A LONG TIME AGO in a village in Hertfordshire just off the M1...

1976 to be precise there was a studio in this village called Elstree, some sci-fi film was being made there by a director whose first name was George, it left behind a legacy. That film was Star Wars, that director was George Lucas. Ringing any bells now?

So what is ELSTREE 1976, well in truth ELSTREE 1976 is a documentary about the effect that Star Wars had on the lives of those involved in even the slightest of roles.
Star Wars made stars out of actors like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher but there were many characters who had their faces hidden behind masks and helmets! No one would believe that this would go on to colour their lives even four decades later. ELSTREE 1976 gets in touch with some of the actors who made Star Wars what it was, but who are mostly invisible to the public at large. Some of the actors are just a step up from being extras, while others are featured players whose faces were hidden behind the masks that captured the imaginations of generations of viewers.
We managed to catch up with director Jon Spira and we said to him "you will answer our questions", his reply "i will answer your questions" ... see, 40 years on and Jedi mind trick still works, oh yes.
Hi Jon, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Sum up ELSTREE 1976 in five words. New. York. Times. Critic's. Pick.
So, doing my research on Jon Spira (born 1976), I am guessing that you don’t really know much about the actual year 1976, so what prompted you to do ELSTREE 1976? Surprisingly, I know pretty much everything about the actual year 1976 and it was exactly this abundance of year-specific knowledge which prompted me to make Elstree 1976 (I also know everything about Elstree)

It was part funded by Kickstarter, what are the advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding? The advantages are that you retain full control of the film you want to make, which is impossible through traditional funding routes, and also you have the enthusiasm and support of a whole community of sweet, generous people to get you through the hard times. No real disadvantages apart from that it can be hard work to run the campaign and fully deliver but it's worth it.

Dave Prowse, legend and The Green Cross Code Man
I got to admit it is a bloody good film, so well done to that, was there ever a time when you thought “why the f**k am I doing this?”. Thanks for that. Not really, I make films because I love the experience of making films, so I always know why I'm doing. There have been a couple of "how the fuck are we going to pull this off?" moments but the challenge is the fun of it. 

What were your highs and lows on making ELSTREE 1976? I really love interviewing and for me to have that kind of access and willingness on the part of the interviewees to be open and emotionally frank was brilliant. The editing process was equally satisfying, working with Cressida Kocienski to shape the film and work out what The film would be was a really creatively charged time. The main low was being involved in a motorway pile-up driving home from one of the interviews. 

I grew up with Star Wars, as did many others, do you think that people are expecting this to be a behind the scenes guide to Star Wars. It’s not but it so much better than that and I think the majority of people will and should be pleasantly surprised. Yeah, there's definitely a certain misconception surrounding the film. I've been told by many people with financial stakes in it that I should abandon my initial catchphrase "it's not about Star Wars!" But it's a hard film to explain in simple terms to an audience rabidly hoping for a Star Wars documentary. The best case scenario - the one I hoped for while making the film - is that the SW audience would be drawn to it because of the SW connection but then be presented with something a bit more meaningful and with more depth than they had expected and consequently a really rewarding experience. I think that's generally what's happened but there is a contingent of people who watch and go "I don't want to know about these people, I just want Star Wars anecdotes" which is fine. I respect their rights to remain 40-year-old thumbsucking morons living in squalor and watching children's films. 

So, favourites Star Wars film, and why? (mines Empire Strikes back) Star Wars Holiday Special, because Bea Arthur is in it.

If you could do this kind of film again for any other film, which one would it be and why? No other film has left such a cultural footprint that it could really be afforded this kind of reflection. If I could get full access and compliance from Jerry Lewis, I'd love to make a doc about The Day The Clown Cried, I guess, but again, that would likely end up being far more focused on the human stories around it than the film itself. 

What does 2017 and the future hold for Jon Spira? Well, with the election of Donald Trump and implementation of Brexit, I'd say... Financial devastation and persecution on the basis of my ethnicity. 

"you will share our blog post""we will share your blog post
We have a fantastic competition for you, chance to bag yourself a DVD copy of ELSTREE 1976 and you don't even have to use Jedi mind tricks to win. All you go to to is to like and share this post wherever you see it on social media, the more times you do it, the more times you stand a chance of winning this incredible film on DVD. We will draw the winner out  very large hat, chosen at random and we will announce the winner on our social media pages. terms and conditions apply,  no correspondence will be entered into, the judge's decision is final and good luck!! 

Enjoy the trailer, trust me it will get you all nostalgic about Star Wars, this film isn't what you expect, it is so much better than that.

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