The sumptuous film from Owen Tooth
'What do you do when you are trapped? Trapped inside your own head because you have lost your voice. The Watchmaker wants to tinker inside and find the cogs and screws, take you apart and put you back together. The Blacksmith wants to use his hammer to beat out your screams... 'The Opening' is about madness and fear; the claustrophobic terror that comes from within and turns every helping hand into an enemy.'
Owen Tooth has created a fantastical new mythology based around his own brushes with madness...
Starring the visceral Rupert Procter, lost alongside a cast of misfits including Elaine Davidson, the world's most pierced person with over 4500 piercings. The film also includes Emma Tooth's first performance.
Filmed largely on the grounds of Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire (location for the imfamous 1969 film 'Women in Love') 'The Opening' made the most of beautifully mouldering rooms untouched for decades, inches deep in the crumbling ashes of the past.
Elvaston Castle is a popular haunt of mediums and psychics as it has had a very long and colourful history and many violent ends have been met there. The Castle as it stands today was created by the 3rd Earl of Harrington and his beloved wife Maria nearly 200 years ago - they wanted to create a Gothic fantasy to celebrate their love.
The Opening is especially poignant since even as filming was taking place, arrangements were being made to bulldoze the grounds to make way for a private golf course and to turn the historic castle into a ghastly executive hotel. We like to think we brought the place to life one more time...
Although 'The Opening' is very much Owen Tooth's creation, Emma was involved in almost every aspect of the film; from acting to props, costumes, coaching actors, ambulance driving, storyboards, driving-while-filming from the windows of her car, graphic design, casting - and the eagle-eyed will even notice one of her portraits of Owen in the film. Owen and Emma are very much a husband and wife team, both contributing greatly to eachothers work.
Many months before filming began, Emma imagined a surreal short film - maybe only a minute long - where she and her dear friend Olivia Barnard-Firth would don their favourite costumes and sit in sumptuous surroundings, playing oijia board or drinking tea - much as they would in their normal lives, but theatrically heightened with beautiful harpsichord music playing... And her mercurial friend Elaine Davidson, couldn't she be involved too?
Owen had odd visions floating about too; a man burning on a cross, a sinister blacksmith... one night, driving back from a film festival in Nottingham together they began to talk, and the seed was sown. When out on a walk in the summer of 2005 they happened across the "tractor graveyard" on the grounds of Elvaston Castle, Owen wove all these ideas into a timeless fairytale and 'The Opening' was born.
Spring 2006 was fast approaching and it was decided that although funding hadn't been obtained, filming must go ahead before the mists and dead leaves of winter were lost. The sumptuous visual feast that is 'The Opening' was created on a shoestring budget, with little more than the good-will of talented friends and the ghosts of Elvaston Castle to bing it to life.
Emma's character-sketches for Clinic, Blacksmith and Watchmaker were made flesh as Emma put her costuming skills to good use. The jet-encrusted black Victorian dress Emma wears in the film is actually her real-life wedding dress created by Olivia, seated beside her. Emma made her own headdress, and of course Olivia made her own gown - and the scene is actually filmed in Olivia's dining room!
'The Opening' is a very personal film. As well as fantasy there is an awful lot of reality in it, too.