Lily Baker – Motion Graphic Designer / Animator

Who is Lily Baker?

I’m an animator and video editor, originally from the tropics of Brisbane, Australia, now living in the beautiful city of London.

How did your career path develop?

I studied English Literature at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, home of Cirque du Soleil, -30 degree winters, and the world’s first international Quidditch league. After graduating, I moved to London and worked in advertising in Client Services.

Over the past two years, I’ve completed three training programs with School of Motion (partnered with folks from Ringling College of Art & Design) and now I’m freelancing full time and loving it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

I’m proud and very happy to have successfully launched my limited company. I treat every project as an opportunity to meet great people and create fantastic work.

Which projects are you most proud of?

– A Movable Feast – Recently, I was inspired by the Mayor of London’s call for artists to create work celebrating London’s diversity. This short animation highlights just a teeny tiny slice of the great smorgasbord of delicacies London has to offer.

– Nomadic Films Goes To Rio – Over the past three months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the folks at Nomadic Films in Soho. I created this animation as some of the team went off to work in Rio during the Olympics. I really enjoyed creating this piece, combining two styles of branding and adding a tropical rainforest aesthetic.

View Lily’s work here.

Share your biggest lessons in life & work

– After reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell in university, I had the revelation that 10,000 hours of practice can make anyone an expert, which it turns out is a great philosophy to live your life by.

– Ira Glass says it best himself in The Gap.

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2016

Inspiration is undoubtedly the main thing to take home with you after attending an event like the London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF). After all, that’s why hundreds of screenwriters at various stages of their careers, as well as aspiring ones, gather for a three-day full immersion into lectures, workshops, talks, pitch sessions and networking.

The yearly event has reached its 7th edition, which took place last week at Regents University and Blueberry was in attendance for the first time, producing and hosting a couple of talks where inspiration was indeed front and centre. Maureen, who has previously worked behind the scenes at the LSF, made the Blueberry team proud as she moderated both panels with her usual grace and charm, despite it being her first time on the stage.

Both sessions were about peculiar individuals who have thrived with their artistic careers in spite of adversity. Their dramatic experiences and the life-changing consequences they had to face couldn’t’ be any more different and hearing both their stories was affecting and powerful, each in its own unique way.

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The first Blueberry-hosted talk was with the exceptional Simon Fitzmaurice, Irish author and filmmaker who shortly after premiering his second short film at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS), the same one which affects illustrious theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Now completely paralysed and breathing through a respirator, Fitzmaurice didn’t let this tragedy define his life and he admirably continued to be a husband, a father and an artist. He completed the script for his feature debut, My Name Is Emily, typing it via the iris-recognition software Eye Gaze and the movement of his eyes is also how he communicated to direct the film across its six week shoot.

Considering the hardships of making a film when you’re perfectly healthy, it’s almost unfathomable to conceive how he did it. But he did do it and we were lucky enough to screen his film at the LSF and witness his incredible personality with our own eyes and ears as he delivered a touching and humorous speech.

Coming of age drama My Name Is Emily, starring Harry Potter’s Evanna Lynch, was released in UK cinemas last April and will be out on DVD this autumn. Beautifully shot and boasting great performances across the board, this lyrical meditation on finding your place in the world follows an introverted teenage girl who runs away from her foster home, with the help of the boy who secretly loves her, in order to find her estranged father.

Simon’s passion for his craft was humbling and inspirational, to say the very least, and although bound to his wheelchair and communicating via a computer, he still managed to dazzle and captivate the audience, proving anything is possible in life – a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit against all odds. And he thoroughly deserved to receive the “Fucking Awesome Award” during the British Screenwriters’ Awards ceremony that’s recently become part of the festival.

Reactions to the screening and the talk were overwhelming:

– “Simon is an inspiration. Thanks to Blueberry for the opportunity to learn more about him and see his work“.

– “Think you’ve found filmmaking a challenge? You need to meet Simon Fitzmaurice and see his film to redefine the possible“.

– “Great session from Simon Fitzmaurice, proving that the creative life can transcend many barriers if we fully commit to it“.

– “Wonderful, warm, human story. Beautiful music and adorable landscape. I enjoyed every minute of My Name is Emily. My respect to Simon Fitzmaurice“.

– “Inspiring, hugely talented and full of insight: Simon Fitzmaurice at London Screenwriters’ Festival“.

– “Highlight of London Screenwriters’ Festival was Simon Fitzmaurice and how he made My Name Is Emily despite his advanced motor neuron disease. We take life for granted too much“.

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The second session Maureen moderated was “Writing as an act of redemption” with playwright-turned-screenwriter Michael Ashton, whose intense and extreme life experience resulted in an unusual career path and is constantly reflected in his raw, authentic and uncompromising work.

In addition to being affected by Aspergers syndrome, Michael developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in the army and he got involved in financial fraud for which he was sentenced to 18 months in a white collar prison.

During his detention, having a lot of time on his hands, Michael attended a playwriting course held in prison and wound up writing The Archbishop and the Antichrist. The play is a fictionalized account of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s meetings with Piet Blomfield, a murderer who seeks redemption for the atrocities he has committed while he serves a life sentence in prison in post-apartheid South Africa.

Forgiveness and redemption are the themes at the core of Michael’s writing and he didn’t spare himself from openly confessing how his troubled past had led him to hurt people and how he deserved the consequences of his actions. It was affecting to hear him reminisce about never getting a visit from anyone whilst in prison or how he tried to commit suicide since he had nothing left to live for when he was released.

