Monday, September 9, 2013

Director Profile: A FIELD IN ENGLAND'S Ben Wheatley

Does director Ben Wheatley really need an introduction at this point? Well, maybe if you've been living under a rock for the past few years. In that case: all you really need to know if Ben Wheatley is freakin' awesome. (In fact, The Guardian listed him as one of the 23 Best Film Directors in the World.)

Okay, okay: we'll elaborate.

Wheatley's first feature film, Down Terrace (2009), is a crime drama that won awards from the British Independent Film Awards, Next Wave Awards, and Fantastic Fest. Kill List (2011) premiered at SXSW, went on to simultaneously wow and terrify Midnight Madness audiences at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and, because of course it didn't stop there, it was nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, winning one. In 2012, Wheatley took his third feature film, the hilariously dark Sightseers, to the Directors' Fortnight section at Cannes Film Festival, went on to screen at a bajillion (maybe an exaggeration) film festivals, including the Vanguard Programme at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, and (you're probably noticing a trend here) also went on to be nominated for a bajillion (also maybe an exaggeration) of awards, winning another British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay and an Empire Award for Best British Film.

Phew. Okay, we need to take a break now. Here, enjoy this picture.

director Ben Wheatley, writer/cctor Alice Lowe, and programmer Colin Geddes
at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

…Anddddd, we're back. Deadpan, comedic crime drama; twisty, terrifying horror; dark and hilarious road trip adventure--what could Wheatley possibly get up to next?

A psychedelic, black and white, freak-fest imagining of the English Civil War. Obviously. Now Wheatley's A Field in England is technically part of the Wavelengths Programme, but we love it so much and Wheatley IS a part of the Vanguard family, so we're blogging about it any way. Try and stop us.

A Field in England

The film picked up a Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was released in the UK through various platforms this past July. After it's North American Premiere at the Festival, Drafthouse Films--in its infinite wisdom and solid understanding of kickass-ery--has secured the US rights and Films We Like will be distributing in Canada.

As if you're still on the fence about catching A Field In England at the Festival, here's a few more reasons why it's not to be missed:

"A tough film to synopsise or encapsulate, it evokes classic British horror . . . but is closer in tone to a grittier yet still metaphysical brand of arthouse mystification."

"What a unique film-maker Wheatley is becoming. From the realms of contemporary social realism, crime, comedy and fear, he has moved on to lo-fi period drama, but cleverly alighted on the one period that suits his stripped-down visuals and subversive instincts perfectly."

"What is most refreshing about the film is its utterly offbeat quality.

A FIELD IN ENGLAND Screening Times:

  • Friday, Sept 13th, 9:00 PM RYERSON
  • Saturday, Sept 14, 9:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3

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