Tag: cinema

Private Preview Screening of Erik Knudsen’s Cleft Lip

Keith French, Janet Knudsen, Erik Knudsen, Reece Douglas and Miranda Benjamin

Keith French, Janet Knudsen, Erik Knudsen, Reece Douglas and Miranda Benjamin at the cast and crew preview screening of Cleft Lip at the Vue Cinema, Salford Quays.

On the 11th November 2017, we were able to show the completed feature film by Erik Knudsen, Cleft Lip, to cast, crew and a few friends. The film stars Reece Douglas, supported by Miranda Benjamin and Keith French. Sponsored by Leica Store Manchester, the screening took place at the Vue Cinema at Salford Quays, Manchester. We were so excited to have the members of the team watch the film for the first time and reactions were overwhelming. The film looked and sounded great on the big screen, and for many of the cast this was the first time they had seen themselves on a big cinema screen. The screening was followed by a wine reception.

The film is now being entered into prominent festivals around the world and we expect a host of screenings at some of these festivals during the first 7 or 8 months during 2018, before the film is then released later in the year. More news on this later.

Erik Knudsen’s Feature Film Cleft Lip Now In Production

Principal photography of Erik Knudsen’s new feature film, Cleft Lip, starring Reece Douglas and co starring Miranda Benjamin and Keith French, started on the 13th January 2017.

Shooting is going very well and is on schedule. To keep up with developments, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

Miranda benjamin prepares for a take during the shooting of Erik Knudsen's film Cleft Lip.Miranda Benjamin and Reece Douglas wait for their shot during shooting of Erik Knudsen's film Cleft Lip.

Reece Douglas and Miranda Benjamin surrounded by crew as they wait to do a take during shooting of Erik Knudsen's film Cleft Lip.Reece getting ready for bedroom shot

Erik Knudsen giving Reece Douglas direction during the shooting of his film Cleft LipMiranda Benjamin and Reece Douglas listening to Erik Knudsen during shooting of Cleft Lip

Production designer Meriel Pym takes a break during shooting of Erik Knudsen's film Cleft Lip. Mark Duggan explains a shot to Erik Knudsen during the shooting of his film Cleft Lip.

Erik Knudsen giving direction to Nenaa-Jo Uraih during the shooting of his film Cleft Lip.Erik Knudsen and Reece Douglas listening to a run through on set during shooting of Cleft Lip.


Sound recordist Karen Lauke takes notes during shooting of Erik Knudsen's film Cleft LipKeith French trying on a suit for his role in Erik Knudsen's film Cleft Lip.

Cleft Lip Production Team Meet For First Production Meeting

Stars and production team for Erik Knudsen's forthcoming feature film, Cleft Lip.

L to R Karen Lauke (sound), Mark Duggan (Assistant Director/cinematography), Shemin B Nair (Production Assistant), Erik Knudsen (producer, writer and director), Miranda Benjamin (actress), Stuart Samuels (special effects), Reece Douglas (actor), Kane Rattray (Sales and Marketing), Keith French (actor), Richard Mulhearn (stills photographer), Janet Knudsen (producer) and Meriel Pym (Production Designer).

Erik Knudsen and Janet Knudsen were pleased to be able to host the first Cleft Lip production meeting. The stars of the film had an opportunity to meet the key production team and visa versa. It was a whole day’s meeting, which started with general introductions where people were able to share past experiences. Erik Knudsen then held a screening session where he showed clips of films from filmmakers who have influenced his approach to filmmaking. Inevitably, they included extracts from films by Ozu (Equinox Flower), Dreyer (Gertrud), Bresson (L’Argent) and Tarkovsky (Mirror). It is fair to say that the cast in particular were not familiar with these filmmakers and it offered Erik Knudsen a chance to contextualise and discuss intentions for Cleft Lip.

This section was then followed by a leisurely lunch where Kane Rattray led a discussion about how the project is using social media as a first stage of a distribution strategy. Cast and crew, of course, will be central to participating in the promotion of the project even before the film starts shooting. The team also discussed how the project will be documented as a creative process.

