Ctrl.Alt.Shift @ Raindance
September 18, 2009, 3:51 pm
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Ctrl.Alt.Shift short films at Raindance Film Festival 2009

Wednesday 7th October will see Ctrl.Alt.Shift host a special event at Raindance Film Festival 2009, screening 5 provocative short films, followed by a Q&A and after party. 

The short films include 1000 Voices, War School, HIV: The Musical, Man Made and No Way Through. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Fern Berresford (Man Made) and Ben Newman (War School), Andy Noble (Producer, Extraordinary Rendition), Heydon Prowse (Don’t Panic), Chantelle Fiddy (Ctrl.Alt.Shift) and special guests.  The after party will include a DJ set by Matchstick (Warner) and live acoustic performance by MPHO.

The short films were created as a result of a national competition hosted by Ctrl.Alt.Shift which saw aspiring filmmakers aged between 18 and 25 write a treatment based around three key issues – War + Peace, Gender + Power and HIV + Stigma.

Ctrl. Alt. Shift Event at Raindance Film Festival:

Date: Wednesday 7th October

Location: Raindance Cafe, Vinyl Factory, Entrance at Phonica, 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ

7.00pm: doors open

7.30pm: 5 short films screened

8.15pm: Q&A panel discussion with Fern Berresford (Man Made) and Ben Newman (War School), Andy Noble (Producer, Extraordinary Rendition), Heydon Prowse (Don’t Panic), Chantelle Fiddy (Ctrl.Alt.Shift), plus special guests

9.00pm: Music with Matchstick (to DJ) and MPHO (acoustic set)

11.00pm: ends

Tickets are available to buy for £5 from www.raindance.co.uk  or are free to Raindance Film Festival passholders.






Comic Design Competition

Corruption_eflyer (2)


Corruption is both a cause of poverty, and a barrier to overcoming it. It is one of the most serious obstacles to eradicating poverty.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption

Comic Design Competition
Win the chance to create a unique comic style story in collaboration with acclaimed musician and writer Dev Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion.

After the first round of judging at the end of September, shortlisted entrants will be given Lightspeed Champion’s comic script as inspiration and asked to create a visual adaptation of the story.

The winning commission will also be published in a comic and form part of an exhibition around the theme of corruption for Ctrl.Alt.Shift, the experimental initiative politicising a new generation of activists for social justice and global change. This will coincide with annual comics festival Comica which takes place at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) this November.

To enter the competition, please send examples of your visual work (for example sketches, comic strips, animations etc…) along with your contact details, tocomiccomp@ctrlaltshift.co.uk by Friday 25th September.

Five shortlisted artists will then be given a comic brief to respond to and a winner chosen by a panel or judges including:

Marjane Satrapi (Writer and Director of Academy Award Nominated Animated Film and graphic novel Persepolis)
Paul Gravett (Comica Festival)
V V Brown and David Allain (Musican and Comic Book Wrtier / Artist)
Lightspeed Champion and Ctrl.Alt.Shift

The competition is restricted to UK Residents only.

The Premiere!

ChipmunkGuestsStageThe ThirstBanging live music, five stunning films, applauding and cheers, a sick after-party, free wine and beers – Ctrl.Alt.Shift know how to get down when it comes to putting on a film premiere.

Near-on 500 movie-goers and Ctrl.Alt.Shift supporters crammed into east London’s Shoreditch Studios last Thursday 14th May. All came to catch the five short global injustice-tackling films created by the aspiring movie-maker winners from last year’s Ctrl.Alt.Shift film competition. And anyone from stars of the productions, to their friends and family, to the directors and producers themselves were present to join in engagement and awe of the finalised flicks – each one based around a Ctrl.Alt.Shift key issue of either War + Peace, Gender + Power and HIV + Stigma.

Mark Dolan (of Channel 4’s ‘The World’s…and Me’ series) stepped up to the stage to draw in the crowd already enjoying the free popcorn. After a brief intro to the project, he presented the first film – War School; which explored what would happen if a child soldier regime was implemented into the British schooling system. To my relief, the two lead actors sat happy-go-lucky in the front row of the audience and applauded their own performances in this great, awareness-striking, opening flick.

