The sudden flourishing of British cinema could be a result of the democratisation of film production. The concept of filmmaking as a plausible career has altered irrevocably in the last decade, with the relative ease and cheapness of digital or HD video creating a looser infrastructure; children can now aspire to be film directors in much the same way that earlier generations dreamt of being pop stars.

Then there are the opportunities for online distribution - don't forget that it was a British film, This is Not a Love Song, that in 2003 became the first film to be premiered simultaneously in cinemas and online. With production and distribution now more widely available, it's up to young directors to challenge outdated notions of what film should be.

'I think it's time for a renewal, and a re-evaluation of British cinema,' says Hogg. 'Maybe what we've lacked in recent years has been directors who can use and develop their own voices. A lot of the funding bodies impose too many of their own ideas, and I feel strongly that as directors we need to make it clear we're not prepared to be messed around with. If someone's backing a film, they should trust what the director is doing.

''It should all be about getting a chance to present your vision,' says McQueen. 'British cinema could be in a much better state if only we could take more risks.' 

Duane Hopkins

Writer/director, Better Things

'People say it's bleak,' says Duane Hopkins of his extraordinary film Better Things, which attracted acclaim at Cannes and Edinburgh. 'Personally, I can't see it.' But then that's the common consensus, too, about the auteurs whom Hopkins cites as his inspirations: Robert Bresson, Bruno Dumont, Alan Clarke.

The picture casts a detached eye over a community in the Cotswolds that includes a group of drug addicts mourning the death of a fellow smackhead and an elderly couple whose marriage is faltering.Born in the Cotswolds, Hopkins, 34, grew up around the sort of people that are the subjects of his film. 'I was trying to recreate my memory of how it felt as a teenager. In the drug subculture as I remember it, everything is normalised; if you're sitting in a room and someone smokes crack, it's no big deal because everyone does it.'

From this milieu, Hopkins has salvaged some harshly poetic imagery, such as the shot of drugs paraphernalia arranged on a coffee table next to the order of service for the overdose victim's funeral. And his technique of directing non-professionals, which he developed on his short films Field (2001) and Love Me or Leave Me Alone (2003), has paid off.

'I see people in the street and I know instantly if I want to photograph them,' he says. 'I've started to use the camera like a microscope - to interrogate the actors, to record something deep inside them.'

Source | The Guardian

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