Tuesday 21 March 2017 marks the 12th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. On this day events take place around the world to celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome (DS).
Steven Brandon, is of course an actor who has Down Syndrome and despite this perceived ‘disability’ received two BIFA nominations, a National Film Awards nomination, and universal praise from film critics for his central performance as Luke. BBC Film Critic, Mark Kermode called his portrayal of Luke ‘absolutely terrific’.
Lynn Murray, the spokesperson for the Don’t Screen Us Out campaign, said “My Feral Heart illustrates how we all face challenges regardless of our background, and genetic make-up. Its success as a film about ‘ability’ not ‘disability’ has meant that the international DS community, and especially DSUO’s thousands of supporters, have connected passionately with the film”.
£1 from every ticket sold for WDSD screenings will be donated to DSRF UK in support of DSUO.
*Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK is the only UK charity seeking to carry out therapeutic research for people with Down syndrome to help improve the quality of their lives.
*Don’t Screen Us Out is an umbrella campaign aiming to stop prenatal discrimination and ensure that the rights of people living with Down’s syndrome are respected by everyone.
LAST CHANCE TO MAKE SCREENINGS HAPPEN AT A CINEMA NEAR YOU!
In partnership with ourscreen, the cinema-on-demand website: Vue, Picturehouses, and ODEON are amongst the venues making screenings available nationwide. As with all ourscreen events the screenings will only go ahead if sufficient presales of tickets are met. Cinemagoers will have until March 12 to make these charitable screenings happen.
We have chosen March 21 (WDSD) as a fitting finale to My Feral Heart’s breakout big-screen success story. So these fundraising screenings will be the last chance to see the film on the big screen in the UK for the time-being.
Due to public demand, over 100 screenings will have taken place before it leaves our cinemas though, a swell of support that prompted ourscreen to dub it “a runaway train”. The film won hearts and minds from Cornwall to The Shetlands as it smashed all previous ourscreen records to become the ‘people powered cinema’ site’s top performing film of all-time.
WHAT THE CRITICS HAVE BEEN SAYING SINCE MY FERAL HEART WAS RELEASED LAST YEAR
‘A RICHLY REWARDING FILM… SEEK IT OUT’ BBC Film Critic Mark Kermode
‘★★★★ – POIGNANT & BEAUTIFULLY ACTED’ The Observer
‘A LACY WORK OF DELICACY’ Guardian Online
‘COOLY ACCOMPLISHED’ Screen International
‘SWASH & RASTALL ARE FIRST RATE’ Variety
‘POETIC CINEMATOGRAPHY’ Sight & Sound
‘WONDROUSLY NATURAL & INSIGHTFUL’ Radio Times
‘★★★★ -BRANDON IS UTTERLY CAPTIVATING’ Cine Vue
‘★★★★ -A REVELATION IN INDIE FILMMAKING’ Movie Review World
‘REFRESHINGLY POSITIVE’ Total Film
‘A SPELLBINDING FILM’ Shooting People
BACKGROUND TO WDSD, DSUO, DSRF UK, and OURSCREEN
WHY MARCH 21?
The date for World Down Syndrome Day being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
WDSD 2017 focuses on enabling people with Down syndrome (and those who advocate for them) to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to ensure that they can be included, on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society. This mirrors the intentions of DSUO.
DSUO & DSRF UK
Don’t Screen Us Out (DSUO) is a campaign supported by the Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF UK). The campaign lobbies Parliament in the UK to think again about introducing a new cfDNA antenatal test. Current law allows a pregnancy for a baby tested to have DS to be terminated up to full-term. The UK government’s proposed cfDNA screening implementation is projected to result in a profound increase in the number of children with Down syndrome screened out by termination. The DSUO campaign calls for MPs to sign the Early Day Motion calling for a delay to the implementation before it’s too late. This has already happened in Iceland where 100% of unborn babies tested to have DS are terminated.
The Don’t Screen Us Out campaign has proudly supported My Feral Heart since its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival last June. “The film demonstrates the issues faced by people with Down syndrome in a society that continues to hold institutionalised, and outdated views about learning disability” says DSUO spokesperson Lynn Murray “and in the portrayal of Luke’s story, shows exactly why DSUO advocates equality for people with Down syndrome in a world where antenatal screening has fostered discrimination for those living with the condition”.
