OF WOLVES AND MEN RELEASED

Yesteday was National Dog Day and to mark the occasion, we released our short film, OF WOVES AND MEN, which imagines how humans and dogs first became the best of friends.

We were delighted to produce the film in association with Birmingham Dog’s Home. If you have the means, please do consider supporting the wonderful work they do.

OF WOLVES AND MEN is available on YouTube and is free to watch.

ANIMATED SHORT – LOCKDOWN FILM MAKING

We’ve always said limitations are essential for creativity, and are very often the genesis for some of the very best ideas we have as filmmakers.

However, in the current situation of a national lockdown, with its ultra-strict limitations on human interaction, making a film, even a short one, would seem to be an impossible task.

But it was perhaps because of this seemingly impossible set of limitations that we felt the creative urge to make one.

We decided on a short film that would be connected  to the feature project we currently have in development, Fleur, which tells the story of a rescue dog. So, it had to be dog themed.

We’ve always been fascinated by how humans and dogs became the best of friends, so it didn’t take us long to decide on what the film would be about…

OF WOLVES AND MEN tells the story of an imaginary first encounter between humans and wolves and how this meeting would change both species forever.

Watch the trailer below:

To make the film we mixed specially created CG animated sequences and illustrations with stock footage and outtakes from two previous films we had shot, All That Remains and Evolution.

Actor Leo Ashizawa in make-up to play a prehistoric man for our short film Evolution.

Actor Leo Ashizawa in make-up to play a prehistoric man for our short film Evolution.

We were very excited to cast Peter Egan as the narrator of the film (thanks to our amazing producer Nigel Martin Davey). As well as being a respected actor and very well known face on TV (staring in shows such as Downtown Abbey and After Life), Peter is a passionate animal rights activist, so we felt he was the perfect choice from the moment we started penning the script.

We are also very pleased to be able to use the film to raise awareness and support the great work done by Birmingham Dogs Home. Please do check out their website and consider lending your support.

Below are some stills from the film:

A huge thank you to Tony Ellis, Sally Humphreys Wood and Andrew Whelan and Rachel Frost of Birmingham Dog’s Home, and of course, special thank you to Peter Egan, Leo Ashizawa and Kanae and Anna Kimura for helping make the film possible!

Watch this space for news on when OF WOLVES AND MEN will be released.

7 DAYS NOW ON GENERAL RELEASE

Making 7 DAYS – THE STORY OF “BLIND DAVE” HEELEY has certainly been a long journey. A journey that started over three years ago when our producer, Nigel Martin Davey first approached us with the idea of turning Dave’s incredible story into a film.

But more than just a journey, as every film should be, it’s also been a process of evolution for us as film-makers. Through the process of making this film, we experimented with our approach to working with actors, our reliance on storyboards and we’ve embraced new technology, particularly with our extensive use of smartphones to shoot several of the scenes.

So, as this journey finally comes to an end, we find ourselves even more excited than ever to begin all over again!

BBC West Midlands talk about the launch of 7 DAYS below:

Here’s a link to an article in the Express and Star  and Athletics Weekly on the release of the film.

 

There are so many people we are indebted to for their assistance and support, but in particular we would like to thank the Heeley family, the late Sir Doug Ellis, Tony Ellis, South and City College, Hillscourt Conference centre, Kay Wilton, Antony Bowater, Moondog Labs, BBC Midlands, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Express and Star Newspaper and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

7 DAYS – THE STORY OF BLIND DAVE HEEELY is now available for download at REELHOUSE.

The film is also available here with Audio Description for visually impaired viewers.

7 AWARD NOMINATIONS FOR 7 DAYS

7 Days – the Story of “Blind Dave” Heeley has just picked up it’s seventh award nomination!

This time it’s the LOS ANGELES CINEFEST, an international event, consisting of live screenings (and of course a red carpet!) scheduled to be held in Los Angeles in January 2020. Fingers crossed!

The film should be released to the general public and available for purchase late September – so stay tuned for more info!

TWO MORE AWARD NOMINATIONS FOR 7 DAYS!

7 DAYS picks up more Laurels as it makes official selections in two international film festivals.

We’re excited to announce that 7 DAYS has been chosen to compete at the 2019 Oniros Film Awards which will be a live televised event held on August 24th in Saint-Vincent, Italy.

Back in April we picked up the”Best Inspirational Film” in their monthly awards. This time we’re competing in the “Best Feature Film” category.

According to their official website:

The Oniros Film Awards® is all about Dreams (ὄνειρος = oneiros, dream in Greek language) and is conceived by Dreamers for Dreamers. It encourages filmmakers to “dream big always” and that’s certainly a philosophy we believe in!

7 DAYS has also made the official selection in the Indo Global International Film Festival in Mumbai, home to Asia’s Biggest Film Hub, Bollywood. In their own words the film festival is dedicated to supporting the filmmakers, “dream-weaver’s journey”. 

We’ll also be announcing another special public screening of 7 DAYS very soon – so stay tuned!

7 DAYS CAST AND CREW SCREENING

As we wind down for a short break over Christmas, it’s time for us to announce that we’ll be holding a cast and crew screening of 7 DAYS very early next year, at a very special venue and with some very special guests.

We can’t go into details yet, so stay tuned!

