Monday, May 05, 2008

Pennies From Heaven/AF Tip of the Day

No today's blog is not about fund raising. It is about one of the most amazing and strange mini-series that I've ever seen. Pennies From Heaven is a BBC series that was first broadcast in 1978. It is the story of Arthur (Bob Hoskins) who is a sheet music sales man in the 1930's (it might be late 20's).

It was remade in 1981 as a 2 hour film starring Steve Martin, and it totally bombed! Check out wikipedia ( for more info on the Steve Martin version. There is some interesting and bizarre stuff here.

Pennies From Heaven is one part drama, one part musical, and one part very dark comedy. I saw the Steve Martin version when it came out and liked it a lot, but I must say that I am through the first couple parts of the BBC version and it is amazing. It is innovative, the type of film that more filmmakers should aspire to try and make. Dennis Potter also wrote The Singing Detective another ground breaking mini series that premiered in 1986.

If you haven't seen any of Dennis Potters work, you need to check him out! Are his films easy viewing? No! You have to work at it a bit. But if you stay with him you will be rewarded. All young filmmakers, make that ALL filmmakers should watch these films. There is so much to learn about mixing genres and character study in Potters films.

Check them out and if you don't like them, then as Steve Martin put it so well, "I must say that the people who get the movie, in general, have been wise and intelligent; the people who don't get it are ignorant scum."

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

First and foremost, you have to learn your craft
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

And don't forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to for more details.

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