Category Archives: News

Ray Merrin Passes Away

It is with a heavy heart that we pass on the news of Ray Merrin’s passing. A wonderful sound editor and supervising sound mixer of many features, including the Oscar winning film The Last Emperor. Ray was a sound editor on The Shining, and worked under the brilliant Bill Rowe at Elstree for many years, including being one of the first people to ever work with Dolby sound on the sound mix for A Clockwork Orange. Ray was a very warm, kind and generous man, who took the time on several occasions in his later years to share his memories with our project and with the film undergraduate students at the University of Hertfordshire. Our thanks go to Paul Welsh and Elstree Screen Heritage for facilitating these meetings and for introducing Ray to the project. We last saw Ray when we invited him to a special crew screening of Return to Oz, at Elstree Studios, in celebration of the...
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The Elstree Project featured in the news

The past month has been busy for our project!  We have made the cover story of Hertfordshire Life magazine with a story about the centenary, and an interview with Howard Berry about our forthcoming documentary. Newsquest, publishers of the Elstree and Borehamwood Times, have produced a fantastic souvenir publication called Screen 100.  The booklet contains the story of the studios and the town, and features a profile of The Elstree Project, with quotes from some of our interviewees. The October 1st edition of the Welwyn Hatfield Times features an article on page 38 devoted to the documentary. The BFI presented a special screening of Blackmail, for the centenary, and Elstree Studios donated a bust of Alfred Hitchcock to the BFI. This was followed by a presentation by Howard about the 100 years of the studios, and featured project interview clips. BBC Arts have posted a clip online from our documentary, with an article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027vf9p On Friday at 18:35, Howard will be interviewing Sir Roger...
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Interview 55: Meeting Louise Gold, British Muppeteer and actress

On Sunday 7th, Bob and I travelled into London to record our 55th interview as a project! We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to film with Louise Gold.  We spent just over two hours with her, and asked her about her time working at ATV Studios in Borehamwood when she worked on The Muppet Show.  Louise told us about Jim Henson and how he encouraged his whole crew to do well, and getting to sing with Jerry Nelson, as well as when she met Danny Kaye. After The Muppet Show ended, Louise continued with the production team across the road to EMI Elstree Studios, where they made The Great Muppet Caper and The Dark Crystal back-to-back.  ...
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35th Anniversary Crew reunion of The Shining at Elstree Studios

THE ELSTREE PROJECT REUNITES THE SHINING CREW TO CELEBRATE 35 YEARS OF KUBRICK’S HORROR CLASSIC “Come play with us. Forever… and ever… and ever…” When the Grady Twins said those words at Elstree Studios 35 years ago, they really meant it. And to prove it, they are returning - by invitation of The Elstree Project - on 23 May 2015 to celebrate the original release of The Shining. Supported by the Kubrick family, Warner Brothers and Elstree Studios, “Forever and Ever: 35 Years of The Shining” will bring back many of the original crew and cast of the film to the very studio where the film was made. Already confirmed guests are Stanley Kubrick’s wife Christiane, and: Assistant director Brian W Cook Camera assistant Doug Milsome Steadicam inventor and operator Garrett Brown Assistant editor Gordon Stainforth Executive producer Jan Harlan "Lloyd, the barman" Joe Turkel Location researcher Katharina Kubrick Camera operator Kelvin Pike “The Grady Twins” Lisa and Louise Burns Camera technician Mick Mason Steadicam operator Ray Andrew Post-production sound editor Ray Merrin Scenic artist...
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The Elstree Project to present their work to the BECTU History Project

Tomorrow morning Bob Redman, Howard Berry and University of Hertfordshire student George Nicholls are attending a meeting of the BECTU History Project.  BECTU (the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) runs the largest oral history project in the world related to film and television production and post-production, with over 650 interviews recorded since the History Project began. The trio will be talking about the recent interview recordings conducted by The Elstree Project, including our trip to California in December last year, the ongoing centenary celebrations, and the forthcoming documentary.  They also hope to share information about the way in which the interviews are conducted and the recent collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute. After the meeting, Howard and George are to visit the BFI to meet and film an interview with Senior Curator of Silent Film, Bryony Dixon.  Bryony has researched the Neptune Film company, which opened the first studio in Borehamwood in 1914....
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The Elstree Project interviews film star Simon Pegg at Elstree Studios