Michael was unaware that his play had been submitted to various competitions by the people who ran the playwriting course. When he learned his work had won the Amnesty International’s Protect the Human prize and was going to be performed at the Royal Festival Hall, among other venues, Michael realised there was still something worth living for. It’s no surprise that those themes come back in his writing. He has gained purpose, embraced a new path and albeit later in life, his newly-found artistic passion for writing has become the opportunity for catharsis and redemption.

No wonder his impulsive and eccentric genius has been noticed by the film industry and he has transitioned into screenwriting. A film adaptation of The Archbishop and the Antichrist directed by Oscar-nominee Roland Joffeé (The Mission, The Scarlet Letter) is slated to go into production soon whilst several other projects are in various stages of development.

The audience responded with empathy to Michael’s singular story, which they called inspiring whilst the whole session was considered involving and more and more gripping as it unfolded.

 

Edinburgh International TV Festival 2016

We had the utmost pleasure of attending The Edinburgh International Television Festival that took place August 24-26. Our Creative Consultant Heather Iliffe traveled to Scotland to represent the Blueberry family for a three-day marathon that didn’t disappoint.

The content on offer was top notch – from many informative ‘Meet The Controller’ talks including BBC, ITV, UKTV and Sky to compelling sessions such as ‘Winning in Broadcast Means Success in Digital’ which explored what the future of entertainment looks like for traditional media, how broadcasters are adapting in a world of infinite consumer choice and what they’re doing to attract the ‘heads down generation’ glued to their devices all the time.

‘Taskmaster’ with Greg Davies and Alex Horne, a concept made for Dave Channel, was literally laugh-out-loud hilarious – five TV professionals stepped up to battle it out with a series of funny tasks devised by the comedy duo.

Whizz Kid-produced ‘LipSync Battle’ made for Spike was also a huge hit – Heather never thought she would witness the heads of some of our clients like Knickerbockerglory dancing around on stage in spandex leotards with Mel B and Professor Green!

A very inspirational and uplifting panel was ‘The Superhumans Struggle for Equality’ reflecting on whether there’s been a shift in the portrayal of disability on screen, whether attitudes are changing towards disabled talent and the extent to which opportunities are opening up.

Presented by paralympian Ade Adepitan and with special guest actor RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad fame, the session dealt with how accurately television is representing the experiences, lives and perspectives of disabled people in the UK and what more needs to be done.

The main attraction was of course the ‘MacTaggart’ lecture, brought to us this year by Shane Smith, CEO of Vice. It was extremely passionate, opinionated and controversial and proved a huge talking point at the ITV drinks reception afterwards. You can now watch it in its entirety here.

Heather couldn’t help indulging her inner TV geek by attending the ‘Sci-fi Double Bill of Red Dwarf’ with writer, director and co-creator, Doug Naylor and stars Craig Charles and Robert Llewellyn interviewed by SFX magazine’s editor after the exclusive screening of the first episode of the new series.

Another highlight was the exclusive masterclass with Gale Anne Hurd, the critically acclaimed producer of hit zombie drama ‘The Walking Dead’. Special guest was one of the show’s stars Michael Cudlitz, who plays Abraham Ford in the hit series, plus Alexandra Marinescu, FOX’s senior vice president of marketing & Jason Simms, SVP of global acquisitions at Fox which discussed how they helped to make this show a global phenomenon that breaks all the rules we know about TV hits.

All in all Heather found the festival insightful, eye-opening and motivational. She met loads of influential people in the industry, made a lot of contacts and she’s truly excited for how we are going to move forward in the industry as a whole and within Blueberry.

Alistair Moncur – Motion Graphic Designer / Animator

Who is Alistair Moncur?

Inquisitive, calm, friendly and extremely passionate about my craft, I’m a London-based animator and motion graphic designer. I’ve studied Design for Interaction and Moving Image at London College of Communication and ever since graduating with a First Class Hons, I’ve been working on a variety of projects using my broad range of skills.

How did your career path develop?

With each high and low I try to learn from them one way or another. A story that springs to mind happened shortly after graduating as I began exploring many avenues, one of which found me in a busy kitchen in the heart of a Soho restaurant. The hours were long and hard, the heat was exhausting and after a week I quickly learnt I wasn’t to be a chef.

Yet the experience lingers in the back of my mind when I need an extra kick of energy or finding calm and composure in the heat of the moment (and sometimes when I’m cooking at home). The week after that, I began working at Nexus Productions and I felt back at home creating graphics. The kitchen experience has since become a spring board for my work as I’ve moved from job to job. I’m a focused individual who’s comfortable putting in the hours to be rewarded by the final product at the end.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

This is a tricky one. From the beginning of my career I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on some fantastic projects. Having my work featured on ITV was a major highlight. I always enjoy using Cinema 4D and I was able to combine those skills into this lovely project.

Another great achievement was a 2D character animation I recently completed with Maynard Design – a 2 minute video demonstrating a concept proposal the company had designed, which was surprisingly seamless as the team and I got along really well.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Creating a short documentary for Honda has to be one of my proudest moments. We worked gruelling hours to meet a tight deadline. In this tiny studio we produced a collection of wonderful shots and animations to showcase these beautifully designed concept vehicles. I worked alongside the director and although producing stop motion was a step away from my usual animation, that didn’t seem to phase me. The response for the video was lovely to see, as it was picked up by a number of major design blogs upon its release.

