Roger Christian is an English set decorator, production designer and feature film director. He won an Academy Award for his work on the original Star Wars and was Oscar-nominated for his work on Alien. Christian directed the second unit on both Return of the Jedi and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as well as other feature films including The Sender and Nostradamus. He is also known as the director of the 2000 film Battlefield Earth which is regarded to be one of the worst films ever made.
• Michael Dorn (Michael Dorn is an American actor and voice artist who is best known for his role as the Klingon ...)
• Josh Fox (Josh Fox is a film director, editor, producer, writer, actor and cinematographer.)
• Larry Wilmore (Larry Wilmore is an American political satirist, writer, producer, television host, actor, media ...)
I am Roger Christian, and after starting as a tea boy on Oliver! in 1968 I graduated to the art department on films such as Life of Brian, Alien, and of course Star Wars: A New Hope (for which I designed the lightsaber and created the interior of the Millennium Falcon, and won an Oscar). I was also second unit director on Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace.
Back in 1980, George Lucas commissioned me to make a short film that would play in front of The Empire Strikes Back in certain cinemas around the UK and Australia. That short became Black Angel, which you can see here.
Now, I am turning Black Angel into a full length feature!
You can see it on our Indiegogo page here, where we have some absolutely amazing art from artists such as Martina Pilcerova (the Game of Thrones books) and Richard Anderson (of Guild Wars 2 and Batman: Arkham Knight).
So without further ado, ask me anything! Victoria is assisting me this evening.
reddit has been really kind to me.
When the short originally got rediscovered, and it went into the Glasgow Film Festival, it went through a BBC article, and then Esquire and then up on reddit. And i know that one of my original articles that I wrote for Shadowlot went straight to reddit - on science fiction corridors, and how influential they are.
So we're all fans - we all love cinema- and I know it's hard to be part of this world. So I thought IndieGoGo would do that.
And let me tell you - when I was young, I wanted to get in the film industry. That is all I wanted to do. MY father, who was very old-fashioned, said "You're going to be a doctor, an architect, or a priest. Take your pick."
So I got SO broke, trying to get in, SO many letters written - I couldn't connect to ANYBODY in the industry, I knew nobody where I came from - and so I sold an old Mini in the next town, because I had no money left.
And I hitched a lift back, because I couldn't even afford the bus fare. And the man who picked me up was an architect.
And we got to chatting, and then he said "Oh! I know one of my staff worked on CLEOPATRA, would you like me to connect you to him?" and I said "Oh, yes please!"
And that led to me having a job in the film industry, and the films I love - I became the tea boy for John Box, he was one of the best production designers in the world, they were called art directors - he did LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO - and he took me on and mentored me through.
So I know that, you know, we're offering some similar mentorships, all sorts of things - there's talent out there that never get any exposure.
So we're all cinema fans. Whether you're making films, or just watching them.
And I really appreciate all of the fans, and the questions and the interactions. And I think there's a hunger for what I'm trying to do now, which is make REAL film that is not so fast-cut that you can't enjoy it.
And reddit, I think you have more fans than anyone on the planet. So it's an honor for me really, to be here.
I hope to come back and answer more questions soon.
And in the meantime, if you want to come be a part of BLACK ANGEL, here's the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/black-angel/x/249469
Thank you, so much, for listening and being part of this.
Do you think Jodorowsky's Dune would have been really doable? As it was then, with him at the helm, would it have come together?
I think it would have been more interesting than David Lynch's, to me, because the talent that was arranged on it - and he was a CRAZY - I recently watched Jodorowsky's documentary on the making of DUNE, and it kind of looks fairly impossible, I have to admit.
But the one that got away, on this subject, to me - Ridley Scott was doing DUNE.
And I'd seen the paintings of the worms and things. And I know this would have been the version of DUNE that the world would have loved.
And de Laurentiis for some reason fired Ridley, and they parted ways over "creative differences," and replaced him with David Lynch.
But these paintings - if anyone can find them on the internet - they were just absolutely epic.
It was beautiful.
That's the one that got away, to me.
what sorts of set dressings look fantastic on camera but horrible in person, and vice versa?
That's interesting. Any contemporary science fiction where they've specially tried to make it look plastic-y and real - they never work! And any dressing, to me, that's not really aged down correctly so that it creates a proper environment that's real - that, to me, never works.
It's got a lot better now. It used to be worse. Now they can do just about most things.
