Friday, April 20, 2012

Shakespeare authorship documentary to air tomorrow on SKY Arts 2 in UK

Lisa Wilson, co-director with Laura Wilson Matthias of the new Shakespeare authorship documentary Last Will. & Testament, announced this week that the film will air in the United Kingdom tomorrow, April 21, 2012 at 8 p.m. on SKY Arts 2Wilson said she and Matthias are negotiating US distribution and will update viewers at their website First Folio Pictures and on their new Facebook page, Last Will. & TestamentWilson and Matthias showed Last Will. & Testament in their American premier at the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre conference in Portland, Oregon on April 14, 2012. Wilson said:

"Thanks to all who attended the Portland screening for your enthusiastic response and lively discussion!  Special thanks to Daniel Wright, Al Austin, James Gaynor, Dominic Toulouse, Earl Showerman and our great panel of contributors:  Hank Whittemore, Roger Stritmatter, Laura Wilson Matthias, Bill Boyle, and Michael Delahoyde."

Oberon chairperson Richard Joyrich attended the conference and sent a report about the film. (He also plans to post a full report on the conference on this site, soon.) Joyrich said:

I was very pleased to be in the audience for a special showing of Last Will. & Testament during the recent Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University. It really is an amazing achievement and a beautiful film. I hope Lisa and Laura can get it shown on TV soon, or maybe out via Netflix or DVD so you can all see it for yourself. We might be able to also have a showing of it at the SF/SOS Joint Shakespeare Authorship Conferencein Pasadena October 18-21, including "unused footage". [Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman has confirmed this booking. LT]
The film is 90 minutes long and features great production values (including several scenes from the movie Anonymous). It features interviews and contributions from Stanley Wells and Jonathan Bate,Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Rylance, Hank Whittemore, Bill Boyle, Roger Stritmatter, Diana Price, Daniel Wright, Michael Cecil, William Leahy, Michael Delahoyde, and Charles Beauclerk, [among others].
The film is in three sections (called "acts" by Lisa and Laura, but not noted as such in the film). These are 1) Why the traditional story doesn't make sense (except to the two Stratfordians), 2) The case for Edward de Vere, and 3) A possible reason for what happened and why we should care who wrote the plays (the same one given in Anonymous). This last part was not given in a "dogmatic fashion" and Derek Jacobi called it only one of several possible scenarios.
This film has already been sold to Sky TV in England (for three years) and will be premiering there on April 21. Apparently, the twins are close to making deals in Germany and Russia (both places where Anonymous did very well compared to the US). But they are having trouble getting something in the US. They are somewhat hampered by legal considerations since Roland Emmerich (and, through him, Sony) are involved and portions of Anonymous are in the film. By the way, in my opinion, the way that the scenes from Anonymous are used in this film are superior to the way they were presented in the original movie (less "dramatic baggage" and confusion).
There was a panel discussion that went on after the screening of the film. Joining Lisa and Laura were Michael Delahoyde, Bill Boyle, Dan Wright, Roger Stritmatter, and Hank Whittemore (all having appeared in the film).
Some interesting information that was revealed was that Lisa and Laura had approached Kenneth Branaugh, Harold Bloom, and James Shapiro for the film, but all declined [with] Shapiro not even answering their inquiry. Lisa and Laura said that they had about 254,000 words that they edited down to 12,000 for the film as it exists now and as it will be shown in England. Perhaps some future use of other footage will be possible.
PBS and some other US networks Lisa and Laura approached wanted them to edit it down further into only 60 minutes or less, but they don't want to do this (and I can't blame them). They said that if they don't get a TV deal in 60-90 days, they will deal with Netflix.
UPDATE 04/28/12

Last Will. & Testament is now available online at SKY GO!  (UK Only) Click here to stream or download the film to your computer. Next broadcast: June 21st at 7:30 pm on Sky Arts 1