A PENNY FOR THEM, our last short film is now available to view on line – Click here to go to our VIMEO page and have a watch. The film was screened at a number of festivals in Europe and Asia and has had a great response from audiences who have enjoyed this ‘darkly comic tale with a twist‘…
News coming soon about special screenings of the feature-length version of our highly acclaimed adaptation of Gogol’s DIARY OF A MADMAN…. Please ‘like’ our Facebook page for up to date Oddbodies news.
Dr Anna Solve will be revealing her gnashers alongside the iconic Jack Nicholson on Frday 14th August at the BIG SCREEN IN THE PARK, Exeter as part of EP Digital’s summer programme. A Penny For Them is being screened alongside Kubrick’s THE SHINING… Please go to http://www.exeterphoenix.org.uk/events/the-shining-15/ for info about tickets and times. Hope to see you there!
Well today the final episode of our web series based on Gogol’s Diary of a Madman has finally gone up. It’s been quite an experience putting something out everyday for 20 days. Time consuming, frustrating, at times even disappointing. But we are glad we’ve done it and have been rewarded with some amazing and reaffirming feedback from both friends and complete strangers. Very often people watch films on line and don’t really bother to respond. But so many people have taken the trouble to email, phone, Facebook or text us to let us know how bowled over they are with Paul’s incredible performance and how much they have enjoyed the whole production.
It’s an odd, sometimes very isolating process to make work in this way. With theatre you create a show, put it in front of an audience and get an immediate response – it’s a two way process. Not so with film, unless you are watching alongside your audience you have no idea how they are responding to the work. Sending the Madman out has felt at times like shooting in the dark, you never really know if you are scoring a hit.
I have found myself checking our Mailchimp reports to see exactly who is reading the mailouts, who is clicking on the links, who is actually taking the time to engage with the project. It’s always interesting to analyse these figures – sometimes it’s the most unlikely people who have become your staunchest supporters and those you assume will be avidly watching are not even bothering to open the emails!
Ultimately, we are glad we’ve done it. We are immensely proud of this piece – it’s an incredibly moving story and we feel gratified that so many of the people who have watched it have felt compelled enough to tell us how much they have enjoyed it.
The piece will be up for a while longer in it’s episode format so if you have watched and enjoyed, please do pass the links on to as many people as possible. (all episodes available below)
Next step – a full edit and some proper screenings – This time we’ll be watching alongside the audience…!
Episode 20, Episode 19, Episode 18, Episode 17, Episode 16, Episode 15, Episode 14, Episode 13, Episode 12, Episode 11,Episode 10, Episode 9, Episode 8, Episode 7, Episode 6, Episode 5, Episode 4, Episode 3, Episode 2, Episode 1
Originally adapted from the short story by Gogol, Diary Of A Madman chronicles the life of Poprishchin, a delusional and low-ranking Russian civil servant whose gradual decline into madness is both absurdly funny and heartbreakingly tragic. This highly successful stage production, created by Paul Morel and John Horwood (for our previous Company The Splinter Group), toured extensively in the UK, had sold-out runs in London and Edinburgh, and was invited to present a one-off performance at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in aid of MIND.
We have long been wanting to create a film version of this extraordinary story. Those of you who follow our occasional Facebook posts and blog will know that we were hard at work for most of March creating our wonderful little set, and in early April, we finally got down to shooting it.
The piece is made up of 20 diary entries, each one shot in a continuous take and lasting between 40 seconds and 6 minutes. An incredible challenge, not just for Paul to perform, but also for our cameraman (Teo Ormond-Skeaping) to shoot, wearing a steadycam harness and working with (almost) completely natural light (paraffin lamps and candles – extremely ‘authentic’ including the appalling smell).
We are thrilled with the way it’s turned out and will be submitting it to festivals and organising screenings of the finished piece later in the year. BUT, in the meantime we felt the diary structure lent itself to the ’webisode’ format and decided it would be great to release it as a series. Mental Health Awareness Week seemed like a very appropriate week in which to do it.
So, starting today with October 3rd… we will be releasing one diary entry a day for the next 19 days….
We really hope you will watch each one as we release it and share with anyone you think may enjoy this wonderfully absurdist but ultimately heartbreaking tale of one man’s descent into madness and the inhumane treatment he receives…
Diary of A Madman episode 1
We have been hard at work these past few months preparing to shoot our adaptation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman, and last week we finally shot it! Adapted from a stage show that Paul created many moons ago (in our previous incarnation as The Splinter Group, and directed by John Horwood), this piece is an absolute corker and we have felt for a long time that it would make a fantastic film.
