AND... they tag it "Kafka meets Kubrick"!
Whilst in Cannes to promote our film All The Wild Horses, I came across this film I co-wrote a couple of year back after ring through a family tragedy. So proud to see it here in Cannes in the market now. It won the Arizona Underground Film festival earlier this year, so here's hoping the film will find theatrical release world-wide. It's a hard sell, but one can dream...
AND... they tag it "Kafka meets Kubrick"!
We are finally back from our shoot for All The Wild Horses in Outer Mongolia. An epic 1000 miles road trip through the wild steppes for the crew consisting of Michael Sanderson, Kevin Augello and Nomindari Ganbold, and a 500 miles horseback ride for me and a couple of Olympus cameras.
The shoot went surprisingly well, bearing in mind we were shooting on RED, on various other formats including GoPro, Contour, 5D and with a minicopter, from the back of dozens of semi-wild horses, and crucially, many hours away from civilization, electricity and medical support.
No one was injured in the process of shooting this film, that is, no member of the crew. Other riders did get injured, some quite badly, anything from serious dehydration, severely torn ligaments, to broken collarbones, ribs, punctured lungs and spine fractures. So all in all, we got away lightly. With just one pulled muscle, a freak fever, and a serious aversion to vodka and mutton between us we ended up with something like twelve hours of footage, which I'm just starting log into story lines now as I'm writing a script for the edit.
Next up is a representative trailer of all the main story lines and everything else we managed to capture, to raise funding for the extensive post-production. This should be completed within the next 3 weeks, and then it's on to cutting the actual film into a 90-minute feature film. And not to mention such small matters as writing the new draft of The Apple, which will go into production next year, to be shot in NYC and Romania. Exciting times, these.
So, I managed to get myself on the slowest (and smallest) long-haul flight I've ever been on, which was Turkish Airlines taking the scenic route to a whole new level, via Istanbul, Kazakhstan and on to Mongolia.
It would have been beautiful to see something when we flew over these vast and sparsely populated countries, alas, I was installed in a very tight middle seat and it was night for some of the time. Well, hopefully better luck on the way back.
Seeing the name of the airport finally in real-life was pretty special — Chinggis Khan Airport, the place I've been dreaming about for a loooong time now. And here we are. And it's raining, really damp, massive puddles and mud everywhere, but not too cold otherwise, in fact it's probably exactly like London up until last week.
Going into town in a cab where neither of us speaks a word of the other one's language is one of those things that make you realize that you've just pitched up in a really alien place. Mongolia does though, strangely enough, remind me quite a bit of Bhutan. Similar (buddhist) mentality, kinda cool, happening, relaxed yet deeply rooted in ancient traditions at the same time. Only here in Mongolia the idea of architecture is a bit newer than any other place I've ever visited. Even the capital Ulaanbataar was just a large city made up of tents until not too long again. The name in fact means something like 'main camp'. So that is why the Soviet Russians could run riot here with concrete and more concrete, and the outcome is one pretty unattractive, yet vibrant and happening place. I hope we'll get to explore to little and I'm almost certain it's one of those places you just fall in love with for the people that live here. But I'm already off to the country tomorrow to prep the shoot and test the Olympus kit. So far, very impressed with the little OM-D. Very good for concealed crowd filming I gotta say. Unfortunately the card reader doesn't want to connect with my lappy, so no OM-D photos on here for now until I've found a solution.
Oh, and I found a t-shirt that says Mongolia, motherland of the wild horses. Which I thought was as good a crew T as any, so I bought three.
Watch this space to see the crew all dressed up.
It's two days until I'm flying out to Mongolia, with the co-production crew meeting me there a few days later. The great news is that Olympus have come through with their sponsorship, and a slick little OM-D was handed to me yesterday. I was really keen to test it for this trip as it has incredible 5-axis anti-shake, better than almost any competitor even in the prosumer market.
First tests this morning revealed that yes, even after 3 hours sleep and a shaky caffeinated start to the day, the footage came out as smooth as a baby's bottom, not bad for a tiny micro-third camera. Pimped it with a Rode mic and 64Gb card and now feel a little more ready to document this epic adventure they call the Mongol Derby. So, thank you Olympus!
No, that's not a gun in my pocket, it's just my nappy
I have also taken ownership of The World's Largest Granny Underpants with sewn-in "padding" — nappy for you and me — so my bottom should also stay silky smooth. I know, I know, too much information...
Honestly though, the sleep deprivation and stress of the last few weeks — make that months — should stand me in good stead for what's to come. I am a fully-functional homo sapiens on 4 hours a night at the moment, so to all you snoring fellow riders, vodka-swigging herders, yapping dogs, howling wolves, brutally early mornings, I say that shit don't impress me much.
On the up-side, hoping they won't be arrested on the way in for spying, the crew of New Earth Films/MsFilms are going to bring a minicopter for aerials and some kit that would make even Peter Jackson soil his — no doubt — granny-size pants.
And we're nearly ready with the crowd-funding site, watch this space if you want to become an IMDB-acredited film professional the quick & easy way, by bribing me with your dosh. It's not what you know, it's who you know, and baby, you know me...
We are very pleased to be officially sponsored by Berghaus for the filming out in Mongolia in three weeks time. Here's a big shout-out to them for sending us their great ultra lightweight kit, we'll need every bit of help we can get right now.
The momentum just keeps growing as the shoot is looming ever closer, so thanks Berghaus guys hopping on board! This train is about to depart.
Now that we are in full prepping mode for the August shoot of our documentary All The Wild Horses in Outer Mongolia, we have to turn our minds to the more mundane little matter of mulah/cashola/dead presidents/dosh.
We are producing an independent feature documentary, and although we have interest from broadcasters, we are trying to keep control of it in order to make the film we are setting out to make — the personal stories of the competitors set against an epic vista with 15 different types of extreme weather in a day, drama, trials, tribulations and hopefully redeeming triumph at the end. Think Kevin McDonald's Life In A Day intercut with BBC's Human Planet and you're not far off.
So now we're looking a couple of private investors to help us with the cost of gear, plane for aerials, logistics, satellite phones, etc etc. We're not looking for much, just enough to keep rolling and keep the Mongolian wolf from our yurt door.
So if you know of anyone who knows of anyone, please send them this way — we would be eternally grateful and depending on your level of help, we might garner you with an associate producer credit. How's that for half an hour's work calling your thoroughbred breeder uncle...
Prepping for my documentary to shoot out in Mongolia in August. It's only 6 weeks until 30 riders from all over the world take to small semi-wild Mongolian horses and try to survive a 1000km race across steppe and desert. And I am one of them, riding as well as shooting a documentary about it – on horseback.
Training hard now to slim down and be that lean, mean riding machine I never thought I could be. It's getting easier with increasing fear...
I'll be posting updates regularly from now on so check back.