Since Ridley Scott made LEGEND, snow looks really good! It was all artificial in that film. It kind of showed what you can do. But you just have to be very careful with colours and environments - I mean, bright red on set can be very hard because of video cameras, and really stripey wallpaper can play up on camera.
I like colour-coordinated things with patina, so that they take on a feel like life.
The thing I most hate in the world is when they spray things with silver paint to make it look like "science fiction." They used to do that - spray everything silver, and think Oh, it looks space-y!
It looks terrible!
I used to get frightened as a kid by Daleks, and they had a toilet-plunger as an antenna on the front. But they used to spray things silver on Doctor Who in the very early days.
But the things I never thought worked were films like FLASH GORDON, where you had lots of shiny plastic, and guns that were kind of plastic, that went ^beep^beep! No one was ever scared by that!
I know the sets and costumes of Star Wars used a lot of military surplus and found objects - what was the most interesting or weirdest item that you used as a prop or set decoration?
I don't know if I should own up to this.
But on one of the robots in the Sandcrawler interior, where they capture C-3PO, there's actually a gynecological instrument that doctors used for women.
But it looked right, you know?
It was only afterwards that I realized what it was. But by then, it was too late!
Battlefield Earth had a pretty over the top reception. How did it feel when it first came out? How have your feelings about it evolved?
John Travolta was one of the biggest stars in the world at that time. And he came to me, because they had a budget of $21 million dollars, and it was budgeted at $80 million, so Quentin Tarantino had recommended I do it, and Travolta called George Lucas, and he said "With that amount of money, Roger's the only one that can pull this off for you!"
So Ron Hubbard, who wrote it, was the most prolific pulp writer of the era. He'd written 48 pulp fiction novels. And BATTLEFIELD EARTH has nothing to do with his church - he actually writes an apology at the beginning of the book, stating to the followers of his serious work that he just wanted to write a "rip-roaring science fiction adventure."
And I kind of went out, and we made a pulp science fiction film. And I was trying to be graphic novel-like. And I think I was a bit too early.
And I think it sums it up when I was asked this question in Hungary, on live television, and I said "My enemy is mediocrity. So I'd rather be at the high end of doing what I do, and if we're going to look at box office, then I'd rather be not in the middle, where it's just mediocre. I'd rather be exciting both ends of the spectrum." And they asked about the Raspberry, and I said "Alfred Hitchcock got one. Stanley Kubrick got one. Ridley Scott one."
America haaaaated 2001 when it first came out. Everybody walked out of the cinema! Same in Britain.
So you never know. And the only sad thing for me is that the film was never judged as a film. There's a huge number of anti-Scientologists in the world, and they just went for it. And even to the extent - I mean, the LA critic in the LA Times when it opened said I had buried subliminal messages in the film, and if you dared to go see it, you'd come out of the film a Scientologist!
So I wrote a very honest letter back, saying if I buried subliminal messages, it would be to eat more popcorn.
But the film - Quentin Tarantino came to the premier, and sat between John Travolta and I, and at the end of it, he stood up, hugged us both, and he said "This is the stuff i REALLY want to write, and I know I can't. And you're probably going to be crucified by the religion-haters, so wait 18-20 years, and then it'll be re-evaluated."
And I know that right before he died, Roger Ebert re-evaluated it, and said it was quite an interesting film I was trying to make.
And John Travolta actually had never been on Barbara Walter's show before. And when he went on, and she said "What's the film you're most proud of making, John?"
And he said "Battlefield Earth."
So I felt that was a kind of nice compliment, really.
Given a choice, I would have filmed the book as it was, and I really loved the book, and I couldn't, because John had developed it as a part for him, and so that was playing out.
But I said to them at the time - the book has got something REALLY special. It starts very slowly, and builds, and I thought that was an interesting journey to put on film. I think it would've been more of an art film, but that would've been okay by me.
You say you want to bring it back to the physical real action of older films, like Conan the Barbarian and Excalibur. I love that. Do you expect this will require more money due to the greater need for rehearsal and choreography, or do you expect that the less spent on CG will offset it? Can't wait to be a part of the indiegogo!
Thank you so much for your support!
And I'm SO happy that I'm touching people, because I am an audience member. I sit in cinemas, and I know what's missing. And quite honestly - I love huge - Super-Man, and Iron Man, and Pink Man, and whatever-Man - I love these films. You go to the cinema, you get blasted by sound and visuals and everything.
And then you wait for the next one, and you get a huge blast, and hide.
