Coming to Digital from director and award-winning photographer Fabrizio Ferri and VMI Worldwide is a look at one of the most photographed women with PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN.
This documentary, narrated by Charles Dance, looks at the life of an iconic queen and her legacy. This is a perspective on how she came to be so visually represented throughout her long and memorable reign. Referred to as a stable for in the lives of millions, people from all over the world have been affected by her presence. Her decades long presence in the life of her own subjects, they share their true feelings for the monarch.
But her pictures have always stood out beginning with the most prestigious with her first royal portrait after becoming queen. Equally stunning are photographs of the crowds on that very same day and the pride felt in their royal traditions.
Emma Blau, photographic artist and curator/co-owner of Camera Press, has a dedicated archive of the Queen. Photographers do their best to be original in their portrayal of her majesty. Blau makes her case in how photographing the queen from the first has brought about so many changes in the way a portrait is done.
John Swannell is one of the photographers of the Queen and recalls his encounter as the second big occasion to photograph the new queen was her wedding to Prince Phillip. Brian Aris was invited by the palace to do royal photographs as well. Meeting and photographing the Queen became quite a nervous experience, as one would expect.
Even Canadian singer and performer Brian Adams took photos of the Queen in 2004. What came of it is that one of his photos became the center of a Canadian postage stamp and her majesty loved it.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino, believes the Queen’s expressiveness spoke louder than words. Her clothing does the same thing and shows through photographs. Vivid colors and pastels become a staple of photographing the Queen.
Photographer Julian Calder speaks about the lasting images of the photographs taken at Balmoral. His photos of the queen near a river in her robes creates stunning and images that are unique and timeless.
Having informal photographs of the Queen, it shows a different aspect and perspective of her life. Photos with her children, family, husband and her beloved corgis brings about a sense of relatability to those who view them.
David Montgomery came to England in the 1960s and stays busy with his work. Getting his chance to photograph the queen, at first, he declines. After speaking with his wife, he agrees to take the pictures. He begins his work photographing the queen at Balmoral in Scotland in, what would be considered, a relaxed atmosphere. Fireside, corgis and her beloved horses all become prominent in these photographs. It is an amazing experience that he holds very dear.
Jason Bell is the photographer at the 2013 christening of her great-grandson Prince George. Bell did his research of previous portraits of the royal family. He gets to observe the family life of the royals as they come together for the photograph.
Chris Levine, an artist, uses light and laser to create his art. The queen sat for a holographic portrait. Explaining the process in detail is complicated, yet at one point Levine feels someone behind him and it is the queen herself. As an avid photographer herself, her interest in what is happening becomes very clear.
The queen has represented so much to the people and the biggest word to describe feelings is – respect. England is a complicated country, as most countries are, but the feelings toward the queen are clear, she is a beloved monarch.
Even after her death, this documentary is a beautiful, stunning and colorful reminder of a woman who spent her life in service, caring for a family and became an unwavering symbol during times of distress as well as joy.
Other voices in the documentary are Isabella Rossellini and Susan Sarandon.
VMI Productions started off with BLOOD OF REDEMPTION, starring Dolph Lundgren and Vinnie Jones (2012), and WICKED BLOOD, starring Sean Bean, Abigail Breslin, and James Purefoy (2014), which were both distributed and co-produced by Entertainment One in North America. VMI’s third film, WAR PIGS, starring Mickey Rourke and Luke Goss (2015), was released theatrically by Cinedigm in the US as part of a multi-picture output deal with Cinedigm for North American distribution for in-house productions. For more information, please visit http://www.vmiworldwide.com/
As a result of this evolution, VMI possesses the ability and desire to board the right project, at any stage of development, and is capable of attaching cast and/or financing as well as finding the right distribution partners for a film. VMI seeks to establish long-term working relationships with its production partners.
PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN is a stunning look through photography and those who created the images, the life of England’s monarch. Charles Dance is a voice worth listening to in every performance he has done but more so throughout this documentary. He reads diaries, stories and ideas on photography of those who had the honor of photographing her majesty.
Director Ferri says, “Elisabeth II has, over the years, worked with great photographers from whom she has commissioned the portraits used to build, communicate and manage her image. Paola Calvetti, author of the book Elisabetta II. Ritratto di Regina, asked me to direct and do the photography for the film PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN written by her. Paola’s intuition to take an unprecedented point of view and make a film about the collaboration between Queen Elizabeth II and the great photographers in compelling and winning. I started working on it with care and attention and began imagining a point of view that was also unprecedented in order to turn the book into a film.”
I enjoyed having Dance read and narrate the documentary as well as perspectives from Rossellini and Sarandon on their feelings towards not only being photographed but meeting the Queen. Each photographer brings something wonderful to this story and its telling of an icon while being in her presence. Each of them seems to tell of her interest in what they were doing and, having an opinion on their artistry.
For myself, I have always admired Queen Elizabeth II as a strong figure and personable in her own gracious way. From deaths, wars, family tragedy, political struggles, and the change in times – she made her own way through each. I never once saw in photographs or reels any sign of a woman overcome but it all. Instead, I saw a woman who showed how to make it through it all.
Of course, that is the image the palace wanted but it does not mean it wasn’t who she was and I’d prefer to believe that her gift was just that – a woman of strength and dignity who just happened to also wear a crown.