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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
UK animators eye Cannes success
By Stephen Robb
Entertainment reporter, BBC News in Cannes

For the Love of God
For the Love of God was the maker's graduation movie
The absence of British films in the main competition at Cannes has been widely documented and analysed, but there is one UK film that may be divinely-ordained for festival honours.

For the Love of God is an 11-minute stop-motion animation competing in the Cinefondation section of film students' shorts.

It is the creation of writer-director Joe Tucker and writer-producer Raphael Warner, recent graduates of the UK's National Film and Television School.

And it features high-calibre voice talent in Sir Ian McKellen, Steve Coogan and Julia Davis.

"I like to think big and say, 'Why don't we aim for the best?'" says Warner.

"From the start, I said we wanted McKellen, Coogan - our tutors laughed."

Unholy fantasy

Tucker says: "I am guessing it was a far more unusual offer than they normally get.

"The fact that it was something a bit out of the ordinary, it stood out."

For the Love of God follows Graham, a man driven to pursue an unholy sexual fantasy by a life spent working in the Christian bookshop of his domineering mother.

Raphael Warner and Liam Iandoli
The only British Cannes contenders have attracted UK media interest
The story idea was sparked by tabloid reports of celebrity sex videos, which prompted Tucker to imagine the discovery of one involving the Almighty.

The film is highly imaginative, meticulously detailed and eccentrically funny.

"We share the same passion for dark comedy centring on strange worlds and strange characters," says Warner about his working relationship with Tucker.

'Cinematic'

Tucker and director of photography Liam Iandoli spent three months of up to 18-hour days in a darkened room shooting the movie.

"We didn't want to just keep a static camera - it had to be cinematic," says Iandoli.

"It really paid off. It was worth the extra time we spent on the film."

He adds: "The way Joe has directed this piece, the images say so much.

"From the opening shot you get drawn into this film."

The festival organisers apparently agreed, and the resultant nomination has given the film-makers' profiles a considerable boost.

Joe Tucker
Tucker has worked on music videos since leaving film school
Tucker says: "It has been really good for us that we have been able to say we are the only British film in Cannes.

"I would hope it has brought us a little bit more attention than we might otherwise have got."

Warner says that while they are hugely excited to be at the festival, there is also pressure to take advantage of a significant career opportunity.

"We have to strike while the coals are white," he says.

Competition hopes

A Cannes prize win - the result is announced on Friday - would be a massive boost for the film and its makers.

Tucker adds: "When I first found out we were in the competition, I was completely overwhelmed.

"But like everything, you quickly adjust - being here is absolutely wonderful, but we would like to come away with some kind of prize."

The trio hope their next project together will be a feature film, and they have animation and live-action scripts at the ready.

"We have got a fantastic relationship as a team," says Warner.

"We work really well on a creative level, the three of us."

But he adds: "If we were in America, no doubt about it we would be in work on a feature.

"But in the UK it's a little bit more difficult and it shouldn't be like that."




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