The festival circuit is a great way to catch a British Movie in the US and June is a huge month with seven festivals featuring some brilliant films from the UK. We have pulled them all together for you in one easy to use post, with clips, trailers and a synopsis to help you decide if they are something you fancy venturing out to watch. So if you are in Long Beach Island, Los Angeles, Nantucket, Provincetown, Brooklyn, Seattle, Silver Springs or a just interested in what British movies are out there at the moment, take a look at our guide below. If you click on the festival title it will take you to the official festival site for schedules and tickets.
The Trip – When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But, when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. As the brilliant comic duo, freestyling with flair, drive each other mad with constant competition and showdowns of competing impressions (including dueling Michael Caines, Sean Connerys and Al Pacinos), the ultimate odd couple realize in the end a rich amount about not only good food, but the nature of fame, relationships and their own lives.
Christopher and His Kind – In the 1930s, rising literary star Christopher Isherwood fled uptight England for the wilder shores of Berlin, and, as he famously wrote, “Berlin meant boys.” In Geoffrey Sax’s sumptuous, sexy and wonderfully cast adaptation of Isherwood’s landmark memoir, you’ll meet the future author of A Single Man (played by Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith); the young English singer who was the prototype for Cabaret‘s Sally Bowles; the rent boys and reprobates who fed off Berlin’s decadent nightlife; and the working class boy he fell in love with and tried to save from the Nazis. Christopher and His Kind brings a glamourous and dangerous era to vivid life.
Attack The Block – From the producers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening adventure that pits a teen gang against a savage alien invasion and turns a London apartment complex into a fortress under siege. When a strange alien creature falls from the sky and attacks the gang of underage hoodlums in the middle of a mugging, the gang grabs weapons, mounts bikes and sets out to defend their turf. Fighting off the next wave of invaders, who are bigger and meaner than before, this bunch of no-hope kids is about to become London’s only hope and the most unlikely batch of heroes you have seen.
Project Nim - James Marsh follows up on his award-winning Man on Wire with this mesmerizing and disturbing look at a scientific experiment gone awry. Could an animal be taught to communicate with humans using sign language?
In the 1970s, a chimp named Nim was taken from his parents to be raised by a family of well-off counter-cultural New Yorkers. This was just the first stop in a long and increasingly twisted journey, which, in Marsh’s expert hands, reveals far more about human desire, cruelty and ambition than chimpanzee learning abilities. Though the title character is loveable and there is laughter, this is no children’s story; the pain is too real.
Self Made - A pretty young woman who doesn’t trust her dad. A middle-aged loner who has chosen the year of his suicide. An immigrant who feels he’s never fit in. These are just three of the people who answer an ad in a London paper asking, “Would you like to be in a film?” In the course of Turner Prize-winner Gillian Wearing’s searing, surprising documentary, these unfulfilled seekers undergo an intense and transformative immersion in the Method—practicing trust exercises, experimenting with improv, and digging deep inside their memories for wrenching self-revelations. The final results, seen in the cinematic scenes these amateur thespians perform for the camera, are simply astonishing.
Tyrannosaur – Actor Paddy Considine makes his feature writing/directing debut with this emotionally brutal story of a working class widower, played with a fierce intensity by Peter Mullan, whose moral compass is no match for his overwhelming and unfocused rage. Consumed in a cycle of violence and remorse, he tries to connect with a seemingly angelic thrift store clerk, who turns out to have some complicated issues of her own. The result is wrenching and realistic, with just a few hints of possible redemption.
The Guard - Brendan Gleeson gives an unforgettable performance as caustic, unruly Irish police officer Jerry Boyle, a man fond of booze, hookers and whatever drugs he can filch off a corpse. When Boyle is put on a case that involves lethal international drug traffickers, he finds himself saddled with a new partner from the States, FBI investigator Wendell Everett, a straight-laced, by-the-book former Rhodes Scholar played by Don Cheadle. Their partnership, needless to say, is not a smooth one: racial sensitivity is not one of Boyle’s strong suits. First time writer-director John Michael McDonagh has fashioned a rowdy, at times surprisingly touching entertainment that’s part thriller, part character study and part odd-couple black comedy.
