9 Songs - Trailer
A film by Michael Winterbottom
2 lovers. One year. Nine Songs.
9 songs takes place in London in the autumn of 2003.
Lisa is an American student in London for a year. Matt meets her at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Concert at the Brixton Academy. Matt falls in love with her and the film follows their relationship, as well as seeing songs from each of the concerts they go to together:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The Von Bondies
The Dandy Warhols
Super Furry Animals
In between the music and the bands we see Matt and Lisa making love and it is through their lovemaking that their relationship unfolds.
We follow their love affair up until Christmas when Lisa leaves to go back to America.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
IDEAS AND INSPIRATION
Michael was initially inspired by Michel Houellebecq’s sexually explicit novel Platform – ‘It’s a great book, full of explicit sex and again I was thinking, how come books can do this but film, which is far greater disposed to it, can’t?’ Michael met with Houellebecq, but as it turned out the French novelist had his own film plans for the book.
The film is told as a flashback. Matt, who is fascinated by Antarctica, is visiting the white continent and recalling his love affair with Lisa. In the voice over, Matt compares being in Antarctica to being
‘two people in a bed - claustrophobia and agoraphobia in the same place’. The images of the ice and the never-ending landscape of Antarctica are effectively cut in to shots of the crowded concerts.
The film had no script. The dialogue evolved during the filming through improvisation and interaction between the actors and the director.
It was clear from the beginning that it would require two very special people to consent to having sex on film.
The casting process began with open auditions however these proved unsuccessful and the majority of the people who turned up were men.
Michael had already worked with Kieran O’Brien on 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and CRACKER.
Margo was found via the Extras and Model agency Q Casting. Margo had only done acting work as an extra and worked mainly as a fashion model.
From the outset, it was very important that the actors felt at ease. There was a short rehearsal period before the main shoot that gave the actors a chance to get to know each other first and also decide if
they wanted to continue.
Some of these rehearsal scenes eventually ended up in the final film.
With the bands, Michael wanted to film at live concerts of bands performing in London during the period of November 2003 to February 2004. In true rock and roll style, most of the bands approached were very excited about the film. By the end of October, however, the line up of bands on board were Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Elbow, The Von Bondies, Franz Ferdinand, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dandy Warhols and Michael Nyman at his 60th Birthday Party.
The majority of the concerts took place at Brixton Academy, with the exception of The Dandy Warhols at The Forum, Primal Scream at the Hammersmith Apollo and Michael Nyman at the Hackney Empire.
The filming of the bands was made easier with such a small crew and the fact the filming was done using only handheld DV cameras. The live music was recorded using a feed from the main mix supplied by the music venue. On the day, the sound was set up as the bands did their sound check and the rest of the crew arrived and got backstage access to set up an hour before the concert. During the concert, Marcel, Mat and Michael were in the crowd with the DV cameras (one of them filming from the pit) and Stuart was at the main mixing desk recording the sound.
SHOOTING ON DV
The film was shot on DV (digital video) using hand held DV cameras with no extra lighting.
All the concert footage was shot using up to 3 handheld DV cameras in the crowd and no additional lighting. This meant the film crew could go unnoticed in the crowd and this gives the film a real sense of watching the bands as if through the eyes of the characters.
The rest of the filming took place on location in London and Norfolk. The filming crew was limited to just the director, camera, sound, and a production assistant.
Kieran O’Brien’s film credits include 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (2000. dir. Michael Winterbottom), MY KINGDOM (2001 dir. Don Boyd) and VIRTUAL SEXUALITY (1999 dir. Nick Hurran) and with a thriving stage career, he as appeared at The Gate Theatre in DANTONS DEATH, at the Royal National in GUIDING STAR and The Sheffield Crucible in THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK, directed by the award winning Michael Grandage.
O’Brien’s television credits include contemporary drama series BURN IT for BBC Three, the acclaimed war drama BAND OF BROTHERS, HEARTS AND BONES, BORN TO RUN (all for the BBC) and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (C4). In addition he starred as Ken Stotts younger brother in the critically acclaimed MESSIAH as well as three series of CRACKER and the lead in three series of CHILDREN’S WARD (all for ITV). O’Brien also starred in A&E (ITV) and STIG OF THE DUMP for Childrens BBC.
Margo Stilley, 21, an actress-model from Bear Creek, North Carolina who was found for the role of Lisa via a London casting agency. Nine Songs is Margo’s acting debut.
PRODUCER & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Andrew Eaton studied classics and law at Cambridge and worked in theatre publicity before joining BBC Television as a researcher. He directed and produced documentaries for the BBC’s ARENA and OMNIBUS arts programmes on a wide variety of subjects including John Ford and ABBA.
In 1993 Andrew produced FAMILY, a four part drama for the BBC, written by Roddy Doyle. Shortly afterwards he and Michael Winterbottom, who directed FAMILY, formed Revolution Films. Through Revolution, Andrew and Michael have collaborated on ten features. GO NOW (1995) won them a Prix Europa, and I WANT YOU (1998) premiered in competition at Berlin, winning a special prize for Cinematography.
In 1998 Andrew and Michael made WITH OR WITHOUT YOU and WONDERLAND back to back. WONDERLAND was in competition at Cannes and Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1999. The film has gone on to win Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards and has been nominated for Best British Film at the 2000 BAFTA’s. In 2001 Andrew produced THE CLAIM which premiered at Berlin. This was followed by 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE which was in competition at Cannes in 2002 and won Best Achievement in Production at the British Independent Film Awards 2002.
