Interview with Filmmaker Steve Mackay 

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Steve Mackay: 

 

"A VOYAGE AGAINST TIME follows a physically and mentally challenging kayaking expedition led by Bashar Al Huneidi and joined by Kayakers Colin Wong and Mansour Al Safran through six countries from Kuwait to Oman.

 

This spiritual journey raises awareness of the region’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity and highlights the urgent need for a sustainable strategy to protect the environment so fundamental to the region’s heritage and culture. Bashar overcomes treacherous physical, mental, and logistical obstacles to bring himself connect with nature, CONNECT TO PROTECT!

 

We certainly pushed our patience, tolerance, resolve, and professionalism to the max as anything that could go wrong, inevitably did go wrong throughout the duration of this production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Ali Khan, our Producer, Bashar our Kayaker Team leader, Investor/Presenter, Kayakers Colin and Mansour, Elizabeth, Mazen and myself had to deal with the consequences of a 85-foot Turkish gullet The Katerina running aground, hitting rocks and sinking before I conducted a surreal instinctive evacuation of the stricken ship. Our crew and team survived electrical storms, car crashes, damaged and lost drones at sea, small ribs [boats] breaking down and sinking, and even our second vessel the Aquarius’s mast breaking during storms in the latter half of our Expedition in the Arabian Gulf as mother earth pushed us to the max. Bashar experiences the Gulf on the water, under the water and scales dangerous mountains in order to soak up the creation of God and bring it to others in this documentary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the extremes, we were also indeed rewarded by mother nature with excellent spontaneous opportunities with Osprey, Dolphins, Dugongs, Cormorants, Terns, Flamingos, Whales, Stingrays, Sailfish and Turtles! We were truly blessed! There is no doubt that the results speak for themselves. We had to work hard at keeping morale up when at the start of this epic adventure everything was going wrong and the production took on huge delays and schedule adjustments, not to mention going over budget.

 

Nevertheless, at no point was failure ever an option.  

                                                                                

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A VOYAGE AGAINST TIME was certainly the pinnacle of the work of Jonathan Ali Khan as a writer and a narrator. After viewing the masters of the final finished works that he edited I was blown away by the intricacy and sublime way to which Jonathan researched and crafted such beautiful facts and words to eloquently illustrate Bashar’s vision and mission K2O which evolved into A Voyage Against Time.

 

 

REST IN PEACE - JONATHAN ALI KHAN

 

Sadly, Jonathan passed away of heart failure in late December 2019 in Dubai UAE.
He ran Wild Planet Films and thrived on the marvel of the natural world & his
particular focus was marine life... As an established Producer & Scuba Diver,
Jonathan headed up Sharkquest in the Middle East & Campaigned hard for
Cleaner Oceans. He struck up and harmony & synergy with Bashar Al Huneidi
and gave life to this project. It was a privilege to learn from him, his
creative talents, passion & experience. Jonathan Ali Khan will be sadly missed by all,
His writing & narration on this epic journey is sublime & sophisticated!
It would be madness for Jonathan to be overlooked as a pioneer wildlife
& conservation filmmaker after his lifetime dedication to the natural world..!

It would be a madness for Jonathan to be overlooked after his lifetime’s dedication the Natural World!

Sustainability Focus

 

Our project and production was a huge challenge with the overarching goal of being a traveling message of conservation and raising awareness to the Gulf states, its people, its children and its public. The whole premise of using kayaks [manpower] to navigate through the Arabian Gulf was in complete opposition to the major role as global shipping lanes of the Straits of hormuz. It was the perfect message metaphor and pilgrimage of Bashar Al Huneidi and his pioneering vision of sustainability to The Gulf states by travelling from Kuwait, Saudi, Bharain, Qatar, Oman and then finishing in UAE at Khor Kalba!

 

We collected plastics from any remote islands we encountered after filming, and reported on depleting fish stocks within the region through investigation and observation. All members of the team received a Climate Change recognition Award from the Municipalities of the UAE and the Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Omani Authorities which was a highly regarded honour. Maybe we could take it a stage further and be recognized for a Sustainable award? Now that would be awesome! and out of this world!

 

Due to sudden death of Jonathan Ali Khan, we were unable to output the right codec for a High Resolution feature so as a result we are looking for completion funds to strip down the feature and return it to broadcast quality for networks. We would like to hear from Networks, Acquisitions and were looking for Sales & Distribution for this feature. We have two new projects ready to pitch named 'Lions in Lockdown' and 'Yukon 1000 2021 - Team Cork' An Irish wildlife and kayaking adventure in Canada & the USA.

