London public Premiere

We are thrilled to announce that Alfred & Jakobine will finally be having its London "public" premiere on
Saturday, 24 September, 2016, at 11:00am

Rio Cinema
107 Kingsland High Street
E8 2PB

All of our UK friends and families have been very patient, and we hope you can now join us for the premiere. In attendance will be Producer Rob Fletcher, Co-Director Jonathan Howells, Director of Photography Rollo Hollins,  and others for an after screening audience Q&A.


Goodbye Jakobine

We are very saddened to tell you that we lost Jakobine a day ago.

Though Jakobine lived a life bigger, brighter, higher, wider, farther than most of us could ever hope for, it is still hard to believe she is now gone. We are so grateful that she allowed us into her world, and shared her utterly unique way of seeing it. We will miss her.

To use Niels' words: Skål, min elskede mor!

As a tribute, here is a wacky felting demonstration that Jakobine recorded in the 80s. We had been saving it for the film's DVD extras, but now is the right occasion for everyone to enjoy it. True blue, one-of-a-kind Jakobine! 

And we've just added a dedicated page to the website called MEMORIES, where you can all add your own personal memories of Jakobine (or Alfred) so others can enjoy them. Please feel free to add anything that comes to mind large or small. Click here for  the MEMORIES page.

San Paulo here we come

Alfred & Jakobine's South American Premiere will happen next week in San Paulo Brazil. 

We are really excited to be screening the film in Brazil next week, at the Telas Festival in San Paulo. Director Jonathan Howells will be in attendance (his first visit to Brazil) to present the film and do an audience Q&A. This will be his second Q&A via a translator so should be entertaining!

The screening is on Tuesday, 11th October, at 19:00, at Auditorium MIS.

We'll be sure to upload lots of news and photos via our Facebook page, so be sure to tune in.

And the award for best soundtrack...

...goes to Alfred & Jakobine! Our beautiful soundtrack, composed by the talented Nick Urata, has been awarded the 2014 IDA Award for Best Music.

We always knew the music that Nick composed and performed for our film was gorgeous and pitch perfect for the nuances of story, but we did not expect it to be award winning!  We're rather proud.

The IDA Documentary Awards ceremony happens in L.A. at the Paramount Theater, on 5th of December 2014.

For those of you who don't know who Nick Urata is, you'll be interested to know he's the leader of the band Devotchka, and the composer of many film soundtracks including Little Miss Sunshine, I love you Phillip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love, What Maisie Knew, and yes, Alfred & Jakobine

You can hear one of hear one of the pieces from Nick's A&J soundtrack here and an article from the A&J site about Nick's score. Congrats Nick, for yet another award, and thank you again for your tremendous work on the film.



Five Star review

University of Roehampton senior film/tv lecturer Alexandra Sage, gives A&J a five star review.

Jonathan Howells, first-time director of Alfred and Jakobine, set out to make an adventure film about a long-distance London cab journey, of which according to him, there have been many. Whilst doing so he also embarked on a different kind of journey, to tell the story of two people, their love affair, and how they lived their lives because of it, and in spite of it.

During the filmmaking the story developed in unexpected ways to ultimately illuminate the fantastically complex but common themes of love in various forms, and the beauty of living at least part of your life with near-total freedom. In the end, Alfred and Jakobine are like the rest of us, both empowered and constrained by their natures.

The story of the cab itself is central, sold on from a life on London streets, to cross the world’s continents. The narrative twists and turns like the journey itself, with wonderful visuals formed around film archive, diaries and photographs. With an almost eerie foresight, the adventurers would hand their camera to anyone passing, sometimes setting up shots like amateur directors. This colourful tapestry is offset by the characters themselves, who live their lives in the present, and describe and reflect on the past from their ageing perspectives.

Not only is Alfred and Jakobine narratively and thematically rich; it is also filmically beautiful and aesthetically rewarding. The form and the content are perfectly matched; the new footage is simple and doesn’t put a foot wrong, blending effortlessly with the materials of the past to create a modern-day road movie.

The editing is gently paced but driven by an internal momentum that slowly unfurls the story to reach a quietly gripping and heart-wrenching conclusion. As Howells said at the UK premiere, editor Paul Carlin, “found beautiful poetry in moments others would overlook”.

This isn’t a film about an epic historic event, or a work of revealing investigative journalism. In many ways it is both those things and more, and has much to suggest to us about the human condition, and the many forms that life journeys, and love, can take.

Alexandra Sage
Senior Lecturer in Digital Film and Television Production
Department of Media, Culture and Language
University of Roehampton

Thanks Alex! You can read the original review (and many others) on Alex's excellent blog DocExchange.

