Friday, 4 November 2011

A tale of two halves

Its been a while since I up-dated this blog, which I’ve used to document my original research and the production of the film; The Many Romances with Rosemarie and the progress of the web-platform; HouseboatTV, which I designed and built to encourage content and participation, while also promoting the project. This is largely due to the success of the HouseboatTV face-book page and Twitter, which have encouraged me to report my progress in shorter and more numerous up-dates, but for deeper reflection the value of a more considered blog remains.

Nearly three years on and the film is now finished. It exists as two feature length documentaries, which are each available to buy on DVD, for only £10 plus p&p at These are Special edition copies which have been produced entirely by myself, while I continue seeking to find outlets for my products.

The film ‘The Many Romances with Rosemarie’ tells of 40yrs of Houseboat history onboard the Rosemarie, from 1970 when she was found neglected at Sailors Creek to 2009 when she was broken up for scrap on ‘Muddy Beach’ Penryn and finally in 2010, when her keel was re-cycled and used to restore the wooden fishing boat Rosa.
This is a chronological arrangement of the HouseboatTV episodes re-cut into a narrative and captures many social and environmental changes whilst maintaining focus on the vessel and the succession of her owners, which have now been defined. The HouseboatTV series continues in its own right and is currently re-screening as episodes at .

The sister film; ‘Remembering Rosemarie’ documenting for the first time ever, the fascinating history of the Rosemarie, built in 1930 at R.S.Burts of Falmouth, more famous for the construction of the Falmouth Quay Punts. The Rosemarie began life as a luxury motor yacht; she went on to be a Wartime River Patrol boat, and then worked as a pleasure ferry on the river Fal. Taking passengers from Falmouth and St Mawes to Malpas and the Helford river, finally ending her working life as a holiday rental houseboat at Gillan Creek on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall.

As my research into the previously un-documented history of the Rosemarie tuned out to be so fascinating, it became evident to me that the working history of the boat deserved to be a film in its own right. The 79yr life-span of the boat, divided neatly into two halves, her working life and her Houseboat history, both with a very different feel which I was able to accentuate more clearly in the two separate ‘sister’ films.

These two films both work as complete documentaries in their own right, but I can still see the potential for a re-cut of them both back into one which documents the whole life of the Rosemarie as I originally proposed to BBC3 and CH4, for broadcast in 2009. I do intend to make a taster and continue to take the project up to pitch-point.

I have been advised that I would only succeed in this venture as a new Director & Producer, if I partnered up with an established production company, but my experience of this to date is not good. In 2007 I signed a joint contract on another documentary idea, with a production company which shall remain nameless. My idea then sat on a shelf for two years, before they decided not to proceed into development, when I could have been perusing other possibilities for it. This time I have taken things into my own hands, and now that I have a good product, I find myself looking for appropriate outlets, and if I don’t achieve commission I shall be screening both films locally for many years to come and I can rest in the knowledge that it was I who added the story of the Rosemarie to my local history.

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