Tag: Film Festival

StoryLab Cuba 2018

Erik Knudsen recently returned from a successful trip to the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, where, during the last 2 weeks in November 2018, he ran a StoryLab workshop titled like his new book, Finding The Personal Voice In Filmmaking.

Workshop participants Ricky, Pamela, Julia, Ana Clara and Patrick.

For two weeks, he explored with the workshop participants themes around creativity, ideation and story and narrative structure. Workshop participants emerged with complete first draft screenplays for short films, which were critiqued before fine-tuning.

Amazing and strong stories emerged and we hope that Ana Clara, Ricky, Julia, Pamela and Patrick go on to make these films and share them with us.

There was also plenty of opportunities to relax.

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.

The Raven On The Jetty Scottish Premiere Date at Aberdeen International Film Festival Announced

The Aberdeen International Film Festival have announced the date for the screening of The Raven On The Jetty. This screening will be a Scottish premiere and we’re looking very much forward to hearing what the Scots make of the film.

Aberdeen International Film Festival home page announcing screening of The Raven On The Jetty

If you’re in the area, please try and catch the film and let us know what you think.

Aberdeen Film Festival Select The Raven On The Jetty For Inaugural Programme

Laurel for Aberdeen Film Festival for which The Raven On The Jetty has been selected

Aberdeen have a brand new film festival – the Aberdeen Film Festival – and we are excited that they have selected The Raven On The Jetty to be in their inaugural programme. The festival takes place in Aberdeen, Scotland, between the 4 October and 12 October 2014. More details to follow soon.

The Raven On The Jetty Wins Jury Award at Madrid International Film Festival

Madrid International Film Festival Jury Award for The Raven On The Jetty

We’re very pleased that The Raven On The Jetty won the Jury Award at the Madrid International Film Festival 2014. The announcement was made at the awards ceremony on the 19 July 2014 in Madrid. Though I was able to attend the screening of the film and take part in a Q & A earlier in the week, I was, unfortunately, not able to attend the awards ceremony itself.

The festival consisted of a week of screenings, including feature films, short films and documentaries, from around the world. The festival is primarily aimed at the independent film community, distributors and sales agents, internationally, and I met quite a few filmmakers and agents from around the world, including the US, UK, India, Jordan, Ukraine, South Korea, Denmark and Spain.

Reactions to The Raven On The Jetty were very positive and we had a lively Q & A session following the screening. There were some excellent films in competition and it was therefore especially pleasing to win the Jury Award. This is also a particularly good prize to win, as it reflects on the totality of the film and the wonderful contribution made by everyone involved in its making. Well done to everyone!

The show goes on. We’re very much looking forward to releasing the film later in 2014. In the meantime, we will keep everyone informed of future festivals.

Legon International Film Event 2014 Reflection

Between the 11 and 14 March 2014, I attended the first Legon International Film Event held at the stunning campus of the University of Ghana’s Legon campus.


Main Library at University of Ghana, Legon, Accra

Main Library at University of Ghana, Legon, Accra

The sprawling campus is situated on the east side of Accra and is home to over 50,000 students. I was the guest of Africanus Aveh, the head of Theatre Arts in the School of Performing Arts, and his team. He and his team are expanding film practice within the department with a view to complimenting the provision provided by the National Film And Television Institute (NAFTI), which is a school built around the traditional film school model, such at the National Film and Television School in the UK. Film studies at university level is in its infancy, though film training through NAFTI (and its predecessors) has been taking place in Ghana since 1932. It was therefore fantastic to see the efforts being made by Africanus and many others in Ghana to get film onto the educational map.

Erik with Africanus Aveh and Team

Francis Gbormittah, Samuel Bengr, Erik Knudsen, Africanus Aveh and Louise Akanlu

The aim of the conference/festival was to bring practitioners and academics together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Ghanaian film. It was also a small film festival showcasing a number of films, including premiers. The Raven On The Jetty was the opening film of the festival and I did a Q&A following the screening. I was overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the film, particularly as I wasn’t quite sure how my subject matter, and the style of the film, would go down with an African audience. My film, Heart of Gold, also showed at the festival and I was really pleased to be there for a lively discussion about the issues the film raised. I was also there to give the keynote address to set the ball rolling for the conference and to raise a number of issues and themes as I saw them. My talk was entitled The Meaning Of Independence: Challenges And Opportunities For Ghanaian Film In An Age Of Abundance.

It was an honour to share the panel, after my talk, with some of the truly great and good of Ghanaian cinema: Kwaw Ansah in particular, who some may know as the director of the classic Ghanaian films such as Heritage Africa and Love Brewed In An African Pot and Chris Hesse, the former Director of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation. I first met Chris Hesse and Kwaw Ansah as a young man in 1989 when preparing for my first feature length film, One Day Tafo, though I don’t think they remembered.


