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Tolkien Documentary: News from ‘The Legacy of The Lord of the Rings’

October 1, 2001 at 6:41 am by Tehanu  - 

Director Dan Timmons updated us on his wide-ranging Tolkien documentary, “The Legacy of ‘Lord of the Rings'”.

“On Sunday, September 23/01, we returned from a very successful trip to England. On the Friday, we went to Birmingham and started filming key landmarks of Tolkien’s childhood: his house on Oliver Road, his grammar school, Kings Edward’s, which is now being renovated into an office building (a crying shame, if you ask me). We went to Oxford and started attending Oxonmoot. Patrick Curry came from London and gave us a wonderful interview.

On Saturday, we were permitted to shoot the Dealer’s Room which included the most fabulous Tolkien materials: cards, posters, shirts, figurines, steel goblets, exquisite statuques, and on and on. Then we set out and filmed all the key Oxford and Tolkien landmarks: his first college, Exeter, Merton College, Bodleian Library, and, of course, “The Eagle and Child,” both outside and inside. (Some visiting New Zealanders allowed us to film them as they sat in one of the rooms where Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, and others would have met.)

Our biggest coup in the afternoon was at Tolkien’s long-time Oxford home:20 Northmoor Road. As we were filming the outside, the son of the owners came out and said he would ask his parents if we could go inside. His parents agreed and we had a wonderful impromptu interview. They told us some fascinating “inside information” which I won’t reveal until the documentary is finished. Let’s just say, I think we got a real “scoop.”

Later, we got permission from Tolkien artists to film their work in the Art Exhibt. Ted Nasmith was there, and we also interviewed Anke Eiszmann. We then interviewed John Garth, who is writing a book on Tolkien’s World War One experience. As well, we had the pleasure of interviewing some scholars and fans from Sweden and other parts of England. At night, I showed selections from my documentary to the attendees. Everyone seemed to really enjoy what we’ve done so far. As soon as I receive the necessary permissions, I plan to put some of these selections on my web site and on TORN.

On Sunday, we returned to the outskirts of Birmingham and filmed around Tolkien’s childhood home near the Sarehole Mill. It was so wonderful to walk among the fields, trees, river banks, where Tolkien played as child. At times, it was like we were walking in Middle-earth, since it was so obvious from where Tolkien drew his inspiration. Our footage of the tree-lined river seemed as if it was taken right from the Shire or even the Old Forest. We also filmed the Sarehole Mill (the model for theSandyman mill) and the Birmingham Oratory, where Tolkien spent much of hisyouth. We then returned to Oxford and spent time at Tolkien’s and his wife’s graves. I can’t describe how I felt being there.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Now, we’ve completed most of the principal videography. Our only major interview left is Joseph Pearce. Soon, we’ll be in post-production. Hopefully, we’ll have our broadcast deal soon and the documentary will air before December 19/01.

If anyone has any questions about our documentary, please write to me: dan.timmons@utoronto.ca

Best wishes,

Dan”

Posted in Old Special Reports on October 1, 2001 by

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