Why this film
"Unspeakably Wonderful" - the words of Elizabeth Hughes, one of the first patients to receive insulin after its discovery, and the title of a new film in development with Angry Man Pictures. Hughes was fourteen when the death sentence that was diabetes was lifted forever in 1921. She enjoyed a full and extraordinary life for another sixty years, and outlived all four scientists involved in isolating the drug that saved her life.
Unspeakably Wonderful tells Elizabeth’s story, and also the story of those four men – two of whom hated each other, yet went on to make one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.
We're asking for your support to help bring this extraordinary piece of history to life, at a time when diabetes threatens more people on the planet than ever before.
Unspeakably Wonderful is about how a small-town Canadian doctor set out to find a treatment for diabetes against impossible odds. It’s about friendship and rivalry, despair and triumph. It’s about how discoveries are made – and the extraordinary impact such discoveries can have on peoples’ lives.
And at a time when diabetes has once again become one of the single biggest threats to our health, we think it’s a story worth telling.
We have a script, and we have a crew. What we don’t have is the top-flight actors we need to make the project a reality, or the funding to get the show on the road. That’s why we really need your help.
If you have any questions or would like to read the outline for the film and character breakdowns please drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s 1920. The twelve-year-old daughter of the Governor of New York develops an uncontrollable thirst. The diagnosis is diabetes. There is no cure; the only “treatment” is a starvation diet that will simply delay her death.
But one night, in the middle of a thunderstorm, a small-town Canadian doctor wakes with the conviction he can solve the riddle of how to treat diabetes. His name is Fred Banting.
Fred has survived the Great War; he carries its wounds: mental and physical; but he’s also a determined son-of-a-bitch. Against the wishes of his fiancé he abandons his struggling medical practice and takes up a quest to find the elusive, magical elixir that will reverse the killer condition.
The University of Toronto is deserted for the summer. In primitive conditions and baking heat, Fred struggles with his lack of research experience and clashes with the three other scientists who can see a glimmer of hope in the project.
The researchers battle with the science, and personal dislike spills over into fierce competition, acrimony, and even violence, while the young patients around them suffer and die.
When the breakthrough comes, the stories of the patients saved by the newly isolated insulin are “unspeakably wonderful.” But victory comes at huge personal cost to the researchers.
Unspeakably Wonderful tells the astonishing and moving human story behind one of the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century.
More information at www.unspeakablywonderful.com
Neil Fleming is a British playwright, screen-writer, and children’s fiction writer. He is the founder of UK theater production company Hydrocracker, http://www.hydrocracker.co.uk/ chosen for the Guardian's 2007 "Pick of the Year"
Before becoming a full-time writer in 2002, he spent 17 years as an award-winning journalist,covering war, famine, wildlife, politics and business in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. He is a steering committee member of The Fence, the international network of theatre-makers.
Much of Matthew Lockyer’s thirty-year career in medicine has involved the care of diabetic patients. Many of them depend for their lives on insulin, but very few would recognise the names of Banting and Best, let alone Macleod and Collip. It has always seemed strange to Matthew that the most dramatic of all the many stories of medical science remains one of the least known. He has cherished the ambition of dramatising the story for many years.
Although he has always written, for science journals and for pleasure, it took the scriptwriting experience and talent of his friend Neil Fleming to breathe life into the dysfunctional quartet who worked through the baking Toronto summer of 1920 in search of a lifesaving cure. The stories of the researchers and patients who first received insulin are so full of dramatic incident that compressing the events into a screenplay was an exacting challenge. They wanted the finished script to work on several levels; to engage the audience with the medical puzzle, to explain clearly the scientific debate and the experimental science, to highlight the ethical concerns of vivisection, but most of all to tell the moving human stories of courage and determination.
Producer & Director - Alex Tweddle
Alex is a producer and director at Angry Man Pictures, he has been making films for over 18 years.
Alex produces exciting, innovative, high quality films that have both commercial and critical success. His work is daring, edgy, distinctive film-making that pushes boundaries both in subject matter and content.
Alex's aim is to make films that not only entertain, but inform and show us a different perspective on life, society and even ourselves.
His films have been screened at international film festivals and on European television channels and Sky. He has received a number of awards for both his fiction and documentary work. Some of the festivals that have screened his work include; France - Cannes, Paris and Clermont-Ferrand, Germany - Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, Mexico at Expresión en Corto, UK – Raindance, Glasgow, Leicester, Edinburgh Fringe and Cambridge; Vilnius, Athens and in the USA - LA, and New York, etc
Please visit the webpage below to see what industry professionals have said about his work.
Director of Photography - James Buck
James is a DOP with over fifteen years experience in the film and television industry. Initially training in graphics, he soon went on to be a full-time motion control cameraman in a busy London Studio, shooting everything from commercials to title sequences. After seven years James was craving for a greater range of projects and became a freelance DOP.
He continues to extend his knowledge and passion for filming and lighting through an ever-widening field of work, be it documentaries or on-line media. James is equally comfortable shooting in a studio or on location and prides himself on his creativity, ingenuity and versatility. This has led to many awards for his work as wellas recentlyscreening at the Raindance and Cannes Film Festivals. James lights, operates and has shot on all formats from 35mm to Photosonics cameras such as the Phantom.
Check out his work at http://www.jamesbuck.uk
Production Designer - Dominic Devine
Dominic is a production designer who originally trained in Spatial Design at the Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design. He attended the London Film School where he specialised in lighting and production design. He worked his way up to construction manager before making the switch to art director and standby art director in 2014.
