Asif Kapadia knew he had a hit on his hands when his documentary film Senna debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to a sold-out audience. In fact, all of the screenings at Sundance sold out in a “big hurry,” Kapadia said, “and I knew it was going to be a hit.”
The film won the Best Documentary award at Sundance and has gone on to rave reviews around the world, telling the story of Brazilian Formula One star Ayrton Senna, whose life was tragically cut short at age 34 when he was killed in a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. The film is now available on Blu-ray Disc.
“Making this film has been an amazing journey,” Kapadia said. As director, he spent nearly six years working on the film, gathering film clips and gaining permission to use clips from Senna family members, friends and the all-powerful F1impresario, Bernie Ecclestone.
“Initially, we had approval from Bernie to use 40 minutes of F1 footage,” Kapadia said. “But we knew right away that to make the film we wanted to make, we needed more-like double that. So we met with Bernie and told him the scope of the film, and he said, ‘Whatever you need.’ Bernie was very good to us.”
The initial cut of the film was seven hours, and then five hours, and then just less than three hours. Eventually, the film was cut to 106 minutes for theatrical release. In the Blu-ray version sold in the United Kingdom, one of the bonus features is the next-to-last cut of the film, at just less than three hours.
“All the Blu-ray versions are different for different markets around the world,” Kapadia said. The U.S. version extras include Senna family home videos, interviews with people featured in the film and a commentary from Kapadia, writer Manish Pandey and producer James Gay-Rees.
“When the film was released in theaters in the U.S., we had people driving more than 1,000 miles just to see it,” Kapadia said. “And we know the film has been a real tool to show people what this passion for Ayrton Senna is all about.
“What has been interesting is that everywhere outside of the United States, everyone knows what happened to Senna, being killed in the crash at Imola in 1994. But many people in the United States didn’t know how the film ended. A lot of people didn’t know the ending,” Kapadia said.
“Making this film has been an amazing journey.”
source: © autoweek.com