OKRE Funded Films at LFF
I loved LFF last week. It’s the first year (after OKRE’s launch in 2021) we have had a couple of OKRE-funded projects doing brilliantly, including the UK premiere of Black Dog. Black Dog was nominated for The Sutherland Award’s , which recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debuts.
Kudos again to George Jacques and the whole team. A really powerful piece of filmmaking.
It was also good to see another OKRE-supported film, Jack King and Lucy Meer’s The Ceremony, screening at the LFF Work in Progress showcase.
At this year’s programme, we loved seeing so many films covering big topics, especially ones close to our hearts, like migration and the depiction of refugees – be it because of war or climate change.
The first of these, written by Lucinda Coxon and Nick Drake and directed by James Hawes, was One Life which uses the historic drama lens to draw parallels and discuss depictions, attitudes, and the persisting obstacles faced by migrants and refugees today.
Supported by a powerhouse of performers – the film stars Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, and Johnny Flynn – it is a fictionalised version of the true story of Nicholas Winton who started an operation to save fleeing children from Czechoslovakia just before the official start of WW2.
Seeing his story through a series of flashbacks from the day he decided to act to save children in Czechoslovakia to the day his story is shared with the public (promise, no spoilers here!) there was not a dry eye in the cinema.
One Life is based on the book: If It’s Not Impossible…The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton, written by Winton’s daughter, Barbara Winton. The importance of a film that can grab the audiences’ attention on the humanity of refugees is very timely.
On general release on the 1st of January 2024. Definitely worth a watch when you can and have a box of tissues at the ready!
The End We Start From:
In an entirely different tone and through a lens but with migration and the seeking of refuge and safety, The End We Start From is Mahalia Belo’s feature debut focused entirely on the humanity of the refugee. Penned by Megan Hunter and adapted for the screen by Alice Birch, this film brings climate catastrophe right to our doorstep with a submerged London that pushes people to leave the city.
Through a series of visual parallels, beautiful shots of nature, an unflinching focus on the experience of the individual without sweeping statements and finger-wagging, and anchored by an incredible performance by Jodie Comer who essentially holds the film by herself, The End We Start From speaks about climate change and climate migration, new beginnings, mental health and resilience and the power of taking action.
If devastating stories with an uplifting ending have a name this is it – the end we start from! Highly recommended but try and watch on a dry day…. it’s out on the 24th of January 2024.
This year’s LLF was full of exciting twists and turns in programming from Saltburn on the opening night, to the brilliantly funny Book of Clarence and the tremendously assertive high energy The Kitchen and of course the highly praised return of Yorgos Lanthimos with Poor Things.
The LFF industry talks and meet ups were equally a mixed bag with the Anatomy of a Debut Feature talk with Mahalia Belo and the AI talks and presentations receiving very different reactions from the audiences.
But this wide range gave a good glimpse to the different parts of our world, our history and our future and I walked away feeling excited about the possibilities and opportunities our industry has and how storytelling has the the power to move the dial, challenge perceptions and open minds.