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I'm making a movie

By autumnbreeze     Mar 25, 2007 in Lifestyle
My voyage of discovery into the Late Bronze Age is becoming a movie that re-creates an event of 3,250 years ago
I've been making it - with varying degrees of concentration - since 1994. It started in the middle of a night in Greece; I woke up in my hotel room after a visit to the ruins of Mycenaean citadel with a clear idea of what had happened there and with some compelling words racing through my mind, so I jotted them down and went to sleep again.
A couple of years on, I reworked the verses. Again and again. I also made a home video about Mycenae.
I left work in 2000 and the next year I was a tertiary student once more, taking a 2-year course in video production. I made a couple of student movies and earned myself a diploma and confidence that I could do better than a home movie. But all along I wanted to make a movie about Mycenae. Just before the end of the course, my course leader gave me the OK to film extra. And so that mid-night idea from Greece became the script's foundation. The rest came from reading Homer and some books about the Bronze Age (I'm still reading!), and from what I found out at archaeological sites and in museums of Greece and Turkey.
I found actors. I designed costumes (based on frescoes from archaeological sites) and even made some of them (my friend, Soula helped). I filmed (with fellow student, Ali) actors' re-enactments against a blue wall.
At around that time I met Neil.
In 2003, I was in Mycenae with Neil and my handy-cam (Sony DCR-VX1000E) again. I filmed without a tripod so the clips are not great but I'll have to make do. Unfortunately for us, non-commercial video makers, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture prohibits visitors to its archaeological sites from using tripods without their written consent. Obtaining such permission is costly and lengthy, and therefore a real deterrent to non-profit making independent video makers (I'm still sore about this).
Naomi H and Nicholas A composed and recorded the soundtrack. Stefan H - a classicist scholar and musical archaeologist, sent me his Homeric recitations and it seemed that everything was coming together very nicely. Neil is an engineer and turned out to be invaluable - he reconstructed a Mycenaean boar-tusk helmet, the only truly Greek helmet of the Bronze Age (we recently saw a similar reconstruction in the Iraklio archaeological museum). Neil also made a model of a Mycenaean bireme (ship) while I made a model cart (almost totally based on artistic license) in which Iphigenia would have travelled to her death.
Then came the delays. Neil and I got married. The selling and buying of houses followed. All this in addition to normal living delayed my movie project. I kept working but with long intervals and at a much slower pace.
In and among all this, I was reconstructing the Mycenaean palace in Photoshop. Very little is known of the Mycenaean palace decor so I combined the info from other archaeological sites with a small dose of artistic license to recreate the palace, the palatial courtyard and the megaron (great hall). I was quite satisfied with the result until I used the images as background for the actors' re-enactments. No matter how I fiddled with my images, the reconstructions kept looking rather flat. I tried to buy some 3-D software but was advised that it would take some months of learning to acquire the skill. So I had a better idea. Another model.
Neil has just made it. I now have a model of the courtyard, the antechamber and the megaron. I am decorating all this with 'frescoes' based on the ones from various archaeological sites. It gives me as much pleasure as the costumes did. I've finished 3 of the 4 scenes that make up the script but I probably won't finish the movie until next year. I will re-work some sequences in the finished scenes too, to include the model. The delay is well worth it, however. It will all look so much better.
More about Bronze age, Mycenae, Movie, Greece