Actors left after lunch and the afternoon was devoted to a scene by scene discussion of key creative, technical and logistical challenges. A rough schedule was also put in place.

On the basis of this most productive day, everyone in the team now has a clear idea of what needs doing and by whom and we can now go away and start work in earnest on pre-production creative, technical and logistical preparations.

As Gagarin said: ‘let’s go!’

Cinema of Poverty


Balloons hanging from lamp post

Photo of a park bench

A gate by railway

A poverty that is humble. A poverty that submits to a higher state. A poverty that is simple to the point of being foolish. A poverty that has no yearning for wealth. A poverty that is confident in its silence. A poverty that enriches the poor. A poverty that breeds faith.

These are the qualities I seek in my work and living.

To be generous in my poverty. To share my poverty. To offer it up to feed the thousands. Where can I find this poverty and how can I make it real?

The Raven On The Jetty Released

The Raven On The Jetty Poster

We are very excited to announce the release of Erik Knudsen’s feature film, The Raven On The Jetty. The film is now available:

One Day Films buy button  The Raven On The Jetty on Google Play The Raven On The Jetty Production Scrapbook


Other outlets, including Amazon Prime, are being added soon. The Raven On The Jetty will be available in all English speaking territories. There will also be a limited number of theatrical screenings which will be announced shortly. We have developed a unique hand signed and numbered Limited Edition Production Scrapbook and DVD available shortly. The book is the story of the film, scene by scene, told using bits of Erik Knudsen’s storyboard, notes, production stills and stills from the film. Also included is the complete final screenplay and the DVD of the film.

The Raven On The Jetty first started as a concept and idea back in the spring of 2012. Writer and Director, Erik Knudsen, was running a workshop at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television in Cuba when he first started to take notes of the ideas and imagery emerging. Soon after returning to the UK, he involved his Assistant Director, Mark Duggan, and co-producer and wife, Janet Knudsen, and soon the ball was rolling. The development of the screenplay, casting and location scouting proved the most important elements early on and the production was very fortunate to encounter a range of very helpful people in Cumbria and the Lake District of England. Casting, too, took place in the Lake District where the vast majority of the film was to be set. After a public call for interested people, the team were able to shortlist and audition 19 boys and parents for the key roles. Erik Knudsen was keen to work with non professionals from the very area the film was set and the range of talents available proved considerable. Connor O’Hara stood out and proved to be perfect for the main part. Following the decision to cast Connor, the team were able to cast Connor O’Hara’s father, Rob O’Hara, to play the lead character’s father. Helen Teasdale was cast as his mother, followed by the casting of Anne Fraser and Anne Lees.

Shooting took place during the Easter holidays in 2013. The whole cast and crew lived in a couple of cottages near the primary locations, allowing for a communal feel to the production process and enabling an efficient way of organising the shoot. It meant that the principal photography only took 2 weeks, in part because the production was blessed with uncharacteristically good weather. Most of the shooting took place near Penrith and around Ullswater in the English Lake District.

The postproduction process took place during the remainder of 2013 and during 2014 the film went to a series of international festivals. These included the Keswick Film Festival, where we were very pleased to be able to premiere the film in the very area where it was shot and in which many of the cast lived. The film went on to a range of other festivals including the Legon Film Event, Ghana, Lucern International Film Festival, Switzerland, Wales International Film Festival, Aberdeen International Film Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival, where the film won the Jury Award.

Uniquely, during the making of The Raven On The Jetty, 30 short documentaries were made about the production process, from early development through to the first cast and crew screening. These Video Blogs are all available to view.

The Raven On The Jetty defies categorisation and sits outside any particular national cinema, or any particular genre. The Raven On The Jetty sits on the crest of a wave Erik Knudsen calls ‘cinema of poverty’, a cinema of thought provoking, independent quality films that defy the normal routines of the established film industry in the UK and that aspire to a cinematic aesthetic that seeks independence and simplicity in an age of abundance and complexity. We hope you enjoy the film.