Donor Unknown – Features JoEllen Marsh, now 20, who has always known her family is different. She grew up with two mothers, and with a burning curiosity to know more about her anonymous father, identified only as Donor 150. Through an online registry that connects donor-conceived children, Marsh discovers 12 half-siblings across the country. A New York Times article on Marsh falls into the hands of Jeffrey Harrison, who in the 1980s supplemented his meager income by becoming sperm Donor 150. When Harrison discloses his identity, five of the siblings travel to meet their father, who lives with four dogs and a pigeon in a broken-down RV in a Venice Beach car park.
Life In A Day - Born out of a unique partnership between Ridley Scott’s Scott Free UK and YouTube, Life in a Day enlisted members of the global community to capture moments of their lives on camera. The world responded by submitting more than 80,000 videos to YouTube, representing over 4,500 hours of deeply personal, powerful films from contributors in place from Australia to Zambia, from the heart of bustling major cities to the furthest and most remote reaches of the earth. Shot on a single day, with beautiful, humorous, and joyful honesty,Life in a Day shows what it’s like to be alive on earth now.
Senna - With a cinematic approach that makes full use of astounding footage, Sennatells the epic story of legendary Brazilian motor-racing champion Ayrton Senna. Spanning the decade from Senna’s arrival in Formula One in the mid-1980s to his untimely death a decade later, the documentary follows the driver’s struggles against his nemesis, French world champion Alain Prost, and the politics that infest the sport. Senna—sublime, spiritual, and, on occasion, ruthless—conquers and transcends Formula One to become a global superstar. Privately, he is humble and fiercely patriotic, donating millions to his native Brazil, where he is revered as a saint.
Submarine – Meet Oliver Tate, a precocious 15-year-old whose worldview is exceedingly clever and largely delusional. Oliver carries a briefcase, doesn’t agree with everything Nietzsche said (but concedes that he had some interesting points), peruses the dictionary for new words, and suspects his mother of having an affair with their New Age neighbor. Foremost on Oliver’s mind is finding a girlfriend. Adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s wry novel and bolstered by aesthetic wit and fabulous performances, Submarine explores a kid who’s too self-absorbed to realize that to know someone else, you have to remove yourself from the center of the universe.
Tyrannosaur – Follows two people trying to navigate what sometimes seems an arbitrary and chaotic world. Joseph is an unemployed widower, a drinker, and a man crippled by his own volatile temperament and furious anger. Hannah is a Christian worker at a charity shop, a respectable woman who seems wholesome and happy. When they meet, Hannah appears to be a potential savior for Joseph, but as their story develops and as events spiral out of control, it is Joseph who becomes Hannah’s source of comfort. Although emotionally harrowing, Tyrannosaur carries an air of optimism; despite their suffering, Joseph and Hanna find a sense of hope in a film that it is ultimately a love story.
Brighton Rock – Adapted from Graham Greene’s brilliant 1939 novel, Brighton Rock charts the headlong fall of a razor-wielding disadvantaged teenager intent on clawing his way up through the ranks of organized crime. Helen Mirren, Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough lead the cast in a bold new update set against the backdrop of 1960s Britain.
Weekend – On a night out after a drunken party with his straight friends, Russell heads out to a gay club, alone and on the prowl. After what’s expected to be just a one night stand comes an intimately eventful weekend with Glen, his pick-up, that transforms their brief encounter into an honest andunapologetic love story that will resonate throughout their lives.
Project Nim - From the “Oscar® winning” director of MAN ON WIRE comes the incredible story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment attempting to prove he could learn language if raised and nurtured like a human child.
Submarine - Fifteen-year-old Oliver Tate has two big ambitions: to save his parents’ marriage via carefully plotted intervention and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. Based on Joe Dunthorne’s acclaimed novel, SUBMARINE is a genuinely captivating coming-of-age story with an offbeat edge. With Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine and Noah Taylor.
