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A documentary about ten very different lives connected by having appeared onscreen wearing masks or helmets in Star Wars. Read more

London, UK Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on July 6, 2014.

A documentary about ten very different lives connected by having appeared onscreen wearing masks or helmets in Star Wars.

London, UK Documentary
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About this project

****UPDATE - THE LONDON PREVIEW SCREENING WILL NOW TAKE PLACE AT ELSTREE STUDIOS ON ONE OF THE ACTUAL SOUND STAGES STAR WARS WAS FILMED IN WITH CAST & CREW Q&A AND OTHER SURPRISES!****

In 1976, during the hottest summer on record, Star Wars was shot in suburban North London. Nobody involved had any idea how big the film would become, many couldn't even remember the title.

Yet, for the extras and actors in smaller roles, their faces hidden in masks and helmets, this seemingly insignificant job would go on to colour their lives even four decades later.

ELSTREE 1976 is a portrait of a cross-section of these people; from the man inside the most iconic villain in film history to the guy whose character was completely cut from the final film. It tells the stories of their lives and explores the eccentric community they have formed, traveling the world, signing autographs for fans.

There have been a lot of documentaries about Star Wars. We watched every one of them before we decided to go ahead with this project and found that they fitted into two camps - they were either straight forward 'Making Of's or fan-made films about the culture surrounding it. We wanted to do something very different.

My last documentary 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' told the story of some huge bands like Radiohead, Supergrass and Foals but in making it, I found the stories that interested me, far more than those of fame and fortune, were of the people who existed in the shadows of that success. Their friends and colleagues. The previously untold stories of everyday people who happened to be a part of this massive story.

One day, I met John Chapman. He signed up to a screenwriting class I was teaching, we got chatting and he revealed to me he had been an extra in Star Wars. It became quickly apparent that these few seemingly insignificant days he had spent on set had gone on, many years later, to shape him and influence his life in ways he could never have predicted. 

That's where the idea came from. It was easy to hear the often-told stories of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford and the production side of the process has been detailed to the minutiae. I just wanted to know who the people were in the background. The ones you saw fleetingly for a second but are now preserved forever as part of our cultural heritage. What got them on to that film set? What are they doing right now? 

We found them and we interviewed them at length about themselves and their lives, of which Star Wars always turned out to be a significant part, but in completely different ways.

So, this is not a documentary about Star Wars. It's a documentary about 10 people whose lives are linked by having appeared (sometimes for less than a second) in Star Wars. Yes, there are plenty of completely new stories and insight for the Star Wars fanbase but, at its heart, we want this to be a thoughtful, engaging and entertaining independent documentary about the effect a cultural behemoth can have on the lives of those involved on even the slightest basis.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

OK, this film has been shot. We've been shooting for 18 months and we have all of the interviews, lots of location footage at various UK conventions and following our subjects around in their daily lives. We've also shot some recreation footage to give the film a bit more texture. We self-funded the filming through DVD sales of our last film Anyone Can Play Guitar.

We now need, and would really appreciate, your help to get the film finished and to get it out into the world. We had such a happy experience working in this way - self-funding the shoot and crowdfunding the post-production - with our last film that we didn't even consider other forms of funding. Your generosity quite simply allows us to make exactly the film we want to make and to keep control of the rights, neither of these things would be likely with commercial funding and both of these things are far more important to us than ever profiting from the film.

Specifically we need the money to pay for an online editor, post-production facilities, sound mixing, music production, a picture grade and mastering, rights clearances on archival material, animation, legal costs, DVD/Blu-ray mastering and manufacture, marketing and promotion.

The target we've set is the lowest figure on which we can bring this film to completion, any extra funds we might raise will all go to making the process smoother and faster and strengthening the film itself.

Also, it would really help if you could click the buttons under the trailer to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?

Well, despite the warm glow of knowing you have played a significant part in getting this film made and being the first people in the world to see it, we've got some rewards for you.

THE FILM (DOWNLOAD) - At the £10 mark, you'll get a digital copy of the finished film.

EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC DVD OR BLU-RAY - You'll get the film on DVD or Blu and an EXCLUSIVE 2nd DVD of special features. On our last film's campaign, this included a full 90 minute follow-up movie of the best footage that didn't make the final cut and 4 extra mini-docs. This 2nd disc will ONLY be available through this campaign and you should know that we conducted really long interviews for this film. We probably have 30 hours of interview footage to cut down to 90 minutes, so this disc will contain gems and, believe me, there are a lot of cool Star Wars anecdotes in there that you'll have never heard. You'll get a director-signed postcard in there too and a special 'thank you' at the end of the film.

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK - The film is being scored by Jamie Hyatt, he's from The Family Machine (http://www.youarethefamilymachine.com/) - they contributed the song on the closing titles of Anyone Can Play Guitar. Jamie scored the trailer you just watched and you can see we're going for an analogue/acoustic/electronica feel. He says there will be some full songs on the soundtrack too.

PREVIEW SCREENING AT ELSTREE STUDIOS! - Now it starts to get exciting. The first ever screening of Elstree 1976 will happen on one of the actual sound stages Star Wars was shot on! How can you miss out on that?

DAN MUMFORD PRINT - Dan (http://www.dan-mumford.com/) is one of the most popular movie poster screenprint artists of the current movement. His incredible Wicker Man print ended up as the actual artwork on the latest release of the film. His prints routinely sell out and become great investments. This will be his first ever Star Wars related print and this is the ONLY way to get your hands on one.

