Polifilm Blog @ The British School at Rome – The Good Story I Couldn’t Share

This Entry was written about three weeks ago but I was not able to share it for reasons that will soon become apparent:

I am alone.

Such a great story and no one to tell it to.

I had finished my day’s work at Garbatella, a quaint Fascist hobbit-house district in southern Rome so I hopped on my bicycle and made my way North through Central Roman rush-hour traffic towards Villa Borghese and a warm meal at the British School.

When I got to Piazza Venezia however I noticed that the traffic was (if possible) even more bottled up and hectic than usual, there was something in the air… then I saw an unusually large number of Riot Police vans with their flashing lights on… a demo!

Rome seems to have at least a demonstration a week, sometimes two. People are finding it hard to make money, Italy is massively in debt, politicians are corrupt and no-one has any confidence in the system.


Housing rights demo

Housing rights demo

Demonstrations range from far left to far right and all the colours in between, one week it was housing, then austerity, a pot legalisation demo and when these happen and main arteries in the city are shut off then the traffic really goes wild!

I took it as a sign, another demo, against the beautiful backdrop of the Altare della Patria and a robust cordon of Carabinieri in their riot gear facing the demonstrators… I got my camera out and started filming. The protesters were peaceful and I made a point of asking people if they minded being filmed so no unpleasant incidents like the last time. The protesters were staging a sit-in with tents (apt for a demo demanding affordable housing) blocking Via Dei Fori Imperiali, the road that connects the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia and on North from there.

At one point I really felt like joining them, but I carried on filming, the light was beautiful and because I had my tripod the shots were much steadier than the last demo I filmed (which looks like a homage to Blair Which Project cinematography).

The situation was surreal, tourists were actually taking selfies leaning against the shields of the Carabinieri cordon and a row of cameramen and photographers (including me) lined the space between the cops and the protesters’ tents, this seems to be a well rehearsed formation.

Tourists enjoying the police cordon

Tourists enjoying the police cordon

At one point I was filming the journalists, literally a row of them, all I could see where open MacBooks and eager fingers plugging in card readers and uploading pictures, fresh off the “press”.
A guy sitting on the pavement right next to me asked why I was filming them.

He was a handsome man, young looking, in spite of some grey hairs in his well trimmed beard. He wore a thick kaki jacket and I could tell from the tilt of his baseball cap that he wasn’t one of the demonstrators (funny what a detail like that can give away).

I instantly became curious; sitting half way between the police cordon and the protest, not taking pictures or participating in any apparent way.

He asked me of course why I was filming and who for etc… and we got chatting. I asked if he minded being filmed and he said “he couldn’t” and then I got even more intrigued…
We chatted and chatted about the demo, about what a pity it is when they get violent, and about ourselves, our families and all that. It was an unusual spot I admit it but I really clicked with this guy. It wasn’t long before he leant forward and told me he was actually a Carabiniere in plain clothes.

From then on he chatted quite freely about the need for someone to protect public order and that it’s in the interest of public safety and that the “lads” were standing there all day and even though they respect people’s right to protest, if someone is throwing cobble stones at them they’ll lose their patience pretty easily.

I was truly enjoying our conversation and thinking again of that Pasolini poem ‘Lettera ai Giovani del PCI’ about the police being children of the working class while the protesters were young bourgeois youngsters when a “friend” of his sat down next to him (lets call the first guy Andrea, and his newly arrived friend Carlo).

Carlo, clearly another Carabiniere, joined in the conversation, in a jovial but quiet manner, he then leaned over and looked at the sound recorder hanging round my neck and pointed out that it was recording…

I would be a lier if I said I wasn’t aware of it being on, it certainly wasn’t anything usable in a film, however, I simply had left it on from earlier on, when I had been filming the protesters.

Andrea’s jaw dropped…
I must have gotten quite pale myself.
Carlo’s tone changed. He spoke softly but firmly, with such a forced smile his lips hardly moved.
He wanted to know who I was working for what it would be used for and so on, that if I published it and “ruined Andrea’s life he would ruin mine” (!!!).
Andrea intervened and said I was an alright guy, that he believe the recorder had been on from before and that he was sure I’d delete it if they asked me.
I told them I would. No heroics, I just said ok, I didn’t like the direction this was taking, Carlo was now fitting his radio earpiece into place and I didn’t want to mess with Carabinieri.

