I have always had an interest in moving image archive – from trawling through NASA footage on Atlantic Productions’ Apollo 13 – The Inside Story to unearthing ATV newsreel on Malcolm X’s little known visit to the Black Country nine days before his assassination to my ongoing video production work on the national Explore Your Archive campaign. I also have a passion for cycling and sport in general – both participating and watching when I get a spare moment! Senna and Hoop Dreams are two of my favourite documentaries…
In January 2014 I was asked by Producer Pip Piper of Blue Hippo Media (Last Shop Standing, The Insatiable Moon) to work as Archive Researcher on his new feature documentary film Bicycle. My brief was to research and source film and stills archive that would help to tell the story of the bicycle in the land that invented it – from its birth, through to its decline and present day revival. I first met Pip in late 2013 when Helga Henry of Creative Shift arranged a mentoring session for me on the Creative Enterprise business support programme.
Undoubtedly one of the many highlights of my time on Bicycle was working closely with BAFTA award winning Director Michael B. Clifford (Turbulence, The Man Who Wouldn’t Paint Hitler) and the lovely core team at Blue Hippo (Lead Producers Pip & Sarah Green and Editor Nina Jones). Perhaps my most vivid memory was at a production meeting when Michael revealed his timeline for Bicycle – a long list containing all the key events/’turning’ points he wanted to cover through use of on-screen archive in 90 minutes…
Over a 6 month period I researched and sourced film and stills archive from a number of organisations including Media Archive for Central England (MACE), National Cycle Archive, CTC – The National Cycling Charity, Cycling History and Educational Trust, Nottinghamshire Archives, Dutch Cycling Embassy, National Portrait Gallery, British Cycling, Bromley Video, Independent Image and the BFI National Archive. I also liaised with legendary British bike manufacturers Raleigh and Moulton. Moreover the Bicycle team was indebted to generous donations of stills archive from (amongst many others – too many to list here) Coventry Transport Museum, Cadbury, Sustrans, Lotus, Mike Burrows, Gary Khan and professional sports photographer Romilly Lockyer.
Every day presented new challenges – be it copyright clearance, negotiating on costs, sourcing suitable high quality film and stills, delegating research tasks to our assistant archivist Charli Blighton, helping with rights acquisition and sign-off for picture-lock or turning around viewing copies quickly and efficiently for Michael, Nina and the team to use during the epic edit.
On 1st July 2014 Bicycle had its World Premier at the Bradford National Media Museum to tie in with the Grand Depart of Le Tour de France. As a film-maker its hard to describe the feeling you get when you watch a film for the first time on the big screen that you have been a part of (no matter how small or large your role is within it)…Its something unique…a truly special experience. And what’s really special about Bicycle is the fact that, at the time of writing, thousands of people have already watched the film in screenings at independent cinemas across the UK and beyond.
If you like sport, transport, history or design then go and see Bicycle.
If you like watching documentaries then go and see Bicycle…
For more of Bicycle please see the excerpts below featuring Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman:
If you can’t make it to the cinema then buy the DVD for Christmas here!! 😉