I'm looking for Acquisition funds or Completion funds as the final edit was a mix of files and we need to upgrade 'AVAT' to Pro-Ress 422 at the very least for TV network brodcast standards.  The version you have online is viewable online however we'd require between £35,000 - £65,000 GBP to re-edit 70% of the FEATURE version of A VOYAGE AGAINST TIME [AVAT]  Jonathan before he died had only output a Pro Res 422 version [and not an MP4 version] of the finished edit and re-cutting it into the feature required it to be cut in MP4. 

 

We'd love to hear from any network willing to offer these completion funds - It should take 3-4 months to re-edit roughly. Please pass this into onto interested parties.

 

My new Pitch and Proposal is TWO Irishmen - Colin Wong and Jim Kenedy from Ireland names 'Team Cork' They are training right now for the Yukon 1000 in Canada and the USA.

The event starts in July 2021 and we require to shoot a Pilot in Irland by March/April 2021.  This is a Wildlife Awareness Adventure Documentary possible 3 x 60 mins.  I have attached the ONE Page Synopsis; however, I do have a 16-x page Pitch and 11 x Page Risk Assessment to digest. 

 

I also have a Lion 4 x 60 mins Documentary called 'Sanctuary' with the theme of saving over 100 Canned Hunting Lions from Slaughter in South Africa, I can supply that paperwork also to interested parties.

Steve Mackay https://www.wildscot.tv/  Email: stevemac71@outlook.com Tel. 07793 009998

                                                              Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes 

                                                                  Special 2020 Jury Mention

                                            A Voyage Against Time by Steve Mackay &  Jonathan Ali Khan

 

 

The organizing committee of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes dedicates this award to the protection of the marine environment, endangered species, saving our seas, and creating awareness.

                Interview with filmmaker Scott Wiper

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “The Big Ugly” a wonderful future film participated to 2020 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Honorable Mention " We interviewed the director of the film Scott Wiper, to ask him about the story behind, and his motivation to create this film. 

THE BIG UGLY poster Film by Scott Wiper.

Scott Wiper: 

 

 

"On The Big Ugly, my influences were the real people in my life. Real lives. Real deaths. Real wishes, regrets, anger, joy and gratitude. As actual life unfolded, I think creative choices leaned naturally towards noir and existentialism as a form of therapy. I don’t know; that’s the joy of fiction. I was inspired by a nostalgia of another era: Jim Thompson, Ian Fleming, Sam Peckinpah, Jean-Pierre Melville and Walter Hill.

 

The Big Ugly Creek got its name due to its tricky twist and turns. Pioneers to West Virginia claimed it was very hard to navigate. That’s life. The Big Ugly is a story about pain and loss — and how each human copes in a different way. It’s a look at self-destructive men on the edge of the moral spectrum, searching for identity or purpose. It’s a tale of damaged souls surviving in a brutal world.  

 

Film noir. Modern western. Ruination. Redemption. Moral ambiguity. Loss of innocence. The complex dynamic between fathers and sons, masters and samurai. 

 

It became a reality thanks to a team of actors, investors and filmmakers who believed in Vinnie and me and joined us in Appalachia to share their talents. The film is dedicated to Vinnie’s beautiful wife, Tanya. She very much “approved" the final cut.

 

Amidst the darkness and brutality, we always wanted a love story to shine through."

 

Interview with screenwriter and composer Ellen Boscov

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Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “First Light” a wonderful animation film participated to 2020 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Best Animation" and 'Best Score"  We interviewed the screenwriter and composer of the film, Ellen Boscov, to ask her about the story behind "First Light" and what inspired her, to create both the story, and the score of the film. 

 

Ellen Boscov: 

 

 

“First Light” was inspired by Xanthe, a dear friend who died in a motorcycle accident many years ago. She was only twenty-three at the time – full of buoyancy, light, and love. Xanthe was very empathetic and couldn’t bear to cause anyone pain. I had a dream about a year after Xanthe’s death in which she floated over my bed and made me laugh in order to lift me from my grief.


Twenty years later, I was in conversation with her sister, Jhene, who was still tormented by her sister’s death. This made a lot of sense to me - it’s such a terrible tragedy to lose a sister. After that conversation, I kept having dreams in which Xanthe was trying to reach Jhene to ease her pain. These dreams wouldn’t stop until I wrote and sent Jhene the poem, “First Light.”


Jhene gave me the idea to turn the poem into a duet. I wrote and recorded an early version of “First Light”, called “Ghost of My Sister”. After being with my father when he passed, I felt the need to rewrite and re-record the music. I added the voice of the bass cello.
I later wrote the screenplay based on the images I saw in my dreams about Xanthe. Jhene and Xanthe both have a goddess energy that led me to incorporate allusions to Egyptian and Greek mythology of sunset and sunrise into the screenplay.


