“This is the story of Edward Enderby, an ordinary man who, like so many of his generation, was caught up in the very extraordinary events of the Second World War. He is a man who has suffered terrible trauma; has lost first his greatest friend and then the love of his life, the woman with whom he planned to spend the rest of his days. As a fighter pilot, he had flown on Malta and in Italy and later had fought with partisans in the mountains of the Apennines. By the war’s end, he was broken. At the time, he was still only twenty-three”.
These are the words James Holland uses to describe the protagonist of his novel “A Pair of Silver Wings”, inspired by a true story, and the film which will be based on the same for which he wrote the screenplay. It is a film that begins in 1995 when Edward, on the occasion of the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, returns to the places of his traumatic past where he will finally come to terms with what happened. It is a backward journey, from England to Malta, to Emilia Romagna in Italy, to Marzabotto, Casaglia and Montesole.
“Each of the 3 chapters of the film has a distinct sense of color: the grey of Britain in the winter; the brown dusty heat of Malta in the summer, exacerbated by the hunger and thirst during the siege, and then the green mountains of Italy, lush with flowers, the sense of life, fertility and hope. Italy is where Edward was shot down in 1944, in Montesole. Here he meets Carla, the woman he decides to marry and who is later taken from him, provoking what today we would call post traumatic stress disorder” explains Alec Mackenzie who is producing the film for Silver Wings Film Ltd. The film will be a co-production withKatryna Samut Tagliaferro’s Filming in Malta and will engage with Silver Wings Film through the Maltese production service company,2013 Productions and with production partners in Italy.
“Before coming to Emilia – Romagna we searched online for talent and experience and found Simone Bachini. We have asked to become our line producer and over the next few months will work with him to find an Italian co-producer. We intend to submit an application for production support to the film commission soon. Meanwhile with their help we have requested permission to shoot in the town of Marzabotto, we have met the deputy major and obtained ‘approval in principle’. Before permission is granted we have to meet with the descendants of the victims and explain to them what we want to do and how we will honor their memory, representing it with dignity and respect. But so far everyone has been very charming and interested about the film being made.”
The idea is to have the film ready for 2020, for the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Although this movie is primarily a romantic drama, the action sequences amount to about 15% of the screen time “and our expectations for these scenes are extremely high” adds Mackenzie.
“We have assembled a uniquely talented team which is able to deliver the most stunning, vivid and realistic World War II aerial action ever seen in cinema while on the ground we will depict the drama, horror and emotional consequences of war in awe-inspiring cinematic detail.”
The director, Steven Hall, is making his debut behind the camera but he is certainly not a beginner with his broad experience of 39 feature films including some of the highest-grossing movies of the past twenty-five years, from “Gladiator” to “Star Wars” to “Fury” where he worked as DOP on the second unit with a deep knowledge of state-of- the-art visual effects.
“We are planning to start the principal photography around March 25th in the UK then move on to Italy towards the end of April for 3 to 4 weeks and finally to Malta for around 6 weeks” announces Mackenzie. “We have selected an abandoned farmhouse in Montesole which is perfect for the scenes set in 1995. Then we will restore it so it looks the way it used to in the 1940s. We also want to replicate the cemetery in Casaglia since we can’t use the proper location and the rest of the sets will be in the mountains where the partisans are hiding. For the larger scenes, with the partisans and the fighting on the mountains we will need in the order of 100 day actors and we are very much relying on the work of Simone Bachini: what he did for “L’uomo che verrà” was beautiful and we would like to replicate part of it.”