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The UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund and FilmFour teamed up in 2002 to create Cinema Extreme, a scheme to "encourage and develop filmmakers with a distinctive directorial voice and cinematic flair". Five films are being made in 2006 that hope to emulate the success of previous shorts such as Andrea Arnold's Wasp and Duane Hopkins' Love Me Or Leave Me Alone. In the fourth of our Cinema Extreme 2006 reports, director Martin Radich talks about his new short Dog's Mercury, and we pay a visit to the Blackpool set.
"Dog's Mercury is a film with stories within stories as opposed to one with an overarching narrative. These are simple stories whereby good people discover happiness and the bad just move on elsewhere." That's director Martin Radich's description of his ambitious Cinema Extreme short Dog's Mercury, which shot on the Lancashire coast around Blackpool and Fleetwood in July 2006. Martin discusses his film below and we also go behind the scenes - producer Jane Hooks and director of photography Lol Crawley talk about working with Martin in the video...
How long has Dog's Mercury been in development? Martin Radich: The development process was not too long, perhaps four months. It began with a three-day workshop which would ordinarily have had me spouting cynical remarks about such set-ups. However the whole event turned out to be very rewarding indeed. The input we received was extremely helpful and beneficial. The organisers worked exceptionally hard at submerging themselves into each separate script, a task that must have created a myriad of intertwining narratives and a collection of characters jumping from one story to another across their frazzled minds. All very confusing I expect.
Can you explain the significance of the film title? The title connects with one of the main characters, and his liking of obscure woodland flowers. Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) is one of these. I strongly recommend Flowers Of The Woods by EJ Salisbury, a very informative book.
How does the Dog's Mercury production compare to your previous shoots? All of my previous films have been very little or no-budget affairs. Never have I worked with a 1st assistant director, not to mention a 2nd or a 3rd. I have to say, though, that this experience was wonderful. The whole crew was fantastic. Many thanks to them all, they were all supremely dedicated.
How did you find the shoot? You had to contend with a last minute change of location, which must have been extremely challenging...
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