"Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins is a triumph." - Mark Harrison, The Double Take Movie Show
"This has taken on a life of its own." - Dr. Mark Kermode, BBC Radio FiveLive
Cooked up by 20-year old Sydney country music video director Jeremy Dylan, Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins is the most anticipated romantic-fantasy-horror-sci-fi-satirical-musical-comedy-drama Australia has seen in months, and is now available to watch for free on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaFsgYvhi8Y
BSATCOP is the harrowing tale of a nerdy redhead (Andrew Griscti) from Cockfosters, UK, who discovers that he is part of an ancient order of Wittertainers. Under the watchful eye of Mr. Pentangle (Alec Doomadgee), Benjamin heads to Australia to be taught the way of the witter by eccentric Bavarian filmmaker Werner Herzog (Dorian Newstead). A romance develops between Ben and enigmatic mod Scarlett McKenna (Catherine Davies). But soon must face unexpected challenges in the person of the sinister Lord Emmerich (Lol McKenna), a vicious mastermind with the head of a gorilla. Also, skiffle music.
Inspired by a throwaway gag in British film critic Mark Kermode’s review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, loveable eccentric Jeremy Dylan penned his first feature film screenplay and gathered a cast of independent music theatre players, an indigenous radio host and Stephen Fry.
‘It’s completely ludicrous’, says Dylan of the casting of his boyhood idol as the film’s narrator. ‘I’ve looked up to the man since I was seven years old. Actually, almost everyone looks up to him. He’s about 12 feet tall.’
Filming was completed over seven days spaced across a five month period, with production entirely financed from Dylan’s back pocket. The writer-director used his alma matter Epping Boys High School to double as magic school Fairport Academy and hired out The Exchange Hotel, Oxford St, for use as the villain Lord Emmerich’s lair.
The film features an original score composed by Golden Guitar winning singer-songwriter Mike Carr, who also co-wrote one of the original songs that feature on the BSATCOP soundtrack. Fictional rockabilly trio Johnny Leroy and the Impulsives rock out Famous and Judgement Day. The main titles, a penguin-themed homage to the James Bond films, are accompanied by Stonesy R&B number Bad Man.
‘Not bad for ten months work,’ says Dylan, who wrote, directed, co-produced, financed and edited the film (and co-produced the soundtrack). ‘It’s amazing what you can do with a MacBookPro, a conscientious cast and crew and gumption.’
After a sold-out premiere at the Dendy Newtown in Sydney in January, a Special Edition DVD of the film went on sale, greeted by overwhelmingly positive reviews and selling hundreds of copies throughout Australia, the US and Europe. As the film became more and more successful, a schism grew between writer/director Jeremy Dylan and his producer, Jeremy Dylan. Dylan felt the film could be tighter, pacier and funnier and exploited a loophole in his contract to wrest control of the film from Dylan and re-edit it, launching it online today, Friday September 2nd.
Watch Dylan’s BBC interview with Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode here.
A behind the scenes documentary on the making of the film is available here.
Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins is available now for free viewing at benjaminsniddlegrass.com Become a fan at facebook.com/benjaminsniddlegrass
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