Rebirth of a British Icon
Warrior Film Promotions boasts some of the best Independent British films in its repertoire. Working with highly skilled Directors and Producers with impressive track records and endless experience creating films with both critical and commercial success. To date Warrior Film Productions have raised funding for over 10 high profile British films and worked with some of the most talented actors in the industry including Dr. Who’s David Tennant, Mamma Mia Here We Go Again’s Lily James, John Hurt, Charles Dance, Maxine Peake and Billie Piper.
What makes Warrior Film Productions different?
Warrior takes care of investments in some of the best British independent films for clients all over the world, but most importantly they only represent film studios that fulfil their main criteria… The studio must display strong experience and have notable connections to the film industry, all lead actors must be confirmed or with Letters of Intent in place and there must be a sales agent tied to the film. This is imperative to give the investors security.
This year Warrior Film Productions, in association with Warrior Global Media are in pre-productions of their first TV documentary series. With the working title; Patient: Hurricane V7497, this remarkable series is narrated by writer, poet and British explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, OBE and tells the complete story of the nut-and-bolt restoration of an original MK1 Hawker Hurricane shot down during the Battle of Britain in September 1940. The six-part series follows one of the UK’s most respected neurosurgeons through his six year struggle to revive the iconic plane that was lost in Kent in September 1940 and his day to day professional career “fixing” people.
Filled with poignant, untold stories and interviews with members of the RAF, to breath-taking footage of this magnificent aircraft, lovingly restored and back in the skies, this is a monumental body of work, celebrating the 100 years of the RAF, as well as paying a respectful tribute to those that gave so much. Follow Dr. Peter Kirkpatrick on his journey resurrecting one of Britain’s finest engineering achievements.
This month Society Marbella speaks to the key players involved in creating this masterpiece and learns a little more about the talented team on and off screen.
Producer and Director
What inspired you to produce this project?
Being an Executive Producer on the feature film Hurricane 303 with Milo Gibson, Mel Gibson's son, last year and then meeting Peter Kirkpatrick an investor in the film, I realised that Peter had spent the last six years restoring a Mk1 Hawker Hurricane to flying capabilities. With the centennial year of world war being last year and then having the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings being this year I decided that a TV series showing Peter in his professional career as world class neurosurgeon “fixing” people, with a parallel to his hobby “fixing” one of the world’s finest pieces of engineering.
What was the biggest challenge during the production of the series?
To date, the research and locating of the living relatives of both the Hurricanes pilot and his German counterpart has been the most demanding.
Any on-set anecdotes you could share with us?
Peter being a seasoned pilot and with a passion for stunt flying has, over the past 6 months, tried on numerous occasions to try to get a member of the production team to go up with him in his Pitts two seater. To date, he has been unsuccessful, due to his reputation of being quite fearless!
How did you manage to get the world’s greatest living explorer, (Ranulph Fiennes) on board?
When looking for narration we wanted someone who represented the best of British achievement, with an attitude of anything can be achieved. I think for the production team Sir Ranulph Fiennes was top of the list with his unsurpassed achievement which have earned him the title of “The world’s greatest living explorer” He was happy to be part of a story that showcased an amazing British engineering achievement.
Please tell us about your vision for the series?
I was approached by Jeff Clarke, of Warrior Films, who I had met and worked with a few years previously on a music video in Marbella. He told me that he had a unique story and exclusive access to the whole story of a particular Hawker Hurricane which was shot down during World War 2. One of the most interesting aspects to me was the fact that the man restoring the plane is also a highly skilled neurosurgeon. This led to the concept of treating the plane as a patient, and drawing direct parallels with one of his human patients whom he has successfully operated on.
How is the outcome compared with your initial ideas?
We have put together a fantastic team combining people I have worked with previously and had great trust in, and also new and talented people who have a lot to contribute to the project. We are still in the middle of production at the moment, but every week we uncover new information and the project becomes ever more intricate and fascinating.
