Thursday, 18 June 2020

[Interview] - Matkai Burmaster giving Indie Film a voice with Fearless

Films are made to be seen and in the world of independent film competition to be seen is rife. Film festivals bring an audience and recognition, but it's all over in a few days. YouTube as a global platform is so vast that it can hard for a film maker's work to be seen. Although platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime do feature some independent titles, too many are left by the wayside, especially minority voices. 'Fearless' is a streaming service specifically for the independent film market giving a platform and a voice with focus on diversity inclusivity.  

The service co-founded by Matkai Burmaster, features films created by and for people of colour, women, LGBQT, indigenous, and disable people, all with a mission shared by Cine Bijou - to support indie film. Since it was founded over three years ago 'Fearless' has built up a library of films and series of all genres with stories from all walks of life. We sat down with Matkai to talk about the building of 'Fearless' it's mission to support indie film, and the rising popularity of independent films.  

I grew up in Sudbury, Ontario, which is about five hours north of Toronto and it's a pretty conservative area. I moved when I had just finished high school to Toronto where I've lived ever since besides this short blip in New York City that I'm in now. I started off as an actor then went to university for acting, hated it dropped out after a year, and then I went to film school. That's where I really found my passion. I've been a filmmaker creating movies, I've acted in some of my own stuff as well and then at a certain point I realised that I didn't have a great platform to put my work on. I know you've talked a little bit about how sometimes for independent filmmakers it's tough to get that attention because the media sources are so heavily invested in Hollywood. So, I created a streaming service that was meant for independent film, in particular, focusing on the independent film that doesn't seem to get noticed, inclusive independent film that feature LGBTQ, women both in front and behind the camera, as well as by people of colour; so that's black indigenous and people of colour, as well as people with disabilities, mental health, all the kind of little niches that because they are niches tend to not get the viewership they deserve. 

So when and how did 'Fearless' come about?

It was really after college I started up with somebody that I studied with at college. However I didn't actually start making any of these projects until college was over. At first I did collaborate with the people that I had studied with and then over time I grew that network to collaborate with more people. In the beginning I was just creating films and series, I was not thinking about running a streaming service and in fact it's not something that probably would have ever crossed my mind except for the fact that once I had made this content I couldn't find a home I'd like to put it on. I didn't want to put it on YouTube and have it free for everyone because I know how hard it can be to monetise content on YouTube, and out of the streaming services that existed it was either I try to make something with a huge budget and try to give it to Netflix or I use the model that a lot of filmmakers use which is they don't actually make the thing they just try to pitch it to everybody and get somebody else to pay for it. Alternatively I could make it myself with a low budget, and I could distribute it myself on a streaming service, and that's really what I wanted to do. So, in searching I couldn't find a platform I liked and so Deanna and I said at the end of the day, "What if we just made our own? What if we just made a streaming service for ourselves that caters to the ideas of what we would want in one?" Turns out other filmmakers were on board with the idea of what we were doing.

So you came up with 'Fearless' with Deanna,  was anybody else involved?

It was just us. We're very entrepreneurial and took a risk; we just started it up by ourselves. Of course, now we have a team of curators, developers and everything else but when we first started it was just me and her. We started with zero dollars just whatever was in our bank accounts and we had no ambassadors or anything like that - we just took a risk.

Fearless Pioneer Matkai Burmaster
How did you set up the platform itself? How did you get it designed and then implemented?

So when we first started we used an out of the box streaming service that already exists to help other people create streaming services. It really was meant more for someone who just want to put their fitness videos out there and charge for them. It wasn't really meant to be a full on streaming service. Over time we grew and we added a team of developers who built us a custom solution; and that's where we are today. So right now we're on iOS and Android. We have TV apps coming soon - Apple TV and Roku - and then down the line we'll have a web version as well. A lot of streaming services start with the web version but we just we just knew that starting with apps was probably a better choice so that's where we began.

Okay, so how long has 'Fearless' been operating then as a business and as a platform for independent films.

We've been around for three and a half years.

That first year that you launched. What challenges did you face, and how did you go about overcoming them.

Well, there's a bit of a 'which came first the chicken or the egg' scenario. It was hard to get new filmmakers on board because we didn't have very much content and we also didn't really have any members at that point, we had maybe 10 members. So at the beginning, it was a case of "how do we get more filmmakers whilst at the same time get more members?" Basically to get more members we need more films. That was the biggest struggle at the beginning overcoming that hurdle. At the end of the day it was just about hitting the pavement and trying to get more filmmakers, and more members simultaneously. I would say the first year was really tough.