Another proud project was Serosity, an experimental video I created over the course of a few days as I explored the intriguing properties of ferrofluid. I filmed and edited the video and turned it around in a couple of days, which went on to gain over 200,000 views on Vimeo.

Finally curating and directing HellfireBeats should be mentioned. I constructed the film in Cinema 4D. After speaking to the client, I discovered a story of the producer first learning his craft on this MPC which began his career. I used the construction of this to become the ident for his future videos.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Curious, challenging and cheeky – a little life motto I loosely go by after hearing it at a lecture six years ago. I’m always intrigued by the new, the next project and the big idea. It allows me to fully engage myself into every piece I work on. I like to challenge and push myself further. I know that by believing in myself and my capabilities I will manage to successfully reach the goal of the project. Finally, I find it’s important to never forget enjoying what you do. I enjoy the animations I make, the teams I meet, the companies I travel to and the clients I please. With all the hard work, I try to smile along the way.

View Alistair’s full portfolio

Carl Ward – Editor / Motion Graphic Designer

Who is Carl Ward?

I’m a fast and efficient editor with an innate flair for storytelling and motion graphic design. Always searching for new challenges to nurture my professional growth, I’m experienced in long form and online but I’ve also excelled in other disciplines both in an offline and short form capacity, as well as doing some grading work.

How did your career path develop?

A year or so after leaving university I managed to get a job as a runner at a television studios back in Kent (of Art Attack fame). As far as running gigs go, it wasn’t so bad. Besides looking after the onsite clients I also got to work on a number of shows, so I have had some sort of experience in just about all sides of production. I even once doubled on as security during a particularly heated episode of Trisha Goddard (cringe!). I met a lot of people there and I owe a large debt to one of the productions onsite, The Foundation (and one of their producers in particular), since they gave me the fantastic chance to assist on their edits.

I freelanced a little amongst other jobs (too many to mention) but edit work was hard to come by so I thought I would try to get a job in London and I ended up taking a small step back to start running at a prestigious post house. This was rather short-lived due to my dislike of the working practices and the cost of the commute making it impossible to afford. I got a job as a QC operator (which paid far better) at the Discovery Channel, before finally getting a full time staff job as an editor. Having spent around 6 years in the edit team I finally jumped ship to the freelance world around 2 months ago.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Ivory Wars with Laurens De Groot – the content was interesting and tackled an important issue. It was rewarding due to the very tight deadline and budget we had to work with and I basically got to cover the whole editing process, offline and online as well as some of the GFX creation.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Probably buying our first house just under 2 years ago. I come from pretty humble beginnings, so to manage to afford a house in the borough of London took a lot of scrimping and saving. It is a do-er upper but I am embracing the DIY wholeheartedly.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Know when to bite your tongue, grit your teeth and pick your battles wisely. But most of all, try and be nice. When you go freelance you really notice how much easier life is when everybody is trying to help you out.

View Carl’s full portfolio

Spencer Carpenter – Producer / Director / Editor / Motion Graphics / Colourist

Spencer is a media creative with a passion for storytelling and visual design. He has considerable experience in delivering creative concepts which utilise video production, post-production and animation. The skill sets he uses are so wide and varied that they keep him constantly engaged, when not spending time with his beloved family. His dedication to multi-disciplines since 1999 enables him to manage teams and offer clients an unrestricted array of creative possibilities for every task.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

My whole journey through video, film and animation production has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. My recent high point was being convinced by my client to enter my latest film to the Cannes Corporate film awards. The toughest moment was toward the end of my cycle at my full time position in 2012 – I was giving everything I could to my work to the detriment of my family relationships. Facing a challenging financial situation, I felt I had no real choice but to risk the jump to freelance and owning my own business – I’ve never looked back. I’ve now produced over 215 media projects for a huge variety of household names in many industries since I began freelancing in 2012.

Greatest achievements so far

In general, starting and maintaining business with a long list of happy and returning clients. Navigating the reality of film and video production through a list of mistakes and lessons has allowed me to reach a place where I have a team I can trust and an approach that exceeds clients’ expectations.

In terms of specific projects, the conception of a new visitor attraction (still in progress) required me to pull together a team of highly skilled contributors to work for free or very little whilst persuading Centre Parcs to support me on a completely new concept that they weren’t expecting.

I was asked to create a promotional film for Arm for a simple product launch. Given only 3 weeks from concept to completion, it was a difficult task to conceptualise and produce live action in 3 locations, mixed with VFX completely from scratch. It was a success and later received over 180k views on YouTube and parts were adopted for BBC’s popular ‘Click’ technology programme’s opening titles, whilst being broadcast nationwide among TV news stories relating to upcoming technology company.

Projects you are most proud of and why

I’m proud of so many of the jobs I’ve contributed to but here a few:

– Always getting better for Vision Express. (Film concept to delivery)
– Accenture and BMW partnership film. This was a great technical challenge because of client’s high standards. (Online advert, editing and colour grading – Not yet released)
Goodwood TV show titles. (Motion graphics, concept to delivery for 3 years running)
One pager. (Online advert, concept to delivery)
Catching up for Tui UK & I. (Film concept to delivery)
What makes you smile for Tui UK & I. (Video concept to delivery)
Adidas Spiderman 2 trainers advert. (3D animation and motion graphics)

Biggest Lessons in life and work

The world has become such an amazing landscape of creative opportunity that it’s easy to push important personal relationships down the pecking order. It’s important to remember that without nurturing these relationships you lose more than you’ll ever gain from creative expression.

