Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Day 2 at the Edinburgh Film Festival Talent Lab, was a masterclass with producer Iain Smith

He’s produced a fairly astounding eclectic range of films including “Local Hero”, “Chariots of Fire” ,”The Killing Fields”, “The Mission”, The Fifth Element“, “Seven Years in Tibet“, “Entrapment“, “Cold Mountain“, “Alexander“, “The Fountain“, “Children of Men“, “Wanted and most recently The A Team”


He showed a hilariously dated American trailer for “Local Hero” and interestingly said that “Wanted” had made more than all his other films put together.

His advice..

  • Surround yourself with people that are better than you.

  • If you know how to pitch you know how to make the film. …as you know what is the core of your film.

  • Pitching. It’s all abut how you end.

  • We should be reluctant to start writing until we know the ending

  • We shouldn’t be obsessed by success. We should be obsessed by failure. Failure is when you learn. Iain told us how he turned downWithnail and I

  • Hollywood has learnt that if you have someone famous in the film, then it doesn’t need to be execution dependent. I.e it doesn’t matter what it’s about or how it’s made.

  • There are 17 tent pole movies (blockbuster) being released this summer. There will be 5 or 6 failures. But he believes it’s not the end of the blockbuster. They will probably become even bigger.

  • So there will be a space for $20m – $60m films which will probably be made by TV companies.

  • There is a huge demand for filmed entertainment. It’s important for human health. So get out there and make stories.. things will happen.

  • In screenwriting / story-telling the element of surprise is vital. So the first thing the audience sees is important .. then you must then reverse their expectations. The more you can change and surprise the better.

  • Writing is the loneliest job.. you just get rejection. But directing is also really lonely.

  • Rejection.. Don’t let it get in the way.

Really interesting guy. If you get a chance to see him, go listen.


Ecosse Films

Posted by Phil On June - 18 - 2011

Ecosse Films have asked to read 2 of my scripts. So I’m feeling particularly pleased after my meeting with Executive Producer Carole Sheridan. Ecosse films produced Mrs Brown, Charlotte Gray, Becoming Jane and Brideshead Revisited. 🙂

Oliver Sherman – film by Ryan Redford

Posted by Phil On June - 17 - 2011

A beautifully paced film directed with great assurance by Ryan Redford, about a lonely war veteran,  who 7 years after the war arrives at the family home of a fellow soldier. He’s been brain damaged, still carries his bayonet, has the crude behaviour of the the squaddie   and has still not recovered from the experience of killing. The  juxtaposition of this with  the family home life and the innocence of the sleeping children and caring mother creates an almost unbearable tension as you expect the worst to happen.  The acting is superb.

Through I feared this would all turn into extreme violence, but this accomplished feature does not go where you expect.    One to watch


Edinburgh Film Festival

Early morning breakfast on the first day of the Edinburgh festival for Ken, Graham and myself was a croissant and a coffee, gulped down en route to the delegates centre in order to catch the first film at 9am. This was the delightful Borrower Arriety, which was a beautiful Japanese animation adaptation of the English classic The Borrowers. Though I thought the music was overpoweringly sentimental at times, it was beautifully crafted, with excellent sound design. One scene had a contrived conversation on endangered species which spoilt the otherwise tight narrative