Studio Ghibli 25th Anniversary CelebrationComments Off
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed masterpieces GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO, STUDIOCANAL are delighted to announce a nationwide theatrical release with a chance to experience a recreation of the original Japanese double-bill feature that first launched these anime classics. An arresting combination from Studio Ghibli’s founding fathers: Hayao Miyazaki’s MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO, a lyrical fantasy about benevolent forest spirits and Isao Takahata’s GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, the heartbreaking tale of two children’s struggle to survive their firebombed city in World War 2, were launched together in 1988, showcasing the breadth of the anime powerhouse’s range of vision. Seemingly almost polar opposites in subject matter, Miyazaki’s gentle fable and Takahata’s grittier wartime adaptation both perfectly encapsulate the studio’s signature motif: its evocation of the wonder and innocence of childhood with their leading young protagonists, and showcase perfectly its defining style impressionistic imagery.
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
Set in Japan during World War II, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother I skilled in an air raid, and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Food and shelter are scarce, and even their own relatives are too concerned with their own survival. All they have is each other and their belief that life must carry on. Takahata and his team, including character animator Yoshifumi Kondo, have created a visually stunning and emotionally powerful meditation on the devastating consequences of war.
MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO
While their mother recovers from an illness, Satsuki and her little sister Mei get away from it all in an idyllic rural retreat. Far from the bustle of the city, they discover a mysterious place of spirits and magic, and the friendship of the Totoro woodland creatures. Conceived as a family film devoid of conflict and suffused with the joy of country living, MY NEIGHBOUR TOTOR is a masterpiece for the whole family, uniting the unique vision of Hayao Miyazaki with a feel-good tale of childlike wonder and true originality.
Released nationwide May 24th, 2013
White Witch of Devil’s End DVDComments Off
White Witch of Devil’s End is a spin-off from the highly regarded Jon Pertwee Doctor Who story The Daemons and will star Damaris Hayman reprising her role as Miss Hawthorne.
At the grand age of 84 (in June this year), you’d expect Damaris would be happy to be enjoying retirement quietly in her Cheltenham home … but no! When approached by producer Keith Barnfather about the idea she jumped at the chance. “I shall retire, I think, in my coffin! Miss Hawthorne was my all-time favourite role and I was enchanted by the thought of being her again for a little while.”
“I was amazed and delighted that, as an octogenarian, Damaris was prepared to take this on,” says Keith. “We had recently recorded an interview with her for our Myth Makers series profiling actors who had appeared in Doctor Who and I already knew she still had a hunger to act. But I really didn’t expect her to be so keen.”
Although eager to take the project on, Damaris knew she had to pace herself, so in an innovative move, director Anastasia Stylianou decided to film the drama in a “talking head” style – adding dramatic cutaway material to bring Damaris’s words to life!
Says Anastasia; “I knew it would be a challenge. We needed to film a 50 minute drama at least, so I decided to make an asset out of a limitation.”
Primary filming has already taken place at a cottage near Damaris’s home. The crew collected and returned Damaris each day – allowing her to return home each evening to recover and study the next day’s script!
“We used autocue to help Damaris,” says Keith. “It was an impossible task for any actor to learn so much dialogue. Damaris was a true professional and took to it instantly.”
With a planned release date of 31st October, which is appropriately also Halloween, Anastasia hopes to have the project completed for the 50th anniversary celebrations. “It’s just getting all the dramatic cutaway material ‘in the can’ that is crucial. The drama is really an anthology – a set of connecting stories about Olive’s life told, as it were, in her own words.”
When considering who to approach to write these stories which would exist within an overall theme, Keith immediately thought to contact old friend David J Howe at Telos Publishing. “I thought it would be fantastic to ask individual writers knowledgeable in the occult and magic to write each story and David, through Telos, knew so many of the best young talent in the country.”