View Spencer’s full portfolio

Suga Suppiah – Editor

Who is Suga Suppiah?

I’m a Sri Lankan/Australian editor raised in Japan, and since I moved around a lot whilst growing up, it helped me collect stories from around the world. That is what originally drew me to filmmaking as my storytelling medium.

How did your career path develop?

After finishing a BA in Television Production in Australia, I began assisting at a post house called Cutting Edge in Sydney where I got to see how both the short form and features department worked and I was immediately hooked into post. I love that, as an editor, you get the privilege of being the first to see the story come together.

I then moved to Method Studios where I cut on a range of short form jobs, assisted on a couple of features and earned a couple of statuettes along the way.

I moved to London a year ago, which seems just like yesterday. Moving to a new city has its challenges but you also get an opportunity to meet a whole new creative network that in my case has been very welcoming. The best projects I’ve worked on have been not only creative work but also the result of collaborating with fun, interesting people. So far London has been way more up than down so hopefully it stays that way!

Greatest achievements so far

A great achievement is now living and working in London. The opportunities here as well as the proximity to Europe for holidays is a novelty that I hope never wears off.

Projects I’m most proud of

I guess the highlight for me was working as a previs editor on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, written by J.K. Rowling and directed by David Yates. I’d never been on a film of that size and I’m a Harry Potter fan, so every day was a delight. I’ve done a lot of work with spots that included VFX but I’ve never been a previs editor so to see the film come together before they had shot a frame was really interesting.

The other highlight was working on a short film about the migrant crisis called The Dead Sea, directed by Stuart Gatt. It was a piece that touched on a part of the narrative that is rarely told. I’m usually very objective when I’m watching rushes but such strong, moving performances were a welcoming challenge to watch.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to know your craft and that story is always king – and to always carry an umbrella in London.

View Suga’s Full Portfolio.

Sean Ash – Editor / Director

Originally from Nottingham, Sean moved to London after graduating from Bournemouth University where he was one of the first graduates of the highly respected Media production Degree and had his graduate film selected by the college for inclusion in the BP student film expo.

Sean made his first film aged 15 at Nottingham’s ‘New Cinema Workshop’, which was also frequented by director Shane Meadows. His early love of cinema was cemented by many an afternoon spent in the ABC cinema in his home town, where he was lucky to have access to unlimited free entry through his uncle, the projectionist.

One of the features of his University course was working on the films of others in various roles and Sean soon became the go-to guy for editing in his year, and rekindled his first love in the filmmaking process: putting pictures together in the edit suite.

Road to success: ups and downs

They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I feel that the worst that any edit job can throw at me (no clapperboard, timecode or live sound on multi-cam shoots, to name a few) pales into insignificance when compared to a year of extreme sciatica. I was unable to walk without severe pain, had an operation to correct the problem, and lost 30% of the muscle mass in my right leg due to not using it to bear weight. Fortunately it was ok when sitting down, so I’m proud of never missing any jobs during this time, despite it taking quite a lot longer then normal to hobble to the edit suite during this period.

Another tough time which springs to mind is when I was threatened with strangulation by a slightly unreasonable producer at a Middle Eastern broadcasting company that shall remain nameless. Suffice to say I have yet to come across another suite where it was felt necessary to put a sign on the wall saying “Please do not shout or throw tapes at the editor”, which is unbelievable but 100% true. I stuck it out there for 7 months, becoming one of the department’s longest serving members in the process!

Greatest achievements so far

I worked with singer/songwriter David Gray over a number of years, starting when he used my photographs taken during his American tour on the album cover for ‘Sell Sell Sell” (my first trip abroad), and then making a no budget video for the hit single “Please Forgive Me” which was playing on MTV 10 times a day at the time.

Editing can be a solitary occupation at times, so the best feedback I ever got was when 15,000 people went crazy as I mixed the concert visuals I had made live behind the band during their biggest gig to date. Seeing the visuals, lights and music come together so well in the finale of a great concert and getting a direct reaction when mixing it live is a moment I’ll always remember. Eliciting a cheer from such a crowd when armed only with a flight case filled with 12 different Betacam tapes, 4 decks, a mixer, and a setlist marked up with a complicated system of synching cues was a great feeling. It’s the closest I’ll get to being a rock star, whilst lacking the requisite skill of playing an instrument.

Another highlight was when I made a film for Mui Mui with Lyndsay Lohan for the photographers Mert and Marcus. Having been commissioned to film the campaign shoot in order to deliver stills grabbed from the footage, it seemed a pity not to put it all together into a finished film. So I made the film anyway for free, even if only for my own satisfaction. This showcasing of my skills went down extremely well with everyone concerned and led to working on films for the photographers for many years on major fashion campaigns (Gucci, Chanel, YSl, Calvin Klein, Valentino, American Vogue).

I made a music video for the band Orbital for their album “The Altogether” that commissioned a video for every track in order to release the album as a DVD version with a 5.1 surround sound mix. When they had a premiere evening of all the videos made, their long standing live sound guy was actually moved to tears by my film, which is hard to beat for a reaction. It also went down very well with the band as mentioned by Paul Hartnol in an interview about the album on their official website.

Projects Im most proud of:

Always trying to improve and develop my aesthetic, I’m usually most proud of my latest work, which would be the “Chelsea Girls” fashion film for Document Journal magazine. I’m also proud to have developed a distinctive style, over the years, which runs as an identifiable constant throughout many different projects.

