Blog / Latest News
Hello! We're Pico Pictures, a London-based film production company. We've made 14 multi award winning shorts since 2008 and have features in development with Creative England and the BFI. Producer Michael Berliner was mentored by Warp Films' Mark Herbert on the Guiding Lights programme. For information on our past work, and current collaborations, please check out the 'About Pico Pictures' link, top right - and see the project pages on the right for information, clips, trailers, photos, and in some cases the full films. Current news below.
05/06/14 - Screen International Stars of Tomorrow
Michael has been selected as a 2014 Screen International Star of Tomorrow! Screen's annual list profiles rising actors, writers, directors, producers and heads of department. Read the full feature here. Now to go make something of it!
03/06/14 - EMOTIONAL FUSEBOX pilot completed
Late last year, Pico Pictures received the very first commission nationally out of the new BFI NET.WORK talent development programme for their feature pilot EMOTIONAL FUSEBOX. Jodie Whittaker stars in both this, and the feature version HOW TO LIVE YOURS, which shoots in October 2014. BAFTA Brit to Watch Rachel Tunnard writes and directs. HOW TO LIVE YOURS is a comedy about arrested development – Anna (29) has moved into her mum’s shed and is refusing to move out. An exciting festival premiere announcement and trailer are on the way.
01/10/12 - HOW TO LIVE YOURS reaches iFeatures final 8 projects
We're thrilled that HOW TO LIVE YOURS, our project on the iFeatures development slate, has been shortlisted to the final, full development stage. The BFI, BBC Films and Creative England will be commissioning three films out of this pool of eight, on £350,000 budgets each and with a guaranteed BBC terrestrial broadcast, in January 2013. With a new £12,500 development grant, writer/director Rachel Tunnard will now be taking the idea to draft and producer Michael Berliner will be working on packaging the project between now and Christmas. Michael will be mentored by Tracy Brimm of Forward Films (SKELETONS, GRABBERS) as part of the Autumn development stage process.
HOW TO LIVE YOURS is a bittersweet comedy about a woman whose life is defined by her twin-brother’s stroke six years ago. Unable to come to terms with his disability, she spends her time making the worst home videos you’ve ever seen - but for the best reason: to bring her brother back to her.
Anna (24) lives in her Mum and Nan’s shed in the Lake District. It’s a beautiful nowhere - the kind of place where the men need a satnav to find your clit. There’s a sign on the village shop that reads: "Closed because I have a fungal infection and the Doctor said I should not be at work".
Anna is funny but self-sabotaging. She keeps people at an emotional arm's length - laughing off her problems. The arrival of two strangers, determined to connect with her, set in motion a chain of events that challenge her emotional isolation and hold a mirror up to her life.
This is a film that asks: What makes us, us? Where do our brains come from? And if all the neurons in your brain made a different sounding note when they fired, what tune would it play when you thought about cheese and ham toasties? Or Simon Cowell? Or the loss of your twin?
Head to www.ifeatures2.com for more on the programme itself, and our film.
19/9/12 - High-budget short MOHAMMED commissioned by BFI and Lighthouse
We're thrilled to announce that we've been awarded a top-end budget on the BFI Shorts 2012 programme. Out of over 1200 applications we're one of the 16 commissioned projects receiving £25-50k out of a £800,000 production funding pot.
MOHAMMED is a 25 minute big kids' film with drama, comedy, action and adventure, written and to be directed by my long-time collaborator, the as-hairy-as-he-is-talented Screen International 2012 Star of Tomorrow Mustapha Kseibati.
"12-year-old Adam finds his 31-year old, wrestling obsessed brother with learning difficulties a nightmare - until he sees a chance to use him to gain friends."
A big thank you to the BFI, Lighthouse and all those who have supported us along with a big congratulations to the other filmmaking teams selected! More details to come.
12/7/12 - We're producing THE WANDERERS, by Luke Snellin
We're very excited to announce that Michael Berliner is producing THE WANDERERS, through 2AM TV. Bill Milner (Son of Rambow, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) is atttached to star, with Graham Coxon of Brit band Blur, Tim Wheeler from Ash and Emmy The Great are attached to create the original music to be played by the band in the film.
It's the debut feature for Luke Snellin, a 2010 Screen International Star of Tomorrow. He was nominated for a BAFTA for his short film Mixtape in 2010, which also won the Grand Prize in the Virgin Media Shorts Competition. He went on to direct Disco, which was long listed for a BAFTA in 2012.
