Thursday, March 3, 2011

Confirmed! Sigma Films to Develop TV Series on Clyde Shipbuilding, More on New Film Projects, More

While just a few days away from a most welcomed change of season, here's some great news to help put a spring in the step: news of multiple new projects from Sigma including a massive TV series for the BBC and several new films!

First, while rumored for a while, I'm thrilled that there is to be a new Television series for the BBC dealing with families from Glasgow who helped build those mighty ships along the river Clyde (a true and proud heritage, esp for those who have relatives overseas now who once worked on such things) In a brand new interview with Sigma founders Gillian Berrie and David Mackenzie, the article confirms that this project is now in development! Quotage from Screen Daily:

Sigma is also making its first move into television, working on a TV drama for the BBC set against the glory days of shipping industry on the Clyde River, which Berrie and Mackenzie describe as “Dallas meets Deadwood.”

Rumors first surfaced some time ago, and while I worked to delve into it, I was unable to learn more until a recent piece in a tabloid which had this to say of the project:

With the working title The Clyde, the costume drama will be given the Upstairs Downstairs treatment by basing the story of Glasgow’s great shipbuilding heritage around two 19th-century families. One will be the ‘aristocratic’ yard owners and the other the working-class family whose father and sons work in the yard...A source said: “This will attract a stellar cast of actors. There are roles for some of our finest performers, including Robbie Coltrane, Robert Carlyle and Dougray Scott.”..While the shipbuilding saga has just entered the script stage, BBC Scotland is seeking production partners for the network venture. Production isn’t expected to begin until 2012"

Other FANTASTIC NEWS from Gillian and David include the follow (so much my brain is exploding with happiness over confirmation of so much whee)

*COLIN KENNEDY, director of multi award-winning short film "I Love Luci" is working on first feature film "Atlantic Bridge" with screenwriter of note Andrea Gibb (Dear Frankie)

*Acclaimed short film maker Johnny Barrington (who Ive written a bout several times here previously) is making a FEATURE FILM w/Sigma

* Ciaran Foy, director of Citadel (now in post) will also be doing a second feature film with Sigma, awesomeness!

*ADVANCE PARTY II TO proceed soon; praise be, can't express how excited I am at this news!

*David Mackenzie has a third film on slate (following Stain in the Snow, and the afformentioned sci-fi flick; this called Tristan da Cunha. You can learn more about this from the official Sigma website (very cool) as well as from David's comments:

Mackenzie is now adapting the sci-fi novel Journey Into Spaceby Toby Litt, which he describes as “a very interesting generational sci-fi story.” Mackenzie has finished a breakdown of the novel and will now start writing the first draft of the script.

Litt’s well-received novel is about a two rebellious passengers on a vast generation ship leaving a troubled earth to start a new society.

Separately, Mackenzie spent three and a half months last year in the world’s most remote inhabited island Tristan da Cunha, to research a fictional feature. The film will be loosely adapted from policeman Conrad Glass’s book Rockhopper Copper.

“My plan is to go back again a second time to actually write the script in collaboration with the locals, to try to get the dialogue nailed, and then go back a third time with a small crew and find the cast and live there for four months making this movie with local people both behind of and in front of the camera, almost like an old fashioned workshop movie,” Mackenzie tells Screen.

(Mackenzie will be screening some of the research footage he shot on Tristan da Cunha during a SXSW concert by band Shearwater)

Finally, a possible expansion for FILM CITY GLASGOW (be sure to click link for an updated page containing many of the tenants at FCG)?? Quotage:
Film City Glasgow, which Sigma is involved in, is at full capacity in the renovated Govan Town Hall. The Film City is hoping to expand its remit to develop a stand-alone production studio. Berrie says a £1.5m site has been identified and now more financing is needed.

While speaking about Sigma’s 15 year milestone, Berrie worries for the state of independent producers in the UK. “To survive as a production company in this country making feature films is nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “Because everything is designed to weaken you and keep you penniless. It takes years to get your head around recoupment schedules, because it’s so complex.”

She continued: “You’re made to feel like it’s a privilege to be making a film, and you take what you can get. For God’s sake we need to empower the producers. The culture and structure has to change… and if producers are asked to defer [their fees], they should defer to first position, not to last position.”

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