A&J in 5 more international festivals

Details on the other US (October) and South American (November) festivals to follow when they make their line-up announcements in the weeks ahead.

We’re on the BBC World Service!

Alfred and Jakobine on BBC World Service Radio

Well, Niels (Alfred and Jakobine's son) is, to be more accurate - but he'll be retelling the story of Alfred & Jakobine (with a few surprises) to a world-wide radio/web audience of over 30 million people. No pressure Niels!

You can tune in to BBC World Service's Outlook radio program here.  The show should be on around noon GMT, tomorrow (Tuesday, July 1st) so quite early for all of you in North America, but can be listened to it any time after that first broadcast via BBC World Service's website.  We haven't heard it yet ourselves, so can't wait.

Alfred & Jakobine is back from its UK and US premieres!

We had a great time at Sheffield Doc/Fest for Alfred & Jakobine's UK premiere, and at AFI Docs in Washington, DC for our US premiere. Great audiences; great Q&A's; wonderful festival staff that made us feel very special.

At Sheffield Doc/Fest, Festival Director Heather Croall, listed us in her "five to watch" list at this year's festival. Needless to say, we were thrilled.

Thanks to both festivals for selecting A&J. We were honoured to be there. And a big thanks to the enthusiastic audiences in both Sheffield and Washington.

We now await word from a handful of other festivals, in other countries, about A&J's appearances in the Autumn. Fingers crossed everyone!

Lincoln Memorial
Alfred & Jakobine at AFI Docs
Alfred and Jakobine at AFI Docs 2
Alfred and Jakobine at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Thank you Toronto.

Hot Docs Q&A2.jpg

We have very fond memories of our time at Hot Docs, in Toronto. We were welcomed so warmly by the super-nice programmers, staff and volunteers, and we can't thank them enough. The film also had great reactions from the theatre-going public. As we mentioned last time, out of over 200 films, the audiences voted Alfred & Jakobine in their top 20 best films of the festival - wow - thank you Toronto!

Here are a few reviews that we picked up along the way:


It's been an exciting few weeks since that North American premiere at Hot Docs. We're thrilled to be able to tell you we've been selected to appear in two more big film festivals this summer, making it four festivals so far.

The first will be the Sheffield Doc/Fest, which will be our UK premiere, June 7-12, followed by the AFI Docs Festival, in Washington, DC, which will be our US premiere, June 18-22. 

Sheffild and AFI laurels.jpg

We'll be sure to keep you updated on other festival news, but here's a little news flash - we have a good feeling we may be accepted into a festival in Argentina this autumn, which is very exciting, and we've been asked to submit "screeners" of the film to no less than 5 other festivals around the world, including China, Brazil and Australia.

So, fingers crossed - it could be a busy summer / autumn / winter touring with the film.


Posters still available.

Lastly, we're thrilled that the new Alfred & Jakobine, limited edition posters have been so popular. They're selling quickly, but we still have lots available if you'd like one. The official DVDs of the film (with all sorts of extras) will be available in the months ahead, and in our next newsletter, we'll let you know how you can pre-register so we can inform you personally when they arrive. 

The posters are available directly from the website's PRODUCTS page. By the way, our website has just been completely redone, and features a big, bold GALLERY page with lots of Alfred and Jakobine's archives to enjoy. Have a look.

We look forward to sending you more updates in the next newsletter. Have a great balance of May. Bring on the summer!

PS  Here's a little image of Jakobine with one of the posters in her house!

A&J finishes in audience top 20 picks for best film at Hot Docs 2014

A&J ticket and Hot Docs catalogue 800px.jpg
A&J Hot Docs catalogue page 800px.jpg

Hi again from the Alfred & Jakobine team. We've just returned from 10 days in Toronto, at the wonderful Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, where the film had 3 screenings.

Each screening had an enthusiastic audience Q&A afterwards and much to everyone's delight, Niels Hobbs (Alfred and Jakobine's son) was in attendance for the first two. The film had an overwhelmingly positive response from both Hot Docs programmers and audiences alike, and needless to say, we're thrilled.

For director, Jonathan Howells, bringing the film "home" to Toronto, where he is originally from, was a proud moment. And having first pitched this film at the Hot Docs Forum a few years back, it was a real pleasure bringing the finished film back to Hot Docs.

A big thanks goes out to the programmers at Hot Docs who selected our film for the 2014 festival.