And I love that.
BUT. EXCALIBUR has stayed with people all of this time. So has the original CONAN.
John Boorman - I call him one of the great filmmakers of Britain- and to me, he was one of the British filmmakers with balls, because he made so many REALLY interesting movies.
This was around EXCALIBUR - when he'd seen BLACK ANGEL, he asked myself and the director of photography down to Pinewood Studios, and he showed my short film to his entire crew, and then stood at the end and said "That's what I want!"
And then Roger Pratt, the DP, was almost in the toilet, and I had little bits of film left over from EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and only 25,000 pounds, and I had an advantage - that I had a crew of 9 people, we had one camper wagon, a little one. I could go up dirt roads where NOBODY could go, and find amazing locations.
And I said "John, you're going to have a crew of 100, or 200 people, and you're going to have food trucks, and lights, and generators, and all of that stuff."
And he said "Well, that's true indeed."
But they were very kind. And the DP and the various design people said "No, no, we know what John wants!"
I put my costumes together with no money, we just made it up!
And I'm absolutely going to even the way STAR WARS was made - we had NO MONEY.
I had to invent the technique of using scrap to make all the sets and things, because we had no money. It was partly because i thought I could make them old and used like that, but it also cost me next to nothing. So I could fill the sets with these.
ALIEN was the same, you know. It was made for very little money. And I look at the first JURASSIC PARK, and that's the one people really remember - and Spielberg only had 75 CGI shots, and the rest of it, he had to get it to look real.
And I'm going to back to use those techniques.
So I have to have some CGI - because I have a flying demon in mine - I'll use CGI for that, but I'm going absolutely down and dirty. And it will be a quarter of a price to make this epic than if I were using CGI - going to REAL locations, at the right time of year, and I'll be using stunt coordinators, and I'm going to have the fights look so real that you can smell the blood and the sweat and the tears.
That's my goal.
That's what we're going to do with this.
So I'm very low budget!
So that's why this small IndieGogo amount - this will help fund the Undead, making a few of those, it's all going up on the screen. I need whatever help I can get!
What was the best set piece/prop you ever macgyvered on set?
I'll give you two.
In STAR WARS, the first one, there's a thing called "the comlink." And that's the little communicator that the Stormtroopers use, and C-3PO uses in one shot. So I was in the production designer's office, showing him some plumbing units that he could design into a set.
And a call came from the floor, from George, and he says "I need a comlink NOW! I need a communicator now!"
So as the call came through, and George was saying he needed a comlink NOW, I undid a pipe, and out fell a filter.
And I looked at it and thought that it had a little grid on the end, with little indented circles around it on one end, and I went OH MY GOD!
and I ran to my room, stuck one little ring around it, ran to the floor, and put it into George's hand, and he said "PERFECT!"
And there was only one ever made.
And it still exists.
And I think I know where it is.
The second one - on ALIEN - I made the whole of the Nostromo interior, everything, I did the whole ship.
And then once I'd got it done, I became the stand-by art director.
Which means that I'm the art director by Ridley's side the whole time because i wanted to learn, and I loved it. I loved the pressure of the floor, and I knew Ridley - he was a friend, I'd done commercials for him - so I wanted to be by his side.
And he suddenly said to me "OH god, I need a notebook! One of the crew's got to write something down! Do you have anything?"
And I walked off the set and went oh GOD, how can I come up with a notebook for ALIEN? I can't just give them a notebook and a pencil!
And then as I was standing, literally by a continuity girl's table - and I was staring at the floor, thinking whatcaniusewhatcaniuse - so she took her continuity photograph on an RX-7, those old Polaroid cameras.
And she just ran out of Polaroids - flipped them over, and out came this little black container that had 8 little photographs inside, and it had a little spring-loaded end on it that flipped the photographs, pushed them out as it came.
And honestly, I watched it go into the waste bin in slow motion, dived in and thought PERFECT!
So the blue ALIEN logo wings, I quickly stuck that on the top, and I got little green-squared graph paper, it was called - it had little green squares on it - cut that up- stuck it in where the Polaroid prints were - found a suitable pen, I knew I had a metal pen, Ridley said "PERFECT!" and on it went.
It is in the film. It's actually sitting where Ian Holm who's analyzing data in his laboratory, making notes, and it's actually there.
And the most iconic thing was the laser sword - now we call it the lightsaber.
Well, when I read the script, I knew that that would be the iconic image of this world.
