The Daniel CONNECTION:
Director / DP / Writer: Stewart Menelaws
Scottish born Director of Photography, Stewart Menelaws is Managing and Creative director of Studio Scotland Ltd. After years working on numerous commercial projects he finally finds the time to realise one of a number of story concepts written over ten years ago. This futuristic thriller is his first full length feature film and comes hot on the heels of a recent international television documentary – The Daniel Project. Filming began in early November 2012. "While content is always king, I am enjoying the planning and execution of how each and every scene will look and feel. With fast paced documentary work you often don’t get the time to craft an image; it’s great to be able to work on a film in which you can control every element… although the winter weather has been a real challenge."
Producer / Writer: Deborah Forrest
Deborah is Head of Production at the film and TV production company, Studio Scotland Ltd where she is also a director. Following on from their recent success with the 90' feature documentary The Daniel Project, Deborah takes hold of the production reigns for The Daniel CONNECTION on which she is also AD, working closely with Stewart to get the best out of the talent. “I have been so looking forward to producing this film and, now that the wheels are turning, it’s really exciting seeing the various aspects of it come together - from financing to the all important casting of the right actors for each role. Our recent attendance at this year's Cannes Film Festival generated a great deal of interest in this film and we look forward to the months ahead. Keep an eye on the news page for updates as and when we are able to disclose information.”
Audio / Studio Management: Keith Elman
Keith oversees all audio recording. However, as Studio Manager and ICT Engineer at Studio Scotland, he is also responsible for sourcing of film props - from machine pistols to designer clothing. During a recent trip to the USA he was able to purchase military accessories that were proving difficult to obtain in Britain, and yes, it may be prudent to point out that they are legal in the UK!. "For sure, there is never a dull day at work. One moment I am testing my new dedicated mini field Foley and effects recorder and the next I am playing with - ahem, I mean testing our latest delivery of prop rifles and side-arms. On the audio front there were a number of challenges not least from some actors going for that 'low level' dialogue in favour of a more realistic performance. While this 'method' is now common among modern actors it is absolutely critical that mic placement and recording levels are set in that narrow sweet spot so that viewers don't get annoyed by having to constantly adjust the volume on their TVs."
Screen Writer: Marc Pye
Marc has been writing for film and television for fifteen years, and has written over 100 hours of serial drama. His first feature, Act of Grace, starring Leo Gregory, David Yip and Jennifer Lim was released in May 2012. Marc is probably best known for his work with Jimmy McGovern, where he penned the BAFTA, International Emmy and RTS award winning episode The Flasher on series 1 of The Street. Marc continued his working relationship with McGovern on his daytime series Moving On, where he penned the powerful and moving story, Bully. Among his other television credits are Holby City, Eastenders, The Bill, Waterloo Road, The Royal, Holby Blue, Doctors, Echo Beach, River City, High Road and RTE’s Fair City.
Grip / 1st AC: Andy Graham
Andy heads up the grip department and is responsible for construction of the many tracking systems in use. With an HND in television operations, Andy has worked as DoP on a number of independent features over the years. Within the forest scenes, there were a number of challenges as the crew had to construct solid foundations to support a two man dolly rig in marshy conditions. Andy is also assistant to director of photography duties and spends time with Stu Menelaws at various locations working out what equipment will be needed to achieve the desired results. "I love what I do; it’s great to see the results, particularly after a difficult build. My patience however was somewhat tested when after careful construction of a very long length of dolly track within an industrial estate… and despite precautions, a lorry proceeded to drive over the rails causing a great deal of expensive damage, delaying filming for nearly two hours…"
Music: Don Gawthorne
Don recently moved from the Czech Republic to Scotland having married a Scots lass. As a former manager at a leading recording studio in Czechoslovakia, Don has many years experience working with the country's leading artists. After several meetings with Stu Menelaws, Don outlined his approach to the project where he envisioned seven connected themes that would run through the production. Sample themes recorded back in Czechoslovakia have already been placed into the draft edit and give a beautiful and unnerving feel.
Head Gaffer: Doug Petrie
Doug, formally of Petrie Plant Hire, has extensive plant hire experience and brings a wide range of skills to the set where his main duties are rigging lights and power supply. Doug works closely with Director of Photography and Grip as the lighting and power requirements of each scene are worked out to the smallest detail with the appropriate health and safety checks. Skilled in marine engineering and a certified commercial skipper, Doug has been managing the various mechanical issues developed on one of the boats being used in the film.
Executive Producer: Adele Cross
Educated in Ireland with an hons degree in modern studies and post grad in marketing and PR, Adele brings added experience to the production team having worked in marketing / PR for international company Delta Packaging Ltd (clients include MacDonalds, Nokia, Samsung, Kelloggs and KFC). For ten years she managed Chateau de La Ligne in Bordeaux as a complementary function of Delta’s PR, using it to host international networking events.
Lighting Gaffer – Prison Scene: Gregg McNeill
Gregg started his career as a Cameraman and Photographer in the United States over 20 years ago and is an experienced user of 35mm film and RED digital camera systems. In 2008, Gregg was DoP for Outside the Wire - The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan, an hour-long documentary based on Afghani orphans and their fight for survival on the outskirts of Kabul. In 2009, he shot the feature doc History or Hoax - The Michigan Relics. Feature experience includes Offshore, shot on location in Mumbai, India which won Best Feature at the East Lansing Film Festival.