So we've now had our European and North American premieres (in Canada) but have yet to premiere the film in the US. We plan on screenings in both Providence, Rhode Island where Niels lives, and also in Taos, New Mexico, where Alfred lived. We know all of his friends in Taos are eagerly awaiting the premiere there, and we promise it's coming soon.

We just received exciting news about our UK premiere, but can't yet announce which festival - stay tuned for an update on that very soon.

A&J Hot Docs audience 800px.jpg
Hot Docs 2014 JH, NH, RF Q&A.jpg

The audience Q&A after our 2nd Hot Docs screening. Seen here (from left to right) are Producer Rob Fletcher,

Niels Hobbs, director Jonathan Howells, and Hot Docs programmer Myrocia Watamaniuk (photo courtesy of haikugirlmm via Instagram) 

PS  We unveiled our brand new poster design for Hot Docs 2014 (see below)! It features an illustration of Alfred and Jakobine, which we commissioned from the talented artist Ed Fairburn.

The illustration is integrated into the roadways and lanes within a real, antique map of Casablanca, which is where Alfred & Jakobine first found their old London taxi. The "screenings" label is based on an actual "Bombay" shipping label that belonged to A&J, adapted for the poster to feature the dates of the film's screenings.

Let us know what you think. You can purchase a poster from our PRODUCTS page.

Wall for A&J poster.jpg

Hot Docs: North American premiere


Hello everyone,

We're thrilled to tell you that Alfred & Jakobine will be appearing at the 2014 Hot Docs documentary festival in Toronto in late April, early May!  Just a few weeks since our European premiere at FIPA in Biarritz, we'll now be taking the film to our director's home town of Toronto for its North American premiere. Needless to say, he's thrilled, as we all are. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, including you!

It's been a long time coming but this is the festival we've had our fingers very firmly crossed for. The days/times of our 3 screenings are:


Fri, Apr 25      9:45 PM    TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Sun, Apr 27    1:30 PM    Isabel Bader Theatre

Sun, May 4     9:15 PM    HART HOUSE Theatre  

Tickets for the screenings can be purchased on the Hot Docs website here:

We hope to see you in Toronto!




Here are a few images from our premiere at FIPA. Thanks again FIPA for a great festival, and being great hosts.


Hello again,

We're thrilled to tell you that Alfred & Jakobine has landed in its first film festival! A&J will be having its world premiere at the FIPA Film Festival, in Biarritz, France at the end of this month.

As you know, it's been a long (long) road to get here, but we are thrilled to be in the illustrious line-up at FIPA 2014. We'll be sure to give you updates from Biarritz, because we are actually one of 12 documentaries in their "Creative Documentary Competition" which will be viewed and voted on by a jury in the first of two screenings.

Director, Jonathan Howells, will be in attendance at the festival, and will do a Q&A with the audience after the screenings. Biarritz, here we come!


We are done!

 We've been waiting for a very, very long time to tell you this - Alfred & Jakobine is finished! We repeat, Alfred & Jakobine is finished!  

The last 2.5 weeks have been spent in very dark rooms, with glowing dails at Creativity Media, our post production house. First for the grading (colour correction) with our amazing colourist Pat Wintersgill, and online editor Filipe Fernandes, who really polished out a few technical challenges within our footage.


A scene in the film during the grade. Shown are white tracking markers
that follow the movements of a detail within footage.
This allows moving colour adjustments to be made to skin tones, hair, shadows, etc.

Patrick Wintersgill working on the colour grading for Alfred & Jakobine


Another scene shown during grading. As above, this shows white tracking markers on Alfred's face,
which allowed us to make colour adjustments to his face alone within the interview footage.

 Then we then sat down with the talented Richard Kondal, head of sound at Creativity Media, who mixed the film's 5.1 surround sound. A very big thanks goes out to sound designer Stelios Koupetouris as well, who created some amazing soundscapes for us, including one very critical, emotional section that went beyond conventional sound design.


Richard Kondal working on the sound mix for Alfred & Jakobine

Here's a interesting little Instagram video that shows our 5.1 surround sound audio mix as a diagram. The centre of the shape represents the listener's position in a theatre, and the 5 points of relative surround sound are centre, front left & right, and behind left & right



A big thanks to Patrick Fischer, Managing Director of Creativity Media for taking on our little film, and Post-Production Supervisor Marion Briozzo, who looked after us along the way.

So when can you see the film, you ask? Well, first we hope it will appear in a few film festivals. That will generate some buzz (we hope) which will help generate interest from television documentary strands around the world. Our sales agent, PBS International, is on the case.

We have already submitted the film to a few of the world's top film festivals, and now we wait for them to tell us whether we've gotten in or not. Fingers crossed.

