The Story Behind Arthur & Merlin

Arthur & Merlin is a 2015 British feature film, directed by Marco van Belle.The film is an epic fantasy adventure of good against evil, that tells the story of these two iconic characters as you’ve never seen it before. The film stars Kirk Barker as Arthur and Stefan Butler as Merlin.The script, written by Marco van Belle and Kat Wood, was inspired by the same Celtic talesthat J.R.R. Tolkien read as a young man, and presents a compelling new origins story for these two iconic characters. The Arthur & Merlin team undertook an incredible challenge to bring this cinema quality epic to life: • The film features 27 actors and more than 50 extras. This is an incredibly high number of people compared to similar production. • There were 25 actors with speaking roles, again a huge number for a production of this type. The crew numbered as many as 40 on busy days. • On some days, when there were also extras on set, the total number of people working on the film was as high as 90. • Arthur & Merlin filmed at 21 different locations across England in just 25 days (Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Sheffield, Hampshire and Gloucestershire). • More than 20 freelance visual effects artists from all over the world (from the USA to Britain, mainland Europe and Russia) worked on the film’s special effects. There are over 100 visual effect shots in the film. A New Business Model Arthur & Merlin is the first feature film from Sheffield-based independent production company Movieworks. Movieworks aims to offer UK independent filmmakers a new viable commercial business model allowing them to raise finance, produce and sell their films whilst retaining full ownership of their works. The film will be distributed online on the Arthur and Merlin website, available as video on demand. It will cost just £1.50 / EU 2.00 / US$2.00 to stream the full feature film. Viewers worldwide can pay by Paypal or standard credit/debit cards, or in the UK and Germany, purchase by text message/SMS. We believe this is the first time a user has been able to purchase and stream a film with just a text message. This allows them to watch anywhere, anytime for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Synopsis In dark ages Britain, a time of myth and magic, a powerful druid is bent on destroying the Celtic people. Arthur, a banished warrior, and Merlin, a hermit wizard, embark on a heroic quest to stop the druid and save their people, before the Celts are gone forever, lost to mere myth themselves. Longer Synopsis In dark ages Britain, a time of myth and magic, a Saxon force attacks the Celtic people from the East. But they are not the only threat the Celts face. A powerful druid, Aberthol, secretly plots to destroy them. He controls the ailing King Vortigern, and leads the Celts to their slaughter. But hope is not lost… Arthur, an outspoken young warrior captain, will not see his people fall. Fiercely loyal to the King, Arthur is banished by the druid. Determined to save the King and his people, Arthur sets out to find Merlin, a boy whose life he saved many years ago… a boy with seemingly magical powers, feared dead when he was forced to flee into the dangerous and forbidden Wynar Forest. In the forest, young Merlin lost all connection to humanity and immersed himself in the forest’s ancient magic, growing up to become a hermit wizard. Merlin agrees to help Arthur only when he discovers that Arthur is in possession of a sword from legend, a sword with a destiny only Merlin can understand… Together, Arthur and Merlin embark on a heroic quest to stop the druid and save the King and their people – before the Celts are overrun by Saxons and become a mere myth themselves. Marco began his career in journalism, winning a Royal Television Society award and a BBC Ruby award for his work in news and current affairs. He made the transition to filmmaking five years ago, and his short films have screened to critical acclaim at festivals all over the world, including the prestigious Encounters festival in the UK and the world famous San Diego Comic Con in the USA. When not directing, Marco writes films with his writing partner Kat Wood. Marco says, “Most directors only get to tell small-scale stories when they make their first feature films, especially in the UK. But those films, which are usually dramas, really aren’t my cup of tea. Arthur & Merlin was an incredible opportunity to make the kind of film I grew up watching – the kind of film that made me want to make films in the first place. The biggest challenge was to work out how to tell a story this big with so many characters and locations on such a tiny budget. The most important thing was to attract a great cast and crew. Without incredibly talented people around me, I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting this film made. Luckily, the ambition of what we were trying to achieve really appealed to a lot of great people.”
Published at: 01/10/2015

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