So, virtually then you had to use almost old school word of mouth to attract the filmmakers and members.

Yeah, we did. We started going to film festivals and just trying to network with as many filmmakers as we possibly could. There are definitely filmmakers who are members, and they also put their content on 'Fearless'. So there is some crossover there but for the most part the members are not necessarily filmmakers. So, reaching those people typically are the kind who would go to film festivals and that's kind of how we started. Networking at the beginning to let people know that it existed. 

Which film festivals, did you approach. Can you remember?

Yeah, so we're located in Toronto, so we were mostly working with those festivals in the Toronto area. We also work with one festival in Oklahoma, who worked with one in the UK. So we spread ourselves out a little bit. At the beginning that first year we had no money so we were just doing whatever we could and it was mostly within the Toronto area. 

One of the many Independent Film Festivals supported by Fearless
In terms of identify then how did you differ in the the market from the bigger platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime who fund and screen their own small selection of independent films. Do you think that those platforms, helped you tap in to the taste for more independent content?

That's a great question. I'm not sure whether it did or not. The truth of the matter is that the the types of content that those platforms bring on in terms of independent content is generally the more premium or high budget project now there are exceptions, and there are some titles like 'Okja', for example, I'm not sure if you're familiar with that one, in which Netflix funded the project so they had quite a bit of control over it. However, I'm not sure if that made a massive impact or not. I think, to some degree, those big platforms are putting out this kind of content because they want to win awards. Yes streaming platforms don't currently qualify for all the awards so they're trying to push the industry forward so that streaming platforms are on par with the companies that are releasing movies in theatres. I think right now with COVID and everything that's happening it's just giving them more reason to say "listen there's no difference between an online release or a theatre release at this point."

So in terms of the content of 'Fearless' then, what sort of titles what sort of kinds of films are you attracting and making available to your members?

At the end of the day we're here for indie film, and we're also here for film that breaks boundaries and and increases inclusivity. Our content spans across genres. There's definitely titles that are more politically charged or that are more controversial in nature. And then there are other titles that are quite similar to what you might expect from the mainstream networks. At the end of the day we love the fact that the filmmakers themselves don't have to change their vision to fit our mould and that's really the most important thing to us. Now you mentioned earlier how the different platforms have original content which they fund, that's something we've actually tried to avoid because a lot of times when a network funds content they actually change the filmmakers vision, or they may be watered down. They may even provide more feedback and influence than may be necessary and had the filmmaker been able to just create the content that they planned it might have been a stronger piece.

No plans on a purely financial level to just start backing the work of filmmakers and even lay down a mandate that you would not interfere creatively? 

Maybe, at some point down the road if we look at investing financially in content we may within those parameters put something in place, exactly what you said, that creative control must remain with the filmmaker as that's something we're not willing to compromise on.

After three and a half years of meeting challenges and rapid growth how is 'Fearless' doing now?
We're doing great. Now when we first started we were in US and Canada only, and now we're in seven countries; we've added the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa a big chunk of the English speaking world. Our platform is really only English we have a few that are non English titles, but really our audience is English. We can't be everything all at once. So we're doing great and now we're at the point where we have enough content to attract members, and also there's no qualms from a filmmakers point of view. At the beginning filmmakers would say, "Well I'm a little worried because you don't have a lot of content" or "you don't have a lot of members." That's just not a factor these days now that we've built our library up to a much larger catalogue. It's pretty exciting and I love the content that's coming out right now. I've seen some submissions from some filmmakers who have made content in quarantine which is kind of neat. We haven't launched any of those titles yet but it's something we may do. We approve every title - Amazon Prime is a great example because the filmmakers put up their own content and as long as it meets Amazon's technical requirements it goes on. No problem. We don't do it that way, everything on 'Fearless' is curated so we have a team of curators that review every single title submitted. We kind of make sure that it fits both our technical and our standards in terms of inclusion and and pushing the world forward in positive ways.

Sounds good. So what's the feedback you're getting from filmmakers from members, or causal visitors, and reviews?

I think the general feeling from the point of view of members and filmmakers is very positive. Many members like that this is an indie service that we don't have to sift through because with other indie related things sometimes there's what some may consider junk mixed in with gems. So what we do is we kind of filter that in a way where we hope that everything on 'Fearless' is something that is likely to be enjoyed by our members. It doesn't mean that everybody's going to like every title of course not. What it means is that we've watched every title with a fine tooth comb and we've made sure that no anti - inclusion topics are placed in films in ways that we deemed to be inappropriate; so for example we actively make sure that racism and homophobia, etc. are not included in non LGBT titles or non.  We ensure that these inclusion elements are part of every title, and if they're not part of the title that they at least don't create a downslide from the progress made on other titles.