Regardless of which film festivals we get into, we will plan local screenings in the new year, in both Taos (Alfred's home town), and in Providence (Niels' home town, which is fairly close for Jakobine and Rusty to attend). We'll also have a London screening. We'll be sure to give everyone lots of notice.

Meanwhile, this story continues, even though Alfred is no longer with us. Niels continues to explore his father's past, as he is now the keeper of Alfred's legendary "travel trunks". A few days ago Niels told us he had found some things he'd never seen before - items very symbolic for the film itself - he found Alfred and Jakobine's marriage certificate and also their divorce papers.  

Niels also found an extensive report written by Alfred that he sent to National Geographic magazine a few years after they returned to the U.S. Though Alfred (and Jakobine too) would often down play the grandeur of their epic travels, it is clear that Alfred was very proud of what they accomplished. This letter to NG is apparently extremely detailed and comprehensive, which doesn't surprise me. Even at 84-years-old, Alfred's memory for detail was incredible.

Though the film hasn't debuted yet, Niels is already thinking about a book to complement the film, and his latest discoveries have given him even more motivation. We hope he'll make that happen, and we will help him as much as we can.

So, we'll give you updates on screenings, and/or how you can get the film on DVD in the new year.

We made it everybody!


PS A few of you told us that the Nick Urata track from our soundtrack wasn't showing up in the newsletter, Sorry about that. You can hear it here


Nick Urata completes the score for Alfred & Jakobine



Hello again. We've got another A&J update for you. This time, we're very happy to tell you that the score for Alfred & Jakobine is now complete! We had the good fortune of working with the talented Nick Urata, founder of the band Devotchka, and composer of many great film scores including Little Miss Sunshine, I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love, Virginia and many others.

We have a treat for you below. You can listen to one of the tracks!

In the late stages of finishing a film, one of the hardest things to do, having spent months with "temp (temporary) music" in the editing of a film, is to get beyond that music, and move into the 'new' final music. We simply all fell in love with our temp music, and how it played in all the scenes of the film perfectly. That's not always the case, but it was in this instance - we all would have loved to keep all of it in place!  

It had to change, but fortunately that temp music was by Nick, taken from his other film scores, so he understood exactly what we were after for Alfred & Jakobine.

A bit of background. Amazingly, Nick actually knew Alfred Hobbs. Alfred was a close friend of Nick's wife's family. In fact, Alfred was at Nick's wedding. And it was Alfred himself who introduced us to Nick several years ago.

Our director, Jonathan Howells, and producer Rob Fletcher, met up with Nick in London when his band Devotchka was in town for a show. We'd already talked extensively about what the film's many "scenes" needed from it's score, but meeting face to face (for the first time) was very helpful for all of us.

He then went back to California, and got to work in his studio. Over the weeks that followed, Nick sent us musical sketches and ideas, many of which were perfect in their initial state.
After a few backs and forths for refinements, the final score was recorded. Many of the tracks have live strings, percussion, accordians, and a lot of spacey guitar performed by Nick himself.

As we had hoped, the score has taken the film to the next level. Thank you Nick for your exceptional work.

So, we hope you enjoy hearing one the film's tracks. It supports a scene where Alfred and Niels are in a Texas bar. Alfred talks to a stranger about his life, and that ultimately, he realised he was meant to be a loner. It's a moving moment, with Nick's music making it even more so.

You might recognise the melody that was made famous by Elvis as "Love me Tender", but it's not actually his song. The song "Aura Lee" goes back to the Civil War. Nick's version of "Aura Lee" is haunting and full of emotion, particularly in juxtaposition with the scene in the film (a frame from which is shown here)



"Aura Lee"
Performed by Nick Urata
Courtesy of Cicero Records

Tune in next time when we'll tell about the final stages of colour grading and sound mix, leading to the actual completion of the film!



Alfred & Jakobine's very first (test) screening

Producer Rob Fletcher at the A&J test screening


In our last update, we told you we had finally finished the editing on Alfred & Jakobine. We're now in the midst of working on the film's score with Nick Urata, then we move into the final final colour grading and sound mix.

Finishing the edit was a huge accomplishment for us, of course, and we believed we had something special, but we needed to see how a 'typical' audience would respond to it. That would be the true test.  

So we arranged a test screeing at the BFI (British Film Institute) and had a full audience in attendance. The group was made up of strangers, not friends. We didn't want the biased feedback of friends, but rather the frank feedback from people that weren't afraid to tell us what they really thought - good or bad. 

