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To state that the next four months were hectic would be an understatement. To say that it was a blur of activity would be misleading. When the chips are down, as they say, it is amazing how focused the mind can become. It felt like one gigantic balancing act as though one was in a circus ring at the top of an enormous pyramid of acrobats juggling a myriad of balls high in the air. If one of the balls dropped they would all fall and so would the pyramid and we would become a writhing heap on the floor never to regain our balance. Heady stuff. The script, which had been sitting in my head for years was written in double quick time but due to our new constraints on budget and location dates I knew we wouldn’t have time to shoot ninety minute’s worth of film. The original film had four locations, now we were restricted to one location which, while it had everything we needed, was only available for three weeks. We had the added problem of around thirty Italian locations in the story. We couldn’t afford to go to Italy but film needs pictures more than words. There had to be a solution but for the life of me I couldn’t think what it could be. Then one day I was speaking on the phone with my sister, who is an artist. I could see in my mind’s eye her landscape water colour paintings. It dawned on me that if she painted a series of pictures associated with the Franciscan story we could solve the problem. This is where the idea for an ‘art house movie’ was born. As mentioned in an earlier blog the original film had been envisaged as a walkabout documentary through Umbria re-telling the story of St Francis in much the same way we had filmed the Gospel according to St John shot with the BBC in Israel some thirty years before. If we included excerpts of the one man show, as we had planned to do in the original film about Peter Stone, it would give us enough footage to create a ninety minute film within our budget and location restrictions. It left us with exactly the material we needed for a three week shoot.

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