Biggest lessons in life and work:

In work, it’d probably be that editing trailers for pornographic films is not as much fun as it sounds. In life, appreciate what you have – family, friends and health are all that matters in the end. You can never spend too much time looking at Old Master paintings and there is no such thing as a metal frisby.

View Sean’s full portfolio

The 2016 D&AD New Blood Festival

The British Design & Art Direction (D&DA) New Blood Festival just wrapped its 2016 edition last week and Blueberry’s Creative Consultant Liam Beirne was in attendance at The Old Truman Brewery in the heart of East London.

A creative takeover like no other, with free talks, workshops and events that bring industry and talent face to face for Fringe events and an Exhibition, displaying the year’s top graduating students from design and advertising courses around the UK, it’s all about getting everyone excited and inspired by the future of commercial creativity.

Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. The D&AD Professional Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world. But it’s much more than just awards. Members join a vibrant global community, whilst creatives and clients are inspired by a world-class training programme.

As a non-profit, D&AD takes all of its surplus revenues and invests them back into the creative industry, funding programmes that develop the next generation of creative talent while campaigning for the creative industries to help solve the world’s toughest social and environmental issues.

The D&AD New Blood Exhibit was a really wonderful showcase of 2016’s new design talent. This year, illustration seemed to dominate most of the graduating class’ showcases, and the schools got very creative with the set-up of their stands. Particular highlights included Plymouth University’s Record Store set-up, which showcased the students’ illustrations as record covers.

As expected, Ravensbourne had the strongest showing for motion graphics and digital design. It would be great to see more digital design work coming from some other schools across the country!

The free “Ad Job Wall” was also a nice touch – companies from a big fish like Radley Yeldar to smaller boutique agencies were able to post their graduate opportunities on handwritten flyers.

For more information on D&DA visit their official website.

Blueberry at London Screenwriters’ Festival 2016 – In conversation with Michael Ashton

The seventh edition of the London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF) will take place September 2-4 at Regents University in Regents Park and this year, Blueberry will be in attendance for the first time, presenting a few sessions. One of them is a talk with brilliant playwright Michael Ashton, who has recently transitioned into screenwriting.

An annual conference for screenwriters, the LSF spans over three days filled with workshops, masterclasses, Q&As with A-list industry professionals, pitch sessions and networking. However, despite being a screenwriting event, the guests in attendance include plenty of filmmakers, producers, actors and executives, all gathering to share ideas, hear pitches and build relationships.

Blueberry Creative Consultant Maureen Hascoet will moderate what promises to be a compelling talk about Ashton’s unusual career so far. Born in Scotland, the writer has had a varied life experience, to say the very least. He went from college into active service with the British Army across the world and upon returning to University, he worked as a taxi driver, ice cream salesman and then qualified as a barrister, specialising in human rights.

Following a conviction for fraud, he was sent to prison for 18 months in 2008. Whilst in detention, he undertook a course in playwriting at the end of which he wrote The Archbishop and the Antichrist, a fictionalized account of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s meetings with Piet Blomfield, a murderer who seeks redemption for the atrocities he has committed while he serves a life sentence in prison in post-apartheid South Africa.

The play was submitted for an award in 2009 by those running the playwriting course and it won a Koestler Gold Award followed by Amnesty International’s Protect the Human prize, and it has been shown at the Royal Festival Hall, the Amnesty Theatre, and the Soho Theatre London.

The Archbishop and the Antichrist has now been adapted for the screen by Ashton and filmmaker Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields) and is aimed to start filming soon with Forest Whitaker and Vince Vaughn attached to play the lead roles.

With 32 more plays, 5 original screenplays and 3 adapted scripts under his belt, Ashton’s voice is expected to become as prominent in the film world as it is in the theatre, where he has consistently won awards for his work.

Ashton’s writing typically comes alive in extremely tense and graphic accounts revolving around a real-life character who has to answer for his sins to the ghosts of his past. The session, called “Writing as an act of redemption”, is poised to be just like its extraordinary speaker: raw, authentic and uncompromising.

The event takes place on Saturday September 3rd at 5pm in Herringham Hall at Regents University.

Find more information and get your festival pass on the LSF’s website.

Blueberry Talent get a 15% saving on festival passes. Contact us to receive the promo code!

Stephen Agnew – Editor/Director

Stephen is a Northern Irish creative editor and director who has been living in London for about 8 years. Technically skilled and experienced in both the music and advertising industry – his whole career has been centred around video production and moving image design. He has developed an acute knowledge of audience consumption patterns focusing on how the landscape is changing, and how to direct and customise content for individual platforms.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

Any ‘success’ I’ve experienced has often stemmed from working with the right people on the right projects. Developing a sense of mutual trust in both recurring clients and collaborators is of paramount importance for things to work out smoothly. I think it’s inevitable for the down moments to occur if this kind of relationships aren’t nurtured. Creative work is collaborative, so collaborate openly and wisely.

Projects I’m most proud of

Editing the music video for “Fuckabout” by alternative rock duo Drenge’s was so much fun and the core a great articulation of what I enjoy doing from a creative standpoint. Whereas working on Royal Blood’s music video for their song “Ten Tonne Skeleton” was appealing to me because of its scale and polish.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I guess the best lesson I’ve ever learned in my career is that you should let your work speak for you (and to put crisps in a sandwich).