In attendance was Producer Rob Fletcher, Executive Producer/Co-Director Tom Roberts, and Director Jonathan Howells.  You can imagine our slight trepidation as the group got settled, the lights went down, and then, for the first time, we saw our film glowing on the big screen. This was the point of no return.



The group sat very still as the story unfolded before them. They reacted at the right moments, and laughed where we hoped they would, and 73 minutes later, the lights came back up. They were all asked fill out a questionaire, exploring different aspects of their experience watching the film, and also provide a one-liner summing up their overall reaction to the film. We left them alone to complete the questionnaires.

Twenty minutes later we returned to the theatre, and began a discussion. Their reactions? They loved it! Truly. We were completely overjoyed and rather relieved! The discussion was lively and nuanced, with great comments and insights coming from the group.


Here are some excerpts from their questionnaires:

"Absolutely beautiful"
"Heartbreakingly romantic"
"Amazing - a beautiful journey physically and emotionally on many levels"
"Very moving - the way the story played out, weaving in and out of the past and the present. I loved it"
" Really good mix of drama, humour, archive, through time and places"
" A wonderful blend of Amelie and Easy Rider"
" Bittersweet"
" Sadly reflective of how love can be lost"
" A real life love story road movie"


Not bad eh!  We hope that gets you excited. It certainly had us excited. We can't wait to show the film to all of you and a wider audience. Hopefully first at some film festivals.

So, that's it for now. Tune in next time when we'll tell about the the film's score by Nick Urata, and even give you a sneak peak listen at one of the his tracks. Bye for now.


Alfred & Jakobine: Editing is complete!

It was over 7 years ago that Director Jonathan Howells first met Alfred Hobbs, and he realised that Alfred and his ex-wife Jakobine, had a story worthy of a feature film. It's been over 4 years since we filmed his crossing of America in the old taxi with Niels. So it is with huge excitement (and a little bit of disbelief) that we can tell you the final edit of Alfred & Jakobine is now (wait for it) complete!  And we are very, very proud of it (yes, the film has returned to it's original title).

Let's rewind a bit. As is clear with the making of our film - getting independent documentary films completed can take a very long time! Part of the reason it has taken us so long was the hunt for funding to finish it properly. All the support from those of your who participated in our "buy-a-mile" program (thanks to all of you) helped Alfred restore the taxi and make the journey, but we needed more to finish the film in a manner that would do the story justice.

In a previous update we mentioned that Jonathan had attended the 2012 Sheffield Doc Fest's "Meet Market" where he completed 20 pitches in 2 days, to some of the world's biggest players in Documentary commissioning and funding. One of the very last pitches was to Film Agency Wales (FAW), and it was FAW and Cat Cooper from Wales based Elfin Productions who came through for us to help complete the package.



Now fast forward a few months - with most of the funding finally secured we hoped we could entice the editor that we had wanted all along - Paul Carlin. Fortunately timing worked in our favour, and the ever-busy Paul enthusiastically came aboard between finishing one film and starting another. Over the next couple of months we waded through our over 70 hours of rushes, plus the archival film that A&J shot in the late 50s and early 60s. Jonathan also read through all of Jakobine's hundreds of pages of hand-written travel journals, some of which we had to translate from Danish, thanks to Janus Avivson for helping with that…
During the editing process we talked a lot about the story, the characters, the balance of the past and present, the archives, the modern footage and Jakobine's travel journals which would ultimately become a critical element - giving us unique insights into the depths of the love affair. Balancing all of those elements was no small task - but then, little by little, the film started to emerge.




Paul did a truly exceptional job of finding the story within the story - the emotional pulse that was within moments and between moments, and then balancing them all with sensitivity and drama.
It wasn't easy, the editing of any documentary film requires a lot of exploration and experimentation. Going down some paths that prove to be dead ends, and then finding others that were invisible at first.  We knew where we needed to get, but it took us some time to get there.  But when we did , we all knew it. We could feel it. So, big thanks to Paul Carlin, for his amazing editing, and also to our Executive Producer/Co-Director Tom Roberts who was pivotal in helping us through some challenging stages with the story telling. Last but not least - thanks to our Producer, Rob Fletcher, for his patience and support during the whole process... We're really proud of our collective efforts.
So the edit is done, but the film is not quite finished. There are a few critical stages still to come.
First, the film's score, then the final colour grading and sound mix. As many of you know, you watch a film with your eyes, but to a large extent you feel a film with your ears. We hope the music and sound design for Alfred & Jakobine will take it to the next level.
For our score, we are very lucky and honoured to have the talented Nick Urata on board. Nick is one of the founding members of the band Devotchka, and also has become a formidable film composer in recent years, having scored Little Miss Sunshine, I love you Philip Morris, Virginia, among many others.

