'Our Catherine' Picks up her first award...


Our 2018 drama Our Catherine has picked up the award for Best Regional Focus at the 2019 Sunderland Shorts Film Festival - the event was an absolute joy to be a part of, and we thank SSFF for the opportunity. Not to turn this into an Oscar acceptance speech or anything, but we’d also like to thank out very small but passionate & dedicated band of cast and crew (Kerry Browne, Mark Beckham, Rachel Adamson, Sarah Parry, Debbie Thompson, Tom Kelly) - you guys are incredible, and every time someone messages us to voice their emotional resonance with the film, there’s a pang of gratitude for you all and your efforts into bringing our vision to life. It truly was a labour of love, and we’re so pleased such is being recognised. Thank you also to Richard Barber and The Word for commissioning the project, and giving us the freedom with it that you did.

Our Catherine tells a universal and transcendent tale through the lens of the famous North East England born author, Catherine Cookson, as she revisits the places of her youth in modern time, reflecting on the cultural and personal impact of her writing.

Our Catherine Trailer.
Our Catherine Full Film (16min).

our cath poster award.jpg

'8eyes' - an abstract glimpse into the lives and perspectives of Unified

A year or so back, each of us made three 15 second films for '8 Eyes', a feature we'd planned on doing regularly. At the time, our friend Kyle* was still part of Unified, hence eight eyes instead of six. Each 15 second film would then be cut together to make a single 1 minute film, possibly to work with Instagram if I remember correctly. I've often slammed the 60-second instagram cap, yet I suppose it can also give you a sort of finite condition and structure to work within, which can be good. I'll be doing a blog on that topic very soon, as it relates to a film we made this year for England Rugby, who hired us to take on a challenging brief after the success of our Durham RFU Women & Girls film.

But anyway - the motivation for this feature? Well since you asked, you see, the films we make as Unified Media are always filtered through the unified filter and joint-perspective of all of us, and so this was a sort of excuse to make something individually, where we could each produce a film without having it subject to feedback from each other. We just wanted to do something fun and just for us, some kind of Frankenstein film, where we'd stitch different body parts together to see if they wouldn't come to life.

There was only one criteria: each person's film had to in some way be representative of their own life (perspective/eyes) at the time they were made, and so these are what resulted. They're definitely weirder and more abstract than our usual films, and perhaps that serves as a sort of metaphor for what we'd be like if we were each left to our own devices. In any case, I've always really like watching these, and find them deeply evocative of the time they were made. The music was also produced by our very own Ryan, which gives them a veneer of heightened 'us-ness'. 

We did three lots of them before shifting our attention to films for clients, and so like my 6th hamster once my family finally got a puppy (sorry, Hammie) '8 Eyes' was kinda' neglected. There's a good chance we'll do more in future, but these are the full wack for now.  

Anyway, here they are. We hope you enjoy, and as always, let us know what you think!

- Jon, and the boys at Unified

*Kyle will always be the 4th member of Unified, though he has since moved on to other creative endeavours. We'll be putting out a full blog about him soon, as he's a fundamental and crucial part of the Unified story, and one of our best friends. Enough of the mushy Sh-.... show of emotion, though, it's time for the films...

Lil Fellas - The 1st Edition

Hello, dear reader. We thought you might be interested in some of the films we've made individually/together over the years. Some weird. Some interesting. All too misc to be in our portfolio. We make a lot of films for fun (or for friends and family) that are like the unwanted siblings of the Unified family, cast into the attic. Not hid from the world, but it's like, you'll have to climb up there to see them. 

Anyway, here's four of them to begin with. We'll call these videos 'Lil Fellas', as that seems to be what I (Jon) call everything that I can't immediately recall or think of a name for. Yeh. That'll do.

In this edition of Lil Fellas, we've got (from left to right on the grid)...

  • 'Being' - This is the *first ever* film we made together as Unified. It's aged well in some ways, not so well in others. Though, I can't watch it without tuning into that feeling of starting up Unified and how exciting it was to go from a teaching job to making films with my friends. Lovely song by Craig Armstrong in there, too. He did the theme for Love Actually. See how it makes you feel. Coz it makes me feel. Even with that old-school DSLR footage.

  • The Stealthy Rollers Workshop Session - This one's a live music performance video we did with our friends Emily & Bethan of the Stealthy Rollers. Though our approach seems a little dated to us now, you can't fault the Rollers' performance, which is a powerful arrangement of 'Under the Same Sun' by Ben Howard and 'I Will Wait' by Mumford and Sons. By jove, they're talented.

  • South Shields Sunset - This is a 4k drone video featuring an iconic South Shields (our hometown) view, set to music that we recorded when Ryan & I were in a band together. That's one way around finding licence free music.

  • 'Barcelona' - A film shot entirely on my iphone 5 using Hyperlapse (cool app that allows you to get smooth tracking shots) when I went to Barcelona with my now-fiancée, Emma. I was actually really quite ill during this holiday, so I distracted myself from the immense physical discomfort with filming. See what you think. Some amazing street performances & beautiful sights and sounds that made all that worthwhile.

That's all for edition 1. Let us know what you think by leaving a wee comment, and be sure to keep checking back for future Lil Fellas.

- Jon @ Unified

Source: www.unifiedmedia.org.uk