So anything that kind of excludes those voices (for example 'Mississippi Burning' has been accused of omitting the stories of African Americans, portraying the FBI agents as white saviours) I would imagine  you would be very hesitant to put that on the platform?

We might. We review every title on a case by case basis but all of this is extremely subjective which is why we never allow just one person to make decisions, it's always decisions by committee and so we let the majority rule. If one person feels it is not quite appropriate but the rest of the team thinks it is a good choice to put it up then we may put it up and we may put in an advisory with it. As you know, what may not be appropriate for certain viewers can sometimes be quite powerful.

I see so what titles that are currently streaming have grabbed your attention that you would highly recommend?

There is a series called 'Giving me Life in the Land of the Deadass'. It's about people living in New York City, a group of friends, and each episode of the series points the lens on a different member of that friend group. It really kind of dives into elements about each one of them and shows you how within any situation in life seeing different perspectives can be extremely valuable. I think that has some some artistic merit to it. There's a film from Bulgaria called 'Getting Fat in a Healthy Way.' It is a sort of a futuristic film in which the idea is that we've destroyed our planet to the point where gravity no longer works as we expect it to today. So If you're not a heavy enough person you will actually float up into the sky. So then people are starting to make themselves much more heavyset in order to keep their feet on the ground. It's kind of a social commentary on our inaction in keeping our planet safe and healthy, and at the same time it makes some statements on obesity, anorexia and eating disorders in general. I think it has a few different angles, and different people watching it may perceive one of those elements and not the other which I think that's the beauty of it as well.  There is a film called 'Is it just me?' It's quite campy, and it's what you'd expect of a camp gay romantic comedy, but it's from 10 years ago, and it's still very popular today and quite interesting how the filmmakers have made something that despite its campness -and while sometimes it's good to watch something new - has stood the test of time. A lot of film makers consider that to be quite an achievement if it be enjoyed many years later. So I think that's a title where if you like camp it's a great option if not then it's probably not the title for you.

So what's the plan moving forward in terms of - not just  expanding membership and content, - but any plans to diversify the 'Fearless' brand, to maybe include a festival or a film award of sorts?

We have sponsored a couple of film festivals, and we love doing that, we'll continue doing that. In terms of us offering our own kind of awards of any kind, we just feel that there are so many wonderful film festivals that we could support instead of creating something like that of our own that we'd rather just support the ones that exist and help them flourish. At the end of the day I think we're a platform where people come to enjoy content. Although we're a curated service I would never want to provide awards to specific titles, it's not something we're interested in, but supporting film festivals definitely another angle of things we're trying to do. We call our company 'Fearless' for a reason, we want to try and be innovative, try new things, and some of them may work, some of them may not and that's okay; we're willing to take risks. One of the things we're working on right now is a couple of pieces of some content that's a bit different than what you might expect. We also have some titles coming out that are audio only, you may compare them to an audio book, perhaps but they are more character driven so they have multiple voices of actual voice actors voicing them, similar to what you might expect from a radio show but modernised, or a radio play. We're also trying to bring forth some interesting options for example, our mobile apps are the bread and butter of what we do. Apps like 'Quibi' that just came out are offering vertical viewing and that's something we're developing as well so we're working with a couple of filmmakers that are going to be offering vertical entertainment, actual shows and movies that are shot 100% vertically as opposed to horizontally.

That's interesting. Now the independent film market really has grown exponentially over the last 10-15 years. What is it you think about independent films that has people flocking to various film festivals and screenings and to your streaming service?
I think at the end of the day independent films tend to have very unique story lines and characters in ways that are sometimes watered down in Hollywood projects. I think people flock to the independent projects sometimes because they're not always perfect they're not always polished but they tend to offer some really visceral reactions or emotions, and I think that the thoroughness of it. That visceral element I think maybe is the number one reason that people enjoy independent films.

And it's platforms like yours allow for these stories to be told. I guess if it was just down to the cinema market these films wouldn't get a look in would they?
Yeah, exactly. We built our app in a way that is very similar to the other streaming services, it's very similar to what you'd expect from Netflix or Hulu in terms of how the app looks and functions. However the content is very different and that's the area where we want our app to be easy to use for anyone whether they consider themselves indie film lovers or not they can pick it up and know how to use it. It's easy to use but we hope that they'll be exposed to some things that are new to them. Sometimes the challenge with that is you open the app and you go "well I've never heard of any of these," but hopefully the kinds of people who enjoy independent film love the idea that they can check out something that they may know nothing about.

