Sunday, 23 June 2013

An obsessive and fascinating look at JAWS

Durr duh...Durr duh....Durr duh....

I love obsessive people, I am one in fact, people who don't just like things, they love them, they immerse themselves in every single detail and aspect of something and strive to uncover the minutiae of their obsession. Obsessive creatives are great, I can relate to it personally, why do you think "Of Shark and Man" is taking so long? It has to be perfect, the nuances must be just right, each colour and sound must have a reason. I don't do rush jobs...

Nor by the looks of it does Jamie Benning, someone who makes my own obsessive personality seem positively lackadaisical. Jamie researches his favourite films with a passion and dedication few others could hope to match (seriously, check out his vimeo page linked in his name above...)

Jamie has just released a sixteen month long project on JAWS which I watched the other night and thoroughly enjoyed. I am also a JAWS obsessed nerd, I've seen the film well over 300 times, easily over 400 and likely nearing 500, I know pretty much everything about it after seeing pretty much everything ever made about it but Jamie has managed to squeeze a little more juice out of the JAWS orange that was new to me which is in itself an impressive feat.

What Jamie does is essentially play you the film with narrative overdubs from the people involved discussing what you are seeing but also, and for me most pleasingly, the real fan-boy, minuscule details that only the most ardent fan of the movie will notice or think about. Very much like a "Director's Commentary" feature so common on modern DVD and Blu-Ray releases, it really fleshes out lots of fascinating details about the making of the film, includes some great stills and provides insights from people you almost certainly have never heard from since their involvement in the film, including a generous contribution from Kevin Pike who was a labourer on the film and even input from people who played the tiniest roles in the backgrounds of certain shots.

This is not really for the casual observer, this is very much a film for the most dedicated JAWS fan and as such, I loved it!

Please bear this in mind...Jamie put in 16 months of work on this and has released it for free, yes, totally gratis! I would have paid for it, so should you really but you don't have to. This kind of dedication to something done purely for the love should be admired and applauded.

If you are a JAWS freak then you will have seen or heard much of this in the superb "The Shark is Still Working" and on the bonus featurettes on the multiple different DVD and Blu-Ray releases over the years alongside Carl Gottlieb's brilliant "The Jaws Log" but this is still well worth a look for the stuff those other works didn't include.

Jamie, this is a great piece of work and I salute you, "'s to swimmin' with bow legged women!..."

If you watch and enjoy it, please make sure to add your comment and thank him for taking the time to make this.

Inside Jaws, A Filmumentary by @jamieswb (2013) from Jamie Benning on Vimeo.

I Met Paul Scholes...

Me and "The Ginger Prince" Photo: Mrs Scholes

If you're asking yourself, "Who's Paul Scholes?" then to be quite frank, I am appalled at you, but to help you along here, Paul Scholes is one of the very small band of humans I can say I have genuine admiration for. One of the greatest footballers ever to play the game and a man who has given me more moments of absolute, sheer joy than most other people.

He's not just a bona fide great of the football world, he's also a down to earth, "no-frills," unaffected guy who I would admire for all the same reasons if he wasn't a Manchester United legend and was instead a postman or a builder.

I had the pleasure of meeting him today whilst on a filming job in Oldham and had a brief but very pleasant chat about life in general and I also got a chance to actually thank him for all the enjoyment he has given me over the years which was actually really nice for me.

I could gush about the man all day but I'll leave it at that, I've met a lot of very famous people over the years but I don't think I've ever felt as in awe of someone as I did today when I met a genuine hero of mine.

For those of you who don't know about "The Ginger Prince," here is a nice, albeit brief, summation of just some of the things which make him quite possibly the most popular Manchester United player of all time.

MKBCC8 - Paul Scholes - My Tribute by aditya_reds from aditya rathod on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Falmouth Beaneath The Waves Film Festival - A Roaring Success!

A great turnout for the first ever UK Beneath The Waves Film Festival

Last Thursday (the 6th) saw me making an appearance at the Falmouth stop of Beneath The Waves Film Festival, the first time the UK has hosted one of these events and it was a really, really great night!

Six films were shown, "Bertha's Blues," "Mikono Ya Wivuvi," "People of the Coral Triangle" and "A Reef's Tale" along with, of course, A Ray of Light, there was also a competition for local film-makers and photographers, along with three guest speakers, Fergus Kennedy, Jeff Goodman and yours truly, all packed into a hugely enjoyable two and a half hours.

Photo by Nicky Crawford

The turnout was superb, almost a full house, the response to the films was very positive and there was a real sense of people genuinely wanting to learn more about the issues raised in the films. The organisation of the event was absolutely top notch as well so full credit for the success of the evening must go to Phil Doherty, Lucie Buckland and Sarah Paul, all of whom dedicated a great deal of time and effort into the evening and they did a phenomenal job, I would love to see them involved in a similar event next year, it was an absolute pleasure to spend the evening with them and also Fergus, Jeff and Jeff's partner.

A word also about the venue, a fantastic independent cinema in the beautiful town of Falmouth, called The Poly, a traditional, art house cinema staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Places like this need, nay deserve the support of anyone with an interest in film and are a far more enjoyable place to watch a movie than a faceless multiplex costing an arm and a leg to get into. I very much hope that Thursday isn't the only time I get to watch one of my films in this awesome place, in fact, I will be making an effort to ensure that happens again...

Beneath the Waves Film Festival - Summer and Fall 2013 World Tour Movie from Triakis Films on Vimeo.

The festival is currently on its world tour and details of venues can be found here along with regular updates and I strongly advise you make the effort to go if it comes within reasonable travelling distance from you!

In other A Ray of Light news, yet another film festival has requested its inclusion in their event, this time, in Australia as part of the Cairns Underwater Film Festival taking place on Saturday, August 24th at The Cairns Civic Theatre. The event's organiser is the very cool Mike Ball so it is guaranteed to be a great event. More news on that to come!

Once again, huge thanks to all at Beneath The Waves, The Poly, Lucie, Phil and Sarah and last but certainly not least, all who came on Thursday!

Phil, Sarah, Me, Lucie, Fergus and Jeff

Pathe News Footage of Sharks - Awesome!

Pathe News - Gotta love it!

I love Pathe News footage, it's brilliant, there's something really "British" about it but more importantly, it's a fascinating look into a bygone age where everything seemed so much more innocent, wildly uninformed and on occasion, mindblowingly weird!

Why am I talking about Pathe news? Well, if you're anything like me, you'll love watching all the old shark footage from a time when hardly anyone owned a camera and there where sharks everywhere! Yes, believe it or not, once upon a time, there used to be tonnes of sharks all around the world.

With that in mind, check out this link with loads of Pathe News shorts about sharks going back as far as 1920! It's a fascinating look at the attitude towards sharks back then, including the wartime trend of representing sharks as NAZIS and vice versa, something I touched on here on this very blog.

If you have some time spare, make sure to watch through the videos in the links, they really are, very interesting.

Hat tip to Anton Desmazeau for sending me the link, this isn't the first time he's hooked me up with some very cool stuff either, he has a very interesting blog with some weird, wonderful and rare shark stuff so I strongly recommend you follow him and have a read, if you are able to parle en Francais of course but even if you can't, he shares my love for the vintage shark films and always links some super cool stuff.

Thanks again Anton!