I don’t know if it was the nerves, or the recorder’s counterintuitive menu or simple stupidity but I couldn’t for the life of me find a way to delete a single file and it was all getting a bit embarrassing and uneasy. I don’t know who spoke the dreaded word first but it came up: ‘format’… “format the card”

I hesitated.
That card had all my atmospheric sounds from Garbatella, gleaned throughout the day: trains, fountains, birds, traffic etc…

I told them my predicament.
I truly felt bad for breaking Andrea’s trust and to make things worse Carlo started listing squats in Turin and asking me which one I belonged to, he mentioned names and asked me if I knew any of them… unbelievable!

Then as if he felt the “hard way” wasn’t working he suddenly said to me: “Do you know where I work in the Vatican? Right up under the Pope. If you find a way to delete that file I can get you in there one Wednesday Mass for some filming”

I don’t know why but I believed him. And yet he insisted on showing me pictures of him hugging high-ranking clerics outside St Peter’s during one of the Masses that occur in the square.

I still believed him.
To cut a long story short, we, shook on it, I formatted the card and we exchanged numbers.
That was it, the entire day’s recording gone in exchange for the promise of a Carabiniere. I must be mad!

Andrea and I resumed chatting as if nothing had happened. Amazingly a minute after sharing numbers and our names he had googled me up and was showing me pictures of me from the search result.

The Carabinieri on guard into the night.

The Carabinieri on guard into the night.

Things were odd… the situation had been diffused and all seemed normal.

I decided to split, too wound up by adrenaline and not sure it would be safe to return to the sit-in site after spending an hour talking to guys with a way too tilted baseball cap I headed back to my bike after saying goodbye to the two undercover officers (Andrea and I even kissed on the cheeks, a sign of great friendship in Italy).

At home I found no one to tell the story to! I literally went an knocked on a neighbour’s door to tell someone… she told me to write it down. And here we are…

Oh, there is a way to delete just one file. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
That Carlo better keep his word about filming the Pope!!!

UPDATE (7/6/2014)

So the next week “Carlo” couldn’t get me into the Wednesday mass because he had to look after his kid.
The following week it was work engagements in Caserta (God knows what he was doing there!)…

Finally I had given up and assumed this guy was going to wriggle out of his commitment… then last tuesday I got the text: “I’ve picked the tickets up, see you at 0715 outside St Peter’s sq.”

This was it!

Carlo kept his word, he got me up onto the “sagrato” the space right outside St Peter’s doors where the Pope gives mass. I was just about 20 meters from Ma’man Francesco. the footage was great and I’ll find a way to weave it into my “Passion” film when I finally get round to editing it ;)

There's the Big Man

There’s the Big Man

So what’s the moral of the story?
Carabinieri can be trusted?
Surreptitious recording is ok?
One crap turn can turn out to be a great opportunity?

I realy don’t know… what I do know is that if I hadn’t stopped to film that demo, if I hadn’t spoken to Andrea, if I hadn’t been recording, if Carlo hadn’t noticed I was recording, if I hadn’t trusted Carlo’s word I wouldn’t have the amazing footage I now have from the Pope’s Mass. That’s it.

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Cheap Hack for Moving Timelapse

Here is a first shot at me making a moving timelapse of the British School’s courtyard with my new egg timer arrangement (see picture below).

Here's the hack itself

Here’s the hack itself



This is what this clever little hack looks like, ordered an egg timer online for under €10 and stuck the gopro on it. You acn’t change the speed obviously but you can changet the frames per minute in the timelapse. For the test I did 1 frame per 10sec over an hour. I think the result is a bit jittery, 1fr/5sec will probably be better.




And here is the video that inspired me with its cheap hacks for DIY solutions to get pro filming results:

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Polifilm Blog @ The British School at Rome – Problems Equals Opportunity

This is what my thoughts look like these days

This is what my thoughts look like these days

Things started nicely enough: My wife and kids arrived to visit bringing me no end of joy and distracting me a bit from the initial weeks of full-on work!

However things did not grind to a halt as I’ve tried to move multiple projects forward simultaneously.
There are currently 3 films on the go (one of which is actually a trilogy of mini-shorts).
Of course everything is very fluid and I know that not all my ideas will materialise but I’m feeling profoundly inspired by this city and the many stories that inhabit it, my only concern is just how to do justice to such complex stories with so little time to understand them and to become part of them.

