Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in Review

What a year 2013 has been for the project.  We have done so much, it's easy for us to forget some of our achievements, so we thought the best way to remind ourselves would be in a neat and tidy blog post! We started the year with hits already increasing rapidly on our short 17-minute film Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'.  We'd screened it in October at our first film season, and it had become an unexpected hit for us. TEFS2 In February, we visited the village of Letchmore Heath to make comparison shots between the scenes filmed for Village of the Damned in 1959.  We also visited Edgwarebury Manor and filmed shots of the building as it has appeared in countless Elstree productions including Danger Man, Department S, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and A Clockwork Orange. We released both short films in March, as part of our second Elstree Film Season....
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Walter Murch and our Return to London

It's 15:30 at San Francisco airport and we are just having a last team meal before our flight. This morning, we had the honour of being guests in the home of Walter Murch - the Oscar winning editor of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Trilogy and The English Patient. Walter spoke to us for over an hour about his time directing Return to Oz at Elstree Studios and we had a wonderful time. Afterwards Walter and his lovely wife showed us a short film of the "Droid Olympics" featuring a young George Lucas and a young Brad Bird! 20131222-153559.jpg 20131222-153746.jpg So we leave California with a lot of happy memories and a lot of success. To have recorded interviews with Steven Spielberg, Joe Turkel and Walter Murch in one trip has been such a privilege and an honour and we owe so many people a lot of thanks: Firstly, we clearly owe each...
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San Francisco

We are now towards the end of our California trip; the last part of which has been spent in San Francisco. The City is beautiful and we are in the heart of town in Union Square. It feels very Christmassy too - a giant Macy's Christmas tree overlooks an outdoor ice skating rink and there are beautiful lights everywhere. Tomorrow, just before we fly home, we have the extreme honour of visiting Walter Murch at his home. He has generously offered to spend the first morning of his Christmas holiday with us, so that we can interview him about the time he directed Return to Oz for Disney at Elstree Studios. I love the film and feel Walter should have been given a chance to do a director's commentary on the DVD release, so I hope our interview answers some questions about the making of the film. 20131221-185722.jpg 20131221-185733.jpg...
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Joe Turkel and the Griffith Observatory

This morning we all traveled to Santa Monica to the restaurant Jack's on Montana. They were the very generous hosts of our next interview - actor Joe Turkel.

Joe played Lloyd the barman in The Shining, and has the honour of being only one of two people to have appeared in three films directed by Stanley Kubrick. Joe was wonderful - full of wit, good humour and wonderful and interesting stories about working with Stanley, Jack Nicholson and the British crews at Elstree. He clearly continues to think of Stanley fondly and we all felt so sad when he told us that he never saw him again after the end of the film.

Joe was very generous with his time and so enthusiastic, and it really rubbed off on all the team. We all felt as if we had been a part of something special and unique this morning.

We really wanted to make the most of our last day in...

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We met Spielberg?!

Well... that was absolutely nuts. Now I've had time to recover and look back on yesterdays interview I thought it's best to write a quick blog post!

The day started off nice and early. I was still questioning whether not I was asleep, waking up to clear skies and warm sunshine in December was rather dreamy. Around 08:30 we headed off towards Universal Studios, where we would be greeted by scenes of the everyday busy Film and TV industry. As we drove in, I was blown away by the scale of the studios and the general operations going on around me. Not only that, I was thinking to myself why would Spielberg choose Elstree over this when you had it on your back door. Couldn't wait to find out all the answers.   universal studios   We eventually made it into Amblin Entertainment and got shown through to a private screening room....
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Today we have a free day so we're off sightseeing around Hollywood! We've decided to be typical tourists and go and see the Hollywood sign and the walk of fame etc. So expect lots of pictures later! Still can't believe yesterday actually happened, just driving through universal studios and up to Amblin Entertainment you could feel something special about the place! And we still have 2 more interviews to do while we're out here, one with Joe Turkel tomorrow and the other with Walter Murch when we go to San Francisco....
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What a day..

Today we woke up very early to get to our first interview.. with Steven Spielberg! I don't think any of us can explain the excitement/nerves we felt when driving up to the gates of Universal Studios! After receiving our passes, we travelled through to the wonderful Amblin Entertainment where we were guided through to the magnificent screening room to set up. After about 40mins of setting up & testing things were working, the lovely Mary (one of Mr Spielberg's assistants) brought him through. To say we were awestruck is a massive understatement! He came & shook all our hands, asked our names & talked to us about being film students. We were told that we would only have 30mins with him.. but he clearly enjoyed reminiscing about Elstree Studios & pushed things as far as he could before another assistant needed to take him away to his next meeting! He gave such detailed & passionate answers.. we all just ended...
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Here's a quick photo of the team in the screening room at Amblin Entertainment, where we filmed our interview this morning! Everyone was lovely and they were so kind and generous.

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Our first day in LA.

Our first day in LA got off to a good start! We were all up super early (as I think we were still slightly on UK time) & had a lovely breakfast provided by the hotel to get us ready for planning, prepping & practising with the equipment. The group all worked together to set up & check the filming equipment. After a few hiccups were sorted (including the mini crisis of having no batteries for the sound recorder.. eek!), we started to feel ready for our big & super important first interview tomorrow! All our job roles are set & we brainstormed on ideas for the interview questions. Now we just have to get there, not be late & most importantly - have fun & make the most of what is an utterly fantastic opportunity for The Elstree Project! We then decided to go for a stroll through Burbank & came across an awesome sweet shop with a plethora...
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We're here in Burbank, and it's currently 7am on Sunday. The long flight wasn't too bad, though a little uncomfortable (the vegetarian food was unfortunately horrid and mostly inedible!), but the staff were nice and looked after us :) It took over an hour to get through the airport - getting fingerprints scanned, photos taken etc. and then just trying to find somewhere to sit and have a bite to eat was impossible, so we decided to cut our losses and get a shuttle to our hotel. The hotel, while outwardly not looking great, is very nice and the man at the front desk was lovely. We all have comfy double beds and it's near a good part of Burbank. When we arrived we ditched our suitcases and walked into the main little shopping road and saw dozens of wonderfully quirky shops with antiques, Christmas gift ideas, small little galleries with live jazz being played and even a shop purely...
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