Franz Stampfl: The Man Behind The Miracle Mile begins filming in the UK!

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Sir Roger Bannister and Sir Christopher Chataway being interviewed by Sally McLean at Iffley Road, Oxford UK earlier today

While we have been silent here for the past few weeks – this wasn’t because nothing much has been happening with the film – quite the contrary!

Firstly, we’d like to thank all the wonderful individuals who so generously donated to the project during the second stage of fundraising.  Due to your overwhelmingly tangible support, we were able to raise $16,800.00, which, in turn, has enabled us to finally go into official pre-production and now, finally, filming.

And what a way to begin filming!  On Saturday, November 5th, Director Sally McLean, along with Cinematographer Tim Egan and Camera Assist/Gaffer Saraj Alkemade flew out of Melbourne on an Emirates flight to London to kick off our first round of interviews – the first two of which were with Sir Roger Bannister and Sir Christopher Chataway at the Iffley Road Track, Oxford.

Sir Roger and Sir Christopher were an absolute delight – both of them giving great interviews and making our production team’s first foray into exploring Franz and his work in athletics on camera a very memorable one indeed!

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Cinematographer Tim Egan setting up a shot at Oxford

Sir Roger was first, being interviewed on Monday, with Sir Christopher coming in this morning to be interviewed on his own, before being joined by Sir Roger later in the morning and sharing some joint memories on camera of their time working with Franz in the lead up to Roger running the first sub four minute mile – and beyond.

Sally, in particular found the experience quite moving:

“It wasn’t until after the final joint interview with Sir Roger and Chris that I suddenly realised how momentous these interviews truly were – and yet also how touching.  Watching and listening to the two of them together was so funny and life-affirming.  Here were these two men who had achieved so much in their own lives and been awarded with the highest honour in the land – knighthoods – and yet watching them together, they seemed like the young 20-somethings they were over sixty years ago when the world first learned their names from their involvement in the events that took place on the very track we were interviewing them on today.  I felt very blessed to have met both of them and spent time with them talking about what they had achieved and their experience of knowing and being coached by Franz.”

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L-R: Sally McLean, Sir Roger Bannister and Sir Christopher Chataway make their way to the stadium for the joint interview

Sally also added:

“I am also so very grateful to all the staff at Oxford University who work at The Iffley Road Sports Complex – Facilities Manager, Shaun Fleming and Sports Manager, Matt Queralt in particular looked after us so well and made our time filming at the Iffley Road Track (now called the Roger Bannister Track) very easy and stress-free.  They afforded us every courtesy and we are so very thankful for all their help and support over the past two days.”

Our team finished the two day Oxford shoot earlier this evening and are now attempting to further get over their jet lag before heading out to Dublin on Thursday to interview respected poet, biographer and commentator, Ulick O’Connor.  Traveling with them on the UK leg of the tour is Production Coordinator (UK), Daniel Salter, who is also doubling as the camera operator for the UK “making of” footage, as well as stills photographer.  Daniel, a local to London, will also be traveling with the team to Dublin, so we look forward to being able to post more of these great photos from him for you all to see!

To finish – we’ll leave you with this shot of the crew with Sir Roger and Sir Christopher, taken at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford earlier today by Oxford University staff member, Natasha Brompton.

And stay tuned for more updates as they come to hand!

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L-R: Daniel Salter, Sally McLean, Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Christopher Chataway, Tim Egan and Saraj Alkemade at the Iffley Road Track, Oxford, November 8th, 2011
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