And I was making everything out of junk - I was using real guns, and adapting them for the film, and I would stick with superglue - I got through BOXES of superglue, sticking things on the barrel, sticking on sights to give them a different look - and it was getting near to the time when everything had to be shipped to Tunisia for the start of the shoot at the end of March.
And I still had not found a lightsaber.
And I couldn't make them. We didn't have the money. And I knew it wouldn't look right. I was trying to find an object to make one out of.
And I made Luke's binoculars myself, in my office, out of an old sixteen mill camera. And I stuck on another piece for the viewing screen. And I needed 2 lenses for the front, so I went to a photography shop, in London, where we used to rent all of our equipment from, for movies.
And I found two lenses. And we bought those. And then I just said to the owner - "Do you have anything interesting in boxes, anything you don't use, that I could take a look at?"
And he said "Oh, under that shelf there, that stuff hasn't been looked at it in 10 years, have a look at it."
So the first box I pulled out - I took the lid off - and there was tissue paper inside - and as I pulled off the tissue paper - now, you have to go in slow-motion, and the music is rising...
And there were these flash-handles.
From an old press camera called a Graflex.
And I pulled one out, and just said "Oh my goodness, this is it."
And I bought the lot, raced back to the studios - and my set decorating room was FILLED with shelves of any bit of junk I found that was interesting, it was like a magpie's nest, and I had some rubber draft-excluder that was in T-shape, which I stuck on the Sterling sub-machine guns for the Stormtrooper weapons, and I stuck that to make it into a handle - I stuck seven of them around the end of it.
And I had an old calculator that I'd broken down, and I found a little strip of bubbles, like lenses, and those I stuck into the old grip of this flash-handle.
And I called George.
And I said "You'd better come to my office."
And he walked in, and I just handed him this lightsaber, and it was quite heavy - because it had batteries inside, and it had a red button, and he just held it and smiled.
He knew I got it.
And then he just asked me to add a little ring on the end - because for Tunisia, it didn't fire up, but we needed to hang it on Luke's belt, and that went out to Tunisia - I made two of them. And that's the one that Obi-Wan Kenobi brings from the trunk, the one that he gives to Luke and says "That was your father's". That's the one I made for eight pounds - about twelve dollars.
And now - there it is - in the STAR WARS 7 trailer - being handed back again.
They re-produced it. But it's Luke's lightsaber, from A NEW HOPE - if you look, there's a lightsaber being handed over, and there it is - all these years later!
It's very cool.
Sorry, that was three. There's a lot more. All these things - all these stories, everything - they're going to be in my book! Because everybody wants to know. So all of those stories are there.
Hello Roger and congratulations on the new endeavor! When will filming start and when do you estimate for release dates worldwide?
Filming should start at the end of September through October and November, and then we would be ready to come out next Spring to Summer.
Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?
Ehm - well - that's interesting, because I grew up in Britain, after the War. And it was a pretty terrible place. Very gray, and they'd had two World Wars, so I read, voraciously, things like King Arthur and Ivanhoe and the Norse Legends.
And I've got a book coming out soon, called CINEMA ALCHEMIST - I call it that because I use scrap, and I turned it into an Oscar. It's like Alchemy, you take scrap metal and turn it into gold. That was the old Medieval alchemy.
And I kind of went back and examined it. And I've got some now - Thomas the Tank Engine, when they first came out, the Reverend Shepherd used to do these illustrations, beautifully painted in the original Thomas the Tank Engine, and I would get graphic novels, and I used to go to museums - I was very impressed by Georges de La Tour - he was the first painter to stop doing these formal Renaissance garden-type paintings, and his famous painting has a skull with a single candle in it, and a group around a table. And he made the faces real, an amazing painter.
A lot of artists I would watch.
And then, I was very lucky in London in the Sixties - we had about twelve art cinemas. I spent my entire time, week after week, and each weekend there would be films by Tarkovsky, Bergman, Kurosawa (who was my absolute mentor, I just hero-worshipped Kurosawa, to me he was the great cinema-maker and storyteller) - so I would get all my inspirations from there.
Hey Mr Christian :)
If you could change one thing from your work on the sets, what would you change?
That's a tough one.
Something I would go back and change - in STAR WARS, on the first one, I finished creating Han Solo's cockpit for the Millennium Falcon, and I took George Lucas to the set, and we looked at it, and I said "George, I think we should personalize it - for good luck, in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, in Ron Howard's car, you had some dice hanging."