What has the best part of the
filming so far?
We have been extremely privileged to have access to both the Hurricane plane during its restoration and initial testing and flights and being able to talk with a brain surgery patient at a hospital. So many locations and well known celebrities have given us exclusive access and their time to talk about both the plane and their experiences during the war.
Can you tell us about your previous projects and how you ended up filming this series?
I have been a filmmaker for nearly 14 years now. I have shot several feature films (two of which are currently being taken to the film market in Berlin), as well as music videos and adverts.
Please tell us about your history and how you ended up filming the documentary?
My career is in medicine but I learnt to fly hang gliders as a student. I competed in the National league in Scotland as a Junior Dr, then moved on Microlights, and finally fixed wind from around 1999.
After a decade of flying various aircrafts including aerobatic types, I decided to explore whether I could get involved in a War Bird project. I contact a few notable individuals, and finally fell upon Tony Ditheridge in Suffolk who started up Hawker Restoration Ltd. His company was taken over at the time I became involved and I have been a share holder in the V7497 project ever since.
What is special/unique about the series?
Exploring the specific history of the aeroplane, the personnel involved during the war, and comparing this with modern life. The re-construction aspects have been fascinating. The highlight was exploring the LuftWaffe pilot who shot V7497 down, and meeting his surviving relative in Germany, and reviewing his dossier.
What did you enjoy most about the filming?
Meeting the characters behind the film industry, and engaging others to participate in bringing the story alive.
She was a Battle of Britain serving aircraft, and one can very vigorously argue that the Mark I Hawker Hurricane was the most important machine ever built by mankind given what the Hurricane stopped happening.
Can you tell us about your qualifications and your achievements?
I am a Fellow to the Royal College of Surgeons with a specialist degree in Neurosurgery. Also, I am a retired Fellow to the Medical Academy of Science in recognition of my research portfolio.
What does the future hold for you?
I play to stay with the NHS for a further year or two, then devote my time fully to the V7497 project. Hopefully achieving a display authorisation with her so I can contribute to the air shows etc. around the UK. Also to teach aerobatics in my Pitts Special aircraft.
European Sales Director
Warrior Film Promotions
How do you go about raising finance for each project?
Finance is raised by way of private equity investors. Some of these investors are existing Warrior clients, many of which have invested time and time again in the majority of our films.
Others get in contact with us through our advertising – this could be via our website or advertising campaigns in specific online publications
Please give us a day-in-the-life of? What does your role involve on a day to day basis?
First things first! Morning coffee! Then, emails are answered and any queries or potential problems are attended to. I then check for new potential clients who have registered for more information on the latest project we may be working on. All clients are contacted as soon as possible with a call from myself to make sure they understand what they have registered for. During the conversation we would go through exactly who we are and what we have to offer. I go through our history and what we have accomplished so far. I then give a rundown on the latest body of work and the benefits for investors.
It’s not just work talk though! I take the time to get to know a little about the person at the end of the line, giving them information on myself at the same time. It’s all about conversation, communication and making sure that the man or woman at the end of the line feels comfortable and realises we are human, honest and trustworthy! I tend to eat lunch at my desk so as to get through the workload – its non-stop! And of course we ALL enjoy “Dress down, half day Fridays”!
What previous films have you worked on?
We have worked on some incredible films to date:-
‘Funny Cow’ with Maxine Peake, Stephen Grahame (Pirates of the Caribbean), Paddy Considine
’Hurricane’ with Milo Gibson (Mel Gibson’s son), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Marcin Dorocinski
’The Bromley Boys’ with Martine McCutcheon, Alan Davies, Jamie Foreman
’You, Me and Him’ with David Tennant, Faye Marsay, Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher) and Simon Bird (Inbetweeners)
‘That Good Night’ with Sir John Hurt, Charles Dance
How did this series come about?
