A film crew led by a Bournemouth University academic, which had seventeen BU students and alumni among the staff, has been granted access to film behind-the-scenes of an Indian space mission for the very first time.
Indian Space Dreams follows a team of scientists in Mumbai in the last six years of their fifteen-year mission to launch the country’s first astronomical satellite on a fraction of NASA’s budget. The director and producer is documentary filmmaker, and BU’s Principal Academic in Media Production, Dr Sue Sudbury.
Sue first heard of the Mumbai-based mission from an astrophysicist at a UK conference. Sue said: “He mentioned that in the monsoon the space scientists have to wade through waist-high water to reach their space centre and I found that image compelling.”
Seventeen BA and MA students worked on the film in a range of roles, such as Digital Video (DV) Director, Additional Camera, Edit Assistants and Translators.
Sue continued: “DV Director was Carolina Izquierdo. She was a recent BA (Hons) Television Production graduate when she came with me on the first shoot in Mumbai in 2010 as an Assistant Producer.
“I was able to pay her and give her this first job after graduating. Carolina then came with me on the 2013 shoot and shot for me in London, too. She is now a DV Director and has that credit on the film.”
Oli Clubb, a BA (Hons) Television Production graduate, went to India with Sue for one of the shoots during his final year, and his travel was financed by BU’s Fusion Investment Fund. Oli said: “Having the opportunity to work abroad on an international broadcast project was a fantastic experience and to work alongside an industry professional and see how they operate was fascinating.”
Dr Sudbury, whose filmmaking credentials include Channel 4’s The Liquidators, has found that the students’ experience working on the film has helped better prepare them for the industry, as well linking directly to their employability; following the shoot one graduate has worked with award-winning directors Mike Leigh and Steve McQueen.
Ann Marie Dring, a BA (Hons) Television Production student who worked as a Transcriber for the film, found the experience invaluable. She says: “Being based in Poole it was a great opportunity for me to gain some industry experience whilst staying local, allowing it to fit around other commitments such as studying.”
The documentary has already been named as one of Broadcast’s 9 ‘Hot Picks’ going to MIPCOM, the World’s Largest Entertainment Content Market, in Cannes. It will be broadcast in Japan by national broadcasting organisation NHK. Sue made the film through her production company, Sequoia Films, with funding from Haviland Digital and the MEDIA and Worldview Development Funds. Oscar-nominated production company, Spring Films, came in as co-producers.
Indian Space Dreams will be showed at the Lighthouse, Poole on Tuesday 4 February.