Film Focus: Episode 10- The 80’s Edition with Special Guest, Stranger Things’ Lynda Reiss

In this episode Emily and Sarah review recent releases Tickled, a bizarre and chilling documentary into the sinister world of competitive tickling, and Swiss Army Man including an interview clip with Daniel Radcliffe, the film’s star. Emily catches up with special guest, Hollywood Props Master Lynda Reiss to talk about her most recent work on Netflix sensation STRANGER THINGS . We’ll find out the latest on Sarah’s challenge to watch over 500 feature films in a year and, as if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be getting all warm and fuzzy as we reveal Our Top 5 80’s Nostalgia Films.


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Happy Movie Going!!

Emily Cook
This blog was written by Emily

5 Female Filmmakers You Should Know About

It’s no secret that sadly, the film industry and Hollywood in particular are male dominated arenas and that still today there are a whole array of gender barriers female filmmakers come up against in their careers . Dr. Martha Lauzen‘s study, Women and the Big Picture, is the first study to track women’s behind-the-scenes employment on the top 700 theatrical released films (foreign films omitted) in a single year (2014). Overall, women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers. Well this month we’d like to shine a light on some of the incredible female film talent out there. Here are five of our favourite films created by women. It might surprise you that some of them were actually made by females!

Our Top Five Films Created by Women

1.We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) Written and Directed by Lynne Ramsay


Promo image from ‘We Need too Talk About Kevin’ (2001)

What’s it all about? ‘We Need to talk About Kevin’ tells the story of a mother who tries hard to love her strange child, Kevin, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But, as far as he is concerned, Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone could ever imagine.

Lynne Ramsay

Lynne Ramsey Writer and Director of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (2001)


Why we selected this film…
Sarah:  I found this movie to be utterly absorbing and breathtaking – each shot is carefully constructed, resulting in a resonant and vibrant assault to the senses and the performances of all the actors were faultless.

Trivia: Tilda Swinton became involved as a producer long before she decided to star in the movie and, amazingly, this movie never got an Oscar nomination although it did pick up some other awards.

The Film’s Trailer:

2.‘Belle’ (2013) Directed by Amma Asante


What’s it all about? Belle is a film directed by  BAFTA award winning Writer/Director Amma Asante and tells the extraordinary story of Elizabeth Belle, the daughter of British Admiral John Lindsay, and an African slave. The film pursues the possibility that Belle

amma bafta

Amma Asante Official Photo

influenced her white British guardian in legal rulings that would eventually lead to the abolition of slavery. Belle  opened to phenomenal success releasing first in the U.S and taking a higher per-screen average than Spiderman 2 in the opening weekend. The film was championed by Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile in the UK, Prince hosted the Belle premiere after-party, in celebration of the film. The movie received widespread acclaim, making Amma one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2014, and earning her nominations for various awards worldwide, including nods at the National Film Awards, UK, alongside NAACP 2014 awards in the U.S In addition, Amma was selected and awarded as an honouree along side Barbara Walters, Katie Couric and Ursula Burns, at Gloria Steinem’s, Jane Fonda’s and Robin Morgan’s, 2014 Women’s Media Centre Awards in New York.


Why we selected this film?
Emily: I was lucky enough to meet Amma when working on the Isle of Man film Festival in 2014, where we screened the film and Amma and Mark Kermode gave an intriguing Q & A about making of the film. The film is undoubtedly powerful and tells an important historical story which has shaped the society of today.

Trivia: Some of the film was shot on location in the Isle of Man.

Mark Kermode interviews Amma Asante at the 2014 Isle of Man Film Festival


3.Wayne’s World (1992) Directed by Penelope Spheeris


Official Still fro Wayne’s World

What’s it all about? Wayne’s World is a comedy which tells the story of two slacker friends who try to promote their public-access cable show.

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris- Director of Wayne’s World (1992)

Why I selected this film…
Sarah: Wayne’s World, in my opinion, is one of the best comedies of all time and is a movie that I watch over and over and over again!  I love the script (which was co-written by Bonnie Turner) and the bright and colourful tone to the movie – it will always make me smile, even if I’m in a terrible mood.  