IN THIS WORLD was in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2003 where it won the Golden Bear, the Peace Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. IN THIS WORLD was nominated for Best Film, Best
Director and Best Director of Photography at the European Film Awards and also won the Independent Film Awards for Best Technical Achievement and Best Achievement in Production. The film has been nominated for Best Film of 2003 at the South Bank
Show Awards and also for Best British Film and British Director at the 24th Film Critics Circle Awards. IN THIS WORLD has also been nominated for two BAFTAS this year – The Alexander Korda Award for the outstanding British film of the year and
for Best Film Not In The English Language.
Last year Andrew produced Michael’s latest film CODE 46 starring Oscar nominees Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton.
Andrew has also worked as an executive producer with Michael at Revolution on Damien O’Donnell’s follow-up to EAST IS EAST, HEARTLANDS which was released in the UK in spring 2003 and Stephen Fry’s directorial debut BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS was released in September 2003. With Michael, Andrew is currently Executive Producing Tracey Emin’s first feature TOP SPOT funded by the BBC.
As well as his work with Michael Winterbottom, Andrew produced THE JAMES GANG, directed by Mike Barker, and RESURRECTION MAN with director Marc Evans.
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
Michael Winterbottom was born in Blackburn in 1961.
Film credits include BUTTERFLY KISS (1994) and GO NOW (1995) which won Winterbottom his second Prix Europa. JUDE (1995) with Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet premiered at the Directors Fortnight in Cannes and won The Michael Powell award for Best Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival and The Golden Hitchcock Award at Dinard.
1n 1996 he was in competition in Cannes with WELCOME TO SARAJEVO. I WANT YOU (1997), competed at Berlin in 1998. These were followed by WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, for Channel 4 Films and Miramax and WONDERLAND, selected for the competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and Edinburgh, winner of the British Independence Film Award for Best Film and nominated for Best British Film at the 2000 BATFA’s.
2001 saw THE CLAIM, which was followed by a return to official competition in Cannes in 2002 with 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE.
The critically acclaimed IN THIS WORLD (2002) was the winner of the Golden Bear, the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the Peace Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, 2003. IN THIS WORLD was also nominated for Best Film, Best Director and Best Director of Photography at the European Film Awards and also won the Independent Film Awards for Best Technical Achievement and Best Achievement in Production. The film has been nominated for Best Film of 2003 at the South Bank Show Awards and also for Best British Film and British Director at the 24th Film Critics Circle Awards. IN THIS WORLD has also been nominated for two BAFTAS – The Alexander Korda Award for the outstanding British film of the year and for Best Film Not In The English Language.
In 2003 Michael directed CODE 46 starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, which is due for release this summer.
He has also worked as an executive producer with his long time producer Andrew Eaton through Revolution on Damien O’Donnells’ follow-up to EAST IS EAST, HEARTLANDS which was released in the UK 2003 and Stephen Fry’s directorial debut BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS.
Michael was winner of the Alexander Walker Special Award at the Evening Standard Film Awards, 2004.
Melissa joined Revolution Films in 2001 as assistant to Andrew Eaton and Michael Winterbottom. She worked as Italian and French fixer on IN THIS WORLD and since last year has been producing TOP SPOT a film by the British Artist Tracey Emin. TOP SPOT was funded by the BBC and will be showing on BBC Three and also BBC 2 over the next year. The film will also have a theatric release.
While working as Associate Producer on 9 SONGS, Melissa also specially composed and performed two piano pieces SOLA and PLATFORM which are in the film.
Before working at Revolution, Melissa worked at Objective Productions as a TV Researcher for shows such as THE QUICK TRICK SHOW (CITV), DERREN BROWN: MIND CONTROL (Channel 4), and 5 GO DATING (E4).
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
IN THIS WORLD is Marcel Zyskind’s debut feature as Director of Photography. Prior to this he was Focus Puller and Camera Operator for Director Lars von Trier on DANCER IN THE DARK and MILLENIUM PROJECT.
Zyskind has also worked as Camera and Steadicam Operator on ROD JULL (Dir. Linus Tunstrom), 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (Dir. Michael Winterbottom) and 28 DAYS LATER (Dir. Danny Boyle).
Marcel studied cinematography at the Lodz Film School in Poland.
Stuart Wilson previously worked with Michael Winterbottom on IN THIS WORLD, CODE 46 and 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. He has worked as Sound Recordist on numerous features including: THE CONSTANT GARDENER (Dir. Fernando Meirelles), THE DREAMERS (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci), INNOCENCE (Dir. Kristina Levring), SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (Dir. Charles Beeson), THE LAST YELLOW (Dir. Julian Ferino) and THE LAND GIRLS (Dir. David Leland)
Stuart has also created sound FX for Lynnes Ramsay’s debut feature RAT CATHCER and Jerry Weintraub’s THE AVENGERS amongst others.
NINE SONGS is Mat Whitecross’s first feature as Editor. Leading up to this he has worked on high profile promo’s for features such as THE CONSTANT GARDENER (Dir. Fernando Meirelles ‘City of God’) and THE FESTIVAL (Dir. Annie Griffin ‘The Book Group’). Mat worked with Michael Winterbottom on CODE 46 as a 2nd Unit Director and as an assistant on IN THIS WORLD. He also recently worked as 2nd Unit Editor on THE UPSIDE OF ANGER starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen.
Joakim Sunstrom has worked as Sound Editor on many feature films and feature documentaries including ROBINSON IN SPACE (dir: Partick Keiller) and HEARTLANDS (Dir: Damien O’Donnell).
He has worked previously with Michael Winterbottom on the Director’s homage to Manchester Music, 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. Most recently he completed work on Oscar winning Director Kevin MacDonald’s feature documentary TOUCHING THE VOID.
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