So what were the problems I referred to in the title?
- It all started with my casual filming at the Vatican becoming an issue of national security: my tripod lead the Carabinieri (Italian military police, the butts of jokes in Italy) to have a lengthy discussion as to whether I should be allowed in to Easter Mass (in the meantime they missed the fact that I had a penknife in my bag and no ticket for the event (some jokes are funny because they are funny, others are funny because they are true).
- Then my main character, a Gladiator impersonator who makes his living by posing for pictures with tourists and who’s planing to change his line of work to start rickshaw driving backed out of the project leaving me without my observational doc project…
- Then one of my cameras started acting up big time with weird focus issues occurring in strong light scenarios. This is the camera that got hit by a placard at a demo so it’s currently in a Canon repair centre and they are trying to figure out what is going wrong.

On top of all this there was a moment of panic when accommodation fell through for my family and we literally didn’t know where Juszti and the kids would be sleeping from the 30th!

The good news is that all these challenges have clarified my ideas and given me some perspective to crystalise the ideas I had floating around before:
- I’ve decided to focus on gathering all the footage I need as the postproduction can happen at a later stage.
- I’ve realised that characters who take part in your film just for money will sooner or later become a nightmare.
- I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to tell all the stories of Rome and should not regret the stuff I miss but pick a line and follow it!
- at the same time I’ve been learning lots about boldness and believing in yourself and the authority that this projects to the people surrounding you.

The beautiful thing is that this residency is doing exactly what it should do: it is giving me the time and the opportunity to try new things, experiment with my documentary language and discover the kind of filmmaker I want to be.
All the challenges along the way are helping me along on this journey and I come out at the other end of the dark tunnel that this week has been (professionally) I can’t help but think of a sentence that my old man liked to quote in times of distress:
“Problems equals opportunity.”

Well I certainly have lots of opportunities on the plate… let’s see what I can do with them!

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Polifilm Blog @ The British School at Rome – Roman Riots

I will not make a habit of writing special edition blog posts but my experiences at the demonstration yesterday left me with much to say and few people to say it to.

Here is a rough assembly of footage from the march and the subsequent riots, I think they might make their way into my film or become a self-contained short piece called “Bread and Circuses” I haven’t decided yet…

Now for the wordy bit…


Today's front page on many Italian newspapers

Today’s front page on many Italian newspapers

A nation-wide day of anti-austerity protest was organised yesterday. The demonstration in Rome counted about 20.000 people and I was pleased to see that the vast majority were a healthy and peacful mix of ages, backgrounds and gender.

What the day will be remembered for however (also thanks to the media’s massive focus on this aspect) will be the clashes between protesters and police.

What I want to write about though isn’t the clashes (Italian newspapers seem to be doing a lot of that without mentioning any of the reasons for the protest; namely the austerity measures of Italy’s third unelected “technical” government in a row) but about the profound disappointment in seeing protesters, who I would side with ideologically behave like fascist thugs
It makes me think of that quote: “If you’re not a liberal at 25 you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at 35 you have no brain” (apparently Churchill never said these words but still, at the age of 31 I’m reminded of them as I write and I shudder).

Moving on, not-so-swiftly to the main reason for this post, I was surprised and disappointed to see that the protesters themselves were extremely hostile towards me; one trying to rip the mic off the camera and another attacking me with a placard and trying to whack the camera out of my hand.
In the meantime journalists wearing motorcycle helmets (note to self: bring helmet to next demo I intend to film) and the police cameramen (real threat to them being identified) were filming undisturbed.

These episodes shook me quite a bit and I then missed some of the main action when I went off to lick my wounds (not literally) which brings me on to the next consideration:

How brave are those camera people who dive into the middle of the action just so we can see what has been happening?
Amidst the smoke, the shouting, the loud explosions of home-made devices (one protester apparently lost his hand when one went off early) and people stampeding in all directions I found it extremely difficult to get the shots I meant to, focus, framing, duration of shot, all basics of proper filming went out the window as I ran around, scared and confused amidst the madness.
Watching over yesterday’s footage I couldn’t help thinking I could’ve done a better job, especially covering the main clashes which, at one point I simply walked away from.
It certainly was a steep learning curve and absurdly, with the benefit of hindsight I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll be filming in such high pressure situations.

I often sympathise with protesters who defend themselves when police forces try to repress a spontaneous popular uprising. I’m opposed to violence in general but I can see how these reactions (like Egypt for example) stem from true desperation and the impossibility to change things in any other way.

