Early footage of Dr Ludwig Guttmann treating his patients at Stoke Mandeville HospitalOur Paralympic Documentary, titled “The Mandeville Legacy” gets it’s world premiere at the forthcoming Flame Festival on Tuesday 28th August.

Back in April, filmmaker Darren Cliff was commissioned to produce a short documentary to celebrate Buckinghamshire as the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. It all began with a huge collection of Super 8mm and 16mm archive film which is part of WheelPower’s archive at Stoke Mandeville. So, our first job was to telecine, digitise and catalogue over 30 hours of film and audio recordings – before selecting the footage to be included in the film. The footage was rich and included recordings at early Stoke Mandeville Games and various events between 1952 and 1984.

Laura Cotton, Senior Archivist at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies provided still images dating from 1948 and rarely seen footage from Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s archive – with Sir Ludwig Guttmann arriving and treating his patients in the mid to late fourties.

We developed the story structure into 4 key parts – starting with Guttmann’s pioneering treatment of the paralysed, where he insisted patients get out of bed and take part in craft and sporting activities. Then the introduction of competitive sport – the early games and wrapping up with the development of the games as they are today.

Caz Walton being interviewed for Cliff Productions Paralypmic DocumentaryWe filmed some fresh interviews with former Paralympic athletes Caz Walton and Chris Holmes MBE, who discuss the influence of Guttmann and the legacy of Stoke Mandeville.

Caz’s first games was in 1964 – where she won the first ever track event. She continued to compete until 1988, winning a total of 10 gold medals. Chris won 9 simming gold medals and is currently the Director of Paralympics London 2012.

In the edit suite, some tough decisions had to be made due to the rich collection of footage we obtained; but once we finalised the narration script and laid our voice over recording into the sequence – Darren was clear on the visuals needed to tell the story in the best possible way.

Simon Coleman, a talented film and television Composer, came on board and wrote a fantastic score specifically for the documentary.

Club swinging demonstration to music was a regular feature in the Stoke Mandeville GamesThe final cut was approved by our clients yesterday and the master is ready to be projected onto the giant screens at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and in Aylesbury Town Centre during the flame celebrations. We are also pressing 1000 DVD copies to be handed out during the evening celebrations.

“The film has completely surpassed our expectations of what it would look like when we commissioned Darren to produce this for us.” Laura Cotton, Bucks County Council.

“It was a fascinating project to be involved with and the process of fusing all the elements into the completed film was very rewarding. My brief was to create a film to make local people proud of our heritage – it’s been an honour and I hope the film is well received.” Darren Cliff, Producer.

Find out more about the special events and where you can see the film on 28th August 2012 here.

The Mandeville Legacy will also be continuously screened as part of the month long exhibition being held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, which also opens on the 28th August.

Images are courtesy of WheelPower and Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Paralympics Documentary world premiere at the Flame Festival