Saturday, 20 February 2010 INDEX


Freestyle (director Kolton Lee & producer Lincia Daniel), a Microwave funded production ( ) was made for the sort of budget Avotar probably spent on its end of production party. Most of the cast have never acted before and the best known name is Danny John-Jules, who played the cat in Red Dwarf.

Shot entirely on a Red video camera, it is about to open on general release, but only at five London cinemas. It appears to be caught in the current war between distributors and cinema operators. Distributors are allegedly seeking shorter runs for films (or an earlier date for DVD release) and most of the cinema chains are resisting this. The difference is fairly marginal (a couple of weeks?) but it's the sort of thing that gets people excited in the distribution world. Freestyle is going into the system as a short run production, which may have helped it get funding since those wanting the shorter terms may have given it a leg up.

A teen flick that is designed to appeal to mums and dads, Freestyle is that oddity a British basketball movie, probably a new genre. Made for £100k or less, Freestyle is uneven in both acting and lighting (was this video graded?). This is hardly surprising since many of the cast are first timers chosen for their basketball skills rather than their acting experience.The theme is that eternal verity: boy meets girl, trouble ensues but everything seems to end happily with a dramatic climax. Think Grange Hill rather than Romeo & Juliet.

That said, Freestyle is emotionally engaging and pushes all the buttons quite successfully.

It contains 30 musical tracks. To obtain so much on such a small budget is probably as close to genius as the British film industry gets right now.

Freestyle has three or four set pieces (a bit like music videos within the movie) made to an extremely high standard, evidently showing what the team could do if it had a sensible budget. Each such section would probably have cost £100k plus to make if it had been made as a stand alone video by someone specialising in such things.
Saturday, 20 February 2010INDEX