Story by: Jack Foley
A FILM dubbed 'the unluckiest film in recent British movie history'
defied the odds to receive its premiere at the London Film Festival
during the opening days of the event.
The story behind the making of Blind Flight is almost as incredible
as the tale itself - that of the friendship forged between Brian
Keenan and John McCarthy when they were held hostage in Beirut.
The film took almost 13 years to make, despite its low budget,
and stars Ian Hart, as the Belfast teacher kidnapped by Islamic
extremists in 1986, and Linus Roache, as the English journalist
who was also seized after being sent to cover the disappearance.
Many of the problems in the filmmaking process were attributed
to Lebanese politics. At one stage, the production team was told
there would be no objections to the script, which was careful
not to villify the captors, but the Lebanese government then refused
to grant permission to shoot.
After a fortnight of waiting, which took them close to the point
of bankruptcy, the crew had to relocate to Tunisia and then Belfast,
where prison scenes were shot in the building where the Titanic
Writer-director, John Furse went on to attribute anti-UK feeling,
due to the impending war on Iraq, as 'probably the reason Lebanese
authorities withheld permission'.
Keenan and McCarthy - who were held for four-and-a-half and
five-and-a-half years respectively - have, however, given the
film their blessing.
Blind Flight draws on material from both of their books and will
be released in the New Year.
Our picture shows Ian Hart, John McCarthy and director, John
Furse, at the screening at the Odeon West End on Thursday, October
23. Photo Credit: Nick Wall.