The People Behind The Film
Ravensbourne college has a brand spanking new building with an even newer digital media department. The building itself is a design delight, winning architectural prizes and, from what I could tell, respect from its students and staff. It’s set right next door to the O2 Arena (formerly known as the Millenium Dome white elephant). Which makes it probably the easiest building in Europe to find. It’s most prominent alumni include Stella McCartney, Gareth Unwin and David Bowie
“But why are you telling us this?” you ask. Well we’re setting the scene for a dramatic revelation… The director of Island Queen, Ben Mallaby, is a lecturer at Ravensbourne. Actually there’s another reason. Ravensbourne, since we first approached them looking for films to include in our magazine, have just been so supportive of Snoovies, our work and vision that we can’t help but want to tell the world. So there you are.
I made one short film with you, it got BAFTA nominated, I’m done!
Back to Island Queen. The film was written by and starred Nat Luurtsema who is a seasoned stand-up comic, an author, a screen writer and an actress from just outside London. Makes you sick doesn’t it? Take heart dear reader. She finds her life quite boring! The film’s done pretty well though..
When you wake up and all those scripts are ready, that wasn’t fairies!
While talking to Nat and Ben one can’t help imagining how the collaboration would work. Seeing the two of them in your mind’s eye drinking three bottles of wine, a constant repartee bouncing through the space between, laughter and then silence as notes are taken. All in front of an Aga in a huge country kitchen with candles burning. That’s not quite how it is though. Nat has an unusual work / sleep pattern. Like many successful people she sleeps only around six hours but she does it in two three-hour blocks. Apparently that is how we used to sleep before the advent of electricity. Well you live and learn. So she writes every day between 3am and 7am before grabbing her second sleep. Wow!
Every line is very fought over, word for word is argued.
Talking of scripts, let’s get to the film. Did we mention that Island Queen has been nominated for a BAFTA? In our view part of the reason for it’s success is the quality of the dialogue. It’s almost as if Nat has secretly recorded a conversation and transcribed it word for word. The setting also works very well with our protagonists delivering lines while going about their daily tasks. We really wanted to get into the mechanics of how this was achieved.
Both of us nearly died
You know those scenes where the actors are doing such a good job that you really believe they are enduring torture or have just run a mile so that they don’t seem out of breath but actually are? Well we wanted to know how Nat managed to pull such a convincing performance of being absolutely bloody freezing in the opening shot. To paraphrase: like a full body ice-cream headache. It must take years of acting school to achieve such sublime performance. Or what you have to do is jump in the sea and let the first thing that pops into your head find expression.
Ben also shoots commercially mostly in the fashion field. But his real love is film making which he considers a completely separate beast. He and Nat are currently working on a feature film called ‘Annie has Body Issues’, with many of the team from Island Queen. It has backers, crew and cast and they’re good to go on that soon. Looking at the trailer it could well be a hit. Check it out on Youtube.