What I saw on the streets in Rome yesterday was different, violent protest has become a thrill-inducing activity for people who clearly intended to fight and who, in spite of their supposed altruistic ideological background had no consideration for other people, not for their safety nor for their intersts.
As for the good that might come of these actions I frankly despair.
The whole demo was easily dismissed as a violent mob making the march of the other 19.700 people meaningless to the broad section of the public who might have been inspired by such broad and popular response to political injustice.

Alas the talk on the town has been about the scared tourists, the clean-up costs and the boy who lost his hand; very little debate on austerity has risen from the ashes of yesterday’s events.


Clashes in Valle Giulia between protestors and police referred to in Pasolini's 1968 poem "Il PCI ai Giovani". These pictures were taken right outside the British School at Rome (!).

Clashes in Valle Giulia between protestors and police referred to in Pasolini’s 1968 poem “Il PCI ai Giovani”. These pictures were taken right outside the British School at Rome (!).

The whole episode yesterday left me quite sad and disillusioned with regard to the possibility of change in this country that I love/hate so much.
It reminded me of a poem by the great Roman writer, filmmaker and philosopher Pierpaolo Pasolini which dates back to the riots of the late 60s but could be applied just as to the events from yesterday.

Coincidentally this morning I fulfilled my “cappuccino e brioche” breakfast ritual at Nacci’s in the Pigneto area where Pasolini himself would often go to have his coffee, I wonder if he thought this poem up there? (I’m pretty sure Pasolini wasn’t taking smartphone pictures of front page protest-related photos so he could post them in his blog… then again, if he could have he probably would’ve).

This is a fairly literal translation of and excerpt of the poem but it is the best the internet could offer and it saves me having to translate it myself.
The original text can be found here.

IL PCI AI GIOVANI  <The PCI (Italian Communist Party to the Youths> (1968)

Its sad. The critique of
the pci should have been done in the first half
of the past decade. You are late, children.
And it doesn’t matter that at the time you were not born.
Now the journalists of the entire world (the t.v.
ones included)
kiss your (as they still say, I think, in
university) ass. I don’t, friends.

You have the face of daddy s boys.
Your clean appearance doesn’t lie.
You have that mean look.
You are afraid, uncertain, despairing
(very good) but you also know how to be
spoilt, scheming and arrogant:
petit-bourgeoise values, my friends.

When you were at the Villa Giulia yesterday you brawled
with the police,
I sympathised with the policemen!
Because policemen are sons of the poor.
They come from the outskirts, urban and rural.
As for me, I know well,
I know how they were as little kids and young men,
the precious penny, the father who never grew up,
because poverty does not bestow authority.
The mother calloused like a porter, or tender,
because of some disease, like a little bird;
the many children, the hut
among the orchards overgrown with red weeds (on someone else’s
land); the slums
over the sewers;or the apartments in the vast

council estates, ecc. ecc.
And, look how they dress them up: like clowns,
with that rough cloth that stinks of
uniform and poverty. Worse of all, naturally,
is the psychological state to which they are reduced
(for a handful of dollars a month):
with no more smile,
without any friends in the world,
excluded (in an exclusion without equals);
humiliated at the loss of their human values
in exchange for police ones (being hated breeds hatred).
They are twenty, your age, my dear boys and girls.
We are all obviously against the institution of the police.
But try going against the courts, and then you’ll see!
The boy policemen
that you, out of the sacred violence (of the venerable risorgimento
of the daddys boy, have beaten,
They belong to the other class.
At Valle Giulia, yesterday, occurred an instance of
class war: and you, my friends (although on the
right side) you were the rich,
while the policemen (who were on the
wrong side) they were the poor.A nice victory, then,
yours! In these cases ,
to the police you should give flowers, my friends

(Please not that this is an exerpt of the poem which is 4 times as long and Pasolini twists and turns, changing his mind as too who is at fault throughout)

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Polifilm Blog @ The British School at Rome – Week #1

The BSR entrance

The BSR entrance

So here we go: putting aside my natural dislike of blogs, which I often rate as glorified public diaries with very little to offer their readers, I’ve decided to write a brief weekly account of my time as a resident at the British School at Rome.