Grandees of Ghanaian Cinema Ernest Abbeyguaye, Chris Hesse and Kwaw Ansah

Ernest Abbeyguaye, Chris Hesse and Kwaw Ansah

Quite apart from my contribution to the conference/festival, I was pleased to attend much of the conference and learned a great deal about what is happening in Ghanaian film. It is clear that the film scene in Ghana is incredibly vibrant and entrepreneurial: in peak months some 125 locally produced feature films are distributed. There are competing sectors – Kumawood are films from the second city, Kumasi, and Galliwood are the Accra equivalent. These are films that are made very quickly, are often unscripted and star local talent and always, importantly, in local languages. These films are much more popular than any western films, such as Hollywood films, and there is quite a substantial industry built around them. Most of the consumption of these films is from VCDs and DVDs, with some exhibition taking place in small local cinema venues and they are quite clearly aimed at home audiences. Unlike Francophone cinema, which grew out of a cultural colonisation, sub-Saharan African cinema is very raw and ‘untrained’. While the French colonised with their culture, the British were only interested in trade and business. As a consequence, Francophone African cinema has a very French feel about it, but the raw films of Galliwood or Kumawood are very African. Indeed, were it possible for these filmmakers to transcend the powerful legacy of the oral tradition to embrace and translate this tradition to play on the audio visual strengths of the cinematic medium, and to develop a higher technical expectation, a uniquely African way of expressing through cinema may well emerge.

Outside of this mass produced product, there are a number of popular quality films and interestingly at this moment in time, the two most popular film directors are women: Leila Djansi and Shirley Frimpong-Manso. There are clear tensions in the industry, mainly revolving around the debate around quality. The educated elite wish to see better quality films being produced within a more structured film policy environment, supported by training, whereas many of the commercial producers are highly sceptical and suspicious of this kind of intervention. The conference and festival were in part to try and stimulate a debate and to create a dialogue and I think it is a wonderful initiative that I look forward to following in years to come.

At the end of the conference, I was very moved when the conference decided to thank me by enstooling me: making me a chief with an official title. I have been given the title of  TOGBE KORKU AGBENYA I. The middle name is because I am born on a Wednesday and the last name means something like a storyteller who brings life.

Erik Knudsen being Enstooled

Erik Knudsen being Enstooled as Togbe Korku Agbenya I

It was a wonderful enlightening trip and I wish all the great people I met all the best fortune with developing a cinematic culture in Ghana and look forward to helping and contributing where I can.

Official Selection Lucerne International Film Festival for The Raven On The Jetty

We’re very pleased that The Raven On The Jetty has been selected for the prestigious Lucerne International Film Festival taking place in Switzerland in October 2014.

The Raven on the Jetty LIFF Laurel

We look very much forward to working with the festival to ensuring that audiences at the festival have a great experience with the film.

Keswick Film Festival Screening of The Raven On The Jetty

Yesterday the Keswick Film festival screened Erik Knudsen’s The Raven On The Jetty. The screening was attended by all the cast, Anne Lees, Anne Fraser, Helen Teasdale, Rob O’Hara and Connor O’Hara, as well the raven, Cadge, and his handler Richard Cooper.

Cast of The Raaven On The Jetty Attending Keswick Film Festival 2014

There  was a fantastic turnout for the screening – over 255 – the most popular film of the festival.

Audience attending screening of The Raven On The Jetty at Keswick Film Festival

And we had a wonderful reception. As we were approaching the end of the film you could hear a pin drop, which was very pleasing as I could feel that the audience were totally immersed in the film. And from the reactions to the film, and the the Q&A following the film, it felt like the film was very well received, which bodes well for its onward journey. Thank you to the Keswick Film Festival for allowing us to launch the film at the home of all the cast and the setting of the film.

Keswick Film Festival About To Start

The Keswick Film Festival is about to start and we look forward to screening The Raven On The Jetty on Sunday the 2 March 2014 at 1.30pm at the Theatre On The Lake. We understand that ticket sales for the screening are close to a sell out and I am looking forward to doing a Q&A following the screening with the cast members.

Keswick Film Festival 2014

Border TV (ITV) did a little news item about the up and coming festival and The Raven On The Jetty.

Madrid International Film Festival Official Selection for The Raven On The Jetty

We’re very pleased to announce that The Raven On The Jetty has been selected to compete in the official section of the Madrid International Film Festival 2014. The film is up for a Jury Award (Erik Knudsen and Janet Knudsen), Best Original Screenplay (Erik Knudsen) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Fraser).

2014 Official Selection Madrid International Film Festival


The festival takes place between the 11th July and 19th July 2014 in Madrid.