The Hellish Production of Six Great Movies

Very rarely does a film go exactly as predicted. Here are six behind the scenes stories from great films where the plan didn’t exactly come together.

6. Eyes Wide Shut

The torment that comes from Stanley Kubrick’s final film was not from the conditions of the set, nor was it even from any complications that arose during shooting. It certainly wasn’t Nicole Kidman’s nude scenes. What made working on this film a living hell was much more elegant than any disaster or ego clash – it was the pure tedium. 15 months of it.

Kubrick is known for being a rather meticulous director, and for this film he went above and beyond, setting an actual Guinness World Record for “longest constant movie shoot” at 400 straight days. That means that for those 400 days production never took a break. The reason for such a long shoot is of course Kubrick’s extreme attention to detail and perfectionism. At one point he shot a take of Tom Cruise walking though a door 90 times before he thought it was right. Ten whole days were spent deciding whether or not a character should make a certain hand signal. A 13-minute scene with Sydney Pollack took three full weeks of filming to get.

Of course it’s not like they didn’t know what they were getting into – as Vincent D’Onofrio, who had previously worked with Kubrick, told the actors “Rent a house or an apartment, because you’re going to be in England for a while.” And later in an interview Cruise himself expressed both his excitement and awareness of the possible length of the shoot saying “Nicole and I talk about it so much at night. When we’re 70 years old, sitting on the front porch, we’ll be able to look back and say, ‘Wow! We made this movie with Stanley Kubrick!’ We know it may take a long time to finish, but we don’t care.” When asked how long was a long time, he predicted six months. Oh so close!

Not long after the film was finally completed Kidman and Cruse famously separated, no doubt because they were sick of looking at each other.

Film School Rejects | Read the Full Article

Dhondup Wangchen, Prisoner of Conscience, China

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan filmmaker currently imprisoned by the Chinese government on charges related to his documentary “Leaving Fear Behind”

In 2006, Dhondup Wangchen and friend Jigme Gyatso, a senior Tibetan monk, conceived of a documentary interviewing ordinary Tibetan people on their views of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government in the year leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The documentary was to be called Leaving Fear Behind. The pair coordinated their efforts with a Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin Gyaljong Tsetrin, who remained in Switzerland. In preparation for likely reprisals by the Chinese government, Dhondup Wangchen moved his wife, Llamo Tso, and their four children to Dharamsala, India.

The 25-minute documentary resulting from Dhondup Wangchen and Jigme Gyatso’s footage was described by The New York Times as “an unadorned indictment of the Chinese government”. The documentary premiered on the opening day of the Olympics and was clandestinely screened for foreign reporters in Beijing.

Following Dhondup Wangchen’s March 2008 arrest, he was held for several days in unofficial detention at Gonshang Hotel. While there, Chinese security forces allegedly beat him and deprived him of food, water, and sleep. He was later moved to Xining City No. 1 Detention Centre, where he was held incommunicado until April 2009, when he was allowed to meet with his lawyer, Li Dunyong. Three months later, however, Li Dunyong dropped his case, reporting that he had been ordered to do so by judicial authorities. Another lawyer was reportedly threatened with the closing of his law firm if he chose to defend Dhondup Wangchen.

On 28 December 2009, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six year’s imprisonment for “subversion”, following a secret trial in Xining. On 7 January 2010, he was reportedly denied the right to appeal his sentence when he was not allowed access to his lawyer.

His family stated that he has contracted Hepatitis B while imprisoned, and his health is said to be failing. In April 2010, he was transferred to Xichuan Labour Camp in Qinghai Province. Work at the camp reportedly includes the manufacture of bricks, concrete, and aluminum-alloy windows. [Source: Wikipedia]

Jafar Panahi: Prisoner of Conscience, Iran

Jafar Panahi (born July 11, 1960 Meyaneh, East Azarbaijan) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor most commonly associated with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi first achieved international recognition with his feature film debut The White Balloon in 1995. The film won the Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, which was the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes. Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers in Iran.