View Stephen’s full portfolio

American Cinema Editors’ Editfest London 2016

The 2016 edition of EditFest London was held on June 25th at the prestigious BFI Southbank and this year Blueberry organised a competition won by Blueberry editor Adam Harvey.

American Cinema Editors (ACE) launched EditFest in 2008 in Los Angeles in response to a need to put the industry’s top editors in conversation with other editors and post-production professionals. By popular demand a London-based version of this highly anticipated annual event was added to the schedule in 2013.

Designed for professional as well as aspiring editors, post production team members, students, content creators, production execs, and those who simply love the art and craft of editing – EditFest is a rare opportunity to hear the most compelling artists talk about their work and interact with them in an intimate theater setting.

It’s always brilliant for an up-and-coming editor to have the chance to engage with their peers – in this case, multiple award nominated and winning film editors were able to screen scenes from their career and explain the thoughts and process behind the collaborative nature of the cutting, which was invaluable“. – Adam Harvey

The program was incredibly rich:

‘Small Screen, Big Picture’ looked at the decision-making processes behind some of the most popular shows on television, including Game of ThronesThe Missing and Dr. Who.

‘Editing Animation’ was an exclusive inside look at the Pixar’s animation process and a sneak-peek at their latest offerings. Adam got to see Piper, Pixar’s latest breathtaking short accompanying a little upcoming film called Finding Dory, and he was impressed, hearing about the creative process of a proactive editorial team.

‘Dailies to Delivery – Editing Features’ took an in-depth look at the entire spectrum of film editing with panellists sharing their editing stories, tips and tricks for using Avid Media Composer to craft cutting-edge cinematic masterpieces like A Quiet PassionScott Pilgrim vs the WorldRoom and Billy Elliot.

Finally, renowned Star Wars and Mission: Impossible editor Paul Hirsch, ACE, shared his editing knowledge and expertise from working on much-loved blockbuster movies like FootlooseCarrie and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 

When discussing why he uses the industry-leading choice for editors, Avid Media Composer, Hirsch explains, “It’s phenomenal that you can now sit in front of a laptop with Media Composer and have more expressive creative power than you could ever dream of whilst sitting in a tape suite 20 years ago.”

Adam’s personal highlight – “to hear Hirsch talk about his love of music and how it has influenced his career was amazing”.

EditFest Los Angeles 2016 will take place on August 6th. For more information visit the official website.

Lucy Buck – Founder/CEO of Child’s i Foundation

Lucy Buck is the founder and CEO of Child’s i Foundation, a charity based in Uganda that provides short term life-saving care for children, trace their extended families and reunite them.

Formerly a leading television producer, working for MTV networks, Outline Productions and Endemol, Lucy earned a BA in Politics and Sociology at the University of Reading. Over her television career she has produced many compelling television programmes including BBC3’s popular child psychology series House of Tiny Tearaways, BBC’s UpstagedBig Brother, Hells Kitchen, Celebrity Love Island and Comic Relief does Celebrity Fame Academy. Her role led her to setting up and managing teams producing prime time million-pound TV shows.

During the last 3 years of her television career, Lucy would spend six months producing TV shows and the rest of the year volunteering at a baby orphanage in Uganda. She witnessed first-hand the damage caused by placing babies in orphanages and wanted to use her TV skills to prove that it was possible to place children into families instead of orphanages.

The power of storytelling to raise money was already clear to Lucy when she visited Northern Kenya in 2006 and produced an appeal video for UK charity Merlin (“Medical Emergency Relief, International”). The video helped to raise nearly £100,000 for the famine relief efforts.

In 2009 Lucy quit her TV career to set up Child’s i Foundation. The idea behind it was to create a worldwide community to give love, time and money to change the system. Over the past 6 years, the charity has set up services to provide an alternative to placing children in orphanages including foster care and adoption services. 80% of children placed in orphanages have extended family members, who with good social work support could provide care for children. Child’s i Foundation set up the National Adoption panel and pioneered the country’s domestic adoption media campaign on behalf of the Government. The team provide social work training to orphanages across the country to transition them to services which support children in families instead of separating children.

Highlighting that her TV skills are telling a story, creating a connection and generally persuading people to do stuff they didn’t know they wanted to, Lucy has proved that families were a better alternative to orphanages.

I spent a long time putting together a team to create this charity. My background is television producing so I kind of applied the same rules – you’ve got to get your crew together, you’ve got to listen to the experts, you’ve got to get your schedule and budget in place – it was the only thing I knew, and I had never, ever run a charity before.

A big part of this project is changing hearts and minds and Lucy’s background in TV has been instrumental as they’ve had TV producers volunteer their skills and time since day one: “When we started, adoption was taboo and not spoken of, but over the past few years we have made hundreds of incredible videos showing that there are Ugandans who are willing to adopt. We have made adoption more common and as a result we have a waiting list of Ugandans.”

When asked about her proudest achievements Lucy mentions her team in Uganda: “There are around 65 staff members and everyone of them has a passion and a drive. They want to change their country and all believe passionately that every child in Uganda should grow up in a family. They are doing me out of a job – that for me is the definition of success.

Check out these two insightful interviews Lucy had with Women In Foreign Policy and We Are The City.

For more information on Child’s i Foundation’s visit the official website.

To get involved, read about the Child’s i Foundation Media Volunteer Scheme.

Child’s i Foundation’s Media Volunteer Scheme

In the spirit of “Uniting Creative Minds”, Blueberry is excited to share an inspiring opportunity with Child’s i Foundation, a charity set up in Uganda in 2009 which places children into families instead of orphanages.