Yesterday we visited Elstree Studios to record an interview with actor Simon Pegg - star of the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises. We had a great time talking about the filming of The World's End - the final film in the unofficial "Cornetto trilogy" - which was made locally in Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, and used Elstree Studios for the studio based filming.  Three pub interiors were recreated on the stages at Elstree, including the titular pub at the climax of the film. Simon also worked on a new film, still yet to be released, called Man Up at the studios.  A recurring theme for Simon appears to be the filming of scenes set in toilets at Elstree - he's filmed three so far!  We joked that he should convince JJ Abrams to film a Death Star toilet scene at Elstree with Simon as the Stormtrooper attendant - after all, it wouldn't be a "true" Star Wars film if it didn't have at least...
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From Borehamwood to Hollywood film trailer now online, cast and crew, topics

This week the trailer for Howard Berry's documentary for the centenary of filmmaking in Borehamwood and Elstree went online.  From Borehamwood to Hollywood: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstree tells the story of the studios in the two towns from the opening of Neptune Studios in 1914 right through to the present day success stories of the BBC Elstree Centre and Elstree Studios. Topics include the silent film era, Hitchcock's "Blackmail", the fires at British and Dominions and EMI Elstree Studios, the arrival of commercial television, Lew Grade's ATV and ITC Entertainment, ABPC, Stanley Kubrick, EMI Films, Danziger's New Elstree Studios, The Gate Studios, MGM-British Studios, the financial slump of the early 1970s, the arrival of LucasFilm, The Muppet Show, Star Wars, the BBC and EastEnders, the closure of Elstree Studios and the S.O.S. campaign and the rescue by Hertsmere Borough Council, recent successes including Big Brother, The Worlds End and Strictly Come Dancing. Interviewees include cast, crew...
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The Elstree Project films with actress Barbara Windsor MBE

On April 17th, The Elstree Project team, including Paul Welsh MBE and Bob Redman from Elstree Screen Heritage, and Howard Berry, Kim Akass and three students from the BA (Hons) Film and Television programme in the School of Creative Arts, spent a day filming at both Elstree Studios and BBC Elstree Centre with actress Barbara Windsor MBE. The morning was spent recording links and voice-over narration for a new documentary, commissioned by the BFI, for the centenary of filmmaking in Borehamwood this year.  The documentary, titled From Borehamwood to Hollywood, has been written and directed by Howard Berry, Senior Lecturer in Post-Production, and features exclusive interviews with Sir Roger Moore, Walter Murch, Steven Spielberg, Christiane Kubrick, Brian Blessed and a large number of crew members from productions in the studios of Elstree and Borehamwood.  The School of Creative Arts research department and Media Research Group have been supporting the production of the film, in partnership with Elstree Screen Heritage. In...
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Documentary production update

We're progressing well with the centenary celebratory documentary, From Borehamwood to Hollywood. Last week we confirmed an interview with the Senior Curator of Silent Film at the BFI and also the possibility of including clips from some very early silent films from Neptune Studios. We have contacted several cast and crew members from productions made at the studios of Elstree and Borehamwood, with a request for them to participate in the documentary and also be part of The Elstree Project and give us an interview. The film also now has a page on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), with potential cast and crew information.  To find out more visit the page we have created for the film, here....
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New documentary gets underway, celebrating 100 years of filmmaking in Elstree and Borehamwood

Yep, you read that correctly!  We are into production on a very special documentary - celebrating the centenary of filmmaking in Elstree and Borehamwood.  The film will be called From Borehamwood to Hollywood: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstree.

We are aiming for a 90-minute film, which will tell the story from the opening of the first studio in 1914 to the present day.  Content will include interviews filmed for The Elstree Project, but we will also be specially filming additional material exclusively for this documentary.

We are also planning to have a very special person provide the narration for us.  So watch this space for news and updates, and we are going to dedicate the middle blog section on the front page to news about the film and its progress.

Our release date is September 2014, so we have a lot to do!

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