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Hackney Hounds: a project born out of passion

13 Aug

Daniel Jamieson talks about his experience as part of the Hackney Hounds project.

Hackney Hounds was a special project with a clear mission. It gave a filmmaking opportunity to a group of young people not in education or employment; but with ideas, passion, and curiosity about the concept of moviemaking.

These elements, combined with professional input and guidance, gave Hackney Hounds the energy it needed to make it to the screen. The opportunity to use professional equipment and be taught by working professionals is one that seldom comes around – particularly for free.

Kayla Whiting, who had the initial idea for the film, is a passionate Staffordshire Bull Terrier owner who thinks so-called ‘dangerous’ dogs are made aggressive through the way their owners treat them. Through the film, she hoped to change opinions and open up a real debate on the matter.

The drive shown by Kayla and her fellow filmmakers is what the made project special. It wasn’t to showcase filmmaking talent or promote the names of its makers – it was made because these young people had a message that needed to be heard. I got involved to offer ideas and ensure the difficult, longsome filmmaking process didn’t diminish the young peoples’ desire to create something special.

This was my first year in London. I had been here before for events and competitions, but now I was here to live, work and study. I was looking for the opportunity to work on a film with young people from a complicated area like Hackney, so when I received a message from 4talent mentioning the project I thought ‘Well, you asked for it.’ Before I knew it I was at the Hackney Hounds headquarters discussing project ideas and goals with Kayla.

Hackney Hounds

We shared the same fundamental project idea: the mistreatment and misunderstanding of dogs leads to their aggressive and confused behaviour – a pattern also evident in many young people. That comparison was to be the basis of the film.

My role was to keep the good ideas on the table, to suggest some, and help provoke some. I could see the positive effect this project was having on our team of young, first time filmmakers. They believed in the project and themselves, and confidence on set was boosted tenfold each day.

Kayla, you did a great job. Geneika, you were crazy but awesome and you have a talent for that camera. Julie, your daughter’s now a star. And Zoe, you can really cut stuff together – keep it up. I hope people understand not only the significance of what’s on screen, but also what went on behind the scenes. I know you guys had fun, and so did I.

By Daniel Jamieson

Have you booked your ticket for the Hackney Hounds screening yet? Do it now!


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

13 Aug

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Well crafted, intriguing and engaging thriller

By Ophelia Ruffin

The first instalment of a trilogy from award winning Danish director Niels Ardon Oplev comes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a highly engaging, well acted, if not a bit too long thriller.

Lisbeth Salander, played Noomi Rapace is a professional computer hacker with a somewhat chequered past who begins surveying Michael Nyqvist (Mikael Blomkvist), a journalist on trial for libel and facing a lengthy prison sentence. The unlikely duo embark on a suspenseful journey to uncover a 40 year mystery of the disappearance of a young girl.

Noomi Rapace manages to explore the complexity of her character Lisbeth with such vigour through the subtleties of her body language, mannerism and gestures a vulnerability and naivety coupled with a strong and dominant presence which makes for a very honest and believable performance.

Both Michael and Lisbeth have good on screen chemistry, this is seen in the sense of intimacy that both characters are able to bring to each scene, this brings a very intriguing dimension to the film as both characters are quite detached from others in their everyday lives. Lisbeth is a computer hacker, Michael a journalist both are voyeurs, peering into the lives of others but when they are brought together they are forced to become close in order to solve this mystery which makes for an interesting paradox which is explored in the movie.

The film is rich in subplots which are well developed without taking away from the main focus of the film. There is some grim violence and some scenes prove difficult to watch, but you never feel that these scenes are unnecessary to the overall film, instead they add depth to the characters and their development throughout the film.

All round The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is a very well crafted film that focuses on character development, dialogue, a good plot and a strong cast that explore the dynamics of their characters and their relationship to one another.

Well worth the watch!

Director David Fincher is set to make a Hollywood remake of the film. Twilight’s Kirsten Stewart and Juno’s Ellen page as well as Carey Mulligan have expressed interest in playing Lisbeth. Daniel Craig has been confirmed to play Michael. I’m not too sure about this remake, I think they should leave this well alone. What do you think?

Keep your eyes peeled as this remake is set for release in December 2011!

Ophelia Ruffin is Film Editor for YH!world and Edits her own Strictly Reel.

Read more reviews and film info @ Strictly Reel

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