WELCOME TO KARASTAN (2014)
Genre: A Gentle Black comedy/Drama
Written: by Ben Hopkins and Pawel Pawlikowski
Synopsis: Indie Film Director Emil D Miller (Matthew Macfadyen) is down on his luck. Washed-up and mentally unstable. An illustrious start - Academy Award for best short, Hollywood acclaim - has fizzled out into a series of meetings with pretentious Advertising types. Jenny, his agent wants him to do some adverts. Maria, his cleaner, wants him to buy more toilet duck. He needs a change.
So when he receives an invitation to the Embassy of the Autonomous Republic of Karastan, he decides to go. Besides, the champagne is free. Little does he know that this could be the start of something big. Something Epic.
At the party President Aleluyev invites him to a film festival in the newly formed Republic of Karastan to attend a retrospective of Emil’s films. Emil is a little surprised - especially as the festival takes place in one week. Still why what has he got to lose? Besides, it gives him a chance to spend more time with Chulpan (Chulpan Khamatova), the quick, clever and beautiful film representative.
So he leaves behind Wolfgang, the dog, and heads to Karastan. The retrospective goes well. He meets Christopher Lambert - famous, handsome and on a permanent bender. After a crazy few days during which Lambert propositions him, Chulpan flirts with him and Emil screens his sophisticated adult film to an audience of bemused children, at least Emil is having fun. And the President asks him to direct Tanat, the movie - a huge epic film telling the story of Karastani fourteenth century medieval hero and founder.
In spite of some doubts Emil agrees. He is being followed by a mysterious shadow, the local film - makers are hostile - why is a foreigner making their national epic? And there seems to be some insurrection in the country. But, like all film-makers, Emil is a genius at ignoring inconvenient reality.
One press conference later, Emil has his lead actor - Christopher Lambert (as himself). The local press goes wild. Emil closes his eyes and wonders what on earth he has got himself into.
But surprisingly - Christopher Lambert is brilliant as Tanat. Emil spends happy days directing a cast of thousands in elaborate battle scenes. Meanwhile, he has fallen in love with Chulpan and she seems to reciprocate - they spend a romantic night together and Emil, for a film director, is almost happy. .
Until his lead actor is kidnapped, he discovers that Chulpan is not who she seems and President Aleluyev is overthrown in a military coup.
As bombs explode around him and Chulpan tells him she is actually working for the rebels, all of their lives are in danger. But all this is nothing compared to his real problem - how is he going to finish the film?
Matthew Macfadyen Role: Indie Film Director Emil D Miller
Status: Currently in post production. Filming began January 2013 in Georgia and ended in Germany and London in late March/early April.