Antenatal screening technologies have led to a dearth of Down syndrome research, and the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF UK) are continually challenged to fund therapeutic research to help improve the outlook. “We were delighted to be asked by My Feral Heart producer James Rumsey to collaborate with his company Rum Jam Films, and ‘people powered cinema’ service ourscreen on fundraising screenings to celebrate WDSD this year. Please come and see this heart-warming film, celebrate World Down syndrome Day, and consider how we can improve the future for people like Luke” urges spokesperson for DSRF UK, Elizabeth Corcoran.
For more info on the DSUO campaign: http://dontscreenusout.org/
DSUO Contact: Lynn Murray | email@example.com
For more info or to donate to Down Syndrome Reasearch Foundation: http://www.dsrf-uk.org/
DSRF UK Contact: Elizabeth Corcoran | firstname.lastname@example.org
ourscreen enables film fans to take control of their local cinema. In three easy steps (pick a film –
decide where and when – share your screening), we’re all able to create film screenings, for either
just our friends, or anybody who wants to come. ourscreen is available in over 65 cinemas across the country and has access to over 10,000 titles. If enough people book tickets the screening happens.
As we welcome in 2017 it is with enormous pride and gratitude that we look back on what ‘My Feral Heart’ has acheived in the short 10 months since it’s award winning World Premiere at Cinequest in March to the BIFAs in December.
First, we want to look forward to what we hope will be an even better year…
2017 – A RECORD BREAKING YEAR?
‘My Feral Heart’ has been in UK cinemas since November 1, 2016. A modest stab at 10 screenings spread over one month has now topped 60 screenings and is still taking bookings for as late as April 2017.
50% of screenings, and our key partner in this success is Our Screen, the cinema-on-demand platform.
As we say farewell to 2016 we can announce that while ‘My Feral Heart’ is already the most successful Our Screen film of 2016, just 4 additional screenings via Our Screen’s site will make it their most successful film. That’s #1 out of over 400 films available on their site to date.
Record breaking screenings across the UK from Southampton to Edinburgh can be booked in advance here:
With the BAFTAs still to announce their shortlists this month, and sales interest from China, USA, and the UK we are very excited about what audiences ‘My Feral Heart’ will have reached by this time next year and what 2017 achievements we will have to look back on.
On which note, 2016 was no slouch…
2016 – THE YEAR IN PICTURES
Pictures and captions to summarise the year at a glance below, but a good place to kick-off is to put ‘My Feral Heart’ in context with the rest of the year’s releases. Who better to do that than the BBC’s Mark Kermode who included ‘My Feral Heart’ amongst his homespun indie highlights of 2016 in his half hour Film Review: A Year in Film.
For those that may have missed the programme – on the BBC News Channel and BBC Breakfast on The Beeb’s flagship channel, BBC One – it can be seen via BBC iPlayer here:
Lobby poster for UK Cinema release using quotes from largely mainstream press critical notices received during first week of release.
15 more highlights were the film festivals that ‘My Feral Heart’ was lucky enough to be selected for. A full list of the 15 festivals can be found on the SCREENINGS page of our website but special thanks to those festivals that awarded the film with gongs:
Online promotional graphic using festival review quotes.
Jane Gull (Director), Steven Brandon (Luke), Pixie Le Knot (The Girl), and Will Rastall (Pete) get ready to light up the media world on the red carpet. The team flew out en mass to celebrate this milestone and were delighted to scoop the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the he festival that USA Today readers had voted the #1 Film Festival in America in 2015. It kick-started a festival run and clutch of awards that introduced our film to an international and, in June, a domestic audience.
In 2014 Jane Gull won the Grand Prix du Jury for her short film ‘Sunny Boy’ at Entr’2 Marches – an international short film festival for films upon the theme of disability. This year she was invited back as President of the Jury. As an introduction to Jane and a celebration of her work. ‘My Feral Heart’ was screened ‘off-croisette’ in Cannes during the main festival’s fortnight. Above, Jane and Steven Brandon (Luke) outside the Palais Du Festival, home of the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
In June ‘My Feral Heart’ was unveiled to UK audiences. It’s fair to say that for British Indie films, recognition by Edinburgh International Film Festival is always going to be top of the wish list. Opening night gala at EIFF: Luis Sanchez (Exec Producer), Duncan Paveling (Writer), Steven Brandon (Luke), James Rumsey (Producer)
SOLD OUT! Just ten days after ‘My Feral Heart’ premiered at Edinburgh it took London’s East End Film Festival by storm. ‘My Feral Heart’ made EEFF history by playing to 2 packed screens simultaneoulsy, an East End Film Festival first.