DAN MUMFORD SCREENPRINT
DAN MUMFORD SCREENPRINT

SIGNED POSTER - An exclusive poster signed by the director and as many of the cast as is possible.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT - It's time for the big guns. What is an executive producer? Quite simply, it's somebody who made a big contribution to getting the film made. Sometimes managerially, spiritually or financially. If you contribute at this level, we will make you an exec. producer. This means a credit on the film itself, on the poster and on IMDB. We'll also give you 2 tickets to the public premiere of the film (our last one was hosted by Adam Buxton at the BFI and featured an onstage Q&A with members of Radiohead, Supergrass and Ride) along with 2 tickets to the London preview screening.

LTD. EDITION FENDER TELECASTER GUITAR - Fender supported our last film Anyone Can Play Guitar and produced 9 limited edition Telecasters to celebrate it. They were given away in various competitions and this is the last one we will be putting out there. It's completely rare, branded in the film's artwork and a thing of beauty. We'll also include a signed poster of that film and the limited edition 3-disc DVD. 

SIGNED BOBA FETT HELMET - A replica Boba Fett helmet signed to you from Boba Fett himself - Jeremy Bulloch.

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP - Get your company or organisation's name right at the front of the film and poster. The film will open with *YOUR COMPANY NAME* PRESENTS or IN CONJUNCTION WITH *YOUR COMPANY NAME* - the first company to donate at this level gets 'presents', subsequent donors get 'in conjunction' in the order of which they donate. You'll also get a private screening of the film, in the town of your choice, for you and your employees/guests with the director, producer and at least one cast member in attendance for Q&A (attendance is UK only, international backers will get a skype link-up for the director/producer/cast Q&A)

THE TEAM:

JON SPIRA - DIRECTOR (@videojon

Jon Spira
Jon Spira

I'm a documentary film-maker based in London. I work for the BFI, making documentaries about film and film culture and interviewing industry folk from the big Hollywood stars to retired British film crew members. I went to film school in Edinburgh, worked as a screenwriter, music video director, corporate video producer and have played pretty much every role on a film set at some point. I've owned my own chain of two indie video rental stores, I blog for the Huffington Post, the BFI and my own blog. My last documentary Anyone Can Play Guitar was named one of the top 10 music films of the year by the NME. And in my spare time... I like to make films.

Hank Starrs
Hank Starrs

HANK STARRS - PRODUCER (@HANKSTARRS)

Over the last five years, Hank has produced around twenty short dramas and documentaries including the award winning DUST, which was long listed for the 2011 short film BAFTA. Feature films include the 2010 Magma films release BLOODED and the Canal Cat Films music Documentary, ANYONE CAN PLAY GUITAR nominated by NME as one of the “top ten music films” of 2011.

Sonny Malhotra
Sonny Malhotra

SONNY MALHOTRA - CINEMATOGRAPHER (@photosonny)

Sonny Malhotra is a London based cinematographer and photographer who has created videos and stop-motion animations for the likes of the BBC, the Tate Modern, MTV, a whole gamut of musicians and other groups, and most importantly, his brother's wedding. Sonny originally studied photography at King Alfred, London, and, when not directing music or fashion videos, continues to shoot stills for several large magazines.

www.sonnymalhotra.com

Here is a music video Sonny made:

JAMIE HYATT - COMPOSER (@familymachine)

Jamie Hyatt
Jamie Hyatt

Jamie Hyatt is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter. Currently playing with Family Machine, formerly fronting The Daisies and Medal.

www.youarethefamilymachine.com

Here's a music video Jon made for Family Machine:

DAN MUMFORD - ILLUSTRATOR (@DanMumforddraws)

Jaws by Dan Mumford.
Jaws by Dan Mumford.

 

Christine by Dan Mumford.
Christine by Dan Mumford.

 

The Wicker Man by Dan Mumford.
The Wicker Man by Dan Mumford.

Dan Mumford is a freelance illustrator living in central London. He enjoys sci-fi, horror, metal, videogames, comics and all things awesome. Clients include Studio Canal, Dark City Gallery, Victory Records, Fright Fest, Phish, Gallows, Little White Lies and many more. 

www.dan-mumford.com

Here is a short documentary Jon made for the BFI about Dan as he produced his Nosferatu screenprint: 

SHERYLEE ANNE HOUSSEIN - SOUND (@SheryleeSound)

Sherrylee Anne Houssein
Sherrylee Anne Houssein

 Sherylee made her first short at the age of 12, after expressing to have an interest in music she was handed a 416, a SQN and a boom pole and her love for sound recording begun.  

At 20 she went on to win a place at the National Film and Television School and is now continuing her career as a sound recordist on Film and TV productions. 

Risks and challenges

Obviously any creative venture comes with risks but having produced our last documentary through crowdfunding support, we feel confident in our ability to deliver.

The biggest reason for production delays is quite simply that the entire team have day jobs and rent/mortgages to pay but we have factored that into our delivery estimates.

The film has been shot, so the worries of production are behind us. Working on a low budget such as this means we're often relying on favours and deals in regards to post-production, so delays due to commercial projects taking precedent are the most likely issue we'll face.

The other thing is that we've done this before, this isn't our first time producing a crowdfunded documentary, so we're confident we can deliver a great film to you in good time.

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