Ok so for this episode, number 77 (cool number) I have a guest host in the shape of my co-author on the new Return of the Jedi Unauthorized timeline book, Justin Berger.
So the conversation you’re about to hear is our interview with Jedi’s co-producer Jim Bloom about his time working on the film. We are so happy to say that he also wrote a wonderful introduction for the book.
So today, 25th May, was supposed to be the release day of the book. Unfortunately Amazon let us down and we’ve had...
This is a BONUS episode for May 2023.
This is my conversation with editor Michael Harte about his new film "Still: A Michael J Fox Movie", which is out today in cinemas and on Apple TV.
Listen out for some exclusive clips of the film during our conversation.
I hope you enjoy it.
For this episode, number 75, I spoke with filmmaker and optical VFX expert Peter Kuran. Peter was one of the few people employed by George Lucas on Star Wars and became a core crew member at Industrial Light and Magic.
He went on to have a long career in VFX and then became a director in his own right.
I should point out that we had internet problems so some of the recording is garbled or lost. I’ve edited around it in places and left it in in other places so you know that there was a...
For this episode of the podcast, number 74, I spoke with VFX artist, expert, VFX twitter ambassador and all round good guy Todd Vaziri.
Todd began his career right out of college and worked on shows like Charmed and Xena Warrior Princess for Flat Earth productions before moving to among others, Banned from the Ranch before landing at ILM for Attack of the Clones.
Since then he’s worked on just about every ILM tentpole movie.
So here is my conversation with ILM VFX artist Todd Vaziri. I...
If you remember, I interviewed House of the Dragon writer and showrunner, Ryan Condal back in September 2022, episode 59 I think. Well he and I have become friends and we chat quite a bit on Whatsapp. He suggested I speak to his Special Effects Supervisor on Dragon, Michael Dawson. “He’s been in the industry since Superman in the late 70’s. He’s a great guy and would be perfect for your podcast”.
So, a couple of weeks ago I did indeed have a great chat with Mike. He not only...
Welcome to this DVD extra type episode.
Here is my conversation with Van Ling, the guest on episode 71, talking about his time at the fabled Banned From The Ranch Entertainment.
I hope you enjoy this little extra bonus episode.
So for this episode I spoke with Van Ling. A name you may recognise. Perhaps for his work on laserdisc, DVD and blu ray, perhaps for his collaborations with James Cameron on The Abyss and Terminator 2 (you’ll love the story of how he got started with Cameron), or maybe for his time working on VFX at Banned From The Ranch Entertainment on films like Dante’s Peak or The Relic. Either way you’ll find his eclectic career fascinating.
I spoke with Van just before our trip to LA. We were hoping to...
For this episode, number 70, I finally spoke with director Patrick Read Johnson.
He recently released his many years in the making, labour of love 5-25-77.
A film that semi fictionalises and chronicles the early life of a character, named Patrick Read Johnson and his love of movies like 2001 A Space Oddysey, Star Wars and Close Encounters.
I saw an early cut of this about ten years ago with several scenes missing. Patrick and I connected over the release of my Star Wars Begins (still...
For this episode, number 69 I spoke with ILM and Sony Picture Imageworks legend Ken Ralston.
Ken started on VFX in advertising, then in 1976 he was employed to work on a little film called Star Wars. He remained at ILM for 20 years having worked on Star Wars, Star Trek, Dragon Slayer, Back to the Future, I mean the list is huge. He then went on to work as Visual Effect Supervisor and Creative Head at Sony Pictures Imageworks. He’s won five academy awards during his career.
If you know who...
For this episode, number 68 I spoke with an animator at ILM, namely Hal Hickel. Now, if you’re on twitter you’ll know that Hal is a prolific tweeter. I’ve had a number of conversations with him online. Recently in one conversation it transpired that Hal had done some of the work on the 2004 version of Star Wars (A new hope), particularly on the redone Jabba scene. A redo of the 1997 special edition release. My friend Drew of Star Wars Visual Comparisons.
So I decided to approach Hal to come...
For this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with the ultra talented and lovely human being… Jean Bolte, that’s BoltE, rhymes with Nick Nolte as she told me.
Jean has worked in the film industry for many years. She started in wigs and beard, then moved to ILM in time for Willow for which she was a model maker. The thumbnail for the episode shows Jean working on the ostrich for the famous morphing scene.
She then went to work on Hook, Jumanji, Men in Black, The Phantom Menace and so many...
For episode 66, I have an Oscar winning director. But I don’t talk to him about his films at all. Instead I talk to him about a book he’s written. Lee Unkrich is probably best known by film fans as the director of Toy Story 3 and Coco. He of course won an Oscar for both of those movies. What you might not know is that he is a lifelong fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. For many years he has run a website “the overlook hotel”, which he fills with everything and anything he can about his...
