Watch this film. Its on the BBC iPlayer website for the next few days. Its brilliant, promise.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01l9311/Shifty/ – CLICK IT, GODAMMIT
The debut feature of Eran Creevy, Shifty is more than your usual British kitchen-sink style drama. I’m particularly interested by this because I have actually worked for Creevy on his forthcoming film, Welcome to the Punch– an altogether bigger and most technically ambitious project, made possible by the success of this micro-budget debut. I was involved in special effects through a company called Artem, and to them I owe an enormous debt as that was my first chance to work on a big-budget set. I learnt an awful lot, particularly that I didn’t make enough contacts! But in a way, that didn’t matter because I was just trying to soak it all up. I was just another bloke on his set, but seeing him work was really fascinating and made my own ambitions seem that bit more tangible. Anyhow, more on the Welcome to the Punch closer to its release next year.
Back to Shifty. Creevy cites Ken Loach among others for the visual style of the film, but the tight, magnetic pace feels like every character, every event is inexorably drawn together by forces beyond their control.
Creevy’s sense of authenticity runs throughout his script, reinforced by the effective use of the landscape- the all-consuming troubles of the drug industry rendered on the level of the individual, yet despairingly repetitive against the backdrop of concrete flats and housing estates. Perhaps the best example of this is the hapless Trevor (Jay Simpson), losing his mind as he grasps around for his next fix, he and his van seeming small within a suburban maze that you almost feel was made to contain this substrata of despairing individuals.
The authentic totality of the mise-en-scene is all the more potent when you realise that this is a micro-budget film made out the back of Elstree studios, in 18 days. Produced and financed through Film London Microwave, an innovative scheme that has also seen the genesis of Ben Drew (AKA Plan B) and his film Ill Manors, the scheme is an absolute dream opportunity for developing talents making their first foray into feature filmmaking- offering masterclasses, contacts, finance, advice and support whilst promoting an extremely pure, economical style of production and direction.
I would love to put a film through this scheme [lets just finish university first- ed.]. Its a goal you can aspire to whilst actually making financial sense, at least as far as young filmmakers are concerned. £100,000 is an awful lot of money, and most of us just aren’t accustomed to throwing that kind of money around. Learning to use financial limits as creative stepping stones is the way forward, and Shifty is one of the best examples of that.
I don’t want to say too much about the film, I just want you to watch it while you can. It contains stand out performances from leads Riz Ahmed (4 Lions, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) and Daniel Mays (Atonement, Vera Drake), who have both gone onto further success in their own careers.
read up on Microwave at http://microwave.filmlondon.org.uk/
Catch the film on the above link, and keep an eye out for Eran Creevy. He’s gonna go far, as they say.