Bishopston Matters goes to the Movies!

Last night I had the exciting experience of attending my first film premiere and the opportunity to interview a British film star! The launch of ELIMINATE: Archie Cookson took place at the Cinema Deluxe in Cabot Circus. It was a fabulous evening with a red carpet, orchestra, actors and local celebrities. The champagne was flowing in the Director’s Lounge where I had the chance to speak with actor Paul Rhys who plays the lead role and gives an excellent performance. Paul told me how much he enjoyed the city of Bristol and it was one of things that drew him to take the role is this independent British film. The full interview with Paul will feature in the June issue of Bishopston Matters.

ELIMINATE: Archie Cookson is a witty, dark comedy which follows the life of disillusioned spy Archie Cookson as it gradually unravels. I thoroughly enjoyed the screening and wish the project the best of luck with securing national distribution into cinemas.
I was invited to the event by local resident David Bunker who is executive producer of this great film shot in Bristol. A year ago I had the pleasure of visiting the set to watch an afternoon of filming. I have printed my account first published in Bishopston Matters in May 2010 below.

Lights, Camera, Action on the streets of Bristol! (First printed in Bishopston Matters May 2010)

The creativity that goes on in our neighbourhood never ceases to amaze me. This month I had the unique experience of visiting a feature film set in Bristol! One of our local residents David Bunker is executive producer of the spy comedy, Eliminate Archie Cookson and invited me to find out more. I met with producer Ioanna Karavela who kindly showed me the set located down a quiet unassuming side street in neighbouring Fishponds. I joined the team close to the end of their five week shooting schedule.
As I sat in the production office with story boards and set layouts lining the walls, Ioanna explained to me a little more about Agent Pictures Limited and their passion for making films in our city. Director Rob Holder lives in Bristol and is keen to extend the city’s long history of documentary and drama making to the creation of independent films. It is the intention of Agent Pictures to establish a media hub in Bristol where films can be made and sold across the world.

‘ELIMINATE: Archie Cookson’ is a witty, dark comedy which follows the life of disillusioned spy Archie Cookson as it gradually unravels. He is past his prime. Sidelined in his job and ignored by his estranged wife and eccentric, precocious offspring, things take a turn for the worse when he stumbles upon classified tapes that no one was meant to hear!
Unwittingly surviving the assassination of his department colleagues by senior officials implicated on the tapes, Archie is confronted by an old friend, the American operative Ennis Miller, whom he believes to be his salvation. Archie soon discovers that Ennis is, in fact, his reluctant assassin. Upon learning Archie has trouble at home, Ennis grants a stay of execution during which Archie can put his affairs in order.
Assassination is now the last of his worries as Archie tries to make peace with his frosty, aloof family, evade the Secret Service and bring the men implicated on the tapes to justice before Ennis can finish his task of killing him.

The production of Eliminate Archie Cookson has been a Bristol based effort in every sense. Financed by Bristolians, each scene has been shot on set or at nearby locations such as the Will’s Memorial Building at the University of Bristol, private locations in Clifton and The Avonmouth bridge. Certain props have kindly been donated by locals inspired by the idea of a feature film being shot in their neighbourhood. One Bristolian has supplied Archie’s car. There has been a lot of help through word of mouth. Ioanna said there has been a fantastic energy surrounding the film as so many Bristol people have come together to make the whole thing happen.

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the previously disused warehouse that has been transformed into a fully functioning film set with dressing rooms, wardrobe, makeup and prop departments along with sets that had been built from scratch. The most exhilarating part of the afternoon was being allowed to observe the actors at work. The film rolled, the clapper board snapped shut in front of camera and the iconic phrase ‘action! ’ filled the hushed set. It was quite amazing to witness the number of people involved in enabling each scene to take place. What seemed like a hundred pairs of eyes followed the action, from the director observing the screen in front of him to individuals checking the screen was in focus, the continuity of costumes, props, movement make up …..

It was a thrill to see the actors performing upon command. The team are delighted to have such an exceptional cast including RADA trained Paul Rhys (Archie Cookson) who has worked on several films, theatre and television productions including the recent Bristol based vampire drama ‘Being Human’

Camilla Cookson is played by the talented Claire Skinner who has appeared on the silver screen in films such as Sleepy Hollow and popular television programmes, the comedy ‘Outnumbered’, ‘Agatha Christie: Poirot’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’.

The filming of Eliminate Archie Cookson is now completed and the lengthy editing process begins. It is intended for the film to be completed in 2010 and then film festivals and distributors sought in 2011. If you are passionate about film and would like to get involved with the project there is still time, investors are still being sought to finance the post production of the film.

I look forward to seeing the Bristol born and bred Eliminate Archie Cookson on our screens in the future and whilst enjoying the story unfold I will be eagerly spotting the local locations and sights.

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