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Film London confirms latest Microwave commissions

Date posted: 16.05.2017

Two titles from London-based filmmakers have been commissioned for Microwave, the award-winning feature film scheme from Film London, BFI and BBC Films.

Microwave's guiding mission is to identify London's most exciting new voices and bring their stories to global audiences. The most recent selections are trans-love-story-come-road-movie Violets Are Blue and Mari, a taut family drama exploring a successful dancer's struggle to 'have it all'.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: "The latest Microwave selections combine bold ideas, complex characters and relatable stories that cast an unblinking eye on the modern human experience. These are films that come from very personal, individual places but immerse us in timely, universal themes. In short, they're exactly the kind of features we should be backing from the kind of filmmakers we want to support: those with distinctive visions and stories that need to be told."

The films were selected from 12 projects, all of which went through an intensive period of training, development and professional mentoring. The two films will now receive £100,000 towards a capped £150k production budget, along with further development support. 

About the films

Violets Are Blue, from writer/director Marley Morrison and producer Michelle Antoniades, focuses on Ash, a young trans man on a mission to find his birth parents, who meets the vibrant Rose along the way. "The story was born of my own battles with gender identity, a need to discover the truth within myself and fully embrace myself as a non-binary individual," explains Marley, for whom the personal and political are inextricably entwined. "I wanted to see my community reflected on screen, which is something I never saw growing up. With many films and TV shows the queer experience is filtered through a heterosexual gaze and is articulated in heterosexual terms. It's important that we make films that are truly reflective of our communities, and that LGBTQ characters are as complex and interesting as heterosexual characters."

Mari, from writer/director Georgia Parris and producer Emma Duffy, will bring original choreography to the big screen as it follows contemporary dancer Charlotte on a personal journey that goes from her grandmother's deathbed to the prospect of motherhood. "I spent a weekend with my family around my grandmother's hospital bed," says Georgia of the film's genesis. "Being with her when she died had a big effect on me as the notion of my own mortality crept in and led me to write Mari to understand my own feelings better." Dance has been a prominent feature of Georgia's short film work, and the prospect of bringing the artform to a feature-length production is an exciting one. "Wim Wenders' documentary Pina changed everything for me," she says. "I saw the potential of contemporary dance to explore narrative - it has the ability to bypass spoken word and allows you to physicalize complex human emotions in a very dynamic way."

Steve Jenkins, BBC Films said: "These two projects feel particularly fresh and distinctive, filtering very personal perspectives on identity and diversity through their take on the dance film and the road movie. Once again micro refers only to the budget, with no limit on commitment and creativity." 

Find out more about Violets are Blue

Find out more about Mari

A full slate

Mari and Violets Are Blue join a diverse slate of upcoming Microwave titles from London-based filmmakers that includes Zero (formerly Kill Her Witch), The Visitor, Sick(er) and Looted, all of which are scheduled to go into production this year. Eight of the 14 filmmakers involved in these projects are women and one identifies as non-binary.

Film London Microwave has supported 36 filmmaking teams over the past three years with training and development funding. Films that benefitted from the initial development stages include Butterfly Kisses, winner of a Crystal Bear at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, and Daphne, which screened at Rotterdam and SXSW.

Mary Burke, Senior Production and Development Executive, BFI said: "Microwave provides a solid training ground for emerging filmmaking talent and I look forward to working with the teams behind these two exciting and original projects." 

Find out more about Microwave