A Film 4/More4 co-commission, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, is taking on the daunting challenge of telling the full history of world cinema, and will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival alongside another Channel 4-backed doc, Nick Broomfield’s Sarah Palin – You Betcha.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a film adaptation of writer-director Mark Cousins’ book of the same name. The 15-part documentary explores cinema through six continents and over 12 decades, and was a five-year project for Cousins (The First Movie).
The 900-minute film will have its big screen premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, with its UK television airing scheduled for September 3 at 9 p.m. on digital channel More4.
The doc visits famous film spots, from Hollywood to Mumbai, and includes interviews with filmmakers and actors including Stanley Donen, Kyoko Kagawa, Gus van Sant, Lars von Trier, Claire Denis, Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Towne, Jane Campion and Claudia Cardinale.
Commissioned by C4 arts editor Tabitha Jackson for More4, the doc is produced by John Archer at Hopscotch Films and was funded by Film4, More4, Hopscotch Films, Media 2, Creative Scotland and UKFC/BFI.
“I’m not aware of there having been another series with the scope of this one – a full narrative history of international cinema – and can think of no better person to embark on this Odyssey/labor of love than Mark Cousins,” said Jackson. “He combines passion, exquisite storytelling and a cinematic insight second to none.”
Another Channel 4 commission playing during TIFF is Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, heading to the fest before it airs on C4 later in the year.
Broomfield’s quest to find “the real Sarah” sends the Biggie & Tupac director to Wasilla, Alaska, to talk to people who know the former Alaskan governor, including school friends, family and Republican colleagues who previously backed Palin.
“People are frightened to talk,” said Broomfield about the project. “Wasilla makes Twin Peaks look like a walk in the park. It’s a devout evangelical community – 76 churches with a population of only 6,000.”
“Nick is one of our foremost documentary talents and this film follows in the tradition of many of his great portraits of influential figures,” said Hamish Mykura, head of documentaries for C4 and commissioner of the project.