A film guar­an­teed to put any­one to sheep

App writ­ers take a foray into the moviemak­ing busi­ness

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

FOR­GET ac­tors, di­a­logue, a plot or even an av­er­age film length. A new flick is push­ing the bound­aries by pro­duc­ing a whop­ping eight-hour slow-mo­tion film star­ring only sheep.

Ti­tled Baa Baa Land, the film – which is made in the UK but fi­nanced by Amer­i­cans – is set to pre­miere in Septem­ber.

While the of­fi­cial red car­pet show­cas­ing will take place at the Prince Charles Cinema in Lon­don’s West End, it will also go live on­line on the same date to be an­nounced.

The dig­i­tal ver­sion – set for a global au­di­ence – is set to pre­miere on Calm.com, the Cal­i­for­nia-based meditation ap­pli­ca­tion that pro­duced the app Calm.

De­spite the movie only fea­tur­ing the farm an­i­mal, it is also one of the long­est films ever pro­duced. But, al­though it is about 480 min­utes long, pro­ducer Peter Freed­man said the film was only the 19th long­est of all time.

This makes it only five min­utes shorter than Em­pire, Andy Warhol’s 1964 film, and the same length as his 1967 work The Imi­ta­tion of Christ.

Mean­while, the long­est movie ever made is Lo­gis­tics, a Swedish ex­pe­ri­en­tial art film made in 2012 and last­ing 857 hours, or 35 days and 17 hours.

“It is also an ex­am­ple of Slow Cinema, a genre of art films known for long takes, slow pace and lack of ac­tion or nar­ra­tive,” said Baa Baa

Land’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and co-founder of Calm Alex Tew.

“It’s bet­ter than any sleep­ing pill – the ul­ti­mate in­som­nia cure.”

In its trailer, which was re­cently re­leased on­line, the film is de­scribed as a meditation, a dream, an en­chant­ment, a tonic for the soul”.

For those who lack the time to watch the en­tire film, an 86-sec­ond trailer avail­able on the Calm.com blog gives a taste, while a voiceover ex­plains its ra­tio­nale.

“In a world of con­stant stress and in­for­ma­tion over­load, of anx­ious days and rest­less nights, comes the chance at last to pause, to breathe, to calm our rac­ing minds and fret­ful souls, to sit and stare at sheep,” the voiceover in the trailer said. Freed­man ex­plained that

Baa Baa Land was the first screen epic en­tirely star­ring sheep: “A cast of hun­dreds – all of them sheep.

“Count them if you can, but don’t stress if you can’t. Sit back, wind down, drift off to sheep.”

He in­sists that this type of film is not meant to com­pete with oth­ers.

“Is it also the dullest movie ever made? We think so.”

“We hope that au­di­ences will too,” Freed­man said. Like the Star Wars, Harry

Pot­ter and In­di­ana Jones movies be­fore it, Baa Baa Land is fi­nanced with Amer­i­can money but made in the UK by mainly Bri­tish tal­ent.

It was shot en­tirely on lo­ca­tion in Es­sex, a few miles from Lon­don.

“We’re in dis­cus­sion about US and wider distri­bu­tion and in talks with an Amer­i­can TV chan­nel,” said Michael Ac­ton Smith, its other ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and Calm’s other co-founder. “We don’t ex­pect it to break box-of­fice records but be­lieve there is at least a niche au­di­ence for it.

“Baa Baa Land has no car-chases, ex­plo­sions or star names, all it has is sheep and fields. Noth­ing hap­pens for eight hours.”

Smith added that while the av­er­age cam­era shot in Hol­ly­wood ac­tion movies like The

Bourne Supremacy lasts two sec­onds, the av­er­age shot in Baa Baa Land last over 30 min­utes.

“Apart from some mu­sic over the film’s cred­its, the only sound­track is the sound of sheep mak­ing the sort of noises that lend the film its name.”

He said Baa Baa Land was no re­la­tion to La La Land, the re­cent Hol­ly­wood hit with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Its poster, how­ever, does pay an af­fec­tion­ate trib­ute to

La La Land’s and to a line as­so­ci­ated with the lat­ter, declar­ing, “Here’s to the ones who dream... of sheep”.

“It is, if any­thing, more of a homage to the films of Andy Warhol, the late Amer­i­can avant-garde artist and film-maker. Many laughed at

Em­pire, Warhol’s eight hour, slow-mo­tion movie of the Em­pire State Build­ing on its first show­ing in 1964, but it’s now con­sid­ered a clas­sic.”

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

EWE SO DULL: An eight-hour slow-mo­tion film with no plot, di­a­logue or ac­tors has un­veiled its trailer, poster and plans this Septem­ber for a red-car­pet pre­miere and global we­b­cast.

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