“I was delighted when Keith got in touch,” says David Howe, “and immediately started to think of who might be a good fit for the project. Along with my partner, the award-winning author Sam Stone, we contacted several authors who we felt would be sympathetic to the material and were pleased to get them all on board for the project.”
“I took on the task of outlining the whole story,” says Sam Stone, “and then asked the writers to come up with ideas which fitted that framework. We needed to tell stories at different points in Olive Hawthorne’s life, and the writers rose to the challenge and delivered scripts which exceeded all my expectations. I then worked with them to refine the scripts into the completed screenplay.”
The writers involved in the project are, as well as David J Howe and Sam Stone, Raven Dane, Debbie Bennett, Jan Edwards and Suzanne J Barbieri, with a final script-polish from Big Finish writer Matt Fitton. All have brought a unique perspective on Olive’s life, and the end result is an anthology of tales which will surprise, entertain and hopefully move the viewer.
Does Damaris have any regrets about throwing herself into such a big commitment? “Definitely not! I was enchanted to work with Anastasia and Keith again, who are great friends anyway. After a lot of working together consulting over the scripts, I’d subsequently never enjoyed filming more – and I can’t wait now to see the final result.”
The DVD can be pre-ordered from Galaxy 4 HERE
Sam Stone’s Darkness Comes to AudioComments Off
The novella, entitled The Darkness Within, is an exciting and pervasive story set on a spaceship in the far-distant future, and what happens when an alien infection takes hold …
Arlango says about the project: ‘How exciting! I am very pleased to be working with Sam Stone again. Last year AudioGO published her collection of short stories, Zombies In New York And Other Bloody Jottings, and since I came across her work I’ve been a great fan. Not only does she come up with deliciously sinister tales, but the worlds she creates are atmospheric and her characters memorable. They are perfect for audio.
‘I was thrilled to meet Sam earlier this year, and we started talking about other ideas and things that we could work on together. The result? The Darkness Within, an exclusive new novella commissioned by AudioGO. It might well be set in space. And it might well feature new, malevolent life-forms … You’ll have to find out more for yourself. What I can tell you is that I had to stop reading, and look away from the page several times because it was so creepy. This Halloween, things will definitely go bump in the dark!’
AudioGO is the home of BBC Audiobooks and manages all the Doctor Who audio releases among their 10,000 catalogue items. Their clients include books by P D James, J K Rowling, Ruth Rendell and Bernard Cornwall. Their horror catalogue includes work by Bram Stoker, Rachel Caine, M R James, Stephanie Meyer, James Herbert and Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories. For more information, visit www.audiogo.com/uk/.
Sam Stone’s first novel, Killing Kiss, won the silver award for Best Horror Novel in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year competition, and her subsequent novels and short stories have gained her much acclaim, including winning the British Fantasy Award. Recent works include the novella Zombies at Tiffany’s and the vampire novel Silent Sand, and Killing Kiss was recently sold to Germany. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and is a noted public speaker and lecturer. Sam’s website is at www.sam-stone.com.
StarShipSofa #275 online nowComments Off
Fact: Cheapskates by Adam Pracht 05:47
Main Fiction: “Neighborhood Watch” by H.G. Stratmann
Defying Gravity – complete season to be released on DVDComments Off
Defying Gravity is a gripping space drama from the producers of Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives that follows the adventures of eight astronauts on board the international spacecraft Antares as they undertake a mysterious, six year mission covering 8 billion miles.
First aired on BBC2 and BBC HD in 2009 only thirteen episodes of Defying Gravity were ever made, much to the dismay of fans everywhere and despite groups lobbying in vain for further adventures. Now the complete series will be available to own for the first time on a 4-disc Region 2 DVD box set, courtesy of Medium Rare Entertainment, which is to be released on 25th February.
This box set also offers an impressive array of extra features including ‘Mission Accomplished – A Look At The Making of Defying Gravity’, deleted scenes and a slideshow featuring production stills, conceptual design pictures of the Antares and more.
