We’re into the editing process for Cleft Lip and it’s interesting to look back briefly at the production process – which seems like such a long time ago. Robyn Keetley, a 2nd year student on the Creative Media Production course at Brooksby Melton College, was commissioned, as part of an assignment for her course, to make the next in our series of short production documentaries looking at the director, Erik Knudsen’s, perspective on the production process.
Category: Film Projects
Erik Knudsen’s feature film, Cleft Lip, starring Reece Douglas, and co starring Miranda Benjamin and Keith French, has completed principal photography and is now in post production. Over 72 people made a direct contribution to the shooting over 27 days during December, January, February and March 2017. The footage looks great and we’re looking forward to bringing sound and image together into a cracking story. You’ll be able to see the film at selected worldwide festivals from the autumn of 2017. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with developments.
Erik Knudsen and Janet Knudsen were pleased to be able to host the first Cleft Lip production meeting. The stars of the film had an opportunity to meet the key production team and visa versa. It was a whole day’s meeting, which started with general introductions where people were able to share past experiences. Erik Knudsen then held a screening session where he showed clips of films from filmmakers who have influenced his approach to filmmaking. Inevitably, they included extracts from films by Ozu (Equinox Flower), Dreyer (Gertrud), Bresson (L’Argent) and Tarkovsky (Mirror). It is fair to say that the cast in particular were not familiar with these filmmakers and it offered Erik Knudsen a chance to contextualise and discuss intentions for Cleft Lip.
This section was then followed by a leisurely lunch where Kane Rattray led a discussion about how the project is using social media as a first stage of a distribution strategy. Cast and crew, of course, will be central to participating in the promotion of the project even before the film starts shooting. The team also discussed how the project will be documented as a creative process.
Actors left after lunch and the afternoon was devoted to a scene by scene discussion of key creative, technical and logistical challenges. A rough schedule was also put in place.
On the basis of this most productive day, everyone in the team now has a clear idea of what needs doing and by whom and we can now go away and start work in earnest on pre-production creative, technical and logistical preparations.
As Gagarin said: ‘let’s go!’
We’re very pleased to confirm that Keith French is to join the cast for Erik Knudsen’s forthcoming feature film, Cleft Lip. Keith has a wealth of experience as an actor in corporate and commercials, as well as considerable stage and entertainment experience, and is venturing into a first feature film. He joins Miranda Benjamin and Reece Douglas and a range of other actors. More on Keith and his involvement to follow.
We have been busy casting for Erik Knudsen’s latest feature film, Cleft Lip, which goes into principal photography in January 2017. Though the casting process for the 43 parts in the film is ongoing, we are pleased to announce that Reece Douglas and Miranda Benjamin will be starring in Cleft Lip.
Reece Douglas is to play the leading role, Campbell. He is an actor based in Manchester, who is best known for his role as Denzil Kelly in the school drama, Waterloo Road, from 2009 until he was killed off in 2012. He has been acting and performing since the age of 12. Acting is his passion but in his free time, Reece enjoys a variety of sports.
Miranda Benjamin is to play the leading support role, Jaz. She is an accomplished actress, dancer and singer. She has numerous credits to her name for both stage and screen, including Til Death Do Us Part. Miranda trained at the Salford School of Music, Media and Performing Arts. She enjoys sports and cocktail flairing!
We’re excited to have Reece and Miranda onboard. Attaching the actual actors to the project starts to bring the screenplay alive and we look forward to the presence that both Miranda and Reece undoubtedly will bring to the story of Cleft Lip.
Since the release of the award winning feature film, The Raven On The Jetty, in 2015, Erik Knudsen has been working on a number of projects: his short iPhone documentary, In Waiting; writing and executive producing Mark Duggan’s The Rabbit; and working on his photographic/film project, Doubt, which is still in production and due for release later in 2016. In addition to these projects, he has also started work on a new fiction feature film project, Cleft Lip, which now has a screenplay sufficiently developed to start the casting process.
Cleft Lip is an emotionally evocative urban tragedy set in the very near future. It is the story of a supreme sacrifice only love can offer, set in the context of a fractured society increasingly challenged by consequences brought about by the commodification of fertility.
We are currently casting the leading parts in the film and are interested to hear from anyone who feels that they may fit the key characteristics we are looking for. In line with Erik Knudsen’s philosophy around casting, we are not looking for performers, but people. People who have the potential to bring the presence of their being to the screen, whose natural personality and looks have the potential to bring the character alive or allow us to build a character from their real personality. Sometimes we don’t quite know what we want until we see the person in front of us and it suddenly becomes immediately apparent. Sometimes we are surprised and change direction because of the presence of a person we meet. We are therefore interested in both professional and non-professional actors and would like to meet a number of people as part of the process of discovering characters for the film.