Weekend – BAMcinemaFest 2011 opens with one of the most significant discoveries of this year’s film festival circuit—a delicate, revelatory drama that won the SXSW Emerging Visions Audience Award and Nashville Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize. Weekend follows Russell (newcomer Tom Cullen, Best Actor winner at Nashville), who, after randomly picking up artist Glen (Chris New) at a nightclub on a Friday night, unexpectedly spends most of the next 48 hours with him in bedrooms and bars, telling stories and having sex, while developing a connection that will resonate throughout their lives. This affecting and naturalistic romance is beautifully realized, earning comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise in its exploration of how two people can come together only briefly, yet impact each other in a profound way.
Senna – Considered by many as the best race car driver of all time, Ayrton Senna dominated Formula 1, the world’s leading auto racing championship, in the 80s and 90s. Beloved in his native Brazil, yet a dark horse in a politicized sport dominated by Europeans, he was a perennial outsider with an infamous tabloid-strewn rivalry with Gallic champion Alain Prost. Using almost exclusively archival racing footage from the 70s onward, British filmmaker Kapadia (The Warrior) directs this exhilarating and kinetic motorsports movie—a heartbreaking and spiritual portrait of a true legend. Winner of the Sundance World Cinema Audience Award for documentary. A Cinetic Media release.
Fire In Babylon - This energetic documentary looks back at the legendary West Indies cricket team that rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s. Led by the dynamic Clive Lloyd, the team used the game of cricket to battle oppressive forces of prejudice on the playing field through superior athleticism and a bold, insuppressible spirit
Perfect Sense – The story of two people who begin to fall in love as the world begins to fall apart. Susan is a scientist. Michael is a chef. He takes a break from the kitchen heat in the alleyway below her apartment; she smokes a cigarette at the window above. He calls up for a light – the first spark in their passionate affair. But the world is about to change dramatically. As love turns Susan and Michael’s lives upside down, people across the globe begin to experience strange symptoms, which first affect the emotions then the senses, one by one.
Everything changes. But people laugh, they cry, they eat and drink, they go about their daily business. They adapt, they change, they cope, they live and they love – because life must go on. And so it does.
Patagonia – Narrates the journeys of two women – one looking for her past, the other for her future. The film intercuts between their stories, in which one of them travels south to north through the Welsh springtime and the other east to west through the Argentine autumn.
Killing Bono – A rock’ n’ roll comedy about two Irish brothers struggling to forge their path through the 1980′s music scene, whilst the meteoric rise to fame of their old school pals U2 only serves to cast them deeper into the shadows..
Third Star – James (Benedict Cumberbatch) wants to make the most of this life – what’s left of it. He invites his three closest friends to join him on a camping trip to his favourite place in the world. The undertaking, however, is fraught with practical difficulties, surreal encounters and emotionally ravaging revelations. For his best friend Miles (JJ Field), the trip means wrestling with the gloomy reality that the ones he loves tend to die. For Davy (Tom Burke) it’s about being there and holding the effort together – while for Bill (Adam Roberston) it’s about running away from the mistakes he’s made and the comfortable trap that is his life. Each step of the journey is one step further from the past and to a brave new world about courage, dignity and the beauty that lies in the friendship between these four young men
The First Grader – Shot on location in Kenya, and using many local nonprofessionals both behind the camera and as actors, Justin Chadwick’s (The Other Boleyn Girl) stirring drama turns the obstinate desire for an education on the part of 84-year-old Kikuyu tribesman Kimani (unforgettably played by Oliver Litondo) into a deeply affecting and emotionally uplifting tale. Taking advantage of a 2002 Kenyan law that guaranteed free education for all, Kimani—a veteran Mau Mau freedom fighter who suffered at the hands of the British imperialist rulers—shows up at his local one-room school, walking stick in hand, and is reluctantly turned away by the sympathetic principal (Naomie Harris). But Kimani returns the next day, and the day after that, until his eventual acceptance. Director Chadwick intersperses scenes of Kimani’s burgeoning education with flashbacks to the harsh treatment he received from the British. The effect is very moving and ultimately hopeful; despite Kenya’s—and by extension, Africa’s—troubled past, humanity, here in the form of one aged tribesman, refuses to give up.