The Disposessed author Ursula K. Le Guin is famously protective of her copyrights, and has expressed extreme reluctance to let Hollywood touch her work. So how did a group of film students get permission to film one of her stories?
After the SciFi Channel (as it was then known) made a miniseries based on her Earthsea books, which Le Guin regarded as a travesty, she seemed to have a strong antipathy to letting anyone film her work again — and the second Earthsea adaptation, by Studio Ghibli, doesn't seem to have changed her views. (She did sell the film rights to The Left Hand Of Darkness in 2008, though.)
But a pair of film students at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England, wrote a handwritten note to Le Guin back in April, asking for the rights to film one of her short stories. She wrote back giving them permission to film the story, about a mission to Mars which goes wrong and leaves some of the astronauts psychologically damaged.
The 20-minute film, which will be called The Field Of Vision after the original story, sounds pretty ambitious for a student film — it will have a £12,000 budget, and a huge set. The students, Rob Watson and director Siri Rodnes, will cut corners partly by reusing props and costumes from the movies Sunshine and Thunderbirds. And the film will star a former Eastenders star, Raji James. (He plays a psychiatrist who's brought in to figure out what's gone wrong with the Mars astronauts.)
Most student films are shot on location but we're doing pretty much all of this on specially-built sets. There's even professionally-made spacesuits being used.
The film will premiere in February at the BFI Southbank, and we hope we get to see it at some point. [This Is Local London]