There is something quite appealing isn't there about a film with a director you've never heard of a writer who is probably in their second or third project, like a cinematic magical mystery tour.

Absolutely and the interesting thing about indie film as well is sometimes there's a director or a filmmaker who has such a strong vision that they'll actually pull someone that you do know on board. Sometimes we see one of the actors, a quite well known actor that will join in this indie project, and those kinds of things are really cool too. We have a bunch of films on 'Fearless' that feature a well known actor in indie projects and I think that's quite neat.

I don't suppose you want to name the title of the film and the actor?
Oh sure I can -  there's a title called 'The Key' on 'Fearless' which stars David Arquette, and Bai Ling. The film is quite experimental, it's a little bit art house and I think it's neat that those two, thought it was a great project and wanted to jump on board.

Obviously filmmakers hopefully reading this will want to know how they can be involved and how they can submit projects for streaming. So could you go into a little bit of detail for them?

We have an online submission programme. All filmmakers can submit a film, it takes  less than 10 minutes to submit. From there our curators review each title if it's approved then we send a contract their way. They then send us the deliverable and then it gets a release date set. It's pretty much that simple and we've tried to make it as simple as possible.

For more information on how to sign up as a member or to submit your film;

For creators:
Twitter:         @watchfearless
Facebook:    watchfearless
Instagram:   watchfearless
YouTube:     fearlessnetwork

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

[Interview] Going Undercover with Rising Action Star Saj Ali

British born actor and martial artist Saj Ali has become a staple of the independent short film circuit  with his own brand of high kicking high octane action. Having started training in martial arts a little later in life Saj's impressive and agile skills moved him from the dojo to celluloid in award winning short films. Though he has only featured in a handful of productions Saj continues to step up his persona and skills on film with his eyes set on the action star prize. 

Saj takes pride on his collaborations with other like minded performers and film makers, including David Cheung, and Lee Adamassie, all of whom met through the festival circuit. The films have a unique gritty feel with jaw dropping fight action that have won Saj and his collaborators various accolades around the world. Even in lockdown Saj never stops training and developing projects and we are pleased he has taken time out to speak to Cine Bijou.

As a kid we all liked watching martial art movies, you know, everyone liked Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films. I actually started martial arts training quite late, about  24 or 25 years old and went to different martial art schools, gaining my black belt in freestyle kickboxing, also black belt in Shotokan Karate. From that point onward I started teaching as an assistant instructor, then as an official instructor, and have been teaching for two years. That's when it took off. I saw this ad on Facebook about a short film called ‘The Real Target’ it was written by David Cheung [who also directed along with George and Harry Kirby], and Yolanda Lynes I dropped him a message and things took off from there. 

So it was the real target that got you interested in making movies. In that film you play a character called Agent Blade and you get a fight scene of your own. You were given a real opportunity to showcase your presence and your fighting ability. How much of that choreography had your input and how much of it was down to the choreographer of the film?

David Cheung did the choreography and we shot the fight in this small room. David wanted me to showcase my kicking skills so that way, people can see what I can actually do. We had some different ideas on what to include. Some of the stuff we tried and we took out anything that didn’t suit the scene. We kept in the basic kicks but to a high standard as possible and the fight came out really well.

You look like you had a bit of fun with that you weren't just doing the fighting but playing a part for the first time. Did you have any acting classes before you took on the role?

No, I've never done any acting in my life. On set they showed me how to do a lot of the facial expressions and how to handle dialogues, which I'll be honest with you I was terrible at. I went through so many takes, you could see I was trying to do my best but then I'm not sure if people really liked my acting or not as. I've not really had any feedback from that yet. But I was mainly there for the action scenes, but since then I did get a best actor nomination so I think I'm improving with time.

Saj Ali - Action Reel

So let's talk about ‘Thirsty’ as that's quite an unusual film and you share a fight scene with another filmmaker Lee Admassie, it’s one for which you're the producer as well. How did that come about?

