Marc’s quest to film spiritual road movie leads him to county

A MOVIE shot entirely in Suffolk and featuring local people has been entered into international film festivals.

Beheading Buddha is about a mysterious aristocrat who sails around the world for seven years on a private yacht looking for the meaning of life and spiritual enlightenment.

When he finds it, he decides to return and perform a provocative, unconventional one-man show, sharing his mystical insight in a highly inventive way. To do this, he buys a disused airbase and converts one of the aircraft hangers into a theatre space.

The airbase used was at Bentwaters Parks, Woodbridge and the hangar was Hush House. The yacht scenes were filmed off the coast of Felixstowe while the yacht itself was hired from Viking Mariners in Ipswich.

It wasn’t just Suffolk locations that featured heavily.

“The show also had a live audience present, which were made up of Suffolk people who responded to peice I placed in the paper asking for people to come along to be part of an audience for a filmed one-man show,” says Marc.

“All reactions were genuine and spontaneous. We had calls from more than 500 people wishing to attend but could only hold 100. It was a fantastic show of support by local people, whose enthusiasm and goodwill was a major part of the stage show segments as without a real audience the film would have been unworkable.

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“The main stage performance is a semi-comedic stand-up turn, you might say; a satire on the spiritual quest, which itself can become an addiction and diversion from simply finding the ‘divine’ in everyday wonders such as love and following your dreams.

“The discourse is a bit like a Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks raucous routine, but with a mystical twist. The film does also go deeper and more seriously into how the mind works.”

It’s primarily a one-man show, although, there is also a “highly original and unexpected” dance sequence early on in the film, on stage, involving three irreverent muses which Marc says looks great.

These muses were played by professional actresses and dancers from London who volunteered to be in the film, the incentive being it’s a showcase for their talents.

Off-camera Marc had two very special voiceover performances.

“The opening of the film is a montage of comic strip illustrations setting up the background of the aristocrat, who is a fictional, almost mythical figure, battling psychological demons. The actor Brian Blessed has provided the voiceover for this.

“The actress Jenny Agutter provides a vocal performance, reading a love poem on a radio show, which inspires the Aristocrat the remember the importance and power of love.”

The film was funded by Marc with money he had saved for a deposit on a house.

“Once I felt inspired to make this film, I had to follow that passion and put everything else second, even the security of owning my own home,” he says.

The film is mostly the stage show performance, with cutaways and flashbacks to exotic and unusual exteriors filling in the background to how he got there. The main character is shown on his yacht, for example, driving a Lotus sports car and wandering mysteriously around the airfield, coming across cryptic items such as an antique pram, a huge glass vase and a vintage alarm clock.

“We challenge audiences to guess what the symbolism of it all is. These cutaways from the stage performance form the narrative fiction element of the film.”

Beheading Buddha is inspired by 39-year-old Marc’s June 2009 book The Ex-Seeker.

It came about after his own spiritual seeking came to an end when he had the realisation you can’t do anything to bring about so-called enlightenment, it is a process of grace and will that unfolds all by itself.

The book differs from the film in that the film goes deeper into the psychological aspects involved in enlightenment, indicating what needs to happen within the psyche for this new awareness and state of being to emerge.

The latter draws a lot on the psychology of Carl Jung and suggests we each have something called a sub-conscious Shadow, which causes much disorder within our conscious mind. It blocks the spiritual path like, Marc says, an ogre blocking a bridge in a mythic tale. It is the Shadow that is confronted and integrated when a person becomes enlightened.

Marc contacted a pioneering talk show called Conscious TV on Sky TV channel 275, shown each night at 9pm, to ask if they’d be interested to see a DVD of the film and consider having him discuss the themes of spirituality and psychology as it relates to the everyday ordinary person.

He’ll be doing just that in an hour-long interview in the New Year.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Marc has been involved in the cinema industry for almost ten years as a producer of live filmed events which get beamed into cinemas via satellite. He is also the coordinator of the satellite technology for those events.

It meant he was able to more efficiently and cost effectively mount the production of the film, which he’s applied to be selected in around 23 festivals in total, worldwide, such as London Independent Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Mexico International Film Festival to name just a few.

“I haven’t received any acceptances yet, but fingers crossed. I am currently trying to get it booked into cinemas nationwide for a 2011 release, with a DVD release scheduled for just afterwards or instead of.”

He’s looking for it to be distributed via his own company, Quantum Digital, as a digital print as a DCP on hard drives.

“Cinemas are increasingly installing digital projectors to show films in the highest quality digital format, versus the old 35mm film reel projectors, which do not match today’s high end digital image quality.

“In order to show a film in the digital format, you have to supply it on a hard drive, which gets loaded into a sort of super-computer at the cinema, called a server. It’s like popping a disc into a computer basically, but the playback is vastly superior.

“The digital copy of the film is typically called a ‘digital print’ and the hard drive is usually referred to as a Digital Cinema Package, hence DCP.”

Beheading Buddha, which runs at 82-minutes, is targeted for a theatrical release in the spring.


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