Monday, 17 May 2010

Four Lions (2010, Warp Films)

Directed by Chris Morris

Produced by Mark Herbert and Derrin Schlesinger

Written by: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain
Studio: Warp Films and Film 4 (Wild Bunch for international sales; a division of StudioCanal and therefore a French sales company, who are owned by Vivendi!)

Distributed by: Optimum Releasing (UK)

Release date(s): 23 January 2010 (Sundance Film Festival); 7 May 2010 (UK)

Budget: £2.5 million
Profit: £608,608 from just 115 screens (box office opening weekend figures – this is very high!)

Pre-Production and Funding
The project was originally rejected by both the BBC and Channel 4 as being too controversial. Morris suggested in a mass email, titled "Funding Mentalism", that fans could contribute between £25 and £100 each to the production costs of the film and would appear as extras in return. Funding was secured in October 2008 from Film 4 Productions and Warp Films, with Mark Herbert producing. Filming began in Sheffield in May 2009.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010 and was short-listed for the festival's World Cinema Narrative prize. Introducing the film's premiere Chris Morris said: “I feel in a weird way that this is a good-hearted film. It's not a hate film, so I would hope that that aspect would come through."
The UK premiere took place at the Bradford International Film Festival on 25th March 2010 and nationwide release is scheduled for 7 May.

About Chris Morris/Four Lions
Certain artists establish such a niche for themselves that they become journalistic shorthand for a certain category. For Chris Morris, the satirist behind The Day Today and Brass Eye, the category is the absurdity of modern media culture

Morris's conclusion, according to the film's producers, Warp Films, is that terrorism is a daft as well as a deadly business. "Even those who have trained and fought jihad report the frequency of farce," the company has said. "At training camps young jihadis argue about honey, cry for their mums, shoot each other's feet off, chase snakes and get thrown out for smoking … Terrorist cells have the same group dynamics as stag parties and five-a-side football teams. There is conflict, friendship, misunderstanding and rivalry. Terrorism is about ideology, but it's also about berks." Morris's project, they maintain, "understands jihadis as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous."

Web 2.0?
Four Lions’ website contains aspects of sharing links for you to link trailers and the website to social networking sites. It has a live twitter feed streamed across the webpage to encourage interaction and buzz about the site/film. You can download jpgs and pdfs of the posters too, to continue to support a grassroots media support, in local areas. It has interactive software that responds to your ‘click’ – click the four men and they either fire or run for you! (see pic right.)

On the links page, it contains hyperlinks to online multimedia interviews, web content and to the production company websites. On the ‘Where to Watch’ page, if you click a cinema venue, it takes you directly to the booking page of that cinema.

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