The backstory and ongoing drama of the film, The Insatiable Moon, by screenwriter and producer Mike Riddell. For the whole nine yards, you need to start at the bottom and read backwards...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is it, or is it not, A Movie?

A friend of mine who used to make movies before he realized he was a better writer than director once told me of a conversation he had with a producer. My friend was telling the producer of his struggles to make the script bear the emotional weight he was trying to convey in the movie they were making. After a couple of minutes of striving eloquently to express the inner mountain climbing known so well to artists of all stripes, he was interrupted by the producer, whose exasperated admonition brought a swift end to the conversation:

‘It’s f***ing not a f***ing movie, it’s a f***ing deal.’

Pip Piper is not that kind of producer. Having worked with disenfranchised youth on the streets of Birmingham, Pip got into film-making the textbook way: by accident. Called on to provide some visuals for a social justice initiative, his steps into the world of cinema were organic and surprising. Seven years ago he found himself at a table with Mike Riddell, as they toasted the gentlemen’s agreement to turn Mike’s words into the film we’re now making. It’s been, as they say, a long and winding road, with more than its share of setbacks; but one principle has guided the process, and it’s not the assertion that this is ‘not a f***ing movie’ nor is it merely ‘a f***ing deal’. It’s the principle that Pip summed up for me when we had a breakfast meeting yesterday (he may not be that particular kind of producer, but he still is a producer, so a breakfast meeting was inevitable. He paid,though.)

Pip cares about stories and journeys that tell the truth about people. Simple enough, and perhaps easy to ignore or dismiss in an age when ‘Transformers 2’ seems to suggest that stories about robots are more compelling (Let me declare an interest: I felt that watching ‘Transformers 2’ was the cinematic equivalent of sitting beside a person obsessed with changing the TV channels every 30 seconds, remote control in one hand, while hitting me in the face with a shovel in the other.) Let’s assume that ‘Transformers 2’ is an anomaly,and that what people really want is to see stories that reveal the truth about life – that we see in cinematic narratives and characters, journeys that remind us of ourselves; that we observe brokenness and redemption, joy and laughter, horror and despair, and the little shafts of light that dapple through the branches of whatever forest we happen to be missing because we’re so preoccupied with the trees.

‘The Insatiable Moon’ aims to be a film full of this dappled light; Pip Piper is a producer who wants to create the conditions whereby that light will be captured, so that the rest of us can see it, and say ‘Yep. Life’s like that. Isn’t it fantastic?’


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