BBFC Grants The Raven On The Jetty a ’15’ Theatrical Certificate

As part of our preparations for the release of The Raven On The Jetty in April 2014, we have been granted a theatrical age certificate by the British Board of Film Classification.

BBFC Rating of The Raven On The Jetty

BBFC Rating of The Raven On The Jetty

We are surprised by the rating, but it does in a sense re-affirm that context is important. While films that seem more violent and sexually explicit than The Raven On The Jetty may get lower age ratings, the fact that the context of that violence and explicitness may seem less ‘real’ and more ‘graphical’ or ‘fantasy’ means that its influence on younger viewers may have less impact than if the context seems more ‘real’ and more directly relevant to the experience of the viewer. So I am taking this age rating as a kind of badge of honour and one more testament to the effectiveness of the film.

Robert Bresson’s Films

I’ve just got back from two weeks in Cuba, where I was running my regular Creativity Workshop at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television. During the evenings of my second week, I was fortunate enough to attend a series of wonderful evening classes run by Dr Ruth Goldberg from the State University of New York. She was doing a series of screenings and discussions on the work of Robert Bresson. I couldn’t have been more fortunate, because Bresson is probably the filmmaker who, alongside Dreyer and Ozu, has most influenced my work and thoughts on film.

Portrait of Robert Bresson

And I’m not alone. Filmmakers such as Scorsese, Schrader, Ceylan, Kiarostami, Ackerman, Kaurismaki, Godard, Truffaut and many many others cite him as one of their greatest influences. Not many people know his films. He made 13 in 40 years, not a particularly prolific output, partly because he found it so difficult to get financing for his films. He was uncompromising in his approach, minimalist and beautifully simple. He had a unique approach to acting, which saw his actors – who were always amateurs – perform as what he called ‘models’. In other words, they didn’t perform, but, like the rest of the elements of his films, they were like blank canvases through which we transcended into the real substance of their souls. His visual approach was extremely minimalist and he would often focus on hands, feet and torso of a person rather than the traditional gaze on the face. However, this does not mean that he was disinterested in the face; quite the contrary. He created some of the most iconic images of the face in cinema and his imagery strikes me as very iconic, almost like the icon paintings of the middle ages: the gesture of the hands, the movement of the face and eyes, the framing of posture, all point to his background as a painter. His use of the interaction of sound and image was revolutionary at the time and remains inspiring now. He had an interesting approach to making sure sound and image complimented each other in evocative ways and never used sound purely to help legitimise the image. Even in his editing style, he broke all the rules. He would often cut scenes short, almost as if once he had met the iconic moment it was time to move on, irrespective of our traditional sense of time and space in films.

A still from Mouchette

Image from Joan of Arc

Image from Diary of a Country Priest

In these films, there are no back stories, characterisations and psychological motivations. This is pure Transcendental Realism at its finest told by a filmmaker who had little regard for fashions and what others thought of him. Here was a filmmaker concerned, above all, about the spiritual poverty of modernity, who cared passionately about his themes and the form of cinema and risked everything to make films exactly how he wanted to make them. When he won the Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in, I think 1983, for his last film, L’Argent, he was booed off the stage by hypocrite film critics and ignorant so called film lovers. He was 83 years old. First of all, how can one boo an 83 year old man off the stage for making a film. Second, how could one boo an old man with over 40 years of filmmaking behind him. Third, how could one boo an old man who, more than any other filmmaker, has influenced many of the contemporary filmmakers we so love. L’Argent is uncompromising and is perhaps his greatest achievement.

Image from Au Hasard Balthazar

I had been struggling to figure out my next film, but watching these Bresson films again reminded me of the beauty of cinema, the importance of the themes he was dealing with and the importance of having the courage to do what one thinks is right. I was inspired and I now know what I am going to do next. Thanks Ruth. Thanks Robert.