This is my first experience of having to ‘park’ a film project for a while and then reignite it further down the line. I’ve had film projects that don’t take off, but I’ve never experienced one where some of the groundwork and research had already got underway when the project grounds to a halt for no reason to do with the filmmaking whatsoever. So this is new territory! I like new experiences!
Where were we? I was in Berlin at the Talent Campus. I collected a pile of business cards of which I have replied to none. I must do that. I had been in Derry at the start of the year with Margo Harkin, working on a Robert Altman style ensemble drama to be filmed in Derry. I was (and am) super keen to film there, as it is a crazy place with incredible visuals. However, fitting a 72 in to the calendar with all that has gone on will be too difficult. Whilst I’m keen to work with Margo in Derry, the reality for me is that I need to get another film under my belt and quickly because it has been TOO long. At the point at which the clock stopped on the Derry film, we were stuck in what many filmmakers describe as “development hell”… sweating on how to find a way to fund our masterpiece, waiting for someone else to recognise our self-recognised genius. It can take some time, if it happens at all. I’ve been there many times and it has never happened, so I’ve made a habit of getting films to happen in other ways. That is the whole reason the 72 project came about.
So I am in familiar territory on that front. However, developing a project in Galway, Melbourne and Derry has always carried a considerable cost because I don’t live there usually, so it requires lots of time on the ground. However, I’ve had a chat with some of the 72 veterans and we’d like to get one of these puppies up-and-running in Birmingham, where I currently reside. This is for a number of reasons:
1) Pragmatically, I live here so I can do much of the ground work easily.
2) I’ve spent time promoting he culture of other cities but never given time to promote the one in which I live. Birmingham gets a bad wrap from a lot of people (mostly who haven’t been here) and I think it is about time I did my bit to promote it.
3) The Birmingham Film Studios are opening and I want to be involved as much as possible instead of going somewhere else in the world and missing their development.
4) There are lots of people here that I want to work with that I can’t afford to take on other projects.
I can go on. It makes sense to me and I hope the finished film will justify my choices. Later this week I will point you in the direction of what we’d like this film to be like, but for now, I give you Telly Savalas.