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15th March, 2017


If someone told you that a little known business in the heart of Pewsey was taking on Hollywood film studios, not many, if any, would believe it. But that is precisely what the village’s best kept secret - Atlantic Screen Group - situated in the High Street, has done since it formed in 2008.

The independent company has produced more than 100 high profile musical scores, music written specifically to accompany a film or TV show, including blockbusters such as Lone Survivor, with Mark Wahlberg, Escape Plan, starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the upcoming film The Lost City of Z.

The company’s creative director Tim Hollier said: "It is very rare that anyone in Pewsey has actually heard of us. We produce and own the music score to the film. We then own the record rights".

When you watch a BBC programme for instance, the composer receives royalties from the Performing Rights Society.  "So we own the intellectual property of the composed music, alongside the composer, from origination and will retain ownership of the copyright created for 70 years after the death of the composer."

For instance, ASG bought the music publishing rights of the Ealing Studio catalogue in 2014, including the more recently produced St Trinian’s series of films. Every time one of the films in the catalogue is shown on TV or Cable, the company earns royalties based on a minute of music.

"Most of the scores funded by ASG have at least 60 minutes of music, and a film shown on any European terrestrial channel will earn a royalty of at least £25 per minute, making the average income on each film approximately £1500." says Mr Hollier.

"We have a multi million dollar turnover receiving 80 per cent of our royalty income from overseas, mainly from the US and Europe."

The team is made up of co-founder Simon Fawcett, finance manager Shelley Cryer, Callum Copeland, who handles copyright and royalties, Victoria Tilletson, who deals with music registration, Tania Orchard, head of music administration and Martha Settle who looks at copyright research.

Mr Hollier, who has spent 49 years in film and music industry, says he still has that same drive and determination to succeed and so does his company. "It is getting better and better and better. I am so proud of what the team have accomplished. I am loving it right now," said Mr Hollier, who lives in Wilcott.

"We have an exceptional team who have a wealth of experience and know exactly what they are doing. We have given local people jobs and we have a very bright future."

20th March, 2017


Rudyard Kipling understood what made Percy Fawcett tick. In his 1898 poem The Explorer, Kipling wrote of a man spurred to adventure by a voice – not a divine, cloud-parting rumble, but a relentless inner whisper, needling him with the prospect of wonders “lost behind the Ranges”, waiting for discovery to make them real.

Fawcett heard that voice and heeded it. Born in 1867, he was an archaeologist and colonel in the Royal Artillery, who became convinced, during a series of mapping expeditions to the Amazon, that somewhere in the jungle was a city of gold and maize. The evidence was sparse and tenuous: handed-down native testimony, caches of pottery and sculpture, strange sigils carved in rock. But Fawcett couldn’t rest until he’d seen where the river led.

That journey to the river’s source is the stuff of James Gray’s The Lost City of Z, a film as transporting, profound and staggering in its emotional power as anything I’ve seen in years. As a piece of historical drama it’s sincere and scrupulous. As a work of filmmaking, it’s an immediate classic, fit to stand beside the best of Werner Herzog and Stanley Kubrick – though it’s also entirely its own thing, classical to its bones yet not quite like anything that’s come before it.

Fawcett is wonderfully played by Charlie Hunnam. It’s a role built on complex, not-obviously-cinematic qualities like courage, honour and conviction, but Hunnam brings them to life with total persuasiveness. The film opens with a disembodied shot of fires and drums in a jungle clearing – the secret’s already waiting for Fawcett, before he even knows he wants to find it – then moves to a British Army barracks in Cork in 1905, where he and his fellow officers are deer coursing.

Fawcett gets the kill, but he’s kept at arm’s length from the celebrations by his class. As one of his social betters piteously sniffs, he has been “rather unfortunate in his choice of ancestors”: in other words, his father was a gambler and a drunk. So when Ian McDiarmid’s Royal Geographical Society grandee asks Fawcett to travel to South America and resolve a land dispute between Bolivia and Brazil, he suggests the two-year quest could be a means of reclaiming his family name.
Sienna Miller as Nina in the Lost City of Z
On the voyage to Bolivia, Fawcett meets his thickly bearded aide-de-camp Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson). There is an astonishing moment when Fawcett forces Costin to pour the contents of his hip flask down the sink – both men need to be sober for the challenges ahead – and in a nod to Lawrence of Arabia’s iconic transition from blown-out match to rising desert sun, Gray cuts from the coppery trickle of brandy to a steam train pounding though the wilderness.

It’s on his first trip that Fawcett makes the archeological discoveries that prompt his theory of the existence of the City of Z – which, at a Royal Society summit back in London, he calls “the ultimate piece of the human puzzle”. His belief that the British Empire might be playing catch-up with “the primitive jungle man” causes a blaze of uproar that makes Fawcett all the keener to confirm it.

From here, we watch Fawcett on further expeditions in the jungle, spending time with his family back in England, and also fighting in the trenches of the Somme. All three parts feel essential. Sienna Miller may never have been better than she is as Nina, sensationally capturing the scope and complexity of her character’s frustrations as an ambitious, capable woman who knows her destiny is to be left at home.

Most period dramas would be content if you left the cinema able to pick out their particular place in history. The Lost City of Z asks you to contemplate your own. It’s a film that knows every life is a stretch of the same great river, whose golden source remains forever just around the bend, and out of sight.

The Lost City of Z is released in UK cinemas on March 24

Dir James Gray -  Starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Angus Macfadyen, Tom Holland, Ian McDiarmid

by Robbie Collin -The Daily Telegraph

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