Next up, HIV: The Musical depicted one man’s sorrow, as he (actor Martin Freeman) reluctantly watches his HIV-awareness theatre idea transformed into a ridiculous camp musical by a shameless, money-grabbing director, played by actor Julian Barratt. The film was hilarious, but although there were tears of laughter (at lyrics such as: “Your erection – no protection – my heart exposed to this infection”), there remained the significant and important undertone of how many ignorant stigmas there are surrounding HIV.

Man Made was the story of a mannequin who is being examined and sold to a buyer – the scene being a metaphor for a victim of sex-trafficking. This haunting flick, in the style of the Saw movies, brought an astonished hush across the audience as they came to realise what the abused, cigarette-burnt mannequin represented.

The penultimate movie, 1000 Voices, was a remarkable animation telling the tale of refugees detained indefinitely in British government with little or no attention brought to their dire circumstances. These forgotten people were brought to life, and to light by this flick that sounded telephone recordings of the desperate asylum-seekers awaiting deportation in cell-like conditions.

Finally, No Way Through depicted what it would be like if unjust Gaza-like military check-points existed in the UK. A cyclist gets mowed down in the opening of the movie, yet despite the persistent efforts of the driver to find her medical help, they are denied access to any aid due to the road-blocks and couldn’t-give-a-damn officers on guard. It’s a frustrating, head-shaking couple of minutes watching this young girl slowly pass, and yet constantly always a few steps away from being saved. Remember Gaza – Free Palestine echoed in my head.

After the amazing display of movies and global issues, it was the talk of the night from then on, which in part, is Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s intentions for every project that we create – opening eyes to things that need to be seen and changed.

Before and following the screenings, the buzzing crowd were indulged further with performances by four of the music acts behind the film soundtracks, Jesca Hoop, The Thirst, Chipmunk and Shy Child. Then the shaking and grooving moved out, down the streets of east London to the after-party at Legion club, where DJ MistaJam spun some old-school garage, a bit of jungle and a touch of Dizzee to finish the night off on a high. Even the likes of rappers Giggs, Professor Green and Example, artist T-Magic and Adulthood star Adam Deacon dropped by to feel the ground-shaking vibes.

The film premiere was live. I crawled home at 3am, and whilst that journey remains blurry, the images and messages delivered by the films cut deep; look at the injustice, count yourself lucky, consider those unlucky, fight for change, fight against injustice – the power of film is a wonderful thing. Words: Dwain Lucktung. Assistant editor, Ctrl.Alt.Shift website. The Ctrl.Alt.Shift short films will be available to the public soon – keep checking the website for updates.

And the after show party … ?
May 8, 2009, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Film Competition | Tags: , , , , ,

After Show Party

Mark Dolan to compere film event!


Mark Dolan is a comedian, TV presenter and writer.

He currently indulges his passion for film, as the presenter of Sky’s flagship movie show 35mm, in which he reviews the latest cinema releases and interviews the stars behind and in front of the camera.

Mark is lately best known for his Channel 4 documentary series which featured the world’s smallest, tallest and hairiest people, as well as the fattest pet! The show was a critical and ratings success and the second series has just been transmitted and third series commissioned

He also hosted the hugely popular Channel 4 comedy show BALLS OF STEEL.

“Consistently funny” -The Independent.

Adam Buxton to voice-over on 1000 VOICES
April 28, 2009, 11:02 am
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Breaking news…. Adam Buxton will voice-over on 1000 VOICES. Adam is a British comedian, who together with his comedy partner Joe Cornish wrote and presented the Channel 4 comedy series The Adam and Joe Show, as well as Adam and Joe Go Tokyo. The pair currently present the award-winning Adam and Joe Show on BBC 6 Music

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Film Project Judge Riz Ahmed: Interview from London Paper

New Brit flick Shifty – where a young crack cocaine dealer in London sees his life spiral out of control when his best friend returns home –  is heading for the list of cult underworld classics. And It’s a sure bet that lead actor Riz Ahmed’s star will continue to rise as a result…




Was it always your plan to become an actor? Given you studied philosophy, economics and politics at Oxford it’s not the most obvious career path…

It was always my hope to make music and films, and I was doing both before and throughout my time at Oxford. But this never seems like a realistic career path – wherever you’re coming from. It’s so competitive and getting the right breaks has a lot to do with luck. But I knew it’d be hard for me to be happy in a proper job, I’m quite restless. So going from project to project, changing modes and meeting new people suits me. Acting and music satisfy my inner hobo.