After several years of conflict with the Iranian government over the content of his films (including several short-term arrests), Panahi was arrested in March 2010 along with his wife, daughter and 15 friends and was later charged with committing propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite support from filmmakers, film organizations and human rights organizations from around the world, in December 2010 Panahi was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media and from leaving the country. This led to Panahi’s last film to date: This Is Not a Film, a documentary feature in the form of a video diary that was made despite of the legal ramifications of Panahi’s arrest. It was smuggled out of Iran in a Flash-Drive hidden inside a cake and was screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. [Source: Wikipedia]

Trailer for “This is Not a Film”

Iryna Khalip, Prisoner of Conscience, Belarus

Iryna Khalip (born November 12, 1967) is a Belarusian journalist, reporter and editor in the Minsk bureau of Novaya Gazeta, known for her criticism of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. For her journalistic activities she has been regularly harassed, detained, and beaten by the Belarusian KGB and authorities.

Iryna Khalip

In March 2010, Khalip’s husband Andrei Sannikov declared his intention to take part in the Belarus presidential election of 2010 as a candidate. Along with Uladzimir Niaklajeu and Jaraslau Ramancuk,, he was considered one of the main opposition candidates. With Khalip’s support, he officially registered on November 18, 2010. After the presidential elections took place on December 19, 2010, incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenko was proclaimed the winner with roughly 80% of the popular vote.

On the night of December 19, 2010, thousands of protesters peacefully filled a large square in central Minsk, deeming the election results fraudulent. Many oppositional political candidates were present. The police broke up the rally, beating and injuring people and arresting more than 600. Khalip and her husband Andrei Sannikov were among those beaten by police during the rally, and according to eye-witnesses, were singled out from the crowd. Later, on the way to the hospital to treat Sannikov’s broken legs, their car was intercepted while Khalip was giving a telephone interview to the Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow). Khalip screamed on air that they were being forcibly removed from their car, arrested, and beaten.

Both Khalip and Sannikov were detained in a KGB facility in Minsk. Hours after the arrest, Khalip borrowed a mobile phone from another detainee and called her mother, asking her to take care of her young son. According to Sannikov’s lawyer Pavel Sapelko, he was denied proper medical treatment for his injuries. Sapelko also reported that the couple was officially charged with the crimes of “organizing an unsanctioned gathering and participating in mass disorder” on December 29, after 10 days detention with no charges.

After the protests, Khalip was released from the detention center on January 30, and placed under stringent house arrest.[15] Her husband remained incarcerated. Though reunited with her son, she was expressly forbidden from communicating with the outside world or media in any way,[15] and was not allowed to use a phone or a computer, or to go near windows.[18] She was not allowed to receive any correspondence, though she was allowed to talk with family members.[17] Two KGB guards were permanently stationed in her apartment to ensure compliance;[17] if attempted communication, she would be sent back to prison. [Source: Wikipedia]

On May 16, 2011, Ms. Khalip received a two year suspended sentence. She is no longer under house arrest, but she remains under surveillance and is prohibited from leaving Minsk. [Source: Freedom Now]

Pussy Riot: Prisoners of Conscience, Russia

Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it consists of approximately 12 members, who wear brightly colored balaclavas and use only nicknames during interviews. They stage unannounced provocative performances about Russian political life in unusual and unauthorized locations, such as the Yelokhovo Cathedral, Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square, on top of a trolleybus, or on a scaffold in the Moscow Metro. These performances are edited into videos and posted on the internet.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina

On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged an illegal performance on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Their actions were stopped by church security officials. By evening, they had turned it into a music video called “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”

On March 3, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 15.

All three were convicted and sentenced to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012. The judge stated that they had “crudely undermined the social order” with their protest, showing a “complete lack of respect” for believers. Defense lawyers said they would appeal the verdict, although they saw little prospect of it being overturned. “Under no circumstances will the girls ask for a pardon [from Putin],” said Mark Feygin. “They will not beg and humiliate themselves before such a bastard.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Eskinder Nega, Prisoner of Conscience, Ethiopia

Eskinder Nega (born c. 1968) is an Ethiopian journalist and blogger who has been jailed seven times by the government of Meles Zenawi, including convictions for treason and terrorism. He received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in May 2012.