We are working with the charity’s founder and CEO, Lucy Buck, to identify TV professionals interested in visiting Uganda and volunteering their time and expertise to produce powerful charity campaign films that ‘change hearts and minds’. It’s an invaluable opportunity for the filmmaking industry to contribute in making a positive and lasting difference to children in orphanages in Uganda, and all over the world.

Lucy Buck, a former TV producer (BBC, ITV, Channel 4) founded Child’s i Foundation after volunteering in an orphanage and seeing first-hand the damage caused by institutional care. The harm of placing a child under 3 years old into an orphanage is often permanent and irreversible. In Uganda there are 50,000 children growing up in these institutions, being denied a family and sense of belonging.

Child’s i Foundation provides short term life-saving care for children, tracing their extended families and reuniting them. If no family members are located, they find a foster or adoptive family, aiming to do this within six months, as any longer than that in care can cause irreversible damage to a child.

Over the past six years the charity has also worked in partnership with the Government to develop alternative family-based services to replace the damaging outdated practice of placing children in orphanages. Their solution, endorsed by the Government, is to eliminate those institutions by replacing them with services which give children the opportunity to grow up loved in families.

Since the start, TV professionals have visited Child’s i Foundation in Uganda and shared their skills, experience, love and time, making films that help the the charity’s work reach a wider audience.  Educating, revealing and provoking thought and discussion about better care alternatives. Without the valuable work of filmmakers to help raise awareness, the world’s most vulnerable children all over the world continue to be in danger, despite the good intentions of people who support through funding and action. The next series of films will explore 8 lessons gained over 8 years of building Child’s i Foundation.

The media volunteer placement is for a minimum period of 3 months, and the costs of flights and accommodation are covered. The need is for experienced, enthusiastic and adaptable filmmakers who can hit the ground running. This is an opportunity to expand your experience and use your skills to make a difference. No day is the same as the next one on this scheme, so you need to be adaptable and have lots of initiative and creativity.

The requirements for the role are:

• Extensive experience in field producing with a focus on producing/directing
• Experience and confidence with shooting on SLR
• Knowledge of using basic sound equipment
• Highly experienced and efficient in using Final Cut Pro

The media volunteer will be involved and privy to very sensitive, personal issues and stories surrounding abandonment, babies and families. Confidentiality and sensitivity to the nature of this content is essential as much as it is respecting the cultural aspects in the Ugandan environment.

To get involved, contact Lucy Buck

For more details on the scheme read Changing Hearts and Minds with Child’s i Foundation

For all past videos please visit Child’s i Foundation’s YouTube page

Philip Davies – Creative Director / Director / Illustrator / Motion Graphic Designer / Animator

Originally from Pretoria, South Africa, Philip trained as a graphic designer but moved into animation when he realized it was actually a job you could have. He has traveled around a lot whilst growing up, being exposed to a lot of different cultures and experiences.

He uses his training as an illustrator and designer in hand with his VFX experience to make motion graphics and experimental visuals. These are for short form, long form, live events, museum installations, TV shows, indie films, music videos, and art projects that have no real purpose.

At parties he says he’s an animator, for ease of conversation, but if he just hangs out with other animators he feels like he would disappear into his own navel. He started a studio called Battlecat! in order to meet and collaborate with artists from other disciplines – fine artists, musicians, dancers, programmers, poets, architects, etc.

Road to success – Ups and Downs

I’ve had a fair share of ups and downs – it can be difficult to stay focused on work you are passionate about when there are bills to pay. I’ve definitely struggled a lot with remembering to do the stuff I actually care about. Someone once told me “do the work you want to do more of”, but it takes a lot of psyching yourself up and faith to pursue personal projects that no one asked for and maybe no one cares about. If you just do whatever is asked of you, you end up doing more of that.

Greatest achievements so far – Projects I’m most proud of

My greatest achievement so far was helping a young friend of mine who has Aspergers syndrome make a movie about what his life is like. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy working on projects with purely commercial aims, or projects that don’t seem to have any lasting impact, so I’m proud that I was able to make something that felt like it means something to someone. That’s a rare privilege for me.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I can remember, it’s always been my passion, and although I’ve accepted that I probably will never direct multi-million dollar science fiction epics like I wanted to as a kid, I am very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I don’t feel like I’ve learned any life lessons that aren’t already summarized by Baz Luhrman in ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’.

View Philip’s full portfolio

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016

Despite a long journey with cancelled trains & diverted routes, as per our tradition, the Blueberry family made it to Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 which took place June 10-15 and needless to say this year’s edition didn’t disappoint. Our Creative Consultants Bhavinee and Kirsty were in attendance since the opening night and were later joined by our Managing Director Irantzu for a few days of wonderful documentaries, interesting talks with amazing talent and great networking events.

The opening night film, Where to Invade Nextincluded a post-screening Q&A with director Michael Moore. In his new documentary, funny and thought-provoking as ever, the American filmmaker visits other nations to steal ideas that can enrich the lives of American citizens. Although the Q&A steered off too much towards the EU referendum instead of the film, Michael Moore was really funny and energetic – a nice start to the festival, worth queuing in the rain for hours – and the theatre was beautiful, the perfect venue for an opening night film.

Day two was off to a great start with The Happy Film where a graphic designer uses himself as a project, through 3 different steps – meditation, therapy and drugs – in order to find what makes him happy. It was a very beautiful film to watch as lots of well put together designs were used to illustrate his journey.