THE WANDERERS is set in Colchester, Essex in 1996 and centres around a 16-year-old boy who encounters relationships and sex for the first time as his band The Wanderers strive to become the next big Brit Pop sensation. We're firming up financing right now - more exciting news to come.
We've had some big, big press stories on the film in the last few days:
10/7/12 - Pico project HOW TO LIVE YOURS selected for iFeatures2 development slate
Out of over 350 applications, HOW TO LIVE YOURS, a coming-of-age comedy by BAFTA Brit to Watch Rachel Tunnard (United Agents), and to be produced by Michael Berliner, is one of 16 projects taken through for their Summer development programme. There will be a further shortlisting in October to 8 projects, before 3 get £350,000 to make their film in 2013. Check out the iFeatures2 website here and read the Screen International story about the development slate here.
11/4/12 - School Portrait up for a Webby!
The New York Times calls the Webby Awards "the Internet's highest honor", and SCHOOL PORTRAIT has just been nominated for a WEBBY, in the highly competitive viral category!
We're up for the People's Voice Award - voting is open, and closes on 26th April. Please vote for the film at http://pv.webbyawards.com/ballot/119 - and to doubly help me out / earn my love, please share the link on Facebook / Twitter! Thank you.
3/4/12 - Moviescope feature - Producer to Watch
Many thanks to Moviescope for their recent 'Producer to Watch' feature! Read it here.
13/3/12 - Support TRESPASSERS, our Indiegogo campaign!
Got to be a first time for everything - we're diving into the world of crowdfunding! I'm teaming up with writer-director-animator Jessica Ashman and producer Anna Odell - the amazing pair behind the 2011 Scottish BAFTA winning short Fixing Luka - on a crazy cool new project. We're raising money on Indie Go Go to fund TRESPASSERS: a new music video for fantastic Glaswegian band The State Broadcasters. The video is about moths, light and love - it's really sweet.
So, it would be AMAZING if you could donate a wee bit of money...and depending on how much you give, you'll get a treat in return! Limited edition postcards, hand made moths, copies of the Broadcasters new album, cake and a one off private performance...there's loads of perks to be had.
Check out our funding page to see writer-director-animator Jess, co-producer Anna Odell and State Broadcaster Pete MacDonald make fools of themselves for the sake of making something wonderful.
If you can't bring yourself to part with your hard-earned cash, please make a FREE donation to the cause by sharing this link and telling people it's amazingly cool. You will officially be a Trend-Setter, which is of course what everyone wants to be. Thank you! :)
2/3/12 | School Portrait - The Webby Awards, SXSW Screening
School Portrait was our surprise short film hit of 2011! Made for only £200 and released straight online, we didn't expect it to make the impact it has. Vimeo featured it as their Staff Pick for a few days in December, and we ended up with news articles in the Huffington Post, Gizmodo, The Metro, The Evening Standard and hundreds of other blogs, plus a million views in ten days.
We have two bits of amazing news to share. Ffirstly, the film has been shortlisted for a 2012 Webby (the Oscars of the internet) in the Viral category! Secondly, Vimeo have selected the film for their screening at SXSW! We're super excited about the film's continued steamrollering of the short film world, and look forward to bringing you further Webby and SXSW updates...
Some great New Year news - Painkiller has been highlighted in Sight and Sound's round-up of Bristol Encounters Short Film Festival, and gets some very kind words said about it! Watch the trailer for the film above.
"The full slate of films proved deft and intelligent, but it was Selina Lim’s Painkiller, directed by Mustapha Ksebati, that took its outsider perspective the furthest. The story of a depressed Chinese migrant (Benedict Wong) who scuppers a convenience-store robbery when he refuses to heed the armed gunman, Painkiller owes a debt to 1990s-era Tarantino and Kevin Smith; but the film transcends its influences with a dramatic rigour that makes the tragic-comic violence unexpectedly meaningful."
UPDATE 31st Jan - we've also had some fantastic press in the industry bible Indiewire, focussing on Franz Drameh and the fact that this is his first appearance in a film since his debut in ATTACK THE BLOCK! Read here.
We've got a big presence at this year's London Short Film Festival 2012 - check out some of our shorts there!
THE SEND OFF in programme 3, 12:00, 7th Jan
FRIEND REQUEST PENDING in programme 7, 13:00, 8th Jan
SKATEBOARDS AND SPANDEX in programme 21, 12:00, 14th Jan
BE THE STAR OF OUR NEW SCHOOL PORTRAIT FILM!
We have been so overwhelmed by the response to our film School Portrait (which has now crossed ONE MILLION views!) that we are offering you the chance to star in our School Portrait re-make and be insulted by our angry photographer, Jonathan Rhodes, who will be serving up fresh one liners for his new class!
We launching the competition on Twitter. Tweet your photos with the hashtag #schoolportrait to take part. We’ll post as many as possible and edit the best ones into a new film starring YOU. We’ll post the new film here and on the director's site, www.nickdavidscott.com, on Christmas Day!
To get in the spirit of things we’ve dug out some of our school portraits below! All of a sudden I feel terribly old!
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L-R: Director Nick Scott; Producer Michael Berliner; Angry Photographer Jonathan Rhodes
If you've been hiding under a rock and hadn't already realised, the internet's currently abuzz for our comedy short SCHOOL PORTRAIT, written and directed by the amazing Nick Scott. After a feature on Vimeo last night as their top Staff Pick, it's had an avalanche of views and has been featured on blogs including the Huffington Post and Gizmodo, and has had positive comments and retweets from hundreds of accounts, including BBC Comedy and Armando Iannucci! Fingers crossed this great film gets even bigger in the days to come...
I have a Guiding Lights mentor! Mark Herbert, chief exec of Warp Films and producer of This Is England, Four Lions and Submarine, is my mentor for the next nine months. Hooray! I'm having my first meeting with him next month and look forward to osmosing genius out of him.
I'm incredibly excited to say that we've got our first feature officially in development! EM Media and Creative England have commissioned Pico Pictures to work with the as-talented-as-she-is-ravishing writer, Rachel Tunnard, on coming-of-age comedy, ANNA. Rachel is an editor cum writer; she participated on the Birds Eye View She Writes programme last Autumn, and was featured on the BAFTA Brits to Watch list earlier this year. Stay tuned for more after our first block of development!
Tomorrow (Thurs 15th September) from 1-4pm, I'm on a Guardian Careers Live Q&A Panel on getting into the film industry. There's amazing people on the panel like Ed Wethered from BBC Films, and Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance. Tune in here tomorrow, 1-4pm!
Last weekend, we shot PAINKILLER - a short black comedy commissioned by B3 Media and BBC Writersroom. Starring Benedict Wong (PROMETHEUS) and Franz Drameh (ATTACK THE BLOCK). Premiering this November.
"Street-smart Dominic’s armed robbery of a convenience store go wrong when he crosses paths with hard-working Jay, a taxi driver with nothing to lose. Mutual contempt soon turns into a kind of understanding, but not without some pain along the way."
I've been selected as one of five producer participants on Save Our Scripts - a fantastic Media and Skillset supported development programme for European writers and producers, run by The Bureau. I had an intense but incredibly useful time developing scripts and making friends at their Paris workshop last week - jet setting to Brussels next month to work on the writers' resubmissions. Also in September I shoot PAINKILLER - a farcical black comedy short funded by the CINEAST programme, run by B3 Media and BBC Writersroom. Written by Selina Lim and directed by my good pal and long-time collaborator, Mustapha Kseibati.
THE SEND OFF - a Pico Pictures short - screened on BBC HD on Saturday 18th July.
The film was commissioned by BBC HD and BBC Film Network; was directed by Jonathan Humphreys; with cinematography by Zac Nicholson, and editing by Rachel Tunnard. More information on the BBC HD schedule page, here.
Woo, my first post! I'm super psyched to have been selected as a participant of Guiding Lights 2011-12, an incredibly exciting high-level mentoring scheme. I'm off for my first training and networking day in Brighton next Saturday - can't wait to be allocated my mentor soon.
In other news..
... I co-produced with Emu Films a comedy short called FRIEND REQUEST PENDING, starring Judi Dench and Tom Hiddleston (THOR); shot in early May and currently in post.
... I recently produced a short film with my supremely talented Berlinale Talent Campus writer/director buddies Mathy and Fran, called THE LIGHTS AND THEN THE NOISE, in post.
... I'm currently applying for funding to develop a project and potentially produce a feature pilot with the talented and ravishing writer Rachel Tunnard.
... I'm potentially co-producing with Emu Films a £15k feature pilot, tentatively shooting in July. It's an exciting CG-infused, Monsters-style thrill-fest - watch this space.
... Aaand there's lots of other things that are much too embryonic to mention right now. Thanks for your interest! :)