SPACE pirate and alien life forms could soon be seen zooming around the Lake District – thanks to a new million dollar movie.
Old Hutton writer and director Rick McLeod has teamed up with a group of American producers to make a science fiction film based on cult television series Firefly.
The US consortium, one of whom has done sound-tracks for Mr McLeod in the past, originally began filming experimental sequences in county – but then the idea turned into a feature-length film.
Although $1 million is a relatively small budget for a movie, Mr McLeod said he was ‘shocked’ when the group gave the figure.
“Last year was a good one for us – we’re still reeling from that – so when they approached me my first question was ‘Are you serious?’
“It’s not easy to make films in Cumbria, especially with the UK Film Council gone. When we had Leslie Grantham here, he was unpaid because he loved the script.
“It’s great to know that our hard work is starting to pay off.”
The film, called Lost Transmission, follows the lonely adventure of Blake, captain of a mining ship, with no-one but his computer to talk to after war breaks out on Earth. But he leaves the planet to find life on other worlds.
Filming is expected to start in early 2012, and will be split between Cumbria and America.
CGI effects are already being worked on by the studio, which created a castle in the middle of Windermere in a previous flick.
Before filming begins in earnest, Mr McLeod is shooting a short promotional video with action sequences in Old Hutton.
And he is looking for ‘23rd century pirates’ to star as extras in a fight scene on Sunday, to be led by a trained fight choreographer.
“We’re seeking punks, goths and heavy rockers. Long or short hair, tattoos and piercings are a bonus but not essential. The more outrageous the look the better,” said Mr McLeod.
Filming will last for between two and three hours and anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants are requested to send a head shot with their email.
Discussions with actors to play the role of Blake are still going on.
THE Bassenthwaite Ospreys have moved home to live in marshes nearer to Bassenthwaite Lake.
After successfully nesting at their treetop summer home at Dodd Wood since 2008, the pair decided it was time for a change and have been gradually building a new nest since returning from their wintering grounds in West Africa.
Fortunately, the new site is visible from the Dodd Wood viewpoint so visitors can still enjoy watching the birds of prey this season.
Ospreys are normally faithful to successful nest sites, so the move was a bit of a shock for staff at the Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP). This is only the second time staff have seen the ospreys change nest in the project’s 11-year history.
Nathan Fox of the RSPB’s Lake District Osprey Project, said: ‘It has been an interesting and exciting start to the season, with the birds deciding to move. We have been working closely with local landowners and farmers to make sure that the birds are fully protected and therefore have a good chance of raising their chicks.”
A PAIR of ospreys have returned to their nesting site in the Lake District. The birds are back at Bassenthwaite Lake - 10 years after the first male osprey chose the area for a nesting site.The bird, known as No Ring, was the first to nest in the Lakes for 150 years. Experts say he has returned with the female he paired up with for the first time in 2007.
It is hoped the birds will rear an 11th generation of young after two male chicks were produced last year.
Graeme Prest of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "It is wonderful news that the ospreys have returned for another season and have already mated. With a bit of luck, the female will be laying her eggs soon.”
Almost 100 people are part of a volunteer project to provide 24-hour observation on the nest. They also engage with the public about ospreys at the Dodd Wood viewpoint and Whinlatter Visitor Centre.
The public Osprey Viewpoint at Dodd Wood, near Keswick, has been opened and telescopes are being provided to see the birds.
Live images from the nest are also being beamed to a big screen at the nearby Whinlatter visitor centre. The osprey project is managed by a partnership of the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.