You’ve starred in a number of award winning projects – Michael Winterbottom’s Road to Guantanamo, Britz and Deadset (all for Channel 4) and now your first feature film, Shifty – what’s been the high of your career to date?

There’s been different highs in different ways. When we got a standing ovation at Berlin Film Festival with Road to Guantanamo, up there with the ex-detainees themselves, that was very emotional and felt very special, like an important thing to be a part of. I guess professionally, getting nominated for a Best Actor BIFA against Colin Farrell for Shifty felt great. I didn’t win, and other things I’ve done like Britz have won loads of awards, but Shifty’s a tiny little film and that was a real moment of recognition. I love the idea of making an unexpected impact, coming in from left field.

On the music side, supporting Massive Attack, Mos Def, and playing Fabric were very special, because I grew up listening to those acts and raving at Fabric. 


And the low?

The lows I suffer are small and frequent – I beat myself up a lot when I think I could have done something better than I did – I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist so it happens a lot and it means I’ll never be satisfied. But I don’t mind. If you’re not trying to improve, what’s the point?


Shifty was shot on just £100,000 over a few weeks, it must have been a pretty intense way to work?

We were stupidly short on time, money, crew, and resources. I loved it. Everyone believed in the script and the director Eran, so it meant all hands on deck, it created a really unique vibe on set. The props guys would wade into sewage to retrieve a phone because we couldn’t afford a replacement, Jason Flemyng was sweeping floors in between takes. It also created a massive sense of focus – you only have two takes at each scene when you’re filming literally ten pages a day instead of the usual two pages, so you roll with the punches, and have to nail it. I like working under pressure. But I can’t ride tricycle’s under pressure. I came off that bike at a high speed.


When you first read the script did you think ‘British cult classic’, as it’s now being tipped?

I thought it deserved to be – it’s a universal story told in a refreshing way, and the dialogue was so natural and funny. But we were always up against it, and I knew we’d have to step up to the mark and pull it of, hope that people support it when it’s made. I know people will relate to it – that thing of seeing your old friends from where you grew up and it making you revisit your old ghosts, and question your present and your future. The way Shifty tells that story is a breath of fresh air. No stereotypes, no glamorizing crime, and no depressing, worthy, docu-realism. This film treats the audience with respect and also let’s then enjoy the ride.



Who gets more love from the girls, you or Daniel Mays?

Daniel’s married so his loving is probably more regular, but also possibly less varied. Hahaha just joking. We’re both in this to do solid interesting work, we’re not really the type to have screaming fans or become poster boys, is the true and boring answer. Having said that, if you’re interested, find me on myspace, haha.  


You said in the past that it’s hard playing more non-stereotypical roles, given your ethnicity, do you feel you’re breaking that mould now?

I don’t take roles that are stereotypes or stock characters. But that can leave a small amount of roles left for me to consider. I’ve been lucky to get the best of a small bunch of good roles. But now it’s changing, with Dead Set, and Shifty, and I hope I’m breaking that mould, that’s something I would be proud to do. The films I’ve done have found an audience and connected with people of all backgrounds, and the public want to see the reality of our diverse society on screen – it’s more the decision makers who need to catch up. Shifty is another kick against that door. It’s a challenge to the industry – it’s a new way of making films in so many ways.


You were given the chance to visit the real Shifty in prison but turned it down. Why?

The starting point for Shifty is based on a real person, but the character I play is an every-man who has found himself on the wrong side of the tracks. The real guy is a great resource, I read his letters from prison and heard lots of stories about him, how intellligent, and focussed he was. It all helped. But this isn’t a bio-pic. The film is really about friendship, the paths we find ourselves and the people we care about taking – what we do to change their course – we can all relate to that from our own experiences.



