Michael Brooke

August 24, 2008

Introduction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 8:59 am

This blog is designed as a central reference point for all my various writings, talks, DVD productions and other activities – in fact, its primary function is to enable me to keep track of everything myself!

Many of the people who visit it will probably know me personally, but here’s a brief career sketch for those who don’t. After some amateurish dabblings in film criticism at university in the late 1980s, my first professional writing job involved coming up with virtually all the content of the Hampstead Everyman Cinema’s printed bi-monthly programmes (initially 8-page A3, then 16-page A4, with up to 150 films covered per issue) between Julys 1989 and 1995. It was an invaluable apprenticeship, not least for the experience it gave me in writing quickly and concisely to tight deadlines, since a film or several would almost invariably drop out just before the printers needed final copy.

I then spent the mid-to-late 1990s posting what I initially thought were ephemeral opinions on various online forums (notably alt.cult-movies) before writing regular DVD reviews for DVD Times starting in late 1999. At roughly the same time I started contributing shorter pieces to MovieMail’s monthly catalogue. I also occasionally wrote for Videovista and the now defunct Bullets’n’Babes (I’ll be archiving the pieces I wrote for the latter on this blog in due course).

In April 2002, I began working at the BFI as the full-time content developer for Screenonline, a gigantic multimedia encyclopaedia of British film and television history. Starting almost from scratch, the site was launched in November 2003, and has expanded on a more or less monthly basis ever since. Almost by default, since I’m Screenonline’s only full-time writer, I’m very comfortably its most prolific contributor.

My first Sight & Sound piece was published in the September 2002 edition, and from January 2005 I began to write film reviews for them on a semi-regular basis. Since February 2006, I have had a piece published in every issue, and a year later I became part of their regular DVD review team, covering at least eight releases a month. I have also written occasional features and interviews (notably with Andrzej Wajda). I have also written occasionally for Vertigo magazine, for whom I interviewed Guy Maddin and Jan Švankmajer. Kinoblog, my dedicated Central and Eastern European cinema blog, was launched in June 2007.

Although I spend far more time writing about DVDs than contributing to them, I produced the BFI’s acclaimed Quay Brothers and Jan Švankmajer short-film compilations, contributed a video introduction to Second Run’s Valerie and her Week of Wonders, and occasional booklet and sleevenote contributions to other releases.

Since 2003, I’ve been regularly chairing live events at the BFI and elsewhere, involving:

  • Armando Iannucci (writer-producer, The Day Today/The Thick of It)
  • Michael Kuhn (producer, former head of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment)
  • Martin Lambie-Nairn (graphic designer)
  • Rebecca O’Brien (Ken Loach’s regular producer)
  • Gary Tarn (director, Black Sun)

…and I’ve also given solo talks on Ken Russell’s 1960s BBC output and Andrzej Wajda at BFI Southbank.

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