 What happened was after I did ‘The Real Target  I was at the Fighting Spirit Film Festival Where I met Lee.  He had already made a film called ‘VSA’ with Jordan Rasta, and basically they asked me to play the main villain for a feature film. For various reasons that didn't happen but at the same time Lee was writing a script for ‘Thirsty’. He couldn't find the right person to work with on that film. Suddenly he asked “how would you feel about doing ‘Thirsty’ with me?” Well I was like, “yes sure no problem.”  He sent me the script, asked me to read through it and left him know if I liked it. He said he wanted to do a very long action scene and that he wanted me to do it with him. So from that point onwards, that's how it took place, we ended up meeting each other again for coffee and then we started rehearsals. It took quite a while, at least six months for the rehearsals and everything. 

We spoke previously about some of the issues  filming one of them being the location.

Yes. We were supposed to shoot where I live in Buckinghamshire and we shot there for about two or three days. First problem we had was that we couldn't get a car into the field, because there was a big slope, and the river of course, so we shot a little bit of the portion of the film there. With the action, as far as the team was concerned  we couldn't film it there because we had walkers regularly walking past into shots,dog walkers as well but the worst part was the weather; the whole week it was chucking it down with rain. We decided to look for another location this time in London, Battersea Park. The fighting took about five or six days to shoot.  

Obviously you're happy with the finished result.  How well was the film received?

Amazing. I mean, we were just happy the film got selected for the [Fighting Spirit] festival. That alone if it was just that we would have been happy, but then we won an award and we were shocked.. After winning one award, we started being nominated for one another award one after the other. We won over 10 awards for action choreography. So that's when we decided to do more films. This has really taken off with great feedback we got from people, including other film producers and directors. And then we got some messages, private messages from other people from all over saying,  ‘well done, the film was amazing, when can we see it?’ So we started sending them the links to the films to watch.

With action star Scott Adkins
David Cheung & Saj square off

Wow that’s great! So not only were you in the running and nominated for various awards you won various awards including action choreography. And was it that momentum that led you on to produce your latest film ‘Undercover? 
Yes definitely. I produced the whole film, starred in it and David Cheung was the director and writer. I had an idea in my head that I wanted to do an action with my own style of choreograph.  I approached David Chung for this film, gave him the idea for the story and he wrote the script. We put a team together for the film, and including the guy I have a fight with, his name is Alex (Alex Ermar). I'd never worked with him before but I’d seen a couple of his videos on YouTube, so I was more than happy to fight with him. I wanted to include different things in this film, to showcase some knife skills, shoot out, as well as martial arts. This time I included more Capoeira and gymnastics, back flips, that sort of thing. I really wanted to mix the fighting style up a bit so that way you've got a bit of everything, rather than just hand to hand. It was really exciting to work. 

Tell me a little bit more about the plot of the film, and the character that you play.

 I can’t say too much about the film except as there is a twist in the story but I play an undercover soldier. You really need to watch the film to find out for yourself, who is the good guy and who's the bad guy. There's three people involved in the story so you need to figure out for yourself who’s who. The story itself is quite simple, it’s not a complicated film you just have to work out what’s happening.

Saj with 'Thirsty' co-star Lee Admassie
So in terms of filming and working generally on the film, as the star, producer, what challenges did making the film present to you and how did you overcome those challenges?

It was actually quite tough and it was a challenge for me because I hadn't done this type of film before it was very different, and a step up from ‘Thirsty’. The location, again, was a problem - we always have fun with locations.We were meant to shoot in the woods, but that didn't happen, so we have to move it to a warehouse. The type of moves that I had to do. I hadn't done them before. Normally we train and rehearse on mats, in a safe environment.which I am used to. The warehouse was a little less safe and some of the moves were hard to do like a back flip off the sofa for example. That was just made up on the spot on the day and I didn't know I was going to do that. We made up quite a few things on the spot to make it look real. 

Okay, so in terms of film fighting style I know you were influenced by Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. However when choreographing a fight or working on an action scene where do you draw your influences from because there's some solid ground fighting but there's a lot of acrobatics as well.

Obviously, we’re all inspired by Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Taking up  martial arts got me into this whole thing. When ‘Real Target’ came up I wanted to improve my skills more so I started doing gymnastics and more acrobatic stuff. This led me to do more films. People want to see your skills, it has to be more than basic action. The more you can do, the better it is for me and the audience.

So you’re always looking for ways to improve and evolve and try new things like you did with ‘Undercover’? 

That’s right there’s always room for improvement. You have to try new things.

As well as Shotokan Karate and Kickboxing (I noticed you do a little Capoeira in the film) do you include any other styles to add to your skill set?
Yes I actually do some Capoeira in the film. I’ve also learned a little Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, Wado Ryu Karate as well as Shotokan, most martial arts really. I like to experiment with different styles. 

'Undercover' starring Saj Ali

Speaking of different things, and challenges managing the dialogue, I would imagine as an actor that was quite a step up. Are there plans to step up the action side of you as a performer?
There is a project I am working on I can’t say too much about but I've got more of an acting role as well as being the action director. of this. There will be more dialogue and action for me because yes I want to pursue more acting roles than only action.  I can do action obviously very easily, it's not a problem for me. I think it's something I want to improve on as well because I can’t do the action forever. It would be good to stretch myself as an actor.
In much the same way Scott Adkins is broadening his range more as an actor I suppose. So in terms of future projects then what else do you have planned, feature films maybe?
Well I don’t know if I’ve told you but I’ve done a couple of music videos with Lee (Admassie). I am definitely looking to do a feature film and hopefully we'll be shooting in different countries. I would like to play the bad guy more in a feature - I know I sort of played one in ‘The Real Target’ Lately I've been getting the good guy role playing an action hero, which I enjoy as well I don't mind that. I do think it's time to probably change and maybe do more bad guy roles. I actually wouldn't mind taking a break from action, just to try different things and see what more I can do.
Some filmmakers want to make it all about the action with less emphasis on story, plot and characters and some vice versa. What's really important for you in terms of the finished product? is it all about the action and the thrills  or are you looking to engage people with story and character whilst entertaining them with the action?
For me, when I first started making films, it was the action. When I moved on to ‘Thirsty’ and ‘Undercover’  it can’t be solely the action you've got to have a good story. If you've got great action but the story’s not that good and then the action doesn't look so good. They both have to fit but you can’t just concentrate on action. I mean It'd be nice,  because at the moment I'm getting praise from people saying how great the action is in my films; that's a great feeling but I don't want to carry only doing action, as I said before I want to move on and do other roles as well. 
Interesting. Right now you’re a player in the independent film market making yourself known and getting recognised for your work. If Hollywood's come calling one day would you answer the call , or is Indie film better suited to the kind of work you’re doing?
Well everyone starts somewhere. I am starting out with independent films and I am getting recognition for my work, so that's a good start. However, if someone said, “would you be interested in doing a Hollywood film?” I wouldn’t say no and I would take that job but you can start improving what you’re making as an independent filmmaker first then set yourself a benchmark. From that point on, then you can start thinking about doing other things. For now I think we're quite happy what we're doing here. We've got a nice little British community for film-making, everyone's involved,  it’s fun,  get to meet each other, meet new people and we learn from each other.

Looking ahead then, obviously  your career today you stumbled on quite by chance and now you've got a taste for it you've got a passion for it. Looking ahead, where would you like to be in five years time with your film-making?
I've always been a big fan of Bollywood films, and would  love to be in a Bollywood film. If someone came up to me right now and offered me a  role in Bollywood that would be great. I don't think I'll get there yet, it's very hard to get to Bollywood anyway. For now I'm happy doing British films. 
In terms of inspiration definitely Vidyut Jammwal he's the main one for me. The first film he made was ‘Commando’. He hasn't been in the industry that long. He's a self made actor, with no training and no acting skills. He came to Bollywood with all his Kalari [Indian martial art Kalaripayattu] skills, and now he's killing it,  he's become a real commodity. I'd like to be someone like him and I think people can get inspiration  from someone like him because he is self made. Tiger [Tiger Shroff] has some amazing game too. He and Vidyut have similar fighting styles. Tiger is more of a gymnast, he’s very flexible and like me does a lot of acrobatic moves in his films. Vidyut Jammwal does the same thing but with more stunts. Yes I would love to be as successful as these guys. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

[Interview] - Searching for Action Heroes with Oliver Harper

To describe Oliver Harper as a YouTube star would be both accurate yet somewhat disingenuous. Yes he is a successful YouTube personality - his programme 'Oliver Harper's Retrospectives and Reviews' has up to 165,000 subscribers and since it's founding in 2011 features over 530 videos that have amassed between around 42 million views. However Oliver is not the star in his videos, whether it's a review or a nostalgic retrospective of a cinema classic it is the film that is the star. Each episode is packed with factual insights made up of production trivia, news reports interwoven with his own thoughts on the film, and are produced to the sort of high quality equal to the best television productions of the BBC. Oliver can best described as a film journalist providing the sort of middle ground insightful reviews delivered with the eloquence and dry humour of the late and legendary film reviewer Barry Norman.