mark kermode

Emily Cook: My time as Media Producer and Press Liaison for the Isle of Man Film Festival 2016

An update from Film Focus’ Emily Cook

I’ve been rather busy…. I’ve spent the last week working as Media Producer for the fabulous Isle of Man Film Festival as part of their core team. Working with DOP and Editor Nick Coole, I produced and published a series of highlights videos across the week, arranged and ran press junkets as well as provided content for the Festival’s official social media platforms.


From left: Actor John Rhys Davies, Mark Kermode, Emily Cook, Nick Coole. Photograph ny Mark Boyd for D.E.D.

We welcomed back our patron BBC Film Critic Mark Kermode and special guests; visionary artist Roger Dean, world class actor John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Sliders) and Hollywood Props Master Linda Reiss (Stanger Things, American Beauty, True Detective) for a week of events from daily free screenings with exclusive previews of international shorts and features, to a Q&A with the Props Master of hit Netflix show Stranger Things, to outdoor screenings of cult films in the grounds of a medieval castle, to an all-Island, four-venue movie pub quiz, to Hollywood actor John Rhys Davies sharing hilarious and poignant stories of his life behind the lens and treading the boards with our gracious and always-entertaining patron Mark Kermode. And much more.

It was such fun conducting the interviews and producing the videos .You can find them below.

Our Video Series:

Mark Kermode behind the scenes interview – IOMFF2016 Highlights

Mark Kermode explains what he feels a Film Festival is all about.

‘Stranger Things’ an audience with Hollywood a Props Master Lynda Reiss – IOMFF2016 Highlights

The highlights from the Isle of Man Film Festival’s evening with Hollywood props master Lynda Reiss. Freshly back from working on Netflix Sensation Stranger Things in the States, Lynda gives an intimate talk to a packed house at Interior Rehab.

An Evening With…John Rhys Davies and Mark Kermode – IOMFF2016 Highlights

BBC reviewer and patron to IOMFF Mark Kermode returns to interview our special guest, acclaimed British actor JOHN RHYS-DAVIES (Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings) about his life and career, before a screening of one of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in the stunning setting of the Gaiety Theatre.

‘Pitch Fest’ – IOMFF2016 Highlights

The latest from Isle of Man Film Festival’s film pitching competition, ‘Pitch Fest’, where we welcome filmmakers to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of industry experts from the IOM and the UK.

International Short Film Competition and Award Ceremony – IOMFF2016 Highlights

Mark Kermode and our visiting filmmakers join us for a special screening and prize presentation for our 2016 International Short Film Competition. We also celebrate some of our home-grown filmmaking talent.

Manx Made Movies Preview Night -IOMFF2016 Highlights

Tuesday 6th-The highlights from our cast and crew preview night – an exciting billing of the latest Manx-made and MannIN Shorts Independent productions.

The Best Manx Independent Film category Shortlist screening and Filmmaker Q&A – IOMFF2016 Highlights

The Isle of Man Film Festival presents a special screening of this year’s shortlisted films from the Best Manx Independent Film category with a Q&A from the Filmmakers.

Island-wide Film Pub Quiz – IOMFF2016 Highlights

All the highlights from the Isle of Man Film Festival’s Island-wide Film Pub Quiz which took place in Ramsey, Douglas, Peel and Port St Mary simultaneously. An interactive, fun night featuring some quiz questions specifically devised by Mark Kermode. We also hear from the organisers of the quiz, Richard and Ed.

Roger Dean’s exclusive exhibition tour – IOMFF2016 Highlights

Visionary artist Roger Dean, whose work has influence filmmakers such as James Cameron, gives an exclusive tour of his exhibition to a lucky group of local artists.

Photos  Babb Photography Steve Babb.

Camera and editing work by Cooledit ‘Nick Coole’

The festival is only made possible by a core team of dedicated individuals who put their heart and soul into ensuring they provide the best programme of events for YOU, the audience.


If you like what you’ve seen do head over to the Isle of man Film Festival Facebook Page for more information.