I re-wrote and re-recorded the music for a third time to create a score for the story. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with renowned musicians. Maren Montalbano and Jessica Beebe, vocalists in Grammy®Award-winning ensembles, put their heart and souls into singing First Light’s poetry.
I used many art references in order to express the visual story to the director, Amy Lee Ketchum. French symbolist Odilen Redon’s mythical imagery and exploration of darkness to light were particularly helpful to me. I also referred to works by French impressionists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Eva Gonzales.


I worked with Amy Lee Ketchum for two years. Amy hand-cut and hand-painted the landscapes and characters, adding digital effects to the puppets for specific facial expressions. Amy not only brought unity to the artistic references I shared, but she also created a distinct enchanting dream world that brilliantly reflects the subconscious of First Light’s young female protagonists, Jhene and Xanthe.


Now it seems like the whole world is grieving due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Xanthe felt compelled to lift people from pain – she was empathetic and caring. I hope this story about her eternal love, the first light seen through the darkness of grief, will bring some solace.

Interview with filmmaker Sim Sagiroglu

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “Lantern's Lane” an upcoming horror genre film project.We interviewed the filmmaker,Sim Sagiroglu,to ask her about her self and the film. 

Hello Sim, please tell us about yourself. Why did you choose this career?

 

I'm an LA based film producer. Since I was young I knew I wanted to be involved with something in this industry, I just wasn't sure about which part of it. I always found comfort in watching movies even if it meant watching the same thing every single day. When I first started college in Australia, I took several media classes and I realized I loved the logistics side of making a film more than any other part of it. After I graduated, I decided to move to New York City to attend New York Film Academy where I got my bachelor's and master's degrees in.

Congratulations on your upcoming movie Lantern's Lane. How was the process of shooting this film during lockdown?

 

Thank you. It was challenging of course, we followed every CDC guideline, cast and crew members were quarantined alone prior to shooting, and then quarantined as a group while shooting the film. We didn't have any outbreaks or experienced any COVID-19 related issues during production. That's why we are also proud that this film is one of the first films to be shot in the U.S. during COVID-19 and we look forward to releasing it in 2021.

 

If you can describe your experience making this movie with one word, what would it be?

 

Resilience.

 

Tell us about your most recent successes. We heard you won some awards for your work.

 

Yes, I have won about 10 awards so far. My best friend Alexandra Talavera and I started writing together at the beginning of the lockdown, and completed several scripts that went on to win awards at different festivals. We also finished post-production on a short film shot pre COVID-19, completed a remotely shot short film and are currently working on a second remotely shot short film.

 

What are your favorite TV shows and movies? Why?

 

There's so many it's hard to pick but I have a soft spot for the old ones like The Golden Girls, The Nanny and Friends. Ever since I was a little girl I remember everyone in the family called my grandmother and her sister "my golden girls" and since then I've realized what it means as I watched the whole show. There's something oddly comforting about these classics, now basically everyday from the moment I wake up, one of these shows is always on as background noise as I go about my day.

 

Who are your influencers in the industry?

 

Audrey Hepburn, Keanu Reeves, Angela Bassett, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and Steven Spielberg to name a few. I believe their talent speaks for itself.

 

What drives you?

 

I am a big horror fan. I cannot begin to tell you how much excitement it gives me. Personally, there is probably 1-2 films that gave me that feeling and I don't think that's enough. From the moment I decided to pursue film as a career I knew that one day I was going to make horror films that actually deliver on being scary, the type of fear that keeps you up at night and frankly that's what keeps me going.

 

What makes a horror film good and worth watching?

 

As a filmmaker, the moment you decide wether you just want to make a film or you want to create an experience that your audience will remember long after, makes a big difference in your art. Like some of the blockbusters out there, by the end of the saga, the movies have stopped making sense and the characters are all over the place, sadly some filmmakers only care about making a profit, to them money equals success (debatable). Personally I think a movie is good when you can see the filmmakers distinct voice in it, when you watch it and you can tell everyone involved put their heart and soul into it.

 

How do you make sure to stay on schedule while filming?

 

I don't. There's no way anybody can make sure 100% that the process will be smooth. Even when I plan everything piece by piece and make sure everything is in order, something always comes up. That's why my job as a producer is to come up with solutions and hiring the right people in my crew to make sure that even when there is a problem, it will be solved. Thank you for your time. We can't wait to watch your film in theaters. Do you have any additional comments? It's very exciting being a part of MFFC. Thank you for this experience and for providing a platform for new filmmakers.