Just before Christmas I spoke with Rose Duignan. If you watched Light and Magic on Disney+ you’ll have seen Rose, a long time employee at ILM. She filled several roles during her years there including production assistant, production supervisor and a role in marketing too.
So here’s my chat with Rose Duignan, I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for joining me in 2022 and I hope you can do so again for the next year of episodes of The Filmumentaries podcast in 2023! Happy New Year.
Now as any historian should, I like to hear differing points of view from people, in my case the memories of people who worked on the same movies.
I like to dig deeper than just the surface level or accepted version of events. Those things that have become mythologised in “making ofs” and articles for years. The more breadth I can find in the narratives I record, the more interesting it becomes.
Now you may recognise Steve Williams' story if you’ve seen… and I hate to say it because I...
I managed to get in contact with ILM VFX legend Dennis Muren. All thanks to a friend who put in a good word for me. Thanks Mark.
Dennis and I chatted a couple of weeks ago for about an hour and forty minutes. Rather than ask him the same old tired questions, I really wanted to talk to him about his approach and about some of the VFX sequences I’ve enjoyed the most and how he went about producing them. But of course I had to begin with how it all started for him. I hope you enjoy it. Please...
If you listened to episode 61 you’ll know it was part one of a two part conversation with Lucasfilm and ILM producer Jim Bloom. Jim is a great talker and worked on so many projects, most of them successful but he also talks openly and enthusiastically about some movies that didn’t make it into production and about some that did but didn’t do much at the box office.
In this conversation we talk about his cameos as Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, about the challenges running an...
So for this episode, number 61 I have ex ILM and Lucasfilm producer Jim Bloom. Jim started his career proper on Lucas’s American Graffiti and then navigated a very interesting path through numerous titles with some amazing directors. Some of those titles... The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Close Encounters, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers...
I spoke with Jim just a couple of weeks ago over Zoom. We had a very long conversation so this will be a two parter. I warn you, we do go off...
Back in December 2021 I spoke with author John Walsh about his book “Escape from New York - The Official Story of the Film”, that was episode 41. Well he’s been busily beavering away on a new book, “Dr Who and the Daleks - The Official Story of the films”. FilmS because there were of course who of them. Both starring Peter Cushing as The Doctor. I remember watching these on Channel 4 in the early 90’s and couldn’t quite believe they existed. They are odd, but also pretty great.
So I spoke to...
Today’s guest is a writer, a showrunner, podcaster and original props collector by the name of Ryan Condal. I mean he’s the writer and showrunner on the world's biggest show right now., House of the Dragon, on HBO.
He's also co-host of "The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of" podcast with David Mandel.
Ryan and I chatted in late July. I hope you enjoy out conversation.
For this episode I have somewhat of a kindred spirit by the name of Alexandre Poncet.
Alexandre is, like me, a lover of behind the scenes stories. He and his friend and business partner, Gilles Penso have created a trilogy of documentaries about heros behind the scenes. One called Ray Harryhausen, Special Effects Titan, another called Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex, a third and most recent one called Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters.
I recently became aware of their work...
I don’t have much in the way of film artefacts these days. I have a couple of replica Star Wars helmets. Some Neca Alien and Jaws action figures and of course some reference books.
My guest this week however has not only a super impressive collection, he is also responsible for three of the best comedies ever written. Three of my all time favourites in fact.. Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm and Veep. Yes, I have writer and executive producer David Mandel on the show! I mean it’s kind of...
For this episode I spoke to Gino Acevedo, a make-up and special effects expert that’s worked on films such as Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Iron Man, The Jungle Book, Planet of the Apes and most recently with Jim Cameron on the new Avatar films. Gino was drawn away from a career in LA by Peter Jackson some 15 years ago and has remained in New Zealand ever since. I spoke to him in August 2022 from his home there and had a great chat about his entry into the business and some of the amazing...
This time my guest is film composer Daniel Pemberton. Before I go any further I just want to take a moment to thank my friend and colleagues John Lyons for connecting me with Daniel. Initially we spoke several months ago, but as you might imagine, Daniel has been busy.
Some Daniel facts for you:
At the age of 16 he released his first album, which got quite a bit of attention.
He then worked for several years creating scores for television including the cherished Peep Show. Daniel has...
Ok so for this episode I was put in touch with Hannah Barbera, Bluth and Disney artist and animator T.Dan Hofstedt. T Dan worked for Disney on a number of their big projects including Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan. I had the pleasure of speaking with him in June 2022.
Please note/ignore my husky Covid voice. I am three days in. Also my mic recording got somehow trashed so what you’ll hear is the recording of my mic through Zoom, rather than on my normally separate recording. But hopefully...