Young Director Peter Medak desperately trying to complete a movie on the open sea, whilst battling the comedy genius of Peter Sellers, who is trying to sabotage the film.
Interview with Producer Paul Lacovou
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Peter Sellers was one of the most revered comedy actors of the 20th Century. Considered a troubled genius, we felt it was important to tell this story in the context of an actual movie setting. It ended up being a warning to all filmmakers of what happens when shooting a movie unravels.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It is a documentary about moviemaking and what happens behind the scenes but the overarching story is a man (Peter Medak), the director of the original film, looking back at a very dark time in his life and trying to come to terms with the experience 45 years later.
The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a comic-tragic feature doc about what it takes to be a film director and survive your biggest disaster.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The personal journey of Peter Medak is the backbone of the film. Ultimately it is about the relationships between characters and their self-preservation instinct that takes over when things go wrong.
It is also an insight into what happens when people go back to a dark time in their lives and examine what really happened and try to release the emotions associated with it.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
In a documentary, there is no script as such but as we delved further into the story, very quickly we realised that 45 years later the wounds were very much still there for many. The project grew far beyond our expectation and the more we proceeded, the more other characters bled into the story.
Where we ended was a far cry from what we anticipated at the outset of the project.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We've had an incredible response to the film, far beyond our expectations. The film premiered in Venice and Telluride which launched a springboard for all that came afterwards.
The film continues to have a life of its own, resonating all around the world. IMDB voted the film one of the top 25 of 2018.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback surprised us all. We never expected that it would connect to such a wide audience. And to have such emotional responses from audiences is the ultimate you can hope for as a filmmaker. The outpouring of accolades from within the film industry surprised us the most.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Connecting the film to a wider audience.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
There's a great story to be shared with the film community. It is a rare insight via a personal journey to how films are made and sometimes end as a disaster. It is as much a cautionary tale but also a retrospective of the main characters, towards the end of their lives looking back to an earlier time in their life where they were filled with promise.
So our hope is for journalists and festival directors to spread the word within the film community.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
It is an important film for filmmakers to digest. On a few occasions, we've been invited to screen it for various industry associations and the response has been incredible. Our hope is that it extends to all filmmakers at various stages of their careers.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How people remember things. I read a quote by the legendary producer, Robert Evans in the '70s. He said "There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently"
Interview: June 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The Ghost of Peter Sellers
Young Director, Peter Medak desperately trying to complete a movie on the open sea, whilst battling the comedy genius of Peter Sellers, who is trying to sabotage the film.
Director: Peter Medak
Producer: Paul Lacovou
About the writer, director and producer:
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1937, PETER MEDAK fled to England age 18 during the uprising against the communist regime and immediately began his film career with Associated British Picture Corporation working on some of the most remarkable British films of that period. In 1963 Peter was signed by Universal Studios in Hollywood and began Directing television. 1967 saw him sign with Paramount to direct his first feature Negatives with Glenda Jackson. His next two films where highly acclaimed black comedies: A Day in the Death of Joe Egg starring Alan Bates and The Ruling Class with Peter O' Toole that received an Academy Award nomination. Over the next 30 years, Peter earned the reputation of an ‘actors’ Director, resulting in such acclaimed films as The Changeling with George C. Scott, The Krays (winning him the Evening Standard Award for ‘Best Director’) and Romeo is Bleeding with Gary Oldman. In a career spanning 50 years, Peter has made 27 features and 59 TV episodes. He continues to live and breathe film every waking moment.
PAUL IACOVOU’s career is a hybrid of the Advertising and Entertainment space, producing work for over 25 years in a wide-ranging spectrum from blue-chip companies to the film and music industry.
Key cast: Peter Medak (Director), Peter Sellers (Archive), Spike Milligan (Archive), Tony Franciosa (Archive), John Heyman, Robert Wagner, Peter Boyle, Norma Farnes, Piers Haggard, Joe McGrath, Victoria Sellers, Murray Melvin.
Facebook: The Ghost of Peter Sellers
Hashtags used: #theghostofpetersellers