Martin Scorsese will pay personal homage to influential British filmmaking duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in an upcoming feature doc. Altitude is attached to handle sales of the as-yet untitled doc and has secured a release in the UK and Ireland.
The Mean Streets, Goodfellas and Casino director will narrate the doc, which is from from Bafta- and Emmy-winning director David Hinton. Scorsese will explain how the makers of classics such as Black Narcissus and A Matter of Life and Death captivated him from a young age and recalls his powerful personal friendship with Powell, who passed in 1990.
The doc is brought to life through a treasure trove of rare archival material from the personal collections of Powell, Pressburger and Scorsese, telling the story through diaries, audio recordings, home movies, personal snapshots and the British duos’ films.
Altitude has boarded sales ahead of the Cannes Film Festival and will release it in the UK and Ireland.
Nick Varley is producing for Ten Thousand 86, along with Matt Wells from Ice Cream Films. BBC Film, which today confirmed Eva Yates as its Director, has financed the film along with the National Lottery and Scottish government via Screen Scotland.
Scorsese is executive producer, alongside outgoing BBC Film Director Rose Garnett and Mark Bell, Screen Scotland’s Mark Thomas and Altitude’s Will Clarke.
“I still find it extraordinary that I knew Michael Powell personally for 16 years — and, throughout that time, he was not only a support, but a guide, pushing me along, giving me confidence, keeping me bold in my own work,” said Scorsese. “I’ve seen the films that he made with Emeric over and over again but the experience of excitement and mystery that I get from them doesn’t just remain, it deepens. I don’t know how it happens but for me, their body of work is a wondrous presence, a constant source of energy, and a reminder of what life and art are all about.”
British director Hinton is behind several award-winning docs and worked with Powell. “There’s no British films that I admire more than those of Powell and Pressburger, and working with Michael Powell in the 1980s was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional life,” he said. “On top of that, there’s no living film-maker that I admire more than Martin Scorsese, and no-one speaks about Powell and Pressburger with more passion, conviction and insight. When you put that together with all the magical archive material that we’ve found, you can see why this is a dream project for me.”
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