And for our grading and sound, we are delighted to be working with London-based Creativity Media.

Tune in next time for news on a test screening of the finished edit that we have planned - with a real audience. Gulp!

A&J team interviewed on Butcher's Apron radio show


Hi all,

Last time we mentioned that Alfred & Jakobine Director Jonathan Howells, and Cinematographer Rollo Hollins had been interviewed on the Butcher's Apron radio show, part of the fabuluous North London-based NTS web radio station, well you can now listen to that interview below. Hope you enjoy it.

Also, on the 14th and 15th of June, we'll be attending the Sheffield Doc Fest's "Meet Market", an intensive pitching forum. Jonathan Howells will be making 19 pitches over 2 days, plus lots of informal pitches as he pounces on commissioning editors at event parties (not his style at all, so wish him luck). We hope to come out of Meet Market with some support in the form of pre-sales, co-production deals, and other forms of funding that will help us reach the finish line. We are so, so close. Fingers crossed.

Bye for now.


Driven wins Reelisor pitch award


Hello Driven fans.

A few bits of exciting news for you.

1. We just found out that we have won the Reelisor pitch award! Reelisor is an online documentary film community that fosters support for new documentary films in development. Driven was selected among many other projects by a jury made up of Iikka Vehkalahti, Karolina Lidin and Margret Jónasdóttir.

While winning the pitch award doesn't provide us with any of the much needed funding we're seeking to finish the film, it is a great vote of confidence in the film, great exposure for the project, and gives us access to the talented Charlie Phillips for mentoring. Charlie is the Marketplace Director at the Sheffield Doc/Fest.

2. We just completed a radio interview with The Butcher's Apron, where our Director Jonathan Howells and cinematograper Rollo Hollins talked about the challenges (and joys) of shooting Driven all across America with Alfred, Niels, Jakobine and Rusty.

The show will air on the 29th of April at 2:00 GMT (9:00am EST) so tune in and give a listen.

3. We've had some very promising recent reactions to our new "script" or "paper edit" of the film, from a few high profile commissioning editors, so fingers crossed. The paper edit is essentially the whole film made, but on paper - word for word, scene for scene, moment for moment. This will be the starting point for the actual edit, when we start it in the coming months.

The script makes very good use of material collected from a recent trip back to Oneida, NY to visit Jakobine and Rusty, one more time. The photo below is Jakobine during that visit. A big thanks goes out to Sarah Holm, a Danish, New York based journalist who helped us with the interviews. She did an amazing job, and Jakobine really opened up discussing a lot of things she hadn't before.

We've set a deadline for ourselves to finish the film - we want to complete it for the submissions deadline at Sundance Film Festival this year. That's October so we've only got 6 months to go. So please spread the word. In the next week or so we'll be initiating a new online fund raising drive, and we'll look to you, our fans, to help us spread the word. Speak to you then.


Driven update




Apologies for the long, long overdue update from us at Driven. It's been a busy past few months, and we've got lots to tell you about.

First of all, let's tell you about the HotDoc Forum in Toronto, all the way back in May. 
The HotDocs Forum takes place during the Hot Doc Documentary Festival in Toronto each year. It is an invitation only pitch session to all of the top commissioning editors from all over the world. We were 1 of 27 films invited this year, so quite a vote of confidence.

We were second last to pitch on the second day. Rob Fletcher and Jonathan Howells were fortunate to have our new Exectutive Producer Tom Roberts sit at our pitch table, along with Tom Koch from PBS International, who is our new international sales agent, but more about that in a moment.

The sessions take place in the Great Hall at Hart House at the University of Toronto. The room looks like Hogwarts dining hall from Harry Potter! There is a long, rectangular set up of tables, with the moderators at the far end, all the commissioning editors along the sides, and with us at the other end. At both ends of the room are screens for trailers/demos to be viewed. There is also an audience of nearly a hundred who sit in on the pitches. So, a pretty intimidating environment!

We were introduced, and then given our 7 minutes to make the pitch, 3 1/2 of which was taken up by our trailer. We set up the story, explained our intended approach, then the lights were dimmed, and our trailer was played. We sat in the dark watching it for the hundredth time, and when it was over, the lights came back up, and Rob and I swallowed... it was time for the commissioning editors to react.