The BBC Interview with Reggie Yates was also a highlight. They talked about his career progression from a kids TV presenter and DJ to a serious doc-maker now on track to follow into Louis Theroux’s footsteps. In The Insider: Reggie Yates in a Texan Jail, the first of two immersive documentaries available on BBC Three from June 28th, Yates enters Bexar County Jail in Texas, to experience what it’s like to be an inmate in the American criminal justice system, and understand how prisoners with mental health problems are treated behind bars. His upcoming projects sound amazing, showing how far he has come and how dedicated he is to each project and the topics he explores.

The touching and emotional Jim: The James Foley Story wrapped the second day leaving us speechless with its powerful portrait of James Foley, who was kidnapped and beheaded in Syria in 2014. This was such a moving documentary from the beginning as we share his journey into journalism up until his beheading and the stories from his friends, family and others who were captured.

On day three Ants on a Shrimp – an in-depth look at the restaurant Noma moving to Japan to create a new food experience over there – was quite uplifting and beautiful, making you feel connected with the chefs and their emotions through their Japanese journey.

The discussion A Reasonably Adjusted Debate: Disability On & Off Screen gave us an insight into other aspects of the industry that we don’t see day to day and had some great contributors, including Adam Pearson who is featured in a lot of docs on TV about appearance and disability. It was interesting and shocking to hear the statistics of how many disabled people work in the industry and how many are represented on TV (20%). Channel 4 and Betty TV (client of ours) were complimented for being so supportive when working with disabled people and for how they endeavour to include more diversity in broadcast.

Highlight of the day was seeing The Absolutely Adventurous Joanna Lumley in Conversation – she was fascinating, and such a pleasure to listen to. We knew she was fabulous but had no idea about the span of her documentary career and how much she had worked on. A very warm, endearing and really funny lady – she brought with her the makeshift shoes she created out of a bra!

Southwest of Salem: The San Antonio Four was quite relevant with the current trend of true crime and wrongful imprisonment docs. Looking at 4 women in the 90s who were falsely accused of gang-raping 2 little girls (one of the women’s nieces). This one was moving, especially as the case is still ongoing and these women haven’t been completely cleared yet – it’s hard to not sympathise with these women’s journey and all they’ve been through.

One of the festival’s biggest highlights was on day four – Sir David Attenborough in Conversation, which discussed his career history and his involvement with the intro of colour to television. The footage spanning from the start of his career to present day was spectacular, beautifully shot and such a rollercoaster of emotions. It was so awe-inspiring to see how much he has explored and how even at 90 years old he still wants to carry on for as long as he can! What a legend! And he had such great sense of humour too.

The Hard Stop – an insight in to the background of the Tottenham Riots & the shooting of Mark Duggan – was particularly interesting for Kirsty as she it all kicked off within streets of where she lives.

Great start to day five with Miso Hungry – a funny yet insightful film in to the journey of a filmmaker/editor who travels to Japan in order to loose weight by eating only their foods and adopt their habits, which led him to lose 3.5 stone in 3 months!

Set for broadcast on Channel 5 later this year, Inside the Gangexplores how gangs operate in London and their involvement with drugs and gun crime. The filmmakers had to make drop offs at particular points with Go Pros so the gang members could film the footage themselves, not knowing if the cameras and footage would even return. They eventually build up trust and this doc was born, getting the audience to see (sometimes in graphic detail) the lengths these people go in order to transport the drugs.

We finished our festival experience in style with My Scientology Movie by Louis Theroux – an insight into the world of Scientology in LA. The popular British filmmaker talks to ex-members of the church and they reenact experiences they’ve been through with the church leader – David Miscavige. Theroux’s harmlessly blunt and honest approach was as funny as always, especially the way he deals with conflict and harassment from Scientology members.

Two other documentaries were the special highlights of our Managing Director. National Bird, about drone warfare programme, was made with the contribution of whistleblowers and victims on both sides – US military personnel and Afghan people whose families have been destroyed by imprecise drone attacks. It’s a devastating film that brings to the surface inhumane and disconnected war tactics that countries all over the world partake to ‘in our name’, ‘in the fight against terror’, but all it’s doing is actually creating terror.

Care was Irantzu’s absolute favourite though. The film explores the work and relationships of four private caregivers and the elderly, infirm and disabled people they care for. A poignant story of underrecognised and undervalued care workers in the US. In the face of a private health care system, with an elderly population predicted to grow by 65% over the next 20 years, and care workers only by 2%, the film emphasises the urgent need to recognise and invest in caregivers. The storytelling was sublime and very graceful, whilst handling a difficult subject matter and the Q&A with the director and producer was simply wonderful.

Irantzu also attended the Grierson DocLab‘s reception for their trainees in the Winter Garden. She was delighted to catch up with the trainees after the workshop she hosted at last month’s Doclab and she looks forward to continuing with individual one-on-one CV workshops for each of them. The event buzzed with great energy and networking – it’s clear the Grierson Trust are actively developing a quality pool of future talent.

Last but not least it was great to hang out with some of our talent in attendance. We bumped into our editors Marius Grose and Lisa Forrest at the BBC party in the Sheffield Cathedral and it was lovely to catch up about our festival highlights and chat about the films. It’s fun to see friendly faces outside of the usual work environment and have the rare chance to check out their dance moves. ‘Till next year Sheffield!