Sex in the Scenario: why women’s representation in cinema matters to us all by Bill Thompson

by Bill Thompson

In a recent episode of their BBC film programme Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo talked at length about films in which a dog is a character, looking for ones that treat these companion animals with due seriousness – so no animations, and no romcom plot devices. There are lots – The Road, High Rise, you’ll have your own list. About half way through their discussion they decided to call it the ‘Barkdel Test’ and I laughed out loud at their riff on the Bechdel Test.

They didn’t bother to explain the joke, quietly acknowledging that for the sort of person who listens to them regularly, as for the sort of person who listens to Film Focus, the Bechdel Test is part of your intellectual furniture up there with an understanding of evils of neoliberalism, the importance of flossing and a love of the Isle of Man.

We all know that a film needs to have two named women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man in order to pass, and we all know that many well-known films fail it badly 2. And we all know that it’s named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who used it as a joke it in her cartoon strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985.


Million Dollar Baby (2004) depicts strong female representation and passes the test

Dr. Martha Lauzen’s study It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World, examines women in the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2015. For this report, Lauzen focuses on the percentages of female and male characters, characters’ demographic traits, and the relationship between on-screen female representation and the representation of women involved behind the camera. Dr. Lauzen has found that only 22% of protagonists in the top 100 domestic grossing films were women.

The desire for women to be fully reflected in all forms of literature and creative activity is far from new, and Bechdel herself was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s comment in A Room of One’s Own that

‘all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen’s day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex’.

This is important on many levels. I was around for the third wave of feminism in the 1970s/80s, and was a member of both a men’s consciousness raising group and a mixed CR group. I read Achilles Heel, joined Cambridge University Women’s Action Group and founded Cambridge Men Against Sexism, where we held screenings of Rosie the Riveter and other films about gender issues. I’m a feminist and a socialist, and I’m well aware that cultural norms play a significant role in maintaining oppression and sustaining male privilege.


Still and reviews of Feminist film Rosie the Riveter

So while the Bechdel test might seem a trivial thing, and a very modest requirement for any film to fulfil, it does something very important: it raises consciousness, just like the evenings I spent sitting in a circle talking about whether we (as men) preferred women who shaved their legs, and what that might say about our ability to support equality more widely.

The political is still personal, and by asking a simple question the test opens up the wider debate about how we interrogate and understand the deep gender divide in film-making at all levels. It doesn’t tell us how to fix it, but we have to start somewhere.


The article was written by Bill Thompson

Bill is an English technology writer best known for his weekly appearances on the tech radio show Click on BBC World Service. He was chair of Cambridge Film Trust for five years.


Film Focus on: The Watchmaker’s Apprentice

We joined David Armstrong, Director of the Watchmaker’s Apprentice in his Isle of Man studio, DAM Productions, to speak about this beautiful film, where the idea came from and some insights into the production process.

The film was made on the Isle of Man by a tenacious group of talented professionals who are either IOM based or with strong links to the Island. A credits list can be found further down the page.

‘A compelling new film about two of the world’s greatest watchmakers – their extraordinary craft, their touching relationship and their unique personalities…’

Watch the video interview clip:

Listen to the audio clip

The interview is part of our first episode of Film Focus, you can listen to the whole show via the link below. The episode also includes reviews of feature films, the latest film news, what happened when we met with Zach Gilligan (The Gremlins), exciting trivia as well as our discussion on what makes a Christmas nostalgia film.

The Watchmaker’s Apprentice Trailer:

The film was created by the very talented bunch below:
Alistair Audsely , Zoe Guilford , David Armstrong and Christy Dehaven
Writers: Alistair Audsley, Christy  DeHaven, Zoe Guilford and Roy McMillan ,
Director: David Armstrong
Editor: Christy DeHaven
Cinematography: David Armstrong
Music and Sound: David Armstrong
Beautiful Narration by:  John Rhys-Davies. 
Animations from: Gary Myers and Andrew Martin


Christy and Dave receive their special WorldFest Remi Award


When we joined Director David Armstrong and Roger Smith at the Saachi Gallery screening of the Watchmaker’s Apprentice

If you like the look of the trailer, you can  get your own very special copy by clicking on the amazon logo below:


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Audio Channel: @filmfocus

Happy Movie Going!!


This post was created by Emily Cook