Here are some of their comments:

"I do love this story - one of the pitches I was looking forward to."
Jane Jankovic,
TVO Commissioning Editor Canada

"I have a road stories strand, -  I am in."
Murray Battle
Director of Independent Production and
Presentation Canada

"It makes it difficult for both of us, I was looking forward to this pitch and Murray and I can battle it out."
Bob Culbert,
CBC Executive Producer Canada

"Sweet and lovely story, would love to talk some more. I want to do a series on love, and this would fit in."
Barbara Truyen
VPRO Commissioning Editor Documentaries

"Sounds beautiful - almost Hollywood."
Susanne Mertens
ZDF Commissioning Editor

"I ask if I would love to see this and I think yes."
Iikka Vehkalahti
YLE TV 2 Documentaries Commissioning Editor

"I love the archival footage, I'm interested is seeing more..."
Mette Hoffmann
Meyer DR Media Head editor of Documentaries

So, very good reactions. We were a bit stunned -kind of in disbelief. There were some critical comments, mainly about being careful the film isn't too sweet/too Hollywood, and has some real depth to it, which we completely agree with.

I mentioned PBS International at the start. We were approached by PBS before we arrived at Hot Docs. They had reviewed the project, and contacted us about possible representation. We were thrilled, of course, but carefully reviewed some other options. Ultimately, we decided they were a good fit for us, being that our film takes place in the US, with American characters, but also with a global backstory.
So, thanks to Charles Schuerhoff and Tom Koch from PBS International, for spotting us, and pursuing us. We're thrilled to be with you.

After HotDocs, we spent time with our amazing Exec Producer, Tom Roberts, developing some more rough cut scenes, to show to BBC Storyville, who showed some interest in Toronto. We're now had a couple of sessions with Storyville, but so far, no commission. We're working on it!

Most recently, I have been working on a "paper-edit" with Tom Roberts. Because we're still seeking our "finishing budget" we can't move into the actual edit yet, but instead, we've been editing the film scene for scene, line for line, on paper. It's been a great process, and has reinforced for us just how strong our material is.

We also received a real treasure from Niels Hobbs, Alfred and Jakobine's son. It is the hundreds of pages of Jakobine's original travel journals. They are evocative, colourful and insightful, and really conjure what it was like for the two of them to travel the world in that old taxi. Thanks Niels. This will be invaluable for the film.

So, there's a nice long (and long overdue) update for you all. We intend to be much more frequent with our posts leading into next year, and hope to have some more exciting new very soon.

Driven selected for HOT DOCS Forum 2011!



We are very pleased to tell you all that Driven has been selected as one of 27 international, documentary film projects to pitch at the 2011 Hot Docs Forum event in Toronto, on May 4th and 5th. Projects will be coming from countries all over the world, including Argentina, Denmark, Peru, Israel, Syria, USA, Canada, and the UK. View the full list here.

This is an amazing opportunity for us to introduce our wonderful story to a impressive list of "attending buyers". These are television commissioners, buyers, distributors, agents, funders and associations  (see the list below - gulp!).

Producer Rob Fletcher and Director Jonathan Howells will be there in Toronto to pitch, and we hope to get some of these buyers excited about Driven. Last month, Rob and Jonathan attended the Engine Room Workshop, a pitching event associated with the Sheffield Doc Fest. Driven was a unanimous favourite among all in attendance, so we're optimistic for Hot Docs.

The Hot Docs Forum could help us find the funding we need to see Driven to the finish line, as well as connect us with the international film community, so wish us luck at the beginning of May everyone! We'll let you know how it goes.


International buyers at the 2011 Hot Docs Forum:


  • Infinto Hernan Topasso


  • SBS Television Australia Ben Nguyen
  • Screen Australia Julia Overton


  • Autlook Filmsales Andrea Hock
  • Autlook Filmsales Peter Jäger


  • Astral Media Kathleen Meek
  • Bogeydom Licensing George Ayoub
  • BuzzTaxi Communications Inc. Jenna Bourdeau
  • Canwest Broadcasting Christine Shipton
  • CBC Michael Claydon
  • CBC Bruce Cowley
  • CBC News Network Andrew Johnson
  • CBC News Network Catherine Olsen
  • CBC Science & Natural History Unit Michael Allder
  • Corus Entertainment Michael Harris
  • Discovery Channel Canada Lindsay Cowan Dotchison
  • Discovery Channel Canada Paul Lewis
  • E1 Films International Charlotte Mickie
  • Filmoption International Lizanne Rouillard
  • Films Transit International Inc. Jan Rofekamp
  • High Fidelity HDTV John Panikkar
  • High Fidelity HDTV Daphne Vaz
  • High Fidelity HDTV Craig Colby
  • High Fidelity HDTV Andrea Harrick
  • Interactive Ontario Ian Kelso
  • KinoSmith Robin Smith
  • Knowledge Murray Battle
  • Knowledge Rudy Buttignol
  • Maple Pictures John Bain
  • Mongrel Media Caroline Habib
  • Movie Central Julie Di Cresce
  • RIDM Roxanne Sayegh
  • RIDM Myriam Lisee-Castan
  • SRC Société Radio-Canada Georges Amar
  • Super Channel Justin Rebelo
  • Super Channel Marguerite Pigott
  • Super Channel Maureen Levitt
  • TVOntario Jane Jankovic
  • TVOntario Naomi Boxer
  • TVOntario Linda Fong
  • TVOntario Christine McGlade


