Freida Films, along with 21 Filmworks, is to make a feature doc on the life of industry legend Michael Stevenson.
Stevenson’s 60 years in film have seen him work as Assistant Director to Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Sir Ridley Scott, Michael Cimino, David Lean, Sir Kenneth Branagh and more. Recent work includes Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ant Man and the Wasp.
An Ode to Cinema will see him share “untold, behind-the-scenes-stories of some of cinema’s most celebrated movies and the stars who made them.”
Michael ran lines with Audrey Hepburn in her trailer; he supported Anthony Quinn when he was paralysed with nerves; his friend Sir Michael Caine presented him with a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema. After six decades dedicated to the industry, 200 movies in 41 countries, Michael’s life in cinema makes for a truly extraordinary story. An Ode to Cinema asks what keeps him coming back for more, and what keeps him as in love with this industry as ever.
Cut with archive footage, the film will show original call sheets, scripts, photos and more memorabilia, some never seen before, from classics such as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Pearl Harbor, The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Warhorse and more. The film will also feature a series of interviews with Michael’s close friends from the industry, including Ray Winstone (Black Widow, The Departed) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Sir Tom Courtenay (King of Thieves, Dr Zhivago). More contributors will be announced at a later date.
Amelia O’Loughlin (I’m Still Ethan, Creation Stories) is co-directing the film with Tammy Khajotia (Saving Saffron), and co-producing with Jo Farrugia (The Crown, Suffragette, How to Build a Girl). Ola Mesmer, member of BFI Network x BAFTA Crew 2021 (The Gifted Hypothesis, In the Garden) is cinematographer. John Dodds (The Merchant of Venice, Sid and Nancy) is Executive Producer.
Michael Stevenson comments: “Many actors, directors and crew members have inspired and helped me along the way, and I can only hope that I’ve done that for newcomers too. You’re only as good as your team. My life has been a series of beautiful encounters with remarkable people and I am humbled that a film about them is now being made.”
Amelia O’Loughlin, director and founder of Freida Films, says: “It is a pleasure telling the extraordinary story of such an iconic industry legend like Michael. His truly unique career, charisma and love for cinema makes for an extraordinary story. He was so many things to so many people, and whilst the industry has changed massively over the last 6 decades, Michael reminds us that passion for film and kindness to your team will always go a long way.
“Never before told, this film will be a marvellous celebration of 20th and 21st Century cinema; a nod to the trailblazing filmmakers who’ve gone before us and to the pioneers of our future. We have been working with a brilliantly talented team of female creatives to bring this story to light.”
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