a horror film starring Toni Collete that has been lavished with the kind of praise that puts it in The Babadook and Get Out zone of greatness. Collete is expected to attend a Q&A after the screening of the film, for those who haven't passed out in shock from the terror.

The festival will open with the international premiere of Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, starring Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, and close four days later with the UK premiere of Leave No Trace, Debra Granik’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated Winter’s Bone. Both these films have garnered great reviews stateside.

Sundance has made a point of curating a line-up dominated by female filmmakers this year (7 out of 12 films are female-directed), as well as sprinkling panels and talks into the programme that reflect the current conversations about sex and gender in the American film industry. #Metoo and #Timesup are here to stay. Major UK film funders will join Half the Picture director Amy Adrion for The Big Culture Shift panel to examine what is next for the film industry and the steps needed to create a fairer and more inclusive film future. Triple Threat: Three major filmmakers in conversation will see three of this year's female Sundance filmmakers come together to discuss their careers and approach to their craft.

Sundance Film Festival: London returns to Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June. You can view the programme and book tickets at the Picturehouse Central website.

 The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

September is Scalarama month! Top picks to see in the monthly celebration of cinema going...

 Psychomania, one of the many special screenings showing at this year's Scalarama season

Psychomania, one of the many special screenings showing at this year's Scalarama season

 

Scalarama is an annual DIY Celebration of Cinema, where across London and the wider UK repertory cinemas, film clubs and societies screen a huge variety of films for everyone, by everyone, everywhere, every September. The idea is to celebrate cinemas and cinema-going, whilst encouraging wannabe film programmers and film club regulars to set up their own screenings. Many screenings will be of cult gems, provocative one-offs and unearthed forgotten classics.

You can track the 2016 events in London (and elsewhere) on Screening Film...

Check the Scalarama map here...

What to see at the year's Scalarama:

Video Nightmare VHStival- 9 September, 3pm, Genesis Cinema

A special VIDEO NIGHTMARE all-dayer in the Genesis's Bar Paragon from midday on Friday 9th September, a day to mark the general awesomeness of the videotape.

The Final Girls present Carrie's Bloody Prom Party + Panel talk - 24 September 4pm, ICA

The Final Girls programming duo explore the intersection of horror and feminism, showcasing films which offer up interesting perspectives on women's roles in the horror genre. Appropriately, the Girls will be showing Brian de Palma's cult classic horror flick Carrie on 24 September at the ICA London. Expect an informative panel discussion after.  Also you can read the Smoke Screen's reviews of the Final Girls previous screening of the great, off-kilter slasher Office Killer.

Rochester Kino Presents: Re-Animator = Intro+ Salon Discussion- 15 September, 7pm Genesis Cinema

Rochester Kino screens classic and cult films at various venues including cultural institutes and pop-up settings in London. The events are always introduced by Nick Walker with a brief talk followed by an informal group discussion over refreshments. Rochester Kino’s instalment at Genesis this time is a rare screening of Re-Animator (1985).

A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

Reel Good Film Club Presents: Losing Ground - 18 September, 6pm, Genesis Cinema

Reel Good Film Club present a special screening of Losing Ground, followed by a panel discussion. Losing Ground is the first feature-length drama directed by a black American woman. The film follows a philosophy professor (Seret Scott), who prides herself on being liberal but is jealous of her artist husband’s (Bill Gunn) gorgeous model (Maritza Rivera).

Psychomania screening - 25 September at Genesis Cinema, 9pm.

Ahead of its re-release on bluray from BFI Flipside, this little seen black comedy will screen at Scalarama, and is billed as the “greatest, weirdest, post-psychedelic undead-biker zombie-horror movie ever made, and the only one to star Witchfinder General’s Nicky Henson accompanied by screen legends George Sadners, Beryl Reid and Bill Pertwee (aka Hodges from Dad’s Army). Directed by Hammer horror veteran Don Sharp. The film’s score has become something of a must-have item in certain circles.

Out of Print -  6 September, Genesis Cinema, 9pm

A documentary exploring the importance of revival cinema and 35mm exhibition - seen through the lens of the patrons of the New Beverly Cinema - a unique and independent revival cinema in Los Angeles.

Interview with a Vampire screening at the Phoenix Cinema, September 16 at The Phoenix, 9pm

A chance to see Neil Jordan’s hit vampire flick in the glorious Phoenix Cinema in North London, which was actually used as a shooting location in the film.

Chaplin's South London walk and The Immigrant- Cinema Musuem, 24 September 9.45pm

Starting at the Cinema Museum, Oval from 9:45pm on Saturday 24th September, The Beekeepers will retrace the steps of local boy Charles Chaplin, ending up at his boyhood home in Kennington. A projected screening of his acclaimed film The Immigrant will follow.

Want to get involved? With loads of support out there, it has never been a better time to get screening and start dreaming what you would show. For more information or to find local support, email hello@scalarama.com.

On the site, you can...

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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Twin Peaks Festival UK is upgrading to Picturehouse Central this year

Twin Peaks UK Festival is coming to Picturehouse Central this year, at time when anticipation for the return of the cult series- created by David Lynch and Mark Frost- is at an all time high. After two seasons and one of the most talked about cliffhanger endings in the history of TV, Twin Peaks is returning with a new season in 2017 – 25 years later.

Now in its seventh year, TPUK is coming to London's West End for the first time on Saturday 12 November. There will be screenings of classic episodes, the feature Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, immersive experiences and areas, a chance to meet some the stars of the show, and much more.

This year, TPUK will be joined by Hank Jennings himself and Chris Mulkey – more guests will be announced very soon.

To celebrate Twin Peaks UK Festival at Picturehouse Central, TPUK are offering 10% off tickets.

To see exactly what you get for your money and to take advantage of this offer, visit www.twinpeaksukfest.comand enter the promo code PHC10

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Sundance London is back after a year away. Here's the programme...

After a year away, and having clearly decided the East London O2 wasn't working out as a venue for a major film festival (maybe due to the fact that it really can't be called a centrally-located spot) Sundance London is back for 2016. Sundance London isn't a replay of the more famous and bigger US indie film festival, more a culled selection of highlights. This time the Sundance team are making use of the conveniently central and newly-ready Picturehouse Central space to host the entire festival.

Sadly, when it comes to what films made it over, there are a couple of notable absences, including The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker’s film about the Nat Turner slave revolt, bought by Fox Searchlight for a record  $17.5 million after it won the Grand Jury Prize.

Highlights include:

Life, Animated (Director: Roger Ross Williams).

Awards its already picked up: Winner of the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary

Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who could not speak for years, slowly emerged from his isolation by immersing himself in Disney animated movies. Using these films as a roadmap, he reconnects with his loving family and the wider world in this emotional coming-of-age story. (Documentary)

Morris From America (Director: Chad Hartigan.)

Awards its already picked up:  Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic; U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance (Craig Robinson)

Thirteen-year-old Morris, a hip-hop loving American, moves to Heidelberg, Germany, with his father. In this completely foreign land, he falls in love with a local girl, befriends his German tutor-turned- confidant, and attempts to navigate the unique trials and tribulations of adolescence.

Weiner (Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg.)

Awards its already picked up:  Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary

With unrestricted access to Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign, this film reveals the human story behind the scenes of a high-profile political scandal as it unfolds, and it offers an unfiltered look at how much today’s politics are driven by an appetite for spectacle. (Documentary)

Register for Festival and VIP Passes today. Priority booking for Picturehouse Members opens on Friday 6 May and general sales open on Monday 9 May. Visit picturehouses.com/sundance for more information. 

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.