Led by veteran astronauts Ted Shaw (Malik Yoba) and Maddux Donner (Ron Livingston), every action of the crew of the Antares is scrutinised and beamed back to earth. However, there is more to this mission than the crew realise: something that is altering the crew at the very basic genetic level; something that the select few who know about it are desperate to keep a secret.
For fans of Defying Gravity, this release marks the end of a long wait to revisit the Antares. For newcomers, it’s the chance to discover a compelling sci-fi drama that many feel was cut short in its prime.
LOTR Oscar-winning sound editor Michael Hopkins dies in rafting accidentComments Off
Oscar-winning sound editor Michael Hopkins, who won awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in 2003 and the King Kong remake in 2006, has died at the age of 53 following a rafting accident in New Zealand it has been confirmed. Other films he worked on include Blade Runner and Superman.
The full BBC report can be found HERE
“Supermarionation” creator Gerry Anderson dies aged 83Comments Off
His puppet-led TV shows included Thunderbirds, Stingray, Joe 90, UFO, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Fireball XL5. In 1975, he created his first SF series using actors rather than puppets – Space: 1999, which starred Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse.
Read the BBC obituary HERE
And The Guardian obituary HERE
“Tales to Terrify” Need You!Comments Off
Tales to Terrify, the international horror fiction podcast, are looking for more short horror fiction. They’d like 8000 words or less, recent or old, author’s choice.
For further details, or to submit a piece, email the editor, Cher Eaves, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Splat Pictures options Paul Kane’s Lunar for feature filmComments Off
Janice De La Mare, the CEO and producer of Red Splat Pictures, said, “I am delighted to announce the signing of Lunar to Red Splat. We have been looking forward to collaborating with Paul Kane on a project for some time, and Lunar is the perfect story for us. It fits well with our horror brand and is a unique and thrilling tale”
Brad Watson is attached to direct, this being the second collaboration between Watson and Kane, after Watson directed the short film Wind Chimes, also penned by Kane.
Watson, whose work has spanned several short films, an award-winning feature, and following on from the success of the globally released supernatural thriller 7th Dimension (aka Beacon 77) said: “I am very excited to be attached to this project at this early stage, Paul Kane is fantastic to work with and I am a big fan of his work.”
Paul Kane is an award-winning writer and editor, renowned for his bestselling Arrowhead Trilogy, a post-apocalyptic reworking of the Robin Hood mythology.
Kane said, “It’s great that I’m finally getting to work with Brad on a feature, especially after working on the short film Wind Chimes together. I’ve been a big fan of his since I watched and reviewed Asylum Night a few years ago, and he’s gone from strength to strength with 7th Dimension. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this project and I know Lunar’s in very safe hands.’
Kane’s latest novel, Lunar, is in the tradition of books like I Am Legend and films like Night of the Living Dead, and is introduced by noted horror author Ramsey Campbell. Published by Bad Moon Books in the US – in hardback and trade paperback – Lunar was launched on the 30 September 2012 at FantasyCon in Brighton.
Red Splat Pictures is slated to complete production in the UK in early 2014.
Veteran film actor Herbert Lom dies at the age of 95Comments Off
The Czech-born actor, probably best known for his portrayal of Inspector Clouseau’s boss, Charles Dreyfus, in the Pink Panther films, also had numerous genre credits to his name. His striking features, penetrating stare, and foreign accent often saw him cast as the villain.
In 1962 he played the Phantom in the Hammer Films production of The Phantom of the Opera. He also starred in the controversial 1970 film Mark of the Devil. His other genre credits include: Mysterious Island (1961) (picture shown above); Doppelgänger (1969); Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970), in which he played van Helsing opposite Christopher Lee as Dracula; Dorian Grey (1970); Asylum (1971), one of Amicus’ portmanteau films; Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971); And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973); and the 1989 remake of Masque of the Red Death.
In 1983 Lom worked with director David Cronenberg in The Dead Zone opposite Christopher Walken, in an adaptation of the Stephen King novel.