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A star-studded film launch

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

An audience of film enthusiasts and supporters attended the star-studded invitation-only launch of the first English language full length feature film about the Algarve, The Right Juice, at Zoomarine park in Guia last Saturday.

Dozens of guests waited eagerly to meet the cast, including Love Actually star Lúcia Moniz and British actors Mark Killeen and Ellie Chidzey, who greeted the audience and sat on the front row of the screening theatre to watch the latest teaser trailer for The Right Juice.

Following the screening of the first short teaser for the film in October last year, which showed the slow pace of country life in the Algarve albeit not without its frustrations, the second teaser however included some action in the form of bad boy Andreus Dranius (played by Beau McClellan) taking to the dusty country lanes at high speed and overtaking an ageing three-wheeler Piaggio Ape pick up transporting a Portaloo, which ends up overturning in the process.

Comedy abounds in this typical Algarve tale and the second teaser had everyone laughing with the ‘baddy’ also featuring in a scene tricking the old Portuguese folk at a public service department by swapping ticket numbers to get to the front of the queue.

Actress Jessica Mota, known for her part in The Algarveans’ pantomime Aladdin, was also featured in the second teaser.

The launch event saw film director Kristjan Knigge and co-producer Chris Parker addressing the audience about the trials and tribulations of producing such a film in the Algarve and emphasising the need for additional funding to be able to continue with the project. Producers need to raise €150,000 by mid-May, and so far have €80,000.

Kristjan Knigge, who lives in Amsterdam but grew up in the Algarve, said: “We are now closer than we ever were to realising our dream. We have actors, a script, the locations and the cameras, which arrived recently.

“When we shot the first teaser in September last year, we had no actors. So we’ve done it! There are just a few things left to organise but we’re nearly there.”

When asked why he had chosen the Algarve, the director, who still considers the region his terra, said: “It’s just brilliant here! The light is also fantastic and our camera crew is delighted.”

Portuguese actress and singer, Lúcia Moniz, who will play dolphin trainer Nesta, the romantic interest in the film, told the Algarve Resident on Saturday: “I’m delighted with my involvement in The Right Juice and will be shooting in the Algarve for 15 days non-stop.”

The director said Lúcia Moniz was perfect for the part as it was “just lucky” that she had previous experience training with dolphins and could do tricks with the animals. “I really wanted to get Lúcia Moniz for the film, so this was just another case where serendipity played a part in the process of producing this film,” said Kristjan who added that other subjects featuring in the film, such as oil drilling and mining, are examples of fact following fiction.

Mark Killeen will play the lead, Oliver Fellows, Portuguese actor Miguel Damião, also present at the launch, will play Manel Guerreiro, Oliver’s neighbour, and Ellie Chidzey will play Oliver’s wife, Sally.

Local musician Pedro Frias is the composer for the film as well as being in charge of sound. At the event, Pedro Frias played a brilliant track featuring in The Right Juice  on his guitar while amusing the audience with the screening of his ‘alter ego’ band members from around the world.

Principal shooting of the movie was due to begin on Wednesday and continue for six weeks, all at Algarve locations.

First table read

The first ‘table read’ of the whole script of The Right Juice was held last Sunday.

A table read is when the principal actors and supporting actors sit round a table to read the script out loud, each reading their own roles.

Assistant Director and “Hollywood veteran” Karen Radzikowski read the descriptions and actions while the director listened and took notes. “One hour and 53 minutes later and the whole script had been read. Funny, moving, engaging, wonderful,” said Kristjan Knigge. “Hearing the words and enjoying the pace and rhythm of the story for the first time was a privilege. The story unfolding right there in front of us, the actors engaging with each other and playing off each other. We’re making a movie!”

About the film

The Right Juice, written by Algarve resident David Butler-Cole, is described as a typical Algarve tale about a disgraced young English banker (Oliver Fellows) who wants to start an orange plantation in the Algarve but sees his past catching up with him when he strikes oil.

The film aims to encompass all the region has to offer, its locations, the sunlight and its people and is being funded by individuals and businesses from the Algarve.

Helpers and investors are still needed.