Saturday, December 31, 2011

That Was The Year That Was

According to the Chinese, it was year of the rabbit. But for me, it was year of the penguin. And who are you going to trust - me or a bunch of Communists?

For Seven Shells Media, 2011 was a year of British radio interviews, Tasmanian film premieres and North American documentary making. Our influence has reached far and wide, with our casting ideas stolen by Tom Cruise and business model by Louis CK. 2012 looks to be even more exciting, but as we put a fork in 2011, let's look back at what we got done this year:

- Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins, my first feature film, premieres at the Dendy Cinema Newtown in Sydney, Australia to a Sold Out crowd. Simultaneously, the film went on sale at as a digital download.


- The DVD of BSATCOP was released to a waiting public, featuring crew commentary, a 45-minute making of documentary, trailers and a music video.

- I traveled down to Melbourne to shoot Jasmine Rae: Inside Listen Here, a short documentary on the making of her new, ARIA-nominated album. The doco aired on the Country Music Channel in May.

- First TV commercials of the year. A campaign for the concert tour of US country star Joe Nichols, which you can watch here.


- We headed down to Appin NSW to shoot the latest music video for ABC recording artist Peter McWhirter, featuring rolling green hills and a vampiress. Check it out here - the Devil's Daughter.


- With the Joe Nichols tour rolling through the country, I joined the DSLR revolution and shot behind the scenes webisodes for Jasmine Rae and Peter McWhirter, who were touring with Joe as special guests.


- It was off to Nashville AKA Music City USA for my most ambitious project yet. Collaborating with the tremendous Nashville native cinematographer Brett Johnson, I conducted interviews with Jim Lauderdale, Gary Allan, Buddy Miller, Jerry Douglas, Tony Brown, Randy Kohrs, Odie Blackmon, Jed Hilly, Dennis Crouch and Mike Compton. This was all in aid of a documentary project, of which some exciting news is coming very soon.


- Rounding up a fantastic cast and crew, including BSATCOP players Catherine Davies and Alec Doomadgee, we took over the Acer Arena for two days of principal photography on Access All Areas, a tale of teenage puppy love and celebrity underwear, which is currently in the final stages of post-production.


- Collaborating with fellow AFTRS alumnus Jih Smith, I co-wrote and edited a short film for the 48 Hour Film Project, which required the film to go from inception to delivery in two days. It's a story about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, who must travel back in time to stop her husband discovering her infidelity. Watch REWIND here.

- I directed a prefilmed flashback sequence that formed part of the climax of MACMS' excellent production of BATBOY: The Musical.


- After a bitter feud between director Jeremy Dylan and his producer, Jeremy Dylan, BSATCOP was reshaped into a 41-minute short and released for free viewing on the internets. Tidier, tighter and more focused, it retains its off-beat charm and Stephen Fry's narration. Watch it here.


- I had a great time producing a series of video podcasts for singer-songwriter Morgan Evans a couple of years ago. He's just recorded his debut EP for Warner Music and I put together this little EPK for him.


- With the imminent arrival of US country star Dierks Bentley to our shores in 2012 to tour with our own Lee Kernaghan, it was time for another TVC campaign.


- I was pulling behind-the-scenes duties on the set of the Conti Brothers' latest music video for Morgan Evans, shooting footage and stills for a behind the scenes video that you'll see in the new year. Here's a teaser.

So that was 2011. 2012 looks to be even more interesting, with a possible feature-length documentary on the table, various writing projects, a potential short film with international implications and the release to the world at large of some of this year's work.

Special thanks are due to those who I've not yet mentioned who made this year special - Allen Palmer, David Braithwaite, Storme Warren, Michelle Aquilato, Ken Hanke and others too numerous to mention. Brooks & Dunn once said 'It takes a lot of people to make a duo' and that statement is as true for motion pictures with some slight substitutions.

So Happy Hanukkah and we'll see you in the year of the dragon!

Jeremy Dylan
December 2011
Sydney, Australia

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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Amazing Journey Is Over

I remember him on a camera crane in kaftan and sandals shouting to us through a megaphone: ‘Even greater heights of abandon!” - Paul McGann, on working with Ken Russell.

So Uncle Ken has left us. Never again will he paint his magic across the silver screen. Never again will he cause conservative film financiers to break out in a cold sweat. Never will we see a feature-length version of 'A Kitten for Hitler'. Why does this feel like one of those times he walked out halfway through a Q&A session with Mark Kermode? Only this time we know he's not coming back.

He changed forever the meaning of the phrase 'a British picture'. He showed it could be as fanciful as Fellini, as romantic as any Hollywood classic and as spiritually uplifting as The Who. He was once, ludicrously, accused of 'suffering from excessive vision'. Poppycock. He had the best and the brightest, the clearest vision of all. His genius was his ability to infuse a powerful, deeply human virility and beauty into areas too often portrayed in ways dry and portentous. In a Ken Russell movie, Pete Townshend and Gustav Mahler rock equally and Ringo Starr is the Pope.