Working in collaboration with the artist and filmmaker Teo Ormond Skeaping and his partner Lena Dobrowolska we shot the piece on a tiny set using mainly paraffin lamps and candles to light it. Each diary entry (there are 20) had to be shot in one take as there are no cutaways. Teo shot the whole thing with a steady cam – for those of you who have never seen one, it’s a spectacular harness and robot arm affair that allows the camera to mirror the actor’s movements - fantastic for the end results but exhausting for the cameraman!
We managed to shoot the whole thing over five days and are thrilled with the result. Decisions are still being made as to how we will present this work so keep an eye on our Facebook page and sign up to our mail outs for further news of how you can get to see it… In the meantime, here are some screenshots of the extraordinary Paul Morel at work.
A fantastic response to A Penny For Them at it’s premiere screening in December as part of the 2 Short Nights Festival in Exeter – we are really pleased with the way it’s turned out and are busy submitting it into International Festivals hither and thither. It just got into it’s first one, Goa International Festival in India – lets hope that’s the first of many. Meanwhile, Mrs Lustleigh’s Fancies has also been selected for a Festival in France later in the year which is rather jolly!
More news soon, in the meantime, here are some stills from the finished film….
A HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported our Crowdfunder Campaign. It has been really successful, hitting and then going over the target by the deadline. We are now hard at work getting everything together for the shoot which is creeping ever nearer! so much to do…
The Vikings, although seen mostly silhouetted against the sky, still need to be kitted out in as authentic a costume as possible. As they feature in the dream/nightmare sequences we decided we’d like them to look a little more ‘magical’ than your usual helmet and horns imagery. So, inspired by the incredible work of our friend the artist Barbara Keal who makes beautiful sculptural headwear out of felt, we have been hard at work fashioning these Viking headdresses using fleeces from our farmer neighbour. With a lot of help and the lending of tools from the lovely Roz Barker – it’s been a time consuming but enjoyable process! Here’s a photo of the first one to be finished.
A bit rough and ready but will hopefully do a good job. It’s made me appreciate even more the incredible skill and hours of work that go into Barbara’s beautiful pieces – take a look at her website and be transported!!
Our Crowdfunder campaign has been tearing along, 80% funded already. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, we so appreciate it! To give the Campaign a boost and to gently remind those who intended to pledge but forgot to get round to it, we have made a couple of wee promos… here is the first, A Message From Dr Anna Solv – Take a look.
We have launched a Crowdfunder Campaign to help fund our new film A Penny For Them… !
We have lots of great rewards to encourage you to support us – including playing a VIKING in the film ! if you don’t fancy yourself in hessian, maybe you’d like a lovely limited edition print inspired by the storyboard, or a day out on the Moor hunting Treasure in the form of a ‘Seolfor Penning’, a Viking Charm to bring you good fortune, Magical Runes or maybe you fancy being an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER… all these things and more are available at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/A-Penny-For-Them - please do take a look and support us if you can.
Back in February, we put in a little idea to the Phoenix Bursary scheme for a short film called A Penny For Them – It’s the story of an uptight English businessman who is troubled by reoccurring nightmares of endlessly running for his life through a foreboding wilderness whilst being chased by some dark and malevolent force. Distraught and exhausted, he goes to see a Skandinavian psychotherapist specialising in sleep problems. She hypnotizes him in an attempt to get to the root of these anxieties, and what she discovers takes them both on a journey of unexpected consequence. Featuring Ancient Britons, marauding Vikings, the beautiful Dartmoor wilderness, and a large number of ‘Silfor Phennigs’ * – this darkly comic psychological thriller with a twist in the tale will hopefully bear all the hallmarks of Oddbodies’ previous work – a compelling story shot in intriguing settings, beautifully drawn characters, imaginative art direction and scrupulous attention to detail, all brought together with a highly distinctive and originally composed soundtrack…
After a a rather gruelling interview (a panel of 8 big adults and one little baby) we were a bit surprised and extremely pleased to be given the Crowdfunder Bursary. This means Exeter Phoenix Digital will give us part of the money on the proviso we raise the other part through a crowd funding campaign. So, we are currently in the process of putting together our campaign and planning our film – shooting promos, finding locations, making runes (more about this later) sourcing ancient silver pennies, fine tuning the script, pinning down crew, thinking about costumes, logistics, schedules, budgets, etc etc etc
It’s been a while since The Nature of Angrove, and it will be great to get some of the key members of the creative team behind that project back together again for this (slightly twisted) tale of greed, fear, vikings and taxes…
There will be more details about the film coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s an image of a Lydford ‘Sifor Phennig’* (*silver penny) which plays a significant part in the story…