We had a client who invested in ‘Hurricane’ (see above) substantially. Through meeting him and building a relationship with him, we found out that, not only is he one of the UK’s leading neurosurgeons but that he bought an original Mk1 Hawker Hurricane that was shot down in the Battle of Britain. Over a period of about 6 years he has restored this aircraft to its former glory and flying capability.
Our storytelling will begin with the initial development of the Hurricane, through to its service in WWII, to its recovery in Kent and finish with its delivery to Duxford Battle of Britain Air show 2018 where it took to the skies for the first time in over 70 years! We will follow the Doctor in his day to day life in surgery, how he divides his valuable time between his family, his passion for flying and aircraft restoration! We will closely mirror his life saving surgeries on his patients and the life giving ‘surgery’ on his aircraft, showing an indelible synergy between the two. Each episode will have a title that entwines both the medical side and the mechanical side of this man and his journey!
We want the series to entice and appeal to the younger generation as well as the older. The latter lived through hard, uncertain times and, wanting to make sure the former fully understand the sacrifice given by so many, we will use a fusion of TV series such as the popular ‘Guy Martins Restorations’ and ’24 hrs in A&E’. With one of the world’s greatest explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, to open, narrate and close this amazing story, musical collaborations with Brit Award winners The D-Day Darlings amongst others, and an interview with the last surviving member of Squadron 501, 104 year old Wing Commander Paul Farnes, this is not just another standard WWII documentary with a monotonous voiceover!
How has the digital era has affected the movie industry?
The platforms from which a film is released have changed in that everyone knows that digital giants such as Netflix, Amazon and now even Facebook will hit a wider global market that, say, a release through cinema. (The digital arena is where our TV series will be offered into!)
The MAIN change is all down to technology. Large cinema distributors are not paying what they used to back in the day to release a film at the cinemas. This is due to films now being readily available to watch through various portholes, legal or otherwise!
PLUS, the cost for a family of 4 going to the cinema can now reach up towards £100! Why pay that when for a lot less you can watch as many films as you wish in the comfort of your own home, takeaway beside you, with someone like Netflix?
The only companies that now benefit from cinema releases are the big studios like, for example, Universal or Warner. They have budgets in the mega millions! The average person doesn’t get the opportunity to invest in these films and, if they did, they wouldn’t get to see much profit as the studios often take over 80% of the profit themselves!
We can fully expect to see cinema falling by the wayside in the next 3 – 4 years ! Sad but quite true!
PA at Warrior Film Promotions
What is your role in Warrior Film Promotions?
I am the PA to Jeff Clarke, Steve Wallace and Warrior Film Promotions so I oversee everything Jeff and the team do. I deal with all administrative tasks, organising Jeff´s busy schedule, I look after the clients and the studio, dealing with all documentation and contracts.
And with regards to the series, any direct involvement?
I am a Researcher for Patient Hurricane V-7497, so this requires me to try and research any information that they need for the series. I also organise all Jeff´s appointments, travel for filming in amongst all my other day to day duties.
What’s your favourite part of being part of the production team for a series like this?
I love the team I work with and I love the story line. That time period during WW2 has always been an interest of mine, so every time I research something and learn something new it sparks my interest even more. There are so many stories during that time period that deserve to be told and that is exactly what we are doing. With Peter Kirkpatrick we are bringing the past into the future by watching a team restore a Hawker Mk1 and we have a fabulous chance to be a fly on the wall peeking into his life as one of the UK’s top neurosurgeons. Even if I was not involved in this exciting project I would still watch it as it touches on so many of my interests.
Stewart & Katie - D Day Darlings
Please tell us about the D Day Darlings?
The D-Day Darlings are a vintage vocal harmony group, we perform classic music from the war time era, and original songs which emulate the style of the period and give a nod to the iconic sounds of the 1940s. Our aim is to keep the message of Remembrance strong for the younger generation now coming through and to highlight the sacrifices made by our war heroes. The group has been going for 11 years now and we tour all over the UK and internationally.
How did you end up working on the project?
