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Hey everyone, and welcome to the latest issue of The Spread! I hope you all had a super month, disappointed or not by the borefest that was Batman v. Superman: Yawn of Justice. This issue, we’ll be celebrating superheroes big and small, real and fantastical, as we take a look at both literal and figurative superheroes in film.

1122817_john_smithsonBut first, a recap of last month – as always, central to the month was our Jam Session, which was held as always at the Corbet Place Bar and Lounge. Our guest speaker was John Smithson, an Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning film and television producer who is best know for 127 Hours, Touching the Void and his latest documentary, Sherpa, now showing on the Discovery Channel. Smithson is also the Co-Creative Director for Arrow Media. He spoke about the power of truth, and gave a passionate talk about documentary film and why he finds it such a powerful medium.

Among our film lineup was Milton and Lydia by Jamie Plaumer, The Son by Hristo Simeonov, Edmond by Nina Gantz (this year’s BAFTA winner for short animation), and Dilip’s Castle by Manos Ioannou. On April 18th we’ll be back for another Jam Session, and starting in May, we’ll be hosting weekend masterclasses in partnership with NFTS Short Courses. 

header-superman-1978-everything-wrong-in-5-minutes-or-lessIn The Spread, we’ve got a range of articles exploring superheroes of all shapes and sizes. Of course, it’d be hard to do that without a little bit of Batman and Superman, and so we’ve got reviews looking back at some of the best installments in those series. John Higgins argues that the original Superman, from way back in 1978, is still the best. Matthew Wilson looks back a bit more recently at The Dark Knight Returns, an animated Batman double-feature which he believes gives the Caped Crusader some of his best material yet. And Callum Nicholas explores why Zack Snyder’s latest film, which has not been getting good reviews at all, is still doing well at the Box Office (but for how long?).

Over in the real world, we’ve got features and interviews with a variety of filmmakers who doing heroic deeds in the film industry. Katy Milner was recently as the winner of the KODAK High Falls Vision Award, which celebrates women in film by providing female directors with $2000 of film stock to shoot a short. April Kelley is making waves with her project Acting on a Dream – alongside Sara Huxley – which raises money for charity through numerous projects that document peoples’ dreams. George Watson talks his exceptional New Years resolution, for which he photographs one person every day throughout 2016.

April Kelley 02 - Photo Rachel King PhotographyAlso setting the film world abuzz is Annabel Bates, whose company Honeybee Films aims to seek out hidden talent in the UK film industry. David Chaudoir explores the design and film careers of himself, Aaron Trinder, and Marc Hardman, collectively known as the Bridle Lane Three. Ben Mallaby talks FOUR new short film projects, each of them well worth the watch. And our Jammer of the Month, Mathieu Karsenti, dishes the highlights and challenges of scoring his first ever feature film, White Colour Black.

Also in our issue is a brilliant study by Stephen Follows, which explores Hollywood release patterns. And, of course, we’ve got a load of reviews: Joanne Russell on Zootropolis, Joshua Smith on the newly restored re-release of Ran, Daniel Theophanous on Nasty Baby, John Higgins on Kung Fu Panda 3 and Eddie the Eagle, Matthew Wilson on The Witch, and Thomas Humphrey on I Am Belfast and Victoria. Enjoy, and have a super April!

Thanks to Mark Birrell for 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 Apr 4, 2016

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