‘My Feral Heart’ Director Jane Gull was the special guest at the inaugural MINDS Film Festival in Singapore. Here she is with the unstoppable, and delightful Kenneth Tan, Chairman of the Singapore Film Society. In addition to the two scheduled screenings at the festival, a third screening was put on two weeks after due to popular demand.
Producer, James Rumsey and star of ‘American Horror Story’ Jamie Brewer at the LA Lift-Off screening of ‘My Feral Heart’. Jan 6, 2017 sees the Lift-Off Global Network End of Season Awards at Pinewood Studios, UK. ‘My Feral Heart’ is nominated for 3 awards: Best Actor (Steven Brandon), Best Director, and Best Feature Film. Fingers-crossed!!
Duncan Paveling (Writer) and Gareth Stanley (Exec Producer) at Woodstock, the ‘Fiercely Independent’ Film Festival where ‘My Feral Heart’ editor Benjamin Gerstein earned an Honourable Mention.
The success of the release that Our Screen called ‘a runaway train’ is documented with poster art and review links in the introductory paragraphs above. At the risk of making Dr Mark Kermode blush, his review was certainly the most talked about and influential – along with BBC 4’s ‘TODAY’ programme’s interview with Jane Gull and Steven Brandon the day before.
Jane Gull and Steven Brandon prepare for their live interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Perhaps the finest hour for our independent release was the homecoming screening that we brokered with Odeon for a screening in Southend, the cinema closest to the locations and community that are the making of ‘My Feral Heart’. The first screening sold out and a second was booked due to popular demand.
Shana Swash (Best Supporting Actress) and Steven Brandon (Best Actor and Most Promising Newcomer) were both recognised by BIFA with shortlist nominations.
Steven Brandon (back to us) and Shana Swash shine on the ‘black’ carpet at this year’s BIFAs.
Team ‘Feral’ were out in force at the BIFAs: James Rumsey (Producer), Pixie Le Knot (The Girl), Will Rastall (Pete), Gareth Stanley (Exec Producer), Gavin Thain (Exec Producer), and pictured L-R: Duncan Paveling (writer), Shana Swash (Eve), Steven Brandon (Luke), Jane Gull (director), Georgina Paveling (Assoc. Producer)
2016 IN PICTURES | 2017 IN FRONT January 2nd, 2017myferalheart
In the face of a brutally competitive era for the independent film where distributors want all ancillary rights as well as ‘star’ names to commit to a distribution deal, we have scheduled an independent release.
It will be run largely via the cinema-on-demand platform Our Screen (www.ourscreen.com) and take the form of a tour of key UK cities across the month of November 2016.
Screenings will only go ahead if sufficient presales of tickets are reached and so we are calling for champions to support this fresh and original release strategy of an equally fresh and original film!
Releasing through Our Screen’s cinema-on-demand platform empowers the public to make a screening happen in their area if one has not been scheduled. All they have to do is go to the Our Screen site, select our film, and select from the dates at a venue near them to allow bookings to be taken. Once the threshold is reached in any venue the event is accepted by the venue.
PRE-SALES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR SCHEDULED SCREENINGS TO GO AHEAD. ONLINE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE OUR SCREEN ‘MY FERAL HEART’ BOOKINGS PAGE:
We are delighted & honoured to announce our selection in the ‘Narrative Feature’ section at this years Woodstock Film Festival (13th-16th October). Our selection sees us alongside and ‘in competition’ with some terrific films including the already ‘Oscar’ tipped ‘Loving’ (Dir: Jeff Nichols – starting Joel Egderton) and ‘Blind’ (starring Alec Baldwin & Demi Moore). The festival also boasts the attendance of Catherine Hardwicke (Dir: Twilight, Miss You Already) and the 2 time Oscar winner Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant, Birdman) to name just a few.
Tickets go on sale 21st September.
For more information:
WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL September 14th, 2016myferalheart