Hollywood actor stars in UCA film
Harry Potter and Game of Thrones star Natalia Tena swapped her normal big budget movies to star in a short film at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Farnham.
Natalia, who played Nymphadora Tonks in the blockbuster Harry Potter series, is taking up the role of a stand-up comedian for a unique double-film production for UCA called I am Maddy Burns / The One and Only.
The experimental films will be edited together as a short for the festival circuit but will play simultaneously on different projectors at gallery installations.
Natalia Tena, who also starred in About a Boy, said: "I think this is an awesome project by the University. It's really important to show that low budget films can be made and I think a university is the perfect place to make one so that students can learn the filmmaking process right here in their studio.
"I was attracted to the role because I thought the idea of playing an anarchic schizophrenic comedian would be fun - I also love the fact that I'm playing two different people.
"It's been pretty gruelling, as I'm the only actor in the film, but it's been great fun. I love doing short films because they're much more intimate and there's far less waiting around than on the bigger films, but here you're needed for every scene and I like that intensity.
"It's been very similar to working on a major film here because the set-up is so good and everything is so well organised - I've been really impressed."
The film is being made by lecturers, fellow industry professionals, plus students and graduates from UCA, as part of a research project commissioned by Stephen Littman of UCA Farnham's Digital Film & Screen Arts course and funded by the University's Research and Enterprise Department.
It was shot over two days at the end of June in the University's specialist film studio and will be edited using UCA's industry-standard facilities.
Digital Film & Screen Arts course leader, Stephen Littman, said: "Film technology is changing all of the time so we wanted to test the latest cameras, movie equipment, lighting and digital workflows, to make sure UCA is preparing its students for the industry properly.
"Being filmmakers, we couldn't just do a boring test in an empty studio, so we immediately saw this as a great opportunity to get all of our lecturers and students involved to make a short film together.
"I didn't think for one minute that the project would become quite as big as it has become - with a Hollywood actress and several other big names from the film industry taking part - and now we're looking at something which could make a real splash on the festival and gallery circuits."
As a research film, the production has been given hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of the very latest industry technology to use for free by motion picture specialists Arri, Panavision, LCA and 4K London.
The majority of key creative personnel on the project are UCA lecturers who have all made international award-winning films and still work in the industry.
NG Bristow, a long-standing visiting lecturer at UCA, has directed major TV dramas and highly-regarded short films including the recent Unsound - a world first using the pioneering Sensum Emotional Response Cinema technology; cinematographer Noski Deville, has worked with iconic visual artists, such as Isaac Julien and Steve McQueen; post production will be overseen by Stephen Littman, the creative force behind gallery-installation successes such as Videowalls - a special commission for Video Positive and National Review of Live Art; and, Visual Effects Editor Simon Allmark, who has worked on Hollywood blockbusters including Cloverfield, The Soloist and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Industry professionals such as Mick Ward, Assistant Director on Snatch, Moon and How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, are also giving their time for a nominal fee.
Producer, and UCA lecturer Eyal Shaphyr, said: "All I have ever done in my career is make ambitious films with very small amounts of money but even I'm impressed with how lucky we've been on this project.
"Not only were we given the very latest technology - which we could never afford given our budget - for free, but graduates who now work on blockbusters such as the latest James Bond film, are working for expenses because they want to come back to UCA and work with their lecturers. Natalia Tena and major names in the industry have got on board because they want to work with NG Bristow and Noski Deville. It's fantastic."
UCA has a rich film heritage - four graduates have won Oscars and many more have picked up BAFTA Awards.
Monsters director Gareth Edwards, who graduated from UCA Farnham in 1996, is set to direct a big-money remake of Godzilla for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures.
For more information contact:
David Reilly, Press Officer, UCA
T: 01252 892939