And George kind of smiled, and said "That's a good idea."
So I showed him six sets of dice - there were cloth ones, and rubber ones, and things. And he chose these small chrome dice.
And I hung them on the set, and if you look carefully at the stills, first up, there they are. And then the DP took them down.
And I really regret not going down there and fighting to put them back - because for me - I did the same on ALIEN, I'd put used coffee cups on the tables, and personal things, because that's what happens when people on long journeys, and especially Han Solo's ship, it should be full of his own personal stuff.
I did show him fuzzy dice! But he rejected them. He thought they looked too big.
Do you plan on visiting some of the same filming locations as in the short film, or will you be seeking new territory?
Two answers to this:
One, I have to go to Scotland, because BLACK ANGEL was the first film ever to put Scottish locations up on the screen in a dramatic, beautiful way, so I feel that they own me!
And the second short film I made, called THE DOLLAR BOTTOM, that won an Academy Award, I think in 1982, for best Dramatic Short film. So I'm very tied to Scotland.
So I say now if I don't go there and shoot something - they're going to be hurling haggises over the border at me!
Also, the castle that i had is what took me to Scotland in the very first place for BLACK ANGEL. I knew this castle, I'd never seen in on film before, and to me, it was a vision of the most romantic castle - like a pre-Raphaelite vision.
And that's what took me to Scotland, because I had 25,000 pounds and a crew of 9, and I had to kind of duplicate what Kurosawa was doing, and I knew that Scotland could give me those locations, and the right time of year - which is RIGHT before the snow comes in winter - the skies are INCREDIBLE, changing every minute, with veins of light coming through.
So when I made the film, there was no CGI, and I had 25,000 pounds (about $35,000) so I had to shoot whatever I saw.
And the problem for me now is that there are no studios in Scotland. It's a big issue there. So I have to go to Hungary, where there's massive studios, and huge epic sets that I can adapt, and I'm going to Belgium that has medieval cities, and some were seen IN BRUGES, that film that Colin Farrell did, and those two countries give us 52% of our budget in tax and incentives - so we have to go where we can get the film made, because we are independent, and fairly lower budget.
And the film - the big story that I'd always had, and now it's written and is fully developed - starts in the Desert Southland, where there's amazing cities - in fact, where Ridley Scott made KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and GLADIATOR. I filmed there, and I know some really amazing places to shoot.
So we'll be there. It's interesting story, with Scotland: when I showed BLACK ANGEL at the Glasgow Film Festival, we had a 2 hour Q&A afterwards.
And a lady stood up, and she said "You start it all, I have to tell you. I produced the pilot for Game of Thrones. And Ireland came in, and offered them all these incentives, huge tax incentives, and they had studios there to shoot in, so they shifted the base."
So it's a shame, because Scotland has so many amazing locations. And I love it there- the light and the visions there are so strong.
So I'm going to go back.
And I couldn't afford to shoot in Glencoe. Because Glencoe is very famous. AMAZING battle there, between the British and the Scottish. It's just a magical place.
So I'm going back to shoot there.
So Hungary, Belgium, Scotland, and Southern Morocco.
What motivated you to turn the short film into a full length feature?
Is it something you've wanted to do for a long time?
It's my passion project that I've had since I made the short film.
I'd always had an idea of a kind of ancient epic, because it's in my DNA. And I tried early on to do Merlin, King Arthur, Tristan and Isolde, and just could not - there was no market for fantasy. Nobody would finance anything.
And now, basically, because Lord of the Rings created that audiences, and Game of Thrones has made it on fire - the whole world wants this ancient world reality now.
So I kind of owe it to them, really.
So this story, I've re-written it. I've re-conceived my original story, and we've dramatized it for today, and this is my passion project. It always has been. It's been burning inside me to make.
Patience is a virtue! 34 years later!
But also, somehow, the universe has made it possible - that's all I can say - for me to do what I've always wanted to do. And I love this project. And everyone who's read the script now loves it.
And I think it benefits in a way - like wine that's seasoned in a barrel. I've seasoned a lot, I've got WAY more experience, and like Ridley Scott, in the last 15 years, I look at a film that's really stayed in the audience's memory, and that's GLADIATOR. And so years of experience in making movies can really help.
Was the original Black Angel inspired by The Seventh Seal at all? I kind of got that vibe.
Yes. THE SEVENTH SEAL I loved. I loved Bergman. It was very much inspired - if I take any film - by SEVEN SAMURAI by Kurosawa, and I kind of adapted Kurosawa's "lone samurai fighting evil" into my antique world that I was creating.