Below are some stills from the film, and if you haven’t already, check out the trailer here!

Have a great Christmas from all of us at Pixel Revolution Films!

THE MAKING OF 7 DAYS – PART 2

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations”

– Orsen Wells

If you follow this blog or any of our social media pages, you’ll know that we’ve long held the belief that working within limitations is crucial for true creativity to flourish.

Working with limited budgets, with all the other restrictions that entails, has forced us to think outside the box, to develop skill-sets we may not have, if we had the means to simply pay other people to do what we wanted.

Even with a childhood fascination and love of special effects, having only ourselves to rely on when making our first short movies, meant we had no choice but to spend many a long night getting to grips with software such as Adobe After Effects and Photoshop, in order to to generate the special effect shots we needed.

For our current project, 7 DAYS, these skills meant we had the confidence to tackle a story, filmed in Birmingham, UK, but set in several different countries and with flashbacks to the 1960’s and 70’s.

Below are two examples of before and after shots where the locations were altered in post-production by using a technique referred to as matte shots – a digital version of a very old film special effect technique where the parts of the a shot that were to be replaced were painted out with black on a sheet of glass in front of the camera as it was being filmed. This shot would then be combined with a second shot with the effects elements in place.

falkalnds1

tunis

Below are two examples of matte shots that aren’t so obvious. For the scene where we see the teenage Dave sitting on his bed, we wanted the bedroom wall to be covered in 1970’s sports, film and music posters.

The budget restraints meant that it was easier to add them digitally in post-production rather than sourcing authentic or replica 1970’s posters, especially considering some had to be very specific, such as the West Bromwich Albion F.C posters.

bedroom

Once again we also utilized “green-screen” techniques that we have developed over several years of working on ambitious projects with limited budgets, our previous feature film ALL THAT REMAINS, a World War Two drama set in Nagasaki, Japan, was almost entirely shot in a green-screen studio.

It all comes down to the fact that we taught ourselves certain skills, such as those employed in the shots above, in order to be able to tell the kind of stories we really want to tell as opposed to only the kind of stories we think we can afford to tell.

Limitations not only force you to be a more creative filmmaker, when welcomed and fully embraced, they will make you a far better one.

THE MAKING OF 7 DAYS – PART 1

“There are no rules in film-making.

Only sins, and the cardinal sin is dullness.”

-Frank Capra

When you’re committed to making a film, the entire project depends on your passion and energy to make it a reality, and when it can take a year or two, or even longer to complete a film, that’s a big commitment. But, there’s nothing like change to keep things feeling fresh and alive.

So, as we are currently editing our latest film project, 7 DAYS, we thought we’d reminisce a little in this blog, about the previous year we spent shooting the film, and what we did differently on this one.

The first big change for us was how we approached shooting a scene.

We’ve always been big believers in preparing before a shoot, to arrive on set with a clear idea of how we want to shoot a particular scene, and usually we spend a lot of time working on storyboards in the weeks leading up to a shoot.

However on 7 DAYS we decided to experiment with a more instinctive approach to directing the visuals. Although we always had a written list of shots that we had drawn up to fall back on if needed, we relied less on following preconceived ideas of how a scene was to be shot and more on what felt right at the time of filming.

Storyboards were mainly used for scenes where we had limited time. One such scene was the final one in the film, which was actually the first that we filmed, where the real Dave Heeley is presented with the keys to West Bromwich Albion Football Club in recognition of his tireless work raising money for various charities.

We had only three minutes to get all the shots that needed, so it was crucial that when we stepped out onto the pitch, we knew where we wanted to aim our cameras and at what point in the presentation.

Storyboard - 7 DAYS

Storyboard – 7 DAYS

Below is how the scene looks in the final edit.

Another example of a scene that we storyboarded prior to filming was one that we shot inside a private jet, where we were also faced with the problems of filming in a very limited space.

Storyboard - 7 DAYS

Storyboard – 7 DAYS

Below is how the plane sequence looks in the final edit. The shot of the pilot (played by James Phelps) is actually green-screen, but the rest of the shots were filmed inside the private jet with kind permission of Cello Aviation.

PLANE-1

The other change we experimented with was how we worked with actors. While we have always been very open to actors improvising during a performance, on 7 DAYS we decided to give the actors a lot more freedom to break free from the written lines, if they felt confident enough to do so.

The first take would usually be just as we scripted it, just in case, but after that, if the actors felt like deviating from the written lines, or taking the scene in a slightly different direction, we’d let them run with it (no pun intended), stepping in only if we felt we needed to.

Jack Lane and Sarah Manners in 7 DAYS

Jack Lane and Sarah Manners in 7 DAYS

It was exciting to see the cast bringing something new and fresh to the scenes that we had written.

The other thing that made this production different, was our embracing of smartphone film-making technology. Mainly used to film the running sequences, they were also as “B Cameras” on many of the shoots alongside the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and DSLRs.

The beginnings of our foray into smartphone film-making is something we’ve already discussed in a previous blog. Needless to say, they really opened a new world of creativity due to their small size, reasonably affordable accessories and incredible image quality.

7 DAYS has been an exciting journey for us as film-makers and as the finish line approaches, we remain as excited as ever at the prospect of telling more stories.

If you haven’t already, check out the official 7 DAYS trailer!