Category Archives: News

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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Interview excerpt: Walter Murch recalls Michael Sundin’s Performance as Tik-Tok

Here's a nice mid-week treat for you all - a five minute excerpt from our interview with Walter Murch. Walter directed Return to Oz for Disney at Elstree Studios in the early 1980s.  Michael Sundin, who was the World Trampolining Champion at the time, was cast to perform as Tik-Tok - actually physically operating the robot character from inside.  In this clip, Walter recalls quite what Michael had to go through in order to be able to perform as Tik-Tok, including standing with his head pointing between his legs, his arms back to front and walking while watching himself on a TV monitor! During the filming, the BBC's flagship children's show Blue Peter visited the set and filmed a profile about Michael.  This subsequently led to him becoming the 14th Blue Peter presenter.  Michael sadly died in 1989. ...
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The Elstree Project badges arrive for our interviewees and alumni

For a while we've been thinking of ways of saying thank you to our interviewees and close supporters, and we came across the idea of giving each interviewee a "welcome pack" when they agree to be interviewed - telling them about the project, the history, aims, who else we've met etc. - and also a "thank you pack" after we finish filming with them. To go with the latter, we thought it would be a nice touch to give each interviewee a pin badge, so - with thanks to the help and support of UH Arts and Paul Upson - we've just received a whole bunch of lovely badges! Let us know what you think in the comments below!...
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Elstree Film Season 4, our next season of films arrives in early 2014

We are preparing a fourth Elstree Film Season with UH Arts.  Starting in February, we are screening three films all having a special anniversary during this centenary year for Elstree and Borehamwood. The films are:
  • A Shot in the Dark - 50th Anniversary Screening
  • Murder on the Orient Express - 40th Anniversary Screening
  • Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes - 30th Anniversary Screening
We will publish dates closer to the season beginning, and be sure to look out for UH Arts' Spring events guide....
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