EXCLUSIVE - The Irish-German ‘Saving the Titanic’ co-production will begin filming this month in Kempton Steam Museum, London and Ardmore Studios. Directed by Maurice Sweeney and produced by Tile Films’ Stephen Rooke, the 1x90/2x52 minute feature will be broadcast on RTÉ in April 2012.
Irish producer Stephen Rooke (Cromwell in Ireland, Death or Canada, Waterways) confirmed to IFTN that Tile Films have completed funding for the €1.6million ‘Saving the Titanic’ project, the first ever drama-documentary film to focus on the heroic engineers of the doomed ship. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on 14th April 2012, ‘Saving the Titanic’ is a poignant story of self-sacrifice and dignity in the face of impending death. Seeking to answer the question of what happened in the engine rooms after the collision, the film tells the story of the disaster from below deck, among the huge furnaces and massive dynamos. Based on eye-witness accounts, the film focuses on eight main characters from the team of engineers, stokers and firemen, telling their personal stories of bravery and how they keep the ships systems running. Most of these men died but their actions saved many lives.
Shooting on Red Cameras, ‘Saving the Titanic’ will feature large-scale, high-end drama re-enactments with extensive use of CGI created at Windmill Lane Pictures to bring to life the last hours of the “unsinkable” Titanic. Production will commence in mid-August, filming in Kempton Steam Museum, London and in Ardmore Studios with construction on purpose built sets now underway. The project will be directed by IFTA award winning director Maurice Sweeney (The Forgotten Irish; Cromwell in Ireland; Flann O’Brien, John Connolly Of Blood and Lost Things), produced by Rooke and shot by director of photography Richard Kendrick (Treasure of the Bogs, Coast; Cromwell in Ireland, Silence).
Two versions of the film will be produced; a 90 minute feature-length film for cinema and a 2 x 52 minute TV version. Speaking to IFTN, Maurice Sweeney says that ‘Saving the Titanic’ will give a “human face to what happened below deck. The script and story are essentially a look at heroism and how men reacted in different ways.”
“The fresh angle taken on the story is what makes this drama-doc unique” says producer Stephen Rooke. “This story has never been told in a drama documentary; that was our original approach and why RTÉ and the Irish Film Board and everyone else have come on board.”
Tile Films have secured a stellar ensemble cast of leading Irish actors to play the key roles in this drama-doc including David Wilmot (The Guard, The Tudors), Owen McDonnell (Rewind, Single Handed), Ciaran McMenamin (One Hundred Mornings, Primeval), Jonathan Byrne (Primeval, Fág an Bealach); Andrew Simpson (Notes on a Scandal), Hugh O’Conor (Your Bad Self, Killing Bono) and Stephen Hogan (Earthbound, The Tudors).
The script for the drama re-enactment is written by Colin Heber-Percy and Lyall Watson, who have co-wrote various acclaimed TV projects including the docudrama’s ‘Rome: Constantine’ (2006) and ‘Krakatoa: The Last Days’ (2006).
’Saving the Titanic’ is a co-production between Tile Films and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion in Germany. Tile Films has gained an international reputation for producing innovative, HD high end drama-docs, documentaries and series about people, history, religion, art, culture, natural history and travel. Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion is a renowned German documentary film company known for its acclaimed projects such as ‘Autumn Gold’ (2010) and ‘Wadan’s World’ (2010).
’Saving the Titanic’ is funded by RTÉ, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - Sound and Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, Section 481 Ireland’s Film Investment Scheme, the Irish Film Board, AETN UK, ZDF Enterprises, ZDF & ZDF/Arte.
’Saving the Titanic’ airs on RTÉ, April 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the Titanic disaster.