  • iDocs China Coraline Zou


  • CPH:DOX Daniellla Eversby
  • Filmkontakt Nord Katrine Kiilgaard
  • Filmkontakt Nord Karin Johansson-Mex
  • Nordic Film and TV Fund Karolina Lidin


  • YLE TV 2 Documentaries Iikka Vehkalahti
  • YLE Current Affairs Nina Tuominen


  • ARTE France Christilla Huillard-Kann
  • ARTE France Nathalie Verdier
  • ARTE France Karen Michael
  • ARTE France Alex Szalat
  • ARTE GEIE Olaf Grunert
  • CAT&Docs Catherine LeClef
  • Wide Management Anais Clanet


  • NDR Patricia Schlesinger


  • Channel 1 Israel Neil Weisbrod
  • yesDocu Guy Lavie


  • RAI Lorenzo Hendel


  • NHK Takahiro Hamano
  • NHK Tomoko Okutsu

Korea South

  • Pusan Internatoinal Film Festival Hyosook Hong


  • AVRO Marijke Huijbregts
  • IDFA Ally Derks
  • SND Films Sydney Neter
  • VPRO Barbara Truyen


  • FilmCamp Svein Andersen


  • SVT Hjalmar Palmgren


  • First Hand Films Esther van Messel

United Arab Emirates

  • Dubai International Film Festival Jane Williams

United Kingdom

  • BBC Mark GoodChild
  • Channel 4 Television Anna Miralis
  • Channel 4 Television Simon Dickson
  • Dogwoof Distribution Oli Harbottle
  • Dogwoof Distribution Anna Godas
  • Mercury Media Tim Sparke
  • Mercury Media Calum Gray

United States

  • 7th Art Releasing Udy Epstein
  • A&E IndieFilms Molly Thompson
  • Al Jazeera English Jean Garner
  • American Documentary l POV Chris White
  • American Documentary l POV Simon Killmurry
  • Balcony Releasing Greg Kendall
  • Balcony Releasing Connie White
  • Catapult Film Fund Lisa Chanoff
  • Catapult Film Fund Bonni Cohen
  • Cause & Affect Ted Richane
  • Cinetic Rights Management Emi Norris
  • Crowd Starter Paola Freccero
  • Crowd Starter Liz Ogilvie
  • ESPN & ESPN Classic Mark Durand
  • Films Transit International Inc. Diana Holtzberg
  • Ford Foundation Orlando Bagwell
  • Goldcrest Films Nick Quested
  • Hamptons International Film Festival David Nugent
  • Icarus Films Jonathan Miller
  • Impact Partners Dan Cogan
  • Independent FIlm PBS PLUS Kathryn Lo
  • KETC (PBS - St. Louis) John Lindsay
  • Link Media Lorraine Hess
  • Magnolia Films Laird Adamson
  • MSNBC Scott Hooker
  • Naked Edge Films Jim Butterworth
  • Naked Edge Films Daniel Chalfen
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Sonia Feigenbaum
  • Participant Productions Diane Weyermann
  • PBS Interactive Eric Freeland
  • PBS WGBH International Tom Koch
  • PBS WGBH International Charles Schuerhoff
  • Ro*co films international Sue Turley
  • Shooting People Ingrid Kopp
  • Shoreline Entertainment Sam Eigen
  • Submarine Josh Braun
  • Sundance Channel Ann Rose
  • Sundance Film Festival Caroline Libresco
  • Sundance Film Festival David Courier
  • The Documentary Channel Kate Pearson
  • The Documentary Channel James Ackerman
  • Tribeca Film Institute Ryan Harrington
  • True/ False Paul Sturtz
  • True/False David Wilson
  • Women Make Movies Debra Zimmerman
  • Zeitgeist Films Ian Stimler