by Lucy Darwin for PythOnline
written on 27 July 2002
Tuesday, 30 July 2002

Photo: Terry Gilliam, Lucy Darwin, Louis Pepe, and Keith Fulton. Source: Alan Davidson, copyright © 2002, photo may not be used without permission of the owner.

Lost In La Mancha had it's London Premiere on Thursday [July 25].

It was an incredible night and rounded off a week of special events which began with the UK Premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival last Saturday night [July 20].

Tony Jones and his team treated us like royalty with a reception in Trinity College overlooking the river, followed by a sold-out screening on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Cambridge will be remembered fondly for all sorts of reasons ... my friend Micky Astor's first question in the Q&A suggested that Lost In La Mancha was actually an incredibly sophisticated hoax... Not TRUE!! He also helpfully pointed out that our almost famous F-16's are in fact F-18's - Micky is obviously a plane spotter in his spare time...

Then [July 23] we legged it up to Glasgow, where the Glasgow Film Theatres' Alison managed to heighten my nerves by reminding me that we were in Glasgow and that the honesty of the audiences would force them to tell us immediately if they liked the film "if they don't like it, they'll just stand up in the cinema and tell you it's shite" Thanks Alison... luckily it went down very well. By the way, if you are ever in need of a hotel in Glasgow I urge you to stay at the Arthouse. Fantastic rooms and great food.

Then off to Edinburgh [Wednesday, July 24] for a preview at the Filmhouse, Keith and Lou and I had been there before with The Hamster Factor, so it was a lovely way to return and the audience was just as appreciative. Our friend and number one Gilliam fan Phil Stubbs (who runs the Dreams website and who created our Lost In La Mancha website) introduced both of the Scottish previews and handled the Q&A's with great aplomb.

Then on Thursday we rushed back to London for the Screen On The Green in Islington's London Premiere. Romaine Hart and Roger Austin from Mainline who run the Screen Cinemas and Will Clarke, Danny Perkins, Virginia Nelson, John and Liz from Optimum our wonderful distributors pulled off a marvelous event. Terry Gilliam, his wife Maggie and their daughters Amy and Holly all came and were supported by some famous friends, Michael Palin was there and represented the Python family. Film Directors who came along included Stephen Frears and David Leland, also there was actress Tara Fitzgerald. Dustin Hoffman's seats (he said he was coming and then was a no show) were given up to the hoards of people who still didn't have seats as the lights went down - it was a very packed house, and a wonderful audience.

Romaine, who was my first boss almost twenty years ago when I started as an usherette in her cinemas introduced me - I made a little speech welcoming the crowd who included many people from behind and in front of our film such as writer Tony Grisoni, script supervisor Nikki Clapp, editor Peter Boyle, the casting director Irene Lamb and Terry's long-time friend and producer the seriously suave and marvelous Ray Cooper.

Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton, the directors of Lost In La Mancha told everyone to try and enjoy what they dub "a guilty pleasure" in reference to the fact that this film is both an entertaining pleasure and heartbreaking tragedy all at once. They introduced Terry to the audience who took time to remind everyone that this is not just about his journey but also a record of the huge investment of time, energy and creative enthusiasm of the hundreds of people who worked with him on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The film played very well and the audience applauded with great enthusiasm as the credits rolled.

Photo: Johnny Depp and Terry Gilliam telling tall tales at La Finca's Source: Alan Davidson, copyright © 2002, photo may not be used without permission of the owner.

The party afterwards was at La Finca, a Spanish restaurant on Pentonville Road which hosted us with copious amounts Manchego cheese and Spanish ham helped down with tons of Sol bear and wine from La Mancha - the party went on until the very small hours. I gave up at around 2am but there were still plenty of partygoers enjoying the Salsa music. Johnny Depp who is currently at Shepperton Studios making "Neverland" came to the party and had to fight his way in through the crowds of other invited guests and photographers. He made a special effort to come because he's a huge fan of the film and of course a close friend of Terry's. His presence was hugely appreciated by the crowd and made the night even more special for those of us who made the film! A truly wonderful evening and a great way to launch the film in London.

Don't forget you can still see a preview next Thursday August 1st at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank. Film starts at 8.20pm and there will be a Q&A with Keith, Louis and myself after the film - so get your tricky questions ready! If you can't get in to that screening, there are special Q&A's at cinemas all around London on the films' opening weekend 2nd, 3rd and 4th of August - check the press for details or our website www.lostinlamancha.com.

Lucy Darwin - Saturday (Day two of the hangover) 27th July 2002.