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MERCURY PREMIERE AND SCREENING

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We are so thrilled that Mercury has been selected to premier at Encounters Film Festival, UK's Clermont Ferrand! What a great way to start the film's festival trajectory.

With its premiere now announced, and with our DCP finally in hand it was also one of our priorities to organise a cast and crew screening this summer, but I had never imagined we'd manage the wonderful swanky theatre at Soho House.

It was luck would have it, that fellow filmmaker friends Paul Frankl and Maria Tanjala of Film Chain and Big Couch would be organising their cast and crew screening of Goldstar this summer too. The films had so much in common: Two powerful accounts with unconventional and thought-provoking takes on young women with unwanted pregnancies.

It was a great turnout - although two big absences due to availability! Isabella and Lily!!

Mercury Screening montage.jpg

SUSPENDED ISLAND PREMIERE

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Newcastle Drones.jpg

We had a great time up in Newcastle. Bustling with people and activities all around the area surrounding BALTIC, Live Theatre and the river.

The opening party on Thursday night and the GEON premiere extravaganza on Friday night kept us all in a whirl.

I think it was Jane and Louise's first such outdoor LED screen exhibition and so in particular all the issues around the sound (the headphones, the aps) were of utmost concern, and kept them very busy up until the last minute.

We had a visit on opening night from Newcastle Central's labour MP Chi Onwurah!! Who loved the installation, and took the time to share her thoughts with Jane and Louise afterwards.

Chi watching.jpg Chi talking Jane Louise.jpg

I didn't get to see as many of the various GEON installations as I would have liked - but the show goes on until September 9th. The highlights for me were the city itself - the architecture by the river, the winking bridge, the Earl Grey Maypole installation which was pretty much completed by the time we left, and much as I wasn't so impressed with the water sculpture jets, the opening night's music & lights were great, the drone fireworks show was amazing - I have never seen that done before! But there's a piece here in the Guardian that describes loosely what was on - although it doesn't much of anything that was going on in the BALTIC itself - and there was loads!!

Beyond all the film and art, Newcastle and surrounding countryside was beautiful. We enjoyed a cycle ride out along the river Prudhoe Castle and what seemed very important to all was that The Hoppings was on and that we must absolutely go. Where Billiy lives in any case we had to cycle past it and herds of cows through the town moor - which again I just never got enough of (how great to have that in the middle of a city!). And the Tyneside cinema was also a great discovery - as was Dabbawal Indian street food restaurant, and La Petite Crêperie with an authentic Bretonne making us a couple of delicious completes & an excellent flat white for lunch in a beautiful but totally underused indoor market place (Grainger Market - what a shame regeneration needed there).

Newcastle Montage.jpg

Fun to bump into Tina Gharavi at the exhibition too - whose film I am Nasrine was showing at the Tyneside cinema this week and was completely sold out!

So lots of reasons to keep going back to Newcastle!

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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