Myth and legend has for centuries shrouded in mystery the Celtic origins of Merlin and King Arthur - but Sheffield independent film-makers will change that with YOUR help, writes Graham Walker.
Myrrdin, as the Welsh wizard was first known, is the working title of a city-based project inspired by the works of Lord of The Rings author JRR Tolkien and and two web viral films, The Hunt for Gollum and Born of Hope.
Fans won’t just get to watch Myrrdin, they are also being offered the chance to star in it, make it and invest in the two-hour feature film.
Casting will start next month and filming will take place this summer in the Peak District and surrounding areas with a release date next Spring, say bosses of Movie Works, a new initiative to support independent film-makers from the north of England, based at the city’s Showroom Workstation.
Movie Works has been formed by and to support existing and emerging independent film talent.
Myrrdin is it’s first major project, aimed at the massive global interest in adventure fantasy films, like Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit and hit TV show The Game Of Thrones, explained Executive Producer Paul Osborne, aged 64.
He has been involved in financing small films and designing new business models for digital markets,
Latest state-of-the-art Hollywood CGI special effects and filming techniques are now more widely available at an affordable cost, to give Myrrdin the big screen look, at a fraction of the price.
Instead of costing millions it will be done on a relative shoe-string budget, of around £200,000.
There won’t be any A-list actors to pay, while the production team, including award-winning industry experts, will work for a percentage of sales. It’s about getting the film made, says Paul.
Film-making students in Sheffield and the region will also be invited to get very hands on, to hone their skills with amazing work experience opportunities.
Corporate investment is also being sought, with Sundance Film Festival winner Brick held up as a profitable example of independent film-making at its best. It cost $450,000 (£273,000) to make and returned almost $4m (£2.4m) gross in 2006.
Fans can also help fund the project. Already for sale on the the official web site - www.myrrdin.org.uk - fans can buy a £15 poster up to a £3,500 replica of the Arthurian sword, in this version not called Excalibur but Annwn, the Celtic birthplace of the magical sword. It was made for the film by the same swordsmith who produced the Game of Thrones swords.
There are plans to send the movie straight to online download, to tap in to the huge global online market, without having to meet distribution costs.
The film could still then get a theatrical release, with plans also to sell it on DVD and Blu-ray.
It will be directed by award-winning Marco van Belle, whose fantasy film Mr.Bojagi, starring Brian Blessed, won the inaugural British Lion Award for Achievements in Film at the British Independent Film Festival. The final scrip is ebing written by Leo Moore, with a score by Graham Plowman and video effects by Adam Thomas and Caroline Pires
Producer is Rob Speranza, who runs the South Yorkshire Film Network. He produced notable independent films including Entity, with Steve Stone, and the larger budgeted production psycho-thriller Dementamania, starring Kal Penn.
Rob spoke exclusively to us about Myrrdin and you can se our video chat online, with a teaser for the film, at thestar.co.uk/video
Executive Producer Paul told us how Myrrdin came about. He said: “In 2009, as a tribute to JRR Tolkien, a group of talented independent film makers came together to make a fan film called The Hunt for Gollum, which has since won numerous awards and, so far, has been watched by over 20 million people.
“These talented people inspired me to look further into the origins of Tolkien’s writings. This led me to ancient Celtic tales telling of heroes and heroines and some turned out to be the origins of the popular Arthur and Merlin stories of medieval times, about a celtic tribe known as the Britons.
“Many of the Hunt for Gollum project have come back together to make this film and tell this tale of myth and magic, at the boundaries of legend and history; the true heritage of the celts, Tolkien, Arthur and Merlin.
“It is difficult for talented independent film makers to either obtain finance to make their films or to reach the audiences who love their work. In the last few years new mediums such as video on demand have allowed them to reach audiences directly and the cost of production equipment has decreased allowing independent film makers to produce to the highest production qualities. In 2013 Movie Works was created, an initiative to support independent film makers. But it needs public and business help too.
“Any contribution will help, financial or otherwise. If people want to get involved please use the Donate button or Contact Us details on our web site. We would love to hear from you.”
* For more and to get involved visit the film’s official web site at www.myrrdin.org.uk or contact Movie Works (Yorkshire) Ltd, Showroom Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX. Call 0114 2210257, mobile 07737 274428, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.movieworks.org.uk.
MAKE A DONATION: To make a donation towards the film project and for more visit www.movieworks.org.uk/films/view/51/Myrrdin.