Trivia:  Dana Carvey, who plays Garth, modeled the character on his brother Brad

The Film’s Trailer:


4. ‘Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Written, produced, co-directed by and starring  Maya Deren


What’s it all about?  Made for an estimated £200, Meshes of the Afternoon is an experimental film written, produced and co-directed by Maya Deren, one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and leaders of the 1940/1950’s Avent-Guard filmmaking movement.  A woman returning home played by Maya Deren herself,  falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.  Maya camera

Why we selected this film…
I  first saw this film 10 years ago at university as part of a 20th century cinema course, and it’s stayed with me ever since. It was the first time I’d been exposed to experimental film making and the surrealist, dreamlike quality of the narrative intrigued me. One image from the film has been a recurring inhabitant of my nightmares and dreams, the expressionless hooded character with a mirror for a face.

Maya Deren was quite a remarkable women, she wrote film theory, distributed her own films, traveled across the USA, and went to Cuba and Canada to promote her films using the lecture-demonstration format to teach film theory, and Voudoun and the interrelationship of magic, science, and religion. Deren established the Creative Film Foundation in the late 1950s to reward the achievements of independent filmmakers. Certainly a woman who broke down many barriers.

Trivia: Meshes of the Afternoon was selected to the National Film Registry, Libary of Congress, in 1990.

The Film


5. American Psycho (2000) Directed by Mary Harron


American Psycho Promotional Image

What’s it all about? American Psycho, based on the best selling book by Bret Easton Ellis  is about a wealthy New York investment banking executive who hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends but as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies he finds his mask of sanity slipping.



Mary Harron Director of American Psycho

Why we selected this film…
Sarah: Mary Harron did a remarkable job of translating a 399 page book into a polished, intense and faithful adaptation of the text – in my opinion, this is one of the most faultless films of all time, especially considering I’m a massive Bret Easton Ellis fan and wasn’t looking forward to watching the movie!

Trivia: Apparently, Christian Bale based his performance of Patrick Bateman on Tom Cruise, saying he had “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”.

The Film’s Trailer:


Which films created by women have you enjoyed, who do you think we should have included on our list? Please leave a reply below, we’d love to hear from you.


This blog page was created by Film Focus Founder Emily Cook and Podcast Co-Host Sarah Moore

Episode 5: The April Edition – Female Filmmakers & Exclusive Colourist Commentaries with Special Guest Grader, Paul Ensby

Episode summary:
In this episode Emily and Sarah  review the greatly anticipated new release, ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice‘. Our special industry guest is world leading feature film Colourist Paul Ensby from the prestigious post-production facility Company3 in Soho . Paul gives exclusive colourist commentaries to the trailers of four of his most recent films including Oscar winning Documentary Amy, Guy Richie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E, the charming British comedy, The Lady in the Van and new release Allegiant, explaining what it was like working on the films including intriguing behind the scenes insights. He also outlines the role of a colourist, offers his advice for how you go about forging a career as a grader and we ask him about what happened when he worked with legendary director, Lord Richard Attenborough.

Paul Ensby video thumb naRROW

Emily Cook (Photo-Marriane McCourt) and Paul Ensby (Company 3 Photo credit)

We let you know of any filmmaking opportunities and events on the horizon and as if that wasn’t enough, in our industry talking point section, we discuss Our Top 5 Films Created by Women, some of them might just surprise you!

We also give you the latest instalment of Sarah’s exciting 500  Film Challenge – she’s watching 500 films in a year!

Trivia, reviews, interviews and much more from the world of film!

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We also have a specially created ‘Our top 5 films created by Women’ themed blog post as well as a a guest article from journalist, socialist, feminist, BBC Click presenter Bill Thompson.Check them out on our blog post section.

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Happy Movie Going!!


This blog post was created by Emily Cook- Founder of Film Focus