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Free Spirits


Oliver Knott was fairly confident of raising the £4m budget for his feature debut - the gangster/boxing project Bare Knuckle. After all, he had a number of short films under his belt, including The Wednesday Club, which toured several international festivals. However, one year later, when his production pot was still empty, he opted to scale down his ambitions and wrote a new script which could be shot on a shoestring.

Free Spirits is set in a bar in south London and follows four characters over the course of the hottest day of the summer: bar owner Bandanna Bob, fighting off a takeover bid; his friend Matty, who's having girlfriend trouble; Jimmy, a boxer trying to make a comeback; and aspiring actress Kelly, who likes Bob but is too shy to tell him.

The single location and one-day timespan of the story helped keep costs to the minimum. Principal photography was scheduled for a mere eight days, including interiors in the main location, a Clapham pub. The deal struck with the pub's owners that the crew would arrive at 8am and wrap by 5.30pm each day meant that cast and crew worked at a heroically frenzied pace.

Free Spirits was the lowest-budget feature ever to be completely post-produced at Twickenham Film Studios. In fact, Sir Richard Attenborough was cutting his latest film, Grey Owl, in the room opposite at the time, and his editing staff donated 30,000ft of mag stock to Free Spirits.

Knott's next project is a screenplay for Swedish production company Channel 1; he is also working on a spec feature script called The Googly.


Type of film
Oliver Knott
Big Jim Sullivan.
Oliver Knott
Exec prods
Richard Kilshaw, Mark Jackson.
Oliver Knott, Harry F Rushton.
David Byrne.
Prod des
Lars Toronto.
Rhino Von Dingo.
Main cast
Leon Herbert, Richard Clements, Sally Ann Marsh, Jimmy Flint.
Private sources.


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Last updated 24th June 2005

Production Company

Bar Room Productions
1 Atkins Road
London SW12 0AA
Tel: (44) 20 8673 2129