Magazine article Screen International

Flying Blind

Magazine article Screen International

Flying Blind

Article excerpt

Producer Alison Sterling, director Kasia Klimkiewicz and actress Helen McCrory talk about working on Bristol based love story/political thriller Flying Blind, the third film to come out of South West Screen's microbudget scheme iFeatures.

Synopsis: A post 9/11 love story about an older woman working for a military manufacturer in Bristol who embarks on a passionate affair with a French Algerian student only to discover that he may not be what he seems.

Director: Kasia Klimkiewicz, whose short film Hanoi-Warsaw won the European Film Award in 2010.

Writers: Bristol-based writer Caroline Harrington came up with the original premise and wrote the first draft which was developed by Naomi Wallace, Bruce McLeod.

Producer: Alison Sterling of Ignition Films, who co-produced the BAFTA-nominated short film Turning.

Cast: Helen McCrory, Kenneth Cranham, Najib Oudghiri and Tristan Gemmill.

Financing: As part of the iFeatures scheme, the project is backed by BBC Films, Matador Pictures, Cinema Six, Regent Capital and City of Bristol. The iFeatures scheme is also backed by Skillset.

Budget: £300,000

International sales: Content Media

Language: English

Filming location: Bristol for 24 days.

Status: Shooting

Release date: Aiming for completion in May

On the origins of the project:

Alison Sterling: I had been working with Bristol based writer Caroline Harrington and we had a four page outline. The deadline for iFeatures [South West Screen's microbudget film-making scheme] was coming up. I had this very strong instinct that I wanted to work with a female director and I felt it was right for a European director, because I really didn't want to make a piece of British social realism.

I went along to Encounters short film festival in 2009 and the programme co-ordinator told me that I really should see Kasia's film Hanoi Warsaw [which won a European Film Award last year]. I did and I was blown away by it - it was a completely unsentimental look at the way people are, with exactly the right combination of realism and cinema. Kasia, the director, happened to be there, and we met and that was it.

On the Bristol based story:

AS: iFeatures was the original inspiration, because the brief was to create a Bristol story. So the original writer, Caroline Harrington came to me and said she wanted to make a story starting with concorde. From concorde we went to engineers and we decided on a female engineer and a love story. It snowballed.

This story could not happen anywhere else. Because concorde was built here. And Frankie our main character's father was one of the designers of concorde.

Kasia Klimkiewicz: As a foreigner coming to Bristol, it feels like this is an epic city with strong roots. It feels like it's always been inhabited. There is a sense of tradition and strong roots. Frankie's character is very rooted in Bristol. She comes from this very solid world which is rocked when she meets Kahil, who comes from a very unstable world.

On the political context of the film:

KK: It's a very intimate story between a man and a woman but it has the political context of race and age and religion and class. The two are intertwined.

Helen McCrory: It's about immigration which is something that the whole world is being affected by. Whether you are living in Sudan or Poland or London, this is a real problem for the world. It's a very complicated issue. It's also about the issue of terrorism and how it's affected people's lives. …

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