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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Future now: Sheffield's Warp Films

Warp, the record label and producers of Chris Cunningham‘s Rubber Johnny due on DVD in June, tell the Telegraph what they’re all about: Amid all the stories of doom and gloom usually written about the state of the British film industry, the impact made by Warp Films, a tiny three-person operation based in Sheffield, provides some hope for its future. The first ever film they produced, a 10-minute short by satirist Chris Morris about a man walking his dog in the middle of a mental breakdown, won a Bafta in 2003. Their first feature, Dead Man’s Shoes, a revenge thriller cut through with black humour, was seen as a return to form for its director Shane Meadows. Yet the company’s background is not in film at all but in the field of electronic music…. Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell started Warp at the height of the acid house craze in 1989. The label shared its name with the record store they ran in Sheffield. From the start, Warp released music that challenged the perceptions of dance music as mindless… The move into film wasn’t so much a leap into the unknown but, says Beckett, “a natural follow-on from the connections we’d already made with people in that field”. [More at the link, including news of developing a new feature with Lynne Ramsay.]

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One Response to “Future now: Sheffield's Warp Films”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    I saw Rubber Johnny last week at a screening. Probably few other people have but it made me think, that Chris Cunningham is stuck in an artistic rut. Everything he does is exactly the same these days.

Movie City Indie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon