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divaWith the all-important EU referendum on the horizon, Euro 2016 just a month away, and the Cannes film festival right around the corner, it’s a busy time for Europe. That’s why, for our May issue, we’ve selected European cinema as the theme. In these reviews, features and interviews, we cover a range of topics related to this continent – from extremist French horror films to Spanish football docs to Belgian surrealist religious comedies.

But first, a recap of what Cinema Jam has been up to over the past month. The April Jam Session was a special private event, which saw a memorable guest speech from BAFTA-winning editor Mick Audsley, who has a considerable name for himself through collaborations with the likes of Terry Gilliam, Mike Newell, and, most notably, Stephen Frears.

Audsley answered many questions on the process of editing, and talked about his hope for the future of filmmaking with personal technology at home, as well as his previous films, good and bad. He had numerous stories to share about his experiences on Twelve Monkeys, and lauded Brad Pitt, who he says offered to pay for an entire day of reshoots because he felt he hadn’t given a good performance. On the difference between working with Terry Gilliam and Stephen Frears, he said “one will buy you a drink.”

The screenings at the Jam Session included Robert Bradbrook’s Dead Air, Henry Dunbar’s Pollock, Sam McMullen’s Those Who Are Lost, and Avenue de Nulle Part (Avenue to Nowhere), directed by Jacob Migicovsky, who we interviewed for the issue.  We also showed this year’s Oscar winner for Best Live Action Short, Stutterer, directed by Benjamin Cleary.

avenueThis month’s Jam Session will be on the 23rd. Also mark your calendar for our first Bite-Size Course, “Telling the Story Through Sound: From Bond to Batman with Sound Editor Eddy Joseph,” which will be held from the 28th – 29th May. It’ll be ideal for people wanting to further a career in sound, with topics ranging from storyboarding, how to work with key industry figures, and post-production.

In this month’s issue, we’ve got a number of pieces tackling a range of topics in the realm of European cinema. Matthew Wilson tackles French extremist horror, and why seemingly brutal films like Martyrs are actually some of the most relevant films to come out in recent years. And in his review of Blue is the Warmest Colour, he goes in-depth one of the most acclaimed French films of the decade so far. Bianca Patel talks another modern French classic, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s charming Amélie.

John Higgins has three new reviews for us: one of another French classic, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1981 cult hit Diva. And on the newer front, he talks Lucile Hadžihalilović’s disappointing Evolution, and Katherine Round’s financial documentary The Divide, which features stories from both the UK and USA.  I cover films set in three parts of Europe: so-so UK comedy Black Mountain Poets, underwhelming US-French comedy We’ll Never Have Paris (directorial debut of The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg), and interesting (if conventional) football doc Barça Dreams, which, in talking about the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, goes quite in-depth into modern Spanish history.

dheepanAlso in focus is Belgian cinema, with Marlies Janssens reviewing the new drama Belgica, the latest film from acclaimed Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen. Thomas Humphrey also interviews Jaco Van Dormael, director of the hit comedy Brand New Testament.

Our issue also has A D Cooper’s review of new spy thriller Our Kind of Traitor, Daniel Theophanous’s take on upcoming Indonesian horror film Ritual, Ilya Melnikov’s comments on newly restored 1945 classic Pink String and Sealing Wax, James Sinclair’s view on last year’s Palme D’Or winner, Dheepan, and Neill McNamara’s analysis of The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

This month’s Jammer of the Month is James Webber, the man behind the award-winning shorts Driftwood and Soror. In our interview, we discuss his inspirations, method of making movies and the lessons he’s learned in the industry. Abla Kandalaft also interviews Les Parasites, the French trio behind record-breaking success in 48hr film challenges. And to wrap things up, we’ve got Ian Donegan’s interview with Ian McKellen and Richard Loncraine, whose new app, Heuristic Shakespeare, has just been announced.

Enjoy, and have a great May!

Thanks to Mark Birrell to contributing to this Editor’s Note.

Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson is a writer and filmmaker born in England, based in Michigan, USA, and currently living in Enniscrone, Ireland. He writes about all things entertainment with a speciality in film criticism. He has been working on films ever since middle school, when his shorts "Moving Stateside" and "The Random News" competed in the West Branch Children's Film Festival. Since then he's written and directed a number of his own films and worked in many different crew jobs. Follow him on Twitter @GambasUK and look at his daily film diary at letterboxd.com/gambasUK.

Posted on May 2, 2016

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