An iconic film showing the catastrophic impact of a nuclear strike on Sheffield has been remade to be shown as part of the city’s DocFest.
Artist Richard DeDomenici has recreated scenes from the 1984 BBC drama Threads as part of his ‘redux’ project in which he remakes classic films in a matter of days.
After filming key scenes from the apocalyptic movie in the city on Wednesday and Thursday, Richard edited the film on Friday to premiere it at the Leadmill on Saturday.
All in all, the entire process will have been completed in 96 madcap hours – but Richard is hopeful the finished product will bring an important film to new audiences and impress people at the DocFest.
He said: “Even though it is dated I still think Threads has some really timely messages and stories in it. Some of the issues in it have become quite topical again, sadly.
“I’ve been interested in the film for many years. My mum was an anti-nuclear protester so I was very much versed in all that stuff when I was a little boy.
“A couple of years ago I found a really dodgy, taped-off-the-TV version of it on YouTube and watched it for the first time. The redux project had already been going for a few years so I thought I’d really love to remake it one day.
“It seemed like a good time to try to do it so I asked DocFest and Live Cinema if they were interested and here we are.”
The films Richard makes are very low-budget, very quickly filmed and edited, shot-for-shot remakes made with local people as actors and extras.
He said the final cuts are not intended to be perfect, but that their DIY feel was very much part of their charm.
“I strive for perfection within very limited means,” he says.
“I shoot on a tiny little camera on a single take and sometimes it looks remarkably similar but other times it looks rubbish.
“Weirdly it is those bits that audiences like those most – the bits where it all goes wrong.
“So the dichotomy is me trying to do my best and people laughing when I mess up!”
The filmmaker said the main goal of his redux project was to ‘democratise’ cinema.
“Everyone has got phones in their pockets now and it has never been easier to make our own culture,” he said.
“But we don’t just have to be passive consumers anymore – we can be active producers.
“My dream is to convince other people that they can make something that looks like it costs a million dollars.”
One of the main challenges Richard and his team have encountered is how much Sheffield has changed over the last 34 years.
A case in point is the film’s opening shot which shows Tinsley towers, which were removed permanently from the Sheffield skyline in 2008.
Nevertheless, other filming locations such as the Nottingham House pub in Broomhill, Sheffield City Hall and the Moor remain instantly recognisable despite the passage of time.
On Wednesday evening, Richard filmed a scene on the Moor which shows people running for their lives as the nuclear alarms sounds.
He says it is seeing everyday people affected by extraordinary events that gives the film its enduring power.
“By the time the attack on Sheffield happens it is really harrowing,” he said.
“You really do feel like you identify with the characters.”
The film has only been recreated up until the bomb hits as the post-apocalyptic scenes on location in the Peak District would have been too difficult in the time available.
“There is a lot of flame and fire which I don’t know how to do yet – but I am hoping to learn,” he said.
“But if this redux goes well I’m hoping to come back and do the rest next year.
"For the mushroom cloud I found some instructions on YouTube but I consulted a couple of experts and they said it was not safe to do that in Sheffield city centre.
“So – just to manage everybody’s expectations – unless I find a better way of doing it I’m just going to hold an actual mushroom very close to the camera.”
Threads: Redux will be premiered at the Leadmill on Saturday at 6.30pm. Ticket are £5.