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Letter From Urbino 2 In Which Robert Mountford enters the underworld of Fine Art Film & Joe Birch finds a Killer Ventilator
Roma Tearne for Salem-News.com
A snapshot of what happens when one sets out to produce a film...
Bringing 'Letter From Urbino' together.
(LONDON) - Roma Tearne is currently working on a short film Letter from Urbino, to be shown at the National Gallery, London, on June 15th. The film is based on an idea taken from her latest novel The Road To Urbino that was then developed into an independent narrative.
Shot in an unusual location in Italy to give the appearance of a hand-tinted postcard it combines a personal view of the paintings of Piero della Francesca with the Italian landscape.
Further details will be posted shortly. In the meanwhile, here is a snapshot of what happens when one sets out to produce a film; managing crews, locations, frustrations, production schedules, and of course, ensuring that everyone is properly fed...
'Sandwiches,' Conrad says. 'That's what we need tomorrow. We won't have time to mess about.'
Just when I was planning on messing about...
'M & S,' Conrad says. 'You'll get sandwiches there.'
'And don't forget to get me the revised script.'
I walk home laden with worries.
Had I remembered to save the revised version of the script?
What if I hadn't?
What if I'd given Rob the wrong version.
Version 1 instead of 2?
What if he isn't any good?
What sort of sandwiches should I get?
On the way I meet my friend Lucinda's cat. He's strayed far from home.
'Hello Sammy,' I say. 'You and me both.'
Sammy doesn't seem interested. With an acknowledged flick of his left ear he disappears across the now deserted street.
I was on my own. With a film that may or may not come together tomorrow.
There are fifty-two sandwiches.
How many are you expecting?' Conrad asks but then Rob arrives.
We show him the skeleton film, work in progress, sort of. It's a very rough cut, we tell him, hoping he understands. But Rob has done his homework and gets it immediately; the script, the uncut visuals, the fragments of music, my hopes... Conrad and I glance at each other. So far, so good. Conrad adjusts the mic.
Rob spreads his script around him.
I hold my breath.
We begin recording.
In all we do only three takes and Rob is fantastic. Light and shade in his voice, colour in his phrasing. Later on, when we add the music and the wild track, his voice will fit perfectly with the rhythm of the sounds. But he is not to know that now as he reads from the script, his voice pouring into the silence of the studio; filling the room, rising and falling, unveiling the story, giving meaning to the images. Conrad and I look at each other. Yes! we mouth. Yes!
('What do you expect, darling,' Alison says later. 'He's a pro!')
It is an invisible triumph for the three of us, like all the other secret and memorable moments, embedded forever in the making of a film. We will never be able to watch it without remembering. That is the joy of filmmaking, I think. Why I put myself through it, again and again. Like a meal, this sharing. A pleasure not just for one person.
'Better start eating the sandwiches, then,' Conrad says.
But I know from the look on his face he's pleased.
A few days later Joe, our sound man arrives with some of the wild track.
'I've got the ventilator,' he announces. 'And the hospital trolley.'
Conrad who is knitting voice to image looks up.
'Oh yes? I hope they weren't in use at the time?'
Joe's ventilator turns out to be amazing. Just the job for our ruined hospital. Although, listening to it, I wonder about its effectiveness in real life....
'You did say you wanted a 1940s ventilator,' Joe grins.
He has recently returned from filming in Greece and we have one last question for him.
Do cicadas in Greece sound the same as Italian ones?
'I'll look it up,' Joe says, meticulous.
And off he goes stealing my bag of jelly babies...
Now comes the hard bit.
All together, locked in with the images? Will we do it?
'We're going to have to,' Conrad says, sternly.
He sounds like the dentist. Pulling teeth...
Coming soon...our first trailer...
Roma Tearne: Salem-News.com Contributing Writer / Author
Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born artist and writer. Her first novel, Mosquito, has been shortlisted for the 2007 Costa Book Awards first Novel prize.
Currently a Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, she has had many exhibitions including "Nel Corpo delle cittá" at the prestigious MLAC ( Museo Laboratorio Arte Contemporanea ) in Rome.
She became the artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford in 2002 and while there, worked on "Happenings in a Museum"
Salem-News.com is extremely pleased to work with this esteemed author, and to be able to utilize her approach in communicating stories about war and ethnic strife that cross all boundaries; those things that make the very soul of our earth bleed needlessly.
Roma Tearne's Writing CollectionMosquito (ISBN 0007233655) was published on March 5, 2007 by Harper Collins.
Bone China (ISBN 0007240732), was published in 2008 by the same publisher.
Brixton Beach (ISBN 9780007301560), was published 2009 by HarperPress.
The Swimmer (ISBN 9780007301591), published in 2010, was long-listed for the Orange Prize 2011.
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