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Film: Unmade Beds

December 2009

When Axl gets drunk he wakes up in strange bedrooms across London with no knowledge of how he got there.
So much so that he begins to count the ‘unmade beds’ he leaves behind.
The Spanish student is in the capital looking for his long lost father but instead spends much of the time getting drunk and watching bands with the bohemian couple Mike and Hannah.
With a mix of Belgian, Dutch, Spanish, French and Danish cast and crew, the second film by Argentinean director Alexis Dos Santos, based on his experiences as a film student, feels like a celebration of multicultural London.
“I wanted to represent the way that when you are a foreigner in London, you form these close communities with others like you,” says the director.
But it was largely shot in Nottingham last year.
That was due to the Nottingham based production company Wellington Films, who co-produced Unmade Beds.
“We persuaded Sol Gatti-Pascual at The Bureau in London, who initiated the film, that Nottingham was a good place to shoot the film,” says Al Clark from Wellington Films, behind the award-winning London To Brighton.
“We persuaded EM Media to part-finance the film if we shot it in Nottingham and used local crew,” he says of the screen agency, whose previous hits include This Is England and Control.
Its budget was £1.2m.
“If you are paying 50 people for six weeks on the shoot, plus sic months in post-production, then that kind of money soon goes.”
Familiar locations include Seven in Canning Circus, The Maze venue in Mansfield Road and the Forest Recreation Ground.
“There are a few key scenes shot in London but most of the exteriors and interiors are in the Lace Market, Sneinton, The Loggerheads pub, an Asian supermarket in Hyson Green and various places,” says Clark.
Adds the director: “The warehouse that we found for the squat I think would have been impossible to find in London. Any warehouse like that in London would have been converted a long time ago. Nottingham has the architecture and the right scale for what I was trying to make.”
Many scenes are filmed in the street at night, which must be interesting.
“There are always problems filming in the street, especially at night,” says Clark.
“The trick is to keep it fairly low key. You get one or two people shouting ‘is this the news?’ They usually think you’re filming for East Midlands Today. No, that’s why we’ve got 30 people, standing around.”
It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“It’s a fair while but it’s not unusual. You have to have a decent festival life for a film. And it’s no good releasing it in the summer where it will be up against the blockbusters. It’s not that kind of film. It’s a film that students need to be around for.”

Unmade Beds is showing at Broadway until December 24

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