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Written by Christian Abbott on 21st January 2021

There are so many films to think of when considering the most influential or important. From Citizen Kane to Man with a Movie Camera, from Vertigo to 2001: A Space Odyssey. These and more are the fundamental bedrock of the cinema we enjoy today, without them the art form would be duller and the world a little blander. Yet, there is another film which should also be considered, perhaps at face value this film isn’t in the same league or doesn’t hold the same artistic weight, but consider this an argument that it is. So, what is this film, what film should stand there with these titans? It’s obvious really - Toy Story.

 Approaching 26 years old now, this can no longer be considered a recent, or indeed, modern film. Instead, it needs to be seen as the important piece of cinema history it is. Wording it this way runs of the risk of making it sound old, out of touch, or perhaps boring, but the reason why it’s still beloved to this day is because of its universal reliability and childhood innocence.

It follows the adventures of a cowboy doll named Woody (Tom Hanks), who becomes increasingly jealous of his owner's new favourite toy, a spaceman figure named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen).

The first thing to understand is the impact this film had on cinema as a whole. Released back in 1995, no other fully 3D animated film had a theatrical release before. Produced by then-fledgling studio Pixar, they had only created a series of shorts using 3D animation at this point. When Toy Story was released, it was seen as nothing more than an experiment by some and the future by others. We know who turned out to be true.

The impact the film's 3D animation had on cinema cannot be overstated. Also immediately animated began to shift from 2D to 3D, across other studios and the world. This was helped by the film's universal praise, critics and audiences loved the film immediately, propelling Pixar into the now Disney owned goliath it is today.

The themes of the film, of knowing one's place in the world, understanding what we mean to others, accepting change and the importance of friendship helped the film succeed globally. Now with three sequels, it has become one of the best-known film franchises the world over.

Children and adults of the film in equal amounts, it delicately balances the humour and themes to appeal to all, something many films try and fail to accomplish. Most importantly, the film represents a time in our lives most of us miss or than intense nostalgia for – childhood. The simplicity of our lives back then and the innocence we didn’t know we enjoyed.

Toy Story, for a brief time, allows us to recapture those feelings, it brings us back to when we were children or reminds us of our children who have now grown and left home. It’s truly a film for everyone that manages to remain consistently relevant. Like an old friend, it is something you can rely on, it’s there and it’ll never change. This is why it should be considered one of the all-time greats.

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Written by Christian Abbott on 15th January 2021

The art of filmmaking is just that – art, and there is no one way to go about it. The process of making a movie can take months, years even, and that is when you have everything on your side. Now, this process can seem incredibly daunting, even impossible to new filmmakers hoping to start their career.

For many filmmakers, we will be approaching a year without being able to film and now the urge to get out there will be unbearable. Well, there is good news, it isn’t impossible to make a movie today; indeed many have accomplished just that.

Here are just some ways you can still get your movie made:

We already have the Gear

The technology we have readily available now would shock filmmakers of 20 years ago. We all have high quality cameras in our pockets; many now have 4K resolution. In recent years filmmakers have stunned audiences by producing some astounding work with nothing more than their phone. Two examples come to mind, Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane (2018) which was shot entirely on an iPhone and Sean Baker’s Tangerine (2015), also shot solely on a phone.

Location is Key

Currently in the UK, we are in our third national lockdown, any non-essential activity outside is prohibited. This may seem like a complete barrier for most filmmakers, but some industry-defining work has been produced under overwhelming limitations. Some of the very best films in cinema history are set entirely within one location, from 12 Angry Men (1957) to Carnage (2011). The joy of these films comes from their restricted views.

Government Guidelines

There are always ways and means to get a film made, and the government has outlined legislation in order to keep productions running even with the new restrictions.Under current legislation, restrictions "do not prevent theuse of any premises used for the making of a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement”. While difficult, filming can continue in COVID-secure environments.

Follow this link for more details:https://filmlondon.org.uk/covid-19-updates-and-guidance

Support is there

There are many organisations currently looking to support filmmaking talent, especially new talent. Offering both financial and mentoring support, different organisations can offer different support, depending on what you currently need. Here is a brief list of just some organisations:

  • BFI
  • Film London
  • Film & TV Charity
  • Creative Europe
  • Production Finance Market

 

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Written by Christian Abbott on 8th January 2021

2020 was a truly unique year for cinema, well for everything for that matter, but for film fans, it was a time of change. With so many cinemas closed and films being indefinitely delayed, it was a real struggle just to see something new. This isn't to say there weren't great films released last year, there were many excellent films particularly from new and upcoming talent. This is just one example of things to be grateful for. Indeed, there are many reasons film fans should be grateful for 2020, and even more reasons why it was simply an incredible year for film.

Parasite won the Oscar

It is hard to believe this happened in 2020, but the year did start with something to celebrate. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite win represented so much more than the quality of the film, it showed for the first time a real change in perspective from the Academy and indeed Hollywood as a whole. It was a rare moment when there was no question or debate over the victor, and there were no complaints (of validity) against this historic decision.

New Talent Emerged

2020 saw a new wave of filmmakers and artists come to the fore, from Shannon Murphy with Babyteeth, Remi Weekes' His House and Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman, and so much more. It was so exciting to see these filmmakers showcase their voice, with the promise of so much more to come. Other astounding debuts came from Darius Marder's Sound of Metal, Carlo Mirabella-Davis' Swallow, and Autumn de Wilde's Emma.

Festivals Still Thrived

Festivals in 2020? Shocking I know, but cinema managed to get away with it. While all online through digital programmes, virtual talks, and streaming platforms, they still offered the chance to showcase exciting new work and engage with the filmmakers and artists who produced them. A lot of festivals had to be delayed into 2021, but many still released their programmes for people to enjoy, and that in itself is a small miracle in 2020.

We all Watched More

Being stuck at home does have its benefits, and one of them is having the chance to watch more films. The diversity of choice we have today with streaming platforms is overwhelming at times, there seem to be new ones popping up every other week, but it does allow us to diversify our viewing. With platforms such as MUBI, SHUDDER, NOWTV, Criterion, there is so much to explore and experiment with.

Renewed Love for Cinema

You only truly appreciate something when it is gone. For many, cinema was gone in 2020, but it will return. This time away from cinemas have made many people realise just what cinemas meant to them, and how important their survival is. Taking that forward, when cinemas do reopen, people won't take them for granted anymore.

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