First things first: it is actually The British School AT Rome, not IN Rome.
For the purposes of this blog I ran a quick survey asking staff and librarians in the hope of finding out why it is “at” and not “in” but alas came back empty-handed.
It remains for the time being a curious mystery (though I would’ve preferred a good old anecdotal bit of trivia to kickstart this blog… but there you go).


The reason I’m here is that I was selected to be this year’s resident at the BSR for the Creative Scotland Document24 fellowship in documentary filmmaking.
I must confess it is a pretty amazing deal (and I count my blessings daily): three months in Rome, being fed and housed, with a bursary to fund your work and no commissioning editors lurking over your shoulder making sure you’re making the film you promised at the pitch!

This sort of freedom is a rare luxury in a world guided by market rules and I’m really excited about the many possibilities that this time/space/bursary offers especially in terms of exploring the medium of moving image and developing my own documentary language.

The BSR itself is a surreal institution; housed in a beautiful Neo-classical building in a well-to-do area north of Villa Borghese it is a bubble of Britishness amidst Roman chaos. Within an hour of arriving I had sipped my afternoon tea with shortbread and played tennis with fellow residents; for those of you who don’t know me, these activities are pretty unusual in my day-to-day life even back in the UK, however I decided to dive into the experience wholeheartedly and to go with the flow in what is to be my home for the next three months.

My studio/room @BSR

My studio/room @BSR

Here life is very regimented, we even have a bell to call us to meals (the fact that it is a Neapolitan who performs this task with Swiss-like precision is yet another example of what becomes possible in this parallel universe!)
More seasoned residents will know what food we’ll be eating or whether there will be candles or drinks receptions just by the day of the week.

I myself have slipped into the routine here effortlessly in this first week, getting to enjoy the hang out with other artists and scholars in the evenings and finding that work is much easier in my spacious and bright studio than it is in my cluttered and messy office back home.


Outside the walls of the BSR Rome carries on at its simultaneously hectic and leisurely pace; the city itself is full of contradictions which in itself makes it a great playground for a documentary filmmaker.
My whole project in fact (working title Roman Postcards [#RomanPostcard on twitter]) is centred on the coexistence of very different worlds within the city’s boundaries: on one hand the tourists’ romanticised and dreamy experience of amazing architecture, art and history that can be found round every corner with a sprinkle of Italian style and cuisine thrown in for good measure, on the other hand the city itself, a bustling metropolis in which real Romans deal with the hardships of Italy’s current economic crisis or struggle through rush-hour traffic. Every duality you can imagine coexists in a what appears to be a well-tested and miraculously sustainable balance: religiousness and sacrilegiousness, far right and far left, noise and quiet, authenticity and tackiness, tradition and innovation, aggressiveness and generosity…

The list could go on but I think it’s about time I get out of the cosiness of my studio, hop on my bike and dive into the city for my day’s work.
Today I’m going to try and catch the gypsy pickpockets in action at the Colosseum with my telephoto lens and to meet to meet a gladiator who wants to drive rickshaws thus breaking the family line of photo-op gladiators… just another doc-making day in Rome.

More on my BSR residency and the film’s progress next week so watch this space!

Tomás Sheridan

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Blackburn Kids complete doco on Susan Boyle as part of Polifilm workshop

So proud of the kids who took part in the Polifilm workshop in the former mining village of Blackburn, West Lothian over the past three months.
We had our highs and lows but in the end they really got into the project and nailed it!

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Radiostan @Decagram1.2

Radiostan@Decagram1.2Had an amazing night with great Q&A at Edinburgh’s latest Decagram event. Radiostan went down well with the audience getting involved and asking questions.

Decagram holds monthly events with films music and visual art, it is definitely a night out with a difference, strongly recommend it!

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Finding Josephine will be 3rd Polifilm short at London Short Film Festival

Finding Josephine is due to screen at London Short Film Festival January 13th 2014 at 1830 in Cine Lumiere.

We’re super-pleased to be recognised yet again by this vibrant and eclectic festival in its 11th year.

Details about screening.


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Livingston Lives Premiere Announced

Livingston's 50th_coloor_highres




The screening of Livingston Lives will take place on Thursday 6th of March 2014 at at the Howden Park Centre (Livingston -EH54 5AE).

Doors open at 16:30 and the film should screen before 17:30.