We are initially looking for the lead actor:
- Mixed Race Man between 25 and 30 years old. He should preferably be a mix of Black African/Caribbean heritage and White European. This person will play the leading part in the film.
Once we have cast the leading actor in the film, we will then put out calls for further parts. It is anticipated that shooting will commence in late 2016 or early 2017. Shooting will primarily take place in the North West of England and the film will be made on a very low budget.
For anyone interested, please contact Janet at email@example.com with brief CV and a single photograph.
The Mark Duggan produced and directed film, The Rabbit, for One Day Films, written and executive produced by Erik Knudsen, is due to be released soon. There is a cast and crew preview screening on the 4th October 2015 and shortly after that, you’ll be able to view it here at One Day Films. The Rabbit is a 15 minute film about how a young couple on their way home from visiting one of their parents discover, through a graphic and disturbingly prophetic incident on the road home, that their lives and aspirations have been drifting apart and that the future they thought they might have together is viewed very differently by the two of them. It is an evocative short road movie about the painful dissolution of a relationship.
In the final Vlog about the making of the film, Erik and Mark reflect on the journey of their collaboration:
The Rabbit is coming soon!
The film was shot on locations in the English Midlands, entirely during twilight hours. The effect is evocative of the twilight status of the relationship being portrayed in the film.
As the title suggests, a rabbit figures prominently in the story and the animatronics work amazingly well. Visit Mark Duggan’s site for further details on progress. We look forward to premiering the film here at One Day Films.
Other outlets, including Amazon Prime, are being added soon. The Raven On The Jetty will be available in all English speaking territories. There will also be a limited number of theatrical screenings which will be announced shortly. We have developed a unique hand signed and numbered Limited Edition Production Scrapbook and DVD available shortly. The book is the story of the film, scene by scene, told using bits of Erik Knudsen’s storyboard, notes, production stills and stills from the film. Also included is the complete final screenplay and the DVD of the film.
The Raven On The Jetty first started as a concept and idea back in the spring of 2012. Writer and Director, Erik Knudsen, was running a workshop at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television in Cuba when he first started to take notes of the ideas and imagery emerging. Soon after returning to the UK, he involved his Assistant Director, Mark Duggan, and co-producer and wife, Janet Knudsen, and soon the ball was rolling. The development of the screenplay, casting and location scouting proved the most important elements early on and the production was very fortunate to encounter a range of very helpful people in Cumbria and the Lake District of England. Casting, too, took place in the Lake District where the vast majority of the film was to be set. After a public call for interested people, the team were able to shortlist and audition 19 boys and parents for the key roles. Erik Knudsen was keen to work with non professionals from the very area the film was set and the range of talents available proved considerable. Connor O’Hara stood out and proved to be perfect for the main part. Following the decision to cast Connor, the team were able to cast Connor O’Hara’s father, Rob O’Hara, to play the lead character’s father. Helen Teasdale was cast as his mother, followed by the casting of Anne Fraser and Anne Lees.
Shooting took place during the Easter holidays in 2013. The whole cast and crew lived in a couple of cottages near the primary locations, allowing for a communal feel to the production process and enabling an efficient way of organising the shoot. It meant that the principal photography only took 2 weeks, in part because the production was blessed with uncharacteristically good weather. Most of the shooting took place near Penrith and around Ullswater in the English Lake District.
The postproduction process took place during the remainder of 2013 and during 2014 the film went to a series of international festivals. These included the Keswick Film Festival, where we were very pleased to be able to premiere the film in the very area where it was shot and in which many of the cast lived. The film went on to a range of other festivals including the Legon Film Event, Ghana, Lucern International Film Festival, Switzerland, Wales International Film Festival, Aberdeen International Film Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival, where the film won the Jury Award.
Uniquely, during the making of The Raven On The Jetty, 30 short documentaries were made about the production process, from early development through to the first cast and crew screening. These Video Blogs are all available to view.
The Raven On The Jetty defies categorisation and sits outside any particular national cinema, or any particular genre. The Raven On The Jetty sits on the crest of a wave Erik Knudsen calls ‘cinema of poverty’, a cinema of thought provoking, independent quality films that defy the normal routines of the established film industry in the UK and that aspire to a cinematic aesthetic that seeks independence and simplicity in an age of abundance and complexity. We hope you enjoy the film.