Eskinder Nega

Eskinder was arrested on 14 September 2011 after publishing a column that criticized both the Ethiopian government’s detainment of journalists as suspected terrorists and its arrest of Ethiopian actor and activist Debebe Eshetu. Ethiopian anti-terrorism legislation prohibits “any reporting deemed to ‘encourage’ or ‘provide moral support’ to groups and causes the government deems ‘terrorists’. According to BBC News, these same laws “criminalise commentary that is critical of the government”, and Amnesty International accused the government of “using counter-terrorism measures to stifle dissent”.

Along with four politicians arrested the same day, Eskinder was accused of involvement in Ginbot 7, a political party recently added to Ethiopia’s list of terrorist organizations. In November, he and his co-defendants were accused by state media of being “spies for foreign forces”. Eskinder was found guilty of terrorism charges on 23 January 2012. As of May 2012 he is awaiting sentencing, in which he could face the death penalty. [Source: Wikipedia]

Antonio Michel and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz: Prisoners of Conscience, Cuba

Antonio Michel Lima Cruz and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz are Cuban brothers and dissident journalists. They are members of the Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs.

Antonio Michel and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz

In the evening of Christmas Day 2010, The brothers, both fans of Los Aldeanos, a Cuban rap group known for its counterrevolutionary lyrics, went into the street singing one of the group’s songs and waving a Cuban flag. Their singing was reported, either by a neighbor or a member of one of the Rapid Response Brigades—groups of civilians mobilized to survey dissidents and report rebellious behavior—and the police soon arrived. Both brothers were arrested and charged with public disorder and insulting symbols of the homeland for singing a protest song while carrying a Cuban flag.

They were subsequently charged with “insulting symbols of their homeland”. In May 2011, they were found guilty at what Amnesty International described as a “summary trial”. Antonio Michel sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, and Marcos Maiquel to three years’ imprisonment. [Source: Amnesty International, Wikipedia]

Zhila Bani-Yaghoub: Prisoner of Conscience, Iran

Zhila Bani-Yaghoub is an award-winning journalist and women’s rights activist living in Iran. Baniyaghoob is married to fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amou’i, an editor at Sarmayeh, a business newspaper.

Beginning in June 2009, Iran saw widespread protests following a disputed election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid allegations of voter fraud. On the night of 20 June, both Baniyaghoob and her husband were arrested at their home by plainclothes police officers, as part of a general crackdown on journalists. Amou’i was jailed that year on charges of “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security”, “spreading propaganda against the system”, “disrupting public security” and “insulting the president”.

In 2010, Baniyaghoob was tried and convicted for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the president”. The court banned her from practicing journalism for thirty years and sentenced her to a year in prison.

She was released two months later, but her husband remained in prison where he is serving a five-year prison sentence after conviction of “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security”, “spreading propaganda against the system”, “disrupting public security” and “insulting the president”.

On 2 September 2012, she was summoned to Evin Prison to begin the sentence. Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience, “held solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression”, and called for her to be released and allowed to resume her profession.
[Souce: Wikipedia]

Orwa Nyrabia: Prisoner of Conscience, Syria

Orwa Nyrabia (born 16 December 1977) is an independent Syrian documentary film producer, filmmaker, actor, writer and co-founder of DOX BOX International Documentary Film Festival in Syria.

In 2002, he co-founded Proaction Films, the first independent film production and distribution company in Syria. He and his partner and wife, Diana El Jeiroudi, launched DOX BOX in early 2008. The international documentary film festival grew quickly into the most important documentary film gathering in the Arab World. Along with the annual festival, many workshops and activities were offered to young Syrian filmmakers. The fifth edition of the festival, planned for March 2012, was cancelled in protest of the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters during the on-going Syrian uprising. Instead, Nyrabia advocated for Syrian documentary films to be shown in festivals around the world in what was termed the “Dox Box Global Day.” The aim, according to the DOX BOX website, was to show “how poverty, oppression and isolation do not prevent humans from being spectacularly brave, stubborn and dignified.”

Nyrabia was reportedly arrested at Damascus International Airport by Syrian authorities on 23 August 2012. His family lost contact with him shortly before he was supposed to board an EgyptAir flight to Cairo. The airline company confirmed that Nyrabia did not board their flight

[Source: Wikipedia]

Newer Posts
Older Posts