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Latest Finding Josephine Festival News

FFinding Josephineinding Josephine is quietly making its way round festivals…

9th Children’s India International Film Festival – Bangaluru 2013
DOKUFEST Kosovo 2013
Erasmus Huis International Documentary Film Festival, Jakarta 2013
Festival Film Dokumenter Yogyakarta 2013

Unfortunately I often seem to find out about these festivals after it’s too late to arrange travel to them…

… In other Josephine-related news we’ll be skyping with her for her birthday on the 19th of December. Thanks to Gary from Plan for sorting this out. This will be the first time we speak to the family since they’ve seen the film!

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Another One Bites the Dust

Livvi posterLivingston Lives, Polifilm’s latest documentary labour of love is now complete.

Commissioned by West Lothian Council with the support of Heritage Scotland this little film celebrates 50 years of Livingston New Town.
Livingson was built from scratch in the 1960s to house the over-spil from Edinburgh and Glasgow’s over-populated working class areas; 50 years and three generations later Livingston has become a town of its own.
the film has not yet had its premiere but as soon as it becomes available online we’ll be sure to include a link.

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Finding Josephine at Take One Action

I’m so proud to have presented Finding Josephine at Take One Action, literally one of my favourite film festivals! Screening in both edinburgh and Glasgow this festival really focuses on thought-provoking, world-changing films. No wonder we are so flattered…

Take One Action Film Festivals is the UK’s leading global citizenship film festival, led by film lovers, artists and globally-concerned citizens based in Scotland who believe that cinematic experiences can inspire lasting change.

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Polifilm Selected for Document24

Tomás Sheridan has been awarded a Document 24 residency by Creative Scotland in collaboration with  The British School at Rome to offer Scottish-based filmmakers the opportunity to work for three months on a project (a documentary in my case) based in Rome. So April to June 2014 I’ll be in the Eternal City working on my next film (wt Roman Postcards)

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Docma 13 Film Lab @Lagofilmfest total success!

I’m so pleased that the workshop at Lago Film Festival with its strict 10 rules of Docma13 resulted in such a cool little film:

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Tomás Sheridan’s “Retrospective” at Lago Film Festival

Carlo Migotto assured me that his “retrospective” of my work did not imply I was old or he secretly desired I were dead. However the screening of Archive of Dreams, Radiostan and Finding Josephine at Lago Film Festival was a total success with questions and audience involvement. This was actually the FIRST ever time that multiple films of mine were screened on a big screen at the same time!

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Finding Josephine to screen at Children’s Film Fest in India

9th Children’s India International Film Festival has selected Finding Josephine for this year’s edition. I’m so pleased that this wee short which is centered on children, on how they see their world and on how they are going to change it.

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Radiostan to be part of BFI’s permanent factual collection

We’re honored to announce that Radiostan, after screening at 24 festivals over 2 years, winning prizes and special mentions, being acquired by Canal+ and distributed by Future Shorts has been invited to be part of the permanent factual collection in the British film Institute’s archive. This means that this wee film with a budget of a few hundred pounds (mainly travel costs) is now officially part of British film history!

Radiostan to be part of the Factual collection at BFI

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Polifilm becomes Cirque du Soleil Casting Partner for Europe

Don’t ask me how but after 3 years of auditions coordinated in the UK for Cirque du Soleil we are now official Casting Partners for Europe which means that in the years to come we’ll have the pleasure of attending, coordinating and filming many more great auditions held by talent scout Marc-André Roy. It’s a bit of a departure from our usual film work but we are nonetheless thrilled and flattered by this opportunity!

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Finding Josephine starts its Festival Journeying

fj fest-1

Ok, we’ve been a bit lax with bigging-up Finding Josephine’s successes. Whie we weren’t looking (or rather we were busy with our day-to-day lives Finding Josephine got into various festivals and in some cases has already screened at them:

DOXA Documentary Film Fest Vancouver – May 2013

Southside Film Festival, Glasgow – May 2013

London Eco Film Festival – May 2013
One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague – February – December 2013

Gdansk/ Streetwaves Festival, Poland – June 2013

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First Uni teaching experience was amazing!!!

DAMS in montaggioApril 2013 saw me teaching Documentary film-making in a University in the border town of Gorizia in Notrth-Eastern Italy to some very bright and motivate students who unfortunately are stuck in a loop of theoretical classes without many opportunities to get films actually made. But we changed all this! Starting from “What is a documentary?” through, pitching skills, theatre-style exercises to develop team work and confidence into development and production they managed in just over a week to produce thought-provoking and intelligent documentaries making me a very proud teacher… Nice one guys. Good luck on your path I hope I showed you some new routes to explore ;). Special thanks to Ludovica Fales of Kitchen Sink Collective who assisted me throughout the course and made the whole thing possible with her can-do attitude and enthusiasm!

