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Lecturer's film among the top ten movies of 2009

Posted on 12/01/2010

Sleep Furiously has attracted rave reviews

It’s that time of year again to reflect on the top tens of the year gone by and ‘Sleep Furiously’, directed by Gideon Koppel of the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been hailed as a firm favourite in the film polls of 2009.

‘Sleep Furiously’, has been voted as one of the top ten movies of last year and Time Out describes it as the year’s best British film, calling it “unassuming yet artful… wistful, charming, ironic and sad all at once.”

It rated among the top ten films in the Guardian, Financial Times and New Statesman, among others, and has also been short-listed for the Guardian First Film award.

The feature film is set in an isolated hill farming community in mid Wales, which Gideon describes as ‘a landscape and population that is changing rapidly as small scale agriculture is disappearing and the generation who inhabited a pre-mechanised world is dying out.’ He was very much influenced by his conversations with the Austrian writer Peter Handke, in developing a lyrical and observational approach to story telling. ‘Sleep Furiously’ is also noteworthy for being the first and only feature-length film with a soundtrack by cult musician-composer Aphex Twin.

"It was really gratifying to see my name alongside the likes of Haneke, Campion, Varda in the ‘Best Films of 2009' lists published by several newspapers and journals,” said Gideon.

‘Sleep Furiously’ is one of Gideon’s outputs from a research project that was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through a Research Leave Award. The bulk of the funding came from The Film Agency For Wales. ‘The Film Agency is delighted to be able to support Gideon’s film, both in terms of backing a film-maker with a distinctive voice, and also most importantly in reflecting upon and representing often under-represented communities in Wales,’ said Pauline Burt, Chief Executive of the Film Agency for Wales.

Gideon collaborated with Producer Margaret Matheson (‘Abigail’s Party’, ‘Scum’) and Executive Producers Mike Figgis (‘Leaving Las Vegas’) and Serge Lalou (‘Etre et Avoir’) to make the film.

Gideon added, "I’m pleased that the film received such an enthusiastic response in the States when it premiered at The Telluride Festival. I am looking forward to the forthcoming screenings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, although the truth is 'Sleep Furiously' is something of the past for me now and my thoughts are involved with several new research projects."

Gideon’s prolific work as a film maker and artist has been widely exhibited, broadcast and shown at film festivals worldwide. His work is eclectic in form, ranging from film installations to documentaries, making several prominent and award-winning commercials along the way.

‘Sleep Furiously’ is available to buy or rent on DVD and Founder’s Library has three copies available to loan.

For more information visit: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Media-Arts/staff/koppel.shtml


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