February 27th, 2015

On Sunday night global stars of the film industry gathered for the most prestigious and hotly anticipated awards show of the year, The Oscars.

The 87th Academy Awards saw the year’s best films battle it out to take home the coveted gold statues, and we were thrilled to hear that friends of The Mill, Mat Kirkby and James Lucas, picked up an Oscar for their short film The Phone Call.

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The hard-hitting short, which was graded by Mill colourist Seamus O'Kane, stars Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent, and follows the poignant story of a woman working in a crisis center, who receives a phone call from a suicidal older man.

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Matt comments on working with the critically acclaimed acting pair, “It was a real dream come true working with Jim and Sally. Jim is an Oscar winning legend and Sally had literally been filming with Woody Allen and Cate Blanchett a couple of weeks previously, so as you can imagine I was pinching myself rather a lot on set. Watching them both at work was a genuine honour, it was a bit like being lent a Rolls Royce AND a Ferrari for the weekend!”

Seamus comments on working with Mat in the past and on this project, "Mat and I had worked together on a long running campaign for KFC. These, mostly comedy scripts, were directed by Mat with exquisite precision and in the colour suite  we always paid particular attention to developing a distinctive naturalism to them whilst exploring the possibilities offered by the diverse locations and circumstances.

I therefore knew how Mat enjoyed the colour process and how he liked to work which is from a Directorial perspective of discussion, brief and comment.

When Mat first started to talk about his film project I immediately volunteered the Mill resources. The appeal of such a strong narrative and such distinguished acting talent was obvious but I also knew how well Mat could craft these elements onto his locations and the colour design would be a vital part of that process.

The initial sessions gave me the opportunity to explore the images, and we worked directly from the Arri Raw to an almost final cut from the editor. Over the next few sessions and after listening to Mat's feedback, these initial settings developed a satisfying depth and texture and I produced a final set of images for conform and VFX.

The film lived in this state for a good few weeks whilst the finessing of cut and dialogue continued but eventually we embarked on the final passes to produce the master.

It's worth noting that although we did not grade in a theatre environment we could use our Dolby monitor to view a p3 pass which provided colour accuracy across both the HDTV and theatrical masters.

The production of the final DCP was handled by our Tech Ops team under Miles Stormer and it was fantastic to attend a screening and see the results of our late night efforts in the splendour they deserved. The fact that the film has gone from strength to strength and finally won such a prestigious accolade is absolutely wonderful!"

A huge congratulations to Mat and James!

View the trailer for the film here: