DAY 3 logo

On the final day we crossed the river into South London. Our first location was the St Thomas Hospital. It had been a long process to find the right location for the hospital scene, but we finally found a hospital that had great architecture and friendly filming unit, run by Gavin Tiffin. Kyla was drawn to the austere yet beautiful brutalist feel of the architecture.

St Thomas Hospital dawn

St Thomas is a functioning hospital, so our priority of the day was to make sure we didn't interrupt the normal flow of life there. Watching all the nurses and doctors go about their work at 6am after insanely long shifts made us feel intensely respectful and slightly better about our 4am starts!

BTS Hospital pics

The road outside the hospital was chokka with road works, which made it very difficult getting in and out of the hospital. It being a Sunday, there was also a rally of sorts going on somewhere nearby as Westminster Bridge Road / Lambeth Palace Road was alive with old fashioned motor cars and bicycles.

We finished the final shots in the streets of Lambeth. More driving around for Harriet who had become a dab hand at Gregory's wheel. Working right up until the light allowed us. Here is a little bit of video I shot in the car driving home after wrap with Ohna and Esme (Esme unusually tongue-tied)!

Thank you to everyone for making this all possible. It has been such an amazing experience!

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Thank you note

We are enormously grateful to all our backers, some who might also extend their support to the development of the feature. It has been a big adventure so far, and really we are still only at the beginning of the journey. With this money in place, we can now pay our debt towards our contributors such as our fantastic and generous casting director Shakyra Dowling - who I really cannot recommend and thank enough, and we can get cracking with the editing with Reza Jouze and start putting deals into place for our post more generally.

So far the rushes look beautiful and the performances of our actresses Isabella Laughland and Harriet Cains are so strong, Kyla Simone Bruce and our team has done us proud!!

I also want to thank my talented and invaluable assistant Lily Ashton who also drew the above illustration for you all!

DAY 2

After a glorious day yesterday, today the rain has begun, and it's our car rigs day!! But rather than let it dampen our spirits, we kept going. We were now filming around the streets of Tottenham, which meant setting up a unit base at the bottom of a small road. We used this as a point to rig and derig the car. It was a bit of a last minute thing, when the base Françoise (our line producer) had found for us was no longer available. Essentially a parking area within an estate, and we had to go there to rig the car at 6am on a Saturday. No matter how quiet we tried to be, I am sure the splitter van's rolling engine (our only source of power!!) and the necessary chatter just get our work done must have disturbed the residents. But not only did no one complain, I discovered warm and welcoming residents, who helped us with hot water and welcomed us into their homes to use their toilets and they wouldn't accept any money in return as thanks. One of the ladies said "It's fine. People should help each other when it is needed".

DAY 2 Filming in the rain

When the camera was rigged safely and rolling, Harriet was off driving around the a little ring road and we got some really great shots! Ohna and Maya put together a little video of footage - see LINK.

By the afternoon it was sunny again which meant that Cele (our costume and props lady) spent the rest of the day spritzing the car window with water to make sure we kept continuity.

The last location of the day was the car park of a small church near White Hart Lane.

DAY 2 - Grace Day Care

The police turned up at one point (6 or 7 of them!) - when it was getting dark at 4:30pm. Ohna - The producer on set - immediately jumped, and went looking for the print outs of the location agreements but they just wanted to watch! They were very friendly, and not a lot of film shooting happens around there, and they wanted us to look out for our equipment, make sure we didn't get into trouble.

Logo police

Here is a BTS video to watch made for us by the talented Maya McAllister Demangeat!

We are very very grateful to our generous backers who are making this all possible. I can't wait to start editing! The rushes look amazing. Kyla did an amazing job and Harriet and Isabella gave us such great performances, they really brought the whole thing to life and I look forward to working with them on the feature. It'll be awesome.

Al and Bambi

We have just finished shooting Mercury and we are now focused on raising the rest of the money we need to edit and complete post production of the film. This is Lily's first fully fledged right from the beginning film project through Life to Live Films and I wanted to share some of her experiences through her production blog:

Mercury is a short film project by Kyla Simone Bruce and Life to Live Films. The story began with an idea from Kyla. She wanted to explore her own past, question the decisions she made when she was younger. She wanted to see the intimate conversations between friends on screen in a way that we're often not permitted to see. In collaboration with Gorana Jovanovic, her fantastic writing partner, she was able to make a script that captured the way that in serious moments girl talk and chatter can happen with tension bubbling under the surface.

It was these ideas that drew Ohna Falby to the project initially, and attracted Shorts TV who backed the project after hearing Kyla's 60 second pitch at Cannes 2017. Thus began the development process for 'Mercury' and 'The Cockatoo Inn'.

Mercury Development

Skipping over the development process and going straight into the shoot.

DAY 1

First day of production was a shock with 4 am rises for everyone and a few last minute tweaks on costume and hair and fake tattoos for Harriet and Izzy. We drove our brand new hero car, the Nissan Bluebird called Gregory, to our first location, The Broadwater Farm Estate, in Tottenham.

When we arrived at our first location it was just getting light and there was a thin layer of mist covering the location, which meant that we looked like we'd invested in a very expensive fog machine for the first few shots!

Behind the scenes

The first big shot involved a car rig. This was set up by Giovanni Mattei, our super grip, who made sure none of the equipment would come flying off half way through shot.

We were mostly on the Broadwater Farm Estate on our first day, and we had lots of extras with us. Corin Silva, Aiden and Bud Brennan Williams, Azi Brown and Ozonna Soludo were part of the team. We also had the fabulous Gloria Price, who played the flamboyant fan lady.

DAY 1 Lily's Blog

By the end of the day we had attracted quite an audience, with a lot of the locals gathering around to see what was going on. They may have been disappointed to find out we weren't shooting the next Star Wars movie, but they still stayed quiet enough that we managed to get our last few shots.

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I had a fantastic experience going down to Polegate yesterday on my "Ohna and Perry go large" adventure.

Making short films is such a funny thing. It's all-consuming because you have to eke out from within you everything you possibly can to get them made - and of course get it made WELL otherwise there is no point doing it at all. A real labour of love and passion. But you find yourself doing crazy things. Like asking total strangers for money and asking for favours from people you barely know - expecting people to go well out of their way to help you buy a car for instance!

I booked two return train tickets to Polegate (right next to Lewes) and prepared a picnic - for me and my neighbour's dad Perry, who good naturedly said he'd help me! A charming Northern Irish man from Belfast who has been in the motor trade pretty much his entire life - and therefore - a car expert! He mostly dealt with Porsche cars (he's retired now) but seemed to know pretty much all and anything you need to know about most brands of cars. Having met him at my neighbour's Christmas parties over the years, he was the one person I could think of who might help me in my quest to find and buy an old car that would serve us well for the short film and ideally next year for the feature film too (in any case ideally not turn out to be a money pit).

And so we went, with a little ad I found on Gumtree and some advice given to me by Dimitri, the action vehicles man. Having primed the seller we were coming, and arranging for him to meet us at the station to take us back to his to test drive and check the car, I of course knew that my negotiation powers were much reduced because the seller knew I had taken out a big chunk of my Saturday to go see the car, and that I needed it NOW. So we poked, and we drove the car, and we pointed out all the flaws (including a flat battery and leaking oil) - which isn't too difficult in a car which is 27 years old - but after a lot of discussion, shrugging, gesturing and being driven back to the station for fault of coming to an agreement' - we did eventually buy the car!!!

I was so grateful to have Perry by my side for the negotiations and the journey back - he had to do all the driving as I have no driving insurance of my own (having crashed my last car on the French motorway, and leaving it in all its bits and pieces behind me never to be replaced). Until now! I got the car taxed and Perry had to drive it the 70 or so miles back to London - we even got banged into along the way (tailgate accident) and what matters most I guess is the car drove us flawlessly, smoothly, purringly back to London and is now parked outside my house ready to go on Friday. 

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And I fell in love with her - a little old-fashioned Red Nissan Bluebird!! According to the expert, Nissans are actually very reliable cars that rarely go wrong. Now I have to just cross my fingers and hope he is right... 5 days to go.

Such a huge ask of someone I only really know from occasional parties, got plenty going on without my demands, including two lively grandchildren, and him having to drive for more than 3/4 hours back in the darkness of the open countryside, the motorways and then crazy congested London... With crazy people all dressed up for Halloween popping up everywhere. I loved hearing all his stories. Thank God he's a lovely man, a generous spirit and a tireless raconteur - a bit like another dad I know!!  Doing these crazy things can bring you closer to people too.

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Mercury (Short Film)

So we launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday for Mercury and hopefully we will raise £7,500 by November 16 2017 11:10am (not sure if that's GMT or USA time).

I know it's a lot of work getting people to back projects like these when there are so many similar crowd funding campaigns on the go and so many raising money for helpless desperate causes as well as these artistic endeavours. In any case we will keep the Mercury instagram feed alive with fun content, keep pushing and hope for the best! I'm really enjoying that it's making me get in touch with everyone meaningfully - as it's a big deal asking people for money.

So far by the end of Day 1 we had reached just under 19% of our target so I think that's really good.

On a prep front we have finished workshopping with our actresses now. We've started working out costume and props, we're locking down locations and searching for additional cast and street locations. We fell in love with St Thomas Hospital as our end location, and for where Al and Bambi start off, the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham (where the film is set) is amazing - so we hope to get permission there sorted and work out our street locations over the next few days.

Our challenge this week is to find the third hero of our film: THE DREAM CAR!

So more news on that when it comes in...