This is the poster for the Screening of the guys’ films. The theme was “The Border” but we asked them to explore the concept and they certainly did!
Volantino DAMS Proiezione CORRETTO

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#findingjosephine reaches 50,000 views on Youtube!!!

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#findingjosephine gone viral!

FINDING JOSEPHINE is now online as part of Why Poverty’s launch.

I’m very proud of this little documentary about a big subject.

Please share and tweet #findingjosephine #whypoverty.


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Radiostan to Screen @TenderPixel London Art Gallery

Radiostan is still getting picked up 2 whole years since it was made! This crazy little short, shot and edited over km3,500 in 4 weeks in Central Asia and Russia and costing £500 never ceases to surprise me… This time it’s Art Gallery TenderPixel in London screening Radiostan for a curated program at 18:30 on October 9th.

If you haven’t seen this film yet then download a wee program here and get yourself out there to see experimental shorts. I wish I’d been to all the places this film has been, I would’ve visited 4 continents in 2 years averaging a new country a month! Just goes to show that big budgets and lots of time and equipment aren’t everything…

Oh, and this is the event’s facebook page:


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Polifilm Works on Breast Cancer Awarness Video

We’re very pleased to have collaborated with Leith Agency’s on this very worthwhile and humorous Breast Cancer Awareness video. Please share to raise awareness on this important issue!

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Polifilm Media Ltd. is a proud customer of the Co-operative Bank

Changing your account to an ethical bank is much easier than you think. Your money will no longer fund arms, fossil fuel and irresponsible investment banking. You will make the world a better place and send a clear message to our banks: Ethical banking should be normal banking! We procrastinated for a long time before leaving RBS and BoS but now it’s done and we feel much better already.

You can follow the link to switch to Coop Bank or find an ethical bank near you which you’re happy with:


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Polifilm becomes LTD.

So, somehow in the middle of the night with a few clicks Polifilm has graduated to its next incarnation and I have somehow gone from being self-employed to my own employee! We’re now ready to take on bigger projects, bigger budgets and bigger teams! Happy days and welcome Polifilm Media Ltd.

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PoliFilm embarks on the next ambitious project: Livingston!

Hanging out in a day care centre in Livvi

So far we’re deep in research and recces to prepare for our film commissioned for Livingston’s 50th anniversary. So far when I’ve been telling people I’m making a film about Livingston the instinctive reaction has been: “Why?”

Well, I must say this started as a corporate gig but I’ve since discovered that the commissioners are actually after a deep and thought-provoking film about this fascinating town which at first glance appears not to have a history of it’s own. It is in fact a great mosaic of people and stories that have been thrown together by circumstance. the creative juices are flowing here at HQ…

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The best “corporate” gig EVER!!!

We’re so proud to be part of fire-theatre history with our promo&doco about Festa del Fuoco di Stromboli. This amazing yearly festival takes place on Europe’s most active volcano on the island of Stromboli in the middle of the Mediterranean. The videos were a year in the making squeezed between all the other pressing engagements for Polifilm but we worked hard with visionary August Shuldes, the founder, brain and heart of the festival, not to make the usual trite promotional documentary and to capture some of the magic of the event… I hope we have succeeded!

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Tomás Sheridan returns from his jury duty at Concorto Film Festival

I was honored and excited to be invited to be a jury member at this year’s Concorto Short Film Festival in Pontenure (PC) Italy. Apart from their amazing hospitality with lovely hotels, food and wine for the full week, I was pleased to see a large grassroots support for this highly intelligent and ambitious festival in the small town of Pontenure in the middle of the Po valley. The selection was amazing and we found it quite hard to pick the winners but after hours of debate we pulled it off… I strongly recommend this festival if you ever get the chance. back to rainy Scotland now…

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Finding Josephine finished and delivered!

Me and Mango on our way out...

Finding Josephine is now complete!
Here’s the trailer if you need a memory refreshment.

Commissioned by Why Poverty this personal short in which Mango (my daughter) and I travel to Uganda to find the girl we sponsor will have 500.000 potential viewers with over 50 broadcasters involved in the project’s funding. I’ll post worldwide broadcast dates as soon as I know them.

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