Dream Bermuda

Last Update: 05 November 2000

Sean's name was associated with this project in 1998.

The Bermuda Sun, 08 April 1998, carried the following story:

Film makers have high hopes for 'Dream Bermuda'

By Ayo Johnson

BERMUDA is set to get an unexpected marketing windfall if Joanne Diaz's dream is realized. Ms. Diaz, with screenwriter Alan Denman, is in the final stages of pre-production for a multi-million dollar budget film "Dream Bermuda." And a substantial part of the film will be shot here.

The film had its genesis 25 years ago when the stage musical upon which it is based - "A Dream of Bermuda, The Dot" - was performed at the City Hall. Ms. Diaz was working in Bermuda as a choreographer and dancer when she wrote, composed, choreographed, directed and starred in the musical about a couple in a troubled marriage. Besides Ms. Diaz, the cast included dozens of local personalities such as Lee Harvey, King Trott and Reno Drake.

The multi-talented Ms. Diaz - who admits to having "an obsession" with Bermuda - restaged the musical some years after returning to England (at London's Mayfair theatre) with a new cast but felt that "something was missing. It lost some of its Bermudianness."

However the show was so well received it attracted a number of offers for the film rights from film production companies - which she refused. Enter Alan Denman, a respected writer, chair of London Screenwriters Workshops and head of development at Euroscript, a European Union project which provides support to writers for film and television. Mr. Denman said that he heard of Ms. Diaz through an associate he met at the Cannes Film Festival and "there was a click" when they finally met. The two formed a partnership - "Dream Bermuda Ltd." and began the process of turning the stage musical into a film.

"It's a big powerful story," said Mr. Denman. "All the main elements from the stage have been successfully transferred." And, he added, the film has elements that practically guarantee success. "If you think about the history of cinema, the most successful films have been love films...Casablanca, Titanic, Gone With The Wind."

In fact, he calls it "the Gone With the Wind of the '90s". And of all his accomplishments, he says writing the screenplay for "Dream Bermuda" is the one he is most proud of. "It's the best thing I've done. I really like the idea of writing a really good story that reaches a large number of people - and this does.

"It's a passionate story. There's a great feeling of passion and that is what moves people - the aim is to make them cry a lot, laugh a little."

The film should definitely move Bermudians. Flashback scenes to the late 1800s will provide what is surely the first ever cinematic portrayal of aspects of Bermuda's history. And the filmmakers plan to cast dozens of Bermudians as bit players, extras and entertainers performing alongside well-established British and American actors. Actors Nicholas Parsons, who is very well known in the U.K. and Australia, Sean Bean, Salena Jones and Larry Howard of the Rocky Horror Show will play parts in the movie and a number of others, including a well known music celebrity whose identity is being kept secret for the time being, are being actively considered for the film.

The epic will be directed by Andy Jordan, distributed by Moonstone and the marketing manager is Graheme Mitchell whose recent clients include the makers of SpiceWorld and Man in the Iron Mask with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ms. Diaz herself has some impressive accomplishments under her belt. She has been winning awards in dance, drama and music and appearing in stage productions, films and commercials since she was a child. Her adult career took her all over Europe, the United States and, of course, Bermuda, where she formed a theatre company (called New Scene) and originated a ballet for the Civic Ballet Company. According to press clippings Ms. Diaz is "thought to be the first woman ever to write a musical."

Dream Bermuda, Ltd. is in final stages of completing financing and pre-production work on the film. The partners will be back on the island next month and would welcome any offers of involvement from Bermuda residents. The film is expected to go into production in August.

Update 30 September 1998:

The Bermuda Sun, 30 September 1998, carried the following story:

Film fails to get financial backing from Tourism

By Ayo Johnson

THE TOURISM Department has decided to pass on giving financial support to a bid to produce a major motion picture called "Dream Bermuda."

Alan Denman told the Bermuda Sun that the team was disappointed at the response from the tourism department.

"They don't seem to be alert to the possibilities that this project represents," he said. "I think it's a great shame." Mr. Denman also said that a number of local residents - and actor Michael Douglas - had expressed interest in the project and that plans to make the movie were going ahead.

The producers are currently engaged in finalizing the structure for financing the project and have already started casting lead roles.

In a statement faxed to the Bermuda Sun, Mr. Denman said the response from the Tourism Department had forced them to take another look at the project.

"We are keenly aware that all the Bermudians we have spoken to are extremely enthusiastic about our project. However, we feel that without the full support and some degree of financial commitment from central government our project cannot achieve the success it deserves.

"Our first choice without doubt is to film in Bermuda. Its beauty and atmosphere provide a perfect setting. However, Bermuda is not an established location for film making and travel, freight and accommodation charges will raise the overall budget considerably. It is therefore vital that we get definite financial and practical support."

The plan for financing the film involves getting insurers on board to underwrite the project. Investors would then have their investments protected and still share in any profits the film may bring.

Mr. Denman said that an "extensive" marketing plan was presented to the Tourism Department "detailing how the film could be exploited to help raise the commercial profile of the island worldwide... ."

In the works are a CD album and a music video - both with the title "Dream Bermuda." And U.K. company, Pixel Productions, will be making a documentary on the making of the film. According to the producers, Pixel's plans include broadcasting footage of the documentary on the Internet as it progresses.

Tourism's stated reasons for their position, according to Mr. Denman, was that "this project, though very attractive is incompatible with our short term goals and objectives." Tourism Director Gary Phillips was unavailable for comment.

The film is an epic love story which first had its genesis in a musical written and directed by Joanne Diaz who lived in Bermuda 25 years ago. The musical was performed at the City Hall with dozens of local personalities such as Lee Harvey, King Trott and Reno Drake.

The film was originally expected to go into production this month.

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