When do you expect to announce more cast for the film? I love that you have Miss Weissbecker, instead of a younger actress. She's beautiful, but believable. Will you be using this as a template for Maddox's actor too?
And I can't say who we're talking about now, because it's not allowed, but yes - I'm trying to go for young, and deep.
Somebody who has a lot of stuff inside them. And that's what Laura has.
My German producer brought her to my attention.
And I'm casting every single role - from the largest to the smallest - with exactly that same philosophy. I want everyone to belong in the ancient world, and have that depth of soul, and light, and romance, and all those things you can't duplicate unless an actor is really like that, and if I can get the actor we're now, we'll announce it fairly soon.
And I do have Rutger Hauer. And look at his face - what he's like now - he's playing an ancient priest in my story! And I do have John Rhys-Davies. He's an old friend. He said "I don't care, I'm in this film, you have to give me a part." So he's playing the rival king to my leading knight.
And his daughter is Laura Weissbecker, and she's a renegade - she leaves her father, who's a bit of a tyrant.
So Laura will be a kind of horse-riding princess character whom you could say was a little bit touched by Hunger Games - that kind of earthy character that she's playing in that.
So those are all in. And we are in discussion with Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos in Game of Thrones. He's playing my equivalent of Merlin, but much more ancient. There was a real person named Myrddin (in Scottish history), one thousand years ago, he was a sorcerer and wild man, living in the woods and things. He's going to have ancient Druidlike tattoos and things. So like Arthur has Merlin, like Luke has Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, I had to have a mystic guide - because this is all a hero's journey in my film, and it's all part of that archetype mythology.
So there had to be a kind of sorcerer who's a guide, and who's very intwined in the story. It's a lovely part.
And I didn't want to go ancient, too old. This film is for a young audience. But I'm really going down and dirty. My fights are going to be in rain, and mud, and look absolutely real. I won't have thousands of CGI soldiers all running around. This is man-on-man, or man-on-black-angel fighting. Terrible fights. I want the audience to engage with the characters.
How does a film like Black Angel disappear for all those years?
So what happened - in the laboratory that you make a film for, they keep a negative.
So any time you can go back to the laboratory, you can make prints or copies. That was always the way it was. When film was, before digital.
So this only transpired because i was getting SO many requests to show this film again - we started to track down, and the laboratory had gone bankrupt in the early 90's. And NOBODY knew where all the negatives had gone. 20th Century Fox (who distributed all the STAR WARS films) couldn't find it. And there were 2 prints I knew of - one that Lucas had archived, and that has gone missing, and they still can't find it, they've been looking for two years! - and I had a print. I was directing commercials for Richard Edlund, who was the effects supervisor on the first STAR WARS film, and I went off to make my film NOSTRADAMUS in Romania, one year after the revolution.
And in my hotel, all the big actors had shell holes in the walls, and there was no food. We had to bring our own food. There were no phones literally working anywhere.
And when I got back to America, Richard Edlund's company had gone bankrupt. They'd thrown everything out, including my print!
So I thought Well, that's it. This thing, BLACK ANGEL, is going to have to stay in people's memories.
And i got a phone call out of the blue, and the archivist at Universal Studios in Los Angeles called me - Bob - and he said "I've tracked you down! Are you Roger Christian?"
And I said "Yes."
And he said "Did you make a film called BLACK ANGEL?"
And I said "Yes."
And he said "What company did you make the film under?"
And I said "My company" (because it was a government grant) "called Painted Lady."
And he said "I've got your negative."
So - your reaction - multiply that by THIRTY! That was me!
And after I'd picked myself up off the floor, I said "What do you got?"
And he said "I've got a tin of your original negative, I've got different pieces of sound, and I've got 4-5 tins of your material here."
So there it was.
So then we went, we had it restored, and that's what's showing now. It was digitally restored, beautifully, by 2 producers in San Francisco who did some of the restoration for STAR WARS and other films. And they've restored it, frame-by-frame. It's exactly as I shot it. I couldn't believe how good digital conversion could look. And I took it to Skywalker Sound - because they are the best in the world - and because I'm family, they did it for very low money, they told me not to do TOO much to the sound, otherwise it wouldn't match the picture.
So now it is! Now it's on digital. And now it's a master forever. So that's the story.
It's an amazing story.
The timing, really, and the Universe really giving me a huge gift.