Tuesday, October 18, 2011

from the beginning... pt. 3

[As you can probably tell, I wrote this a while back, but hadn't got round to posting, so I thought I should at least complete the story. Here's the final part - thanks for reading! Z]

Once we'd shot the trailer, post production was key. The guys at Park Village, Omid’s old commercials studio, lent us a space for pickup shots and the rest of the time was spent editing, VFX work, and titles, and burning various models of plastic dinosaurs searching for the right effect. In the great tradition of low budget filmmaking the director fulfilled pretty much every one of these roles, while we the producers sat around in enormous leather armchairs smoking cigars.

After two months and countless versions, we had something we were pretty proud of, especially considering it had cost us a grand total of £500 - made up of personal contributions from the three of us and our executive producer Kwesi Dickson, (who also heroically sacrificed his son’s toy dinosaur to the cause). We uploaded the trailer to Vimeo and Youtube, and immediately spammed the inboxes of everyone who’d ever shown a sniff of interest in the project.

A week after the trailer was released, executive producer Michiyo Yoshizaki came back from a trip to Japan with a letter promising investment into the film, and we had our first piece of the puzzle. A week later we received an offer on distribution from the Middle East and then Germany, and a few days after that Path̩ approached us about representing LP for worldwide sales Рa huge coup for the film. By the end of the month we had our lead actor attached.

Film festivals on the whole are where most film business gets done outside of Los Angeles, and the 2011 Cannes film festival was the launch of the trailer to the international film industry - the first real test of the market appetite for our movie. With just a dummy trailer, we figured on one or maybe two small territory deals that we could put towards financing the film, but as it turned out Pathé brought home nine deals for places like Russia, Brazil, Turkey, Portugal and Indonesia.

Around May 2011 Pinewood studios announced an initiative to invest in lower budget British films, and we immediately introduced ourselves to the Pinewood team. Like so many of the team on the film, after seeing the trailer they ‘got’ what we were trying to do with Last Passenger and came on board.

The final piece of the puzzle was the BFI, who had championed the film through the long process of script development and then confirmed a significant production investment on top of that.

It was a truly extraordinary couple of months.

I write this final paragraph from my office at Shepperton Studios where Last Passenger starts shooting on friday. We have a train, a studio and a great crew has come together. I’m not going to jinx anything by saying we’re there yet – the films Gods are much more capricious than that - but one thing we can definitely agree on, that was the best £500 we ever spent.

Director Omid Nooshin on the LP set.