Production Assistant: Valerie Camp
Bio to follow shortly
Grip Assistant: James Jarvie
Jarvie, as he is affectionately known, can be seen regularly on set shouldering a fully kitted out RED camera system attached to a heavy duty Ronford Head, while on the other shoulder are at least 4 sections of heavy dolly rails… Arni eat your heart out! Jarvie is a qualified rigger and brings a number of skills to the table which led to him being offered an important role in the film itself!
Production Assistant: Kirsten Innes
Kirsten is a media graduate from Napier University and has assisted on a number of productions for both television and independent film companies. Kirsten’s first job on location entailed managing 60 extras who would be herded into detention centre cages in a cold industrial complex. With health and safety a major consideration within a potentially hostile environment Kirsten was kept on her freezing cold toes.
Behind The Scenes Photographer: Davie Gordon
Davie has been documenting a 'behind the scenes' record since filming began in early November. Armed with a number of Canon cameras, he has already taken more than a thousand images. "This is my first feature film and while it’s hard work, particularly out in the cold of November through February, I am having a great time. As a stills photographer I have a whole new respect for the demanding requirements the director of film photography needs to deal with…"
Special Effects: Tom Forrest
Tom Forrest (brother of Deborah Forrest) will be employed for some of the visual EFX pyrotechnics and general dangerous stuff. Tom has worked on numerous productions such as The Matrix, Stealth, Superman, Hanks & Spielberg’s Band of Brothers, The Pacific War, Mad Max 4 (shot in Namibia) and a number of TV productions featuring various military effects. Tom is also a fan of The Daniel Projectdocumentary and has been hoping to work with his sister on this particular film. While budgets will certainly be more modest compared to the numerous Hollywood blockbusters he is used to working on, this production will receive the same attention to detail.
Models: Arthur and Gary Eunson
Arthur has been building large scale model flying machines for many years, from jet engined models, large scale petrol aerobatic craft to various forms of helicopters and camera platform machines. After a number of discussions, Arthur proposed a particular Drone design that would become one of the many surveillance tools used in the film. Arthur’s son Gary would pilot the menacing machine through disused buildings in a search and destroy mission.
Make-Up: Caroline Stewart
Caroline Stewart is a qualified makeup artist and hairstylist with 10 years experience in the industry. She has worked for several production companies and broadcasters and did most of Caroline Goodall’s makeup in The Daniel CONNECTION. Caroline has also had her work published in different magazine and online.
Vehicle Sourcing: Lee Davis
Lee has been an Extra on a number of productions and although he has a role as an FPF soldier, as owner of a Fife based car sales company, Lee has been a tremendous help with vehicle sourcing such as the customised Mini Cooper S - quirkily styled to fit the feisty radio presenter Dani Makovitch.
Effects Make-Up: Sarah McCracken
Sarah of Sarah’s Scars, has to date completed a nasty forehead gash and a close range bullet to the head wound. With a baby on the way, the crew kept a protective eye on Sarah as she braved the cold and muddy forest which sets the scene for a dramatic chase. Sarah is a regular effects artist for various television programmes.
Engineering: David Graham
David, of the Burrell Design Studio, not only donated the small forest that would be used for a high impact chase scene, but along with business partner and eldest son Peter Graham constructed a number of dolly runs within the forest. With much of the area in marshy ground, solid foundations had to be driven into the ground to support the two man dolly rig and camera equipment.
Make-Up: Julie McGuire
Julie is an award-winning Hair & Make-up Artist based in Edinburgh with over 20 years experience in the Television, Film and Fashion Industries. In the photographs above, Julie can be seen working on Morgan Carberry, the actress playing the part of feisty radio presenter Danni Makovitch.
Engineering: Peter Graham
Peter is a partner at the Burrell Design Studio near Lanark and was part of the team who constructed the special dolly track runs within the marshy forest environment that would set the first scene of the production. Peter was also involved in further rigging work in Perthshire where long dolly tracks where laid within an industrial yard.
Carpentry: Jonny Kane
Jonny has a part in the film; however he has enjoyed working on set so much he won’t go home! As a qualified joiner Jonny brings a range of skills to the production where he has overseen the construction of various sets. "I remember Jarvie called me one night and asked if I fancied meeting with a couple of film producers who were looking for Extras because he thought I'd fit a particular role being cast… We had a long discussion over coffee and I just fell in love with the concept of the film and the part I was being offered. Although it was originally an Extra role, I was allowed to develop it it a little which has been really cool."
Assistant: Andrew McBean
Andy is training as an electrical engineer and although not approved for working on any gaffer jobs on set he helps out with most of the departments. Andy also landed himself with an Extras role in the form of one of the military personnel. "If you had told me at the beginning of 2012 that I was going to be working on a movie, I would have raised an eyebrow… if you had told me I would be in the movie drowning in mud and swamp filth I would have said your were nuts…. I’m still recovering from the swamp scene…. I love it!"
Assistant: John Graham
John is an architect by profession and is an Extra in the film, however he has also been a tremendous help with general assisting of the Grip crew. "It made Monday morning at the office a little more interesting! "So what were you doing this weekend John?" Well it just so happens I was strutting around in a bullet proof vest with a machine gun in one hand and a revolver in the other keeping a long line of prisoners in red jumpsuits quiet in their dingy cages. What about you?"