The Shifty theme tune, which features yourself, Plan B and Sway, will be the first time a lot of people will have heard you waxing lyrical. How would you sum up Riz MC and how does he differ to Riz Ahmed?

Riz MC is my extremes, it’s me at my most thoughtful or hyperactive, honest or sarcastic. As an MC lyrical content is important to me – songs that are about something more than word play or bragging. And musically it’s about putting that lyricism on new backdrops you don’t usually hear an MC on – I’ve done tracks with no beats and just strings, and topped the dubstep carts with Radar which was released under a techno label last year! (Damain Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels).  I’m really proud of the Shifty track – it’s on iTunes May 11th on True Tiger. It feels great to be on there with two of my favorite rappers and know they want to work with you too. We got more votes then the new Eminem track on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio1 show!


And why rap? Couldn’t you sing?

Haha, I get to say more if I rap, and I can’t shut up. But I wrote the hook on the Shifty tune, and am singing more on the album. People have prodded and poked me into doing it. Including you now. If it sounds rubbish it’s your fault.




Tracks like ‘Post 9/11 Blues’ aren’t going to get played on radio. Given your rising celebrity have you ever been tempted to take the commercial route as opposed to voicing views of a political (and often controversial) nature?


It’s funny you should say that – only two of my songs are political! I’m more interested in social politics – the way we look at each other, or feel pressured to fit in, or the way we play power games when we’re in a relationship. But after my debut track was banned it then got forced onto the radio by internet support. So I think even if the music you make, or the way you release it is not the commercial “industry” way, you can still have a career on your own terms now and it becomes hard for the establishment to ignore you. I’ve taken years to release my first album (hopefully this year!) because I juggle acting and other things, but because each release has had an impact or got someone’s attention I’ve been championed by BBC Radio1, playing Glastonbury, BBC Electric Proms, and a Maida Vale session with the Ting Tings for them… Some of my stuff is more underground, like Radar, and some is more commercial like the Shifty track. It’s about what suits the song. And whether that suits the mainstream or not, there’s other ways to get your music to people who want to hear it. I’m in this for the long term, and the most important thing to me is bringing something fresh that has substance, not blowing up over night. But there’ll be a mix of stuff on the album.


You’ve just completed a year as a music resident at the Southbank, whilst juggling your growing acting commitments. Do you ever feel the need to choose between your music and acting career?

I’ve always done both and each makes me better at the other. As an MC I’ve learned the importance of preparation and detail from acting, and MCing reminds me to stay loose and open to improvise as an actor. In terms of choices it just creates a healthy tension, every time I do a film I better believe in it, because that will stop me from touring or recording for that time. And vice versa.Things have a habit of lining up too. Britz was out the same week People Like People was all over radio, Shifty posters have gone up as the song’s playlisted on MTV – and as an independent music artist and someone who is drawn towards acting work that isn’t very Brady bunch, having the combined weight of both can help excite people and get exposure for projects that might otherwise get lost.


As a student you ran hip hop nights in Oxford, are you looking to get back into club promoting?

My Hit&Run club brand currently runs in Manchester. I’m putting on a really special night at the Southbank Centre on 18th July – United Underground – with fresh new music, artwork, big name speakers from politicians to actors, and a roof-top party. It’s with British Underground and Ctr.Alt.Shift – a rave with nu skool activism thrown in.


Out of interest, what’s the shiftiest thing you’ve ever done?

For every role I always end up having to do some shifty stuff. I pretended to be a law student and snuk into lectures to prepare as a spy for Britz, I did the rounds with some highly illegal types for Shifty, and once had to trade hash for an armed escort along the Afghan border during Road to Guantanamo. Can someone please offer me a nice rom-com?


Words: Chantelle Fiddy

A version of this article appeared in thelondonpaper (http://thelondonpaper.com)


Download the Shifty mixtape for free at: www.mediafire.com/file/teznjnj2gty/Shifty