10 May 2019

A Masterclass with… The Team Behind Last Breath

By Giuseppe Bruni | Categorised in Industry Interviews, News, Guest Speakers

Last Breath, the latest gripping docu-drama from MetFilm Production, tells the story of a commercial diver stranded on the seabed with five minutes of oxygen left in his tank, but no chance of rescue for more than 30 minutes.

The film combines amazing archive footage, with first-hand interviews to tell the true story of one man’s impossible fight for survival.

MetFilm Production is MetFilm School’s in-house film production company. They specialise in making high-quality documentary and fiction films.

On Tuesday 7 May, our London campus hosted a Masterclass with the film’s Co-Director, Alex Parkinson and Producer, Al Morrow, from MetFilm Production.

Alex began the Masterclass by telling the audience how Last Breath first came about.

“I first heard about the story when I was out with my family. I bumped into Richard (da Costa, the film’s Co-Director). We’d met about three years before working on another film. We got chatting and he told me about this unbelievable diving story.”

Da Costa has previously made the story into a corporate advert for the oil industry. After two minutes of watching, Alex knew this needed to be a documentary, and began working it into a feature-length film.

Alex and Richard were then introduced to Al through a mutual industry connection.

“Normally for a documentary you write a proposal, which is a couple of pages long. Alex created a whole storyboard – which was amazing!”  Al exclaimed. “The guys had a brilliant story and extraordinary archive footage. For me, that’s why we had to make this into a documentary.”

When asked about how to keep viewers gripped from start to finish, Alex told the audience: “You have to write a very detailed script. You’ve got to try it to see if it works, and then be brave enough to cut it if it isn’t working.

Alex isn’t new to the world of documentary filmmaking; his previous work includes the National Geographic series Primal Survivor and the ‘extreme-angling’ factual series Mighty Rivers.

Archive is key in documentary. Reconstruction is a great way of blurring things together, but you need a good archive to make it accurate. If you use both together, and do it well, the audience won’t even notice because they’re following the story.”

Last Breath has been screened Hot Docs 2019 and the Glasgow Film Festival.

The film is currently scored 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 out of 10 on IMDB. You can rent it on YouTube and Google Play.

Does being a Director sound like the career for you? Find out more about MA Directing today.

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