We were approached by Jeff Clarke from Warrior Film Promotions who had seen our work and was keen to get us involved. We had a meeting and were so thrilled by the concept and his passion for the project, and the relationship developed from there.
What has been your favourite part of the project so far?
We haven’t started filming in earnest yet but one of our favourite aspects of the being a part of the project is its roots in history and in particular one person’s story. The piece has such wide context but at the same time maintains a personal feel and is very authentic - something that we always aspire to as a group.
What have you been up to over the past year?
So the past year has been a real whirlwind for us, we auditioned for the TV Show Britain’s Got Talent and got all the way through to the live finals over the Summer. This brought a whole new audience to us which has been wonderful. We then went on to sign our first commercial record deal with Sony Music and released our debut album ‘I’ll Remember You’ in November which has since been awarded the BRIT Certified Breakthrough award, for sales over 30,000, although to date we are only a couple of thousand away from 60,000. As well as this we’ve been touring all over the country performing for numerous events celebrating the centenary of WW1 and the RAF, and this year looks to be just as busy with D-Day 75 commemorations and our own headline album tour. We’ve had an incredible year and feel very lucky!
What is coming up for you over
the next year?
As I mentioned, we have our own tour which is a big focus for us now for 2019, the debut performance is March 1st 2019 at Union Chapel in London, but we also have events in Portsmouth for D-Day & Battle of Normandy commemorations and will be appearing with Dan Snow at an exciting event at the Apollo Hammersmith marking 75 years since the Great Escape.
Vikki Meagher & Bob Gwilliam
Music & Score
What was your initial vision?
Bob and I read the outline concept for the series together but have a rule that we don’t discuss our initial thoughts immediately. We tend to read it through several times and then both go our separate ways and jot down ideas. Then we get together and discuss those. This was an interesting one – because we each had a match on 3 artists/composers/producers on our lists. We had others to consider as well – but the 3 matches were key. So we broke it down into 3 pitch sections to the Warrior team for the direct matches. We wanted to ensure that our vision and their vision for the project was aligned.
Section 1 was the soaring orchestral arrangements – which are composed, arranged and recorded by Tim Allen. Tim is a great addition to the team for this project and loves working on this.
Secondly, we both thought that an act we had seen on Britain’s got Talent were a perfect fit for this - and the act is The D-Day Darlings. Not only were they a perfect fit in terms of musicality, but they were just about to release their first album and there were 2 tracks on it that were of particular interest to us. The timing of this is good for both the series and the Artists – so a win-win situation all round.
We have a fairly strong company ethos also, to give a platform for up and coming young artists whose music or trajectory capture our attention in the course of the year. In this case the artist is “ Sasha” and one particular track was highlighted on both our lists – and was equally happily accepted by the Warrior team.
We would also like to include - pending sync clearance – one well known theme tune that people of all ages identify with.
How does this compare to the final result?
Whilst still very much a work in progress, the aim of the soundtrack is to be very uplifting in some parts alongside being slightly melancholic in others, so getting the balance is key. We always bring in a very experienced dubbing mixer when the film edits are all complete - always someone who is not associated to the project as yet – to bring fresh ears and eyes to the situation as it gets nearer to completion. This is invaluable as they remain objective while putting everything together with the visual. In this case we have a BAFTA award winning member of the team and are thrilled he has agreed to work on it with us!
George Lucas famously said that "Sound is 50 percent of the moviegoing experience, and I've always believed audiences are moved and excited by what they hear in my movies at least as much as by what they see.” We totally agree with his theory.
How did you get involved with Warrior?
Our association with the Warrior team began several years ago as we invested in 2 or 3 of their movie projects. In conversations with them at premiere’s and red carpet events, they discovered we were involved in the music industry and the rest as they say ‘is history’. We are thoroughly enjoying the process and the team building with them. We have some very talented and passionate people, all really happy to be involved moving forward and some great projects in the pipeline - so it’s exciting times for all.