To date, he has worked for Tony Noble designer on "Moon" and Martin Hitchcock designer on "The Devil's Harvest" and as art director on "1492: Conquest of Paradise". Dominic has an enthusiasm and interest in period sets and design which makes him ideally placed as the production designer on this film.
Take a look at his website http://dominicdevine.com
Film Editor & Post Production Supervisor - Nick McCahearty
Nick has been an editor for over 16 years, beginning his career at SVC in Soho incommercials, promo's and trailers and then moving into feature film's working on films such as 'Psych 9' starring Michael Biehn (Aliens), Cary Elwes(Saw), and Sara Foster (The Big Bounce) and St George’s Day starring Charles Dance, Sean Pertwee, Ashley Walter and Frank Harper. Nick edited & post produced the Feature Film 'Abducted' which won 'Best Independent Film' at the National Film Awards 2015.
He has held Senior Editor positions at a number of London Facilities and has edited commercials for clients including Adidas, L'Oreal, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Sony Play Station and Eurostar.
He has won numerous awards including a Bronze Lion at Cannes, BTAA Silver Arrow, Best Film at The London Short Film Awards and the special Jury Prize at Expression en Corto International Film Festival in 2010 for the documentary 'Honour Me' which opened in Cannes and was subsequently selected for Raindance and numerous other international film festivals.
Take a look at his showreel https://vimeo.com/channels/nmccaheartyeditor
Mastering Engineer & Sound Designer - Michael Powell
Michael has worked as a sound designer and rerecording mixer for over 16 years and has worked on numerous documentaries, dramas, features, commercials and promos.He has a thorough knowledge of the whole post-production process and prides himself on his creative and technical ability and his attention to detail.
In 1996 he joined Picardy Television during this period he worked for major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 on a variety of documentaries and many short films and animations.
He moved to WAM post production in 2002 and worked on many high profile commercials for Visa,Toyota, Carlsberg, T-mobile, Olay, CocaCola, Fanta, Cadbury, Lexus. Also on numerous short films including the Bafta Nominated, Nits, A quiet Earth, Cherry, Love Letter, Artificial Worlds, Consuming Love, Sex with the Finkels One Man & His Dog and 40Years. His features work includes Psych 9, Sea Monsters, The Hike, Ghosted and documentaries such as The Forgotten Children of Congo, Juarez City of Dreams and Surviving Burkitts.
How we will use the reduced funding from the relaunch
An extraordinary script from British playwright Neil Fleming www.hydrocracker.co.uk and diabetes expert Matthew Lockyer has been attracting attention all over the UK cinema world, and has been optioned by Angry Man Pictures www.angrymanpictures.com
The production team we've already assembled for this project have now agreed to give their time and expertise on an unpaid basis until production funding is secured, so we can concentrate on getting the actors we need to make this movie work.
Backed by that generous commitment, we've set a lower re-launched crowdfunding target, which will be enough to enable our casting director to get to work. And once the project is out of the starting blocks, we know it will gather pace quickly. We already have many promises of support, including offers of co-production funding.
We are asking for your support for the re-launch.
We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm people around the world have already shown for this movie project. We are confident that Unspeakably Wonderful will be made, and we think this is the start of a very exciting project.
Here's what will happen next
Your crowd-funding pledges will pay for the engagement of our casting director, who will send the script out to our preferred actors. Once we have letters of intent from our actors we can return to our backers with a credible cast, and secure full funding for the film. Without that critical casting step, we are likely to be seen as a risky investment for financiers – unfortunately, that's the reality of movie-making today.
Our casting director has worked on numerous international movies over the years and cast many Warner Brothers (US) films, working with directors such as Tony Scott, Al Pacino, Scott Hicks, Tim Roth, Bill Forsyth, John Landis, John Carpenter, Dan Aykroyd, Joel Schumacher and Peter Greenaway.
We will also hold remote and face-to-face castings in the UK and Canada for the part of Elizabeth Hughes – the girl whose life was saved in 1922 by insulin, and whose words gave us the movie title. We want Elizabeth to be played by an unknown, because having a fresh face on the screen will add an additional element of excitement to the production.
We are quite certain that with such a well-established casting director and a fascinating, powerful and important script we will get the actors we want to make this film.
Matthew Lockyer writes:
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to make a film about the discovery of insulin. It has been in my mind’s eye most of my working life. Indeed, I have been close to diabetes since school days, when my best friend developed the condition and astonished us by brandishing syringes, eating during lessons, and getting off sports.
Neil Fleming writes:
I’ve been fascinated by this story ever since Matthew first approached me to co-write it. “The Discovery of Insulin”, you say to yourself. “That sounds kind of dry” But it’s the opposite: it’s an astonishing parable about the human spirit, a story about rivalry and love which explores how we, as people, solve problems and learn to work together. It’s also a nail-biting human drama about a race against time: to find the elixir, the secret, that will save hundreds of thousands of lives.
We would like to thank you for help in progressing this important and fascinating independent feature film.
For more information please visit:
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges that face this project are the ones that face any new creative team trying to gain a foothold in the feature film industry with a somewhat controversial script.
Once we have the initial backing our team has the spread of expertise and track record, from the technical medical background, scriptwriting and the mechanics of filming to overcome a lot of the potential challenges to our project.
We do not foresee particular risks with our project, but our film is about real people, and based on some of the definitive books about the events. We have sought permission wherever possible to quote and use material, so we hope the risk of any objections to our script should be low.
This project is without encumbrances - none of the team are in the process of completing past projects and we do not require approvals from any outside agencies before we can distribute rewards. In fact, the reverse is true: we have co-producers ready to back us once the project is rolling.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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