From Windscreen to the Silver Screen: Tyne Tunnel Film Premiere

The first ever Tyne Tunnel film premiere took place this morning (Wednesday 28th April) at the award winning Tyneside Cinema.

In association with sponsor Brims Construction, tunnel operator TT2 and race organiser David Burdus arranged the red carpet breakfast film event to showcase three short films celebrating human achievement in the face of great challenge on Tyneside, including rare footage of the construction of the first vehicle tunnel.

The film premiere was sponsored by Sunderland-based construction firm Brims Construction. Director Richard Wood said: “The original ‘Brims’ business was involved in building approach roads for the first Tyne vehicle tunnel. Brims Construction is the new generation of the firm, and we’re proud to be continuing that tradition by working on construction of the second vehicle tunnel. The film festival celebrates the possibilities of human achievement around the Tyne with some incredible short films. We’re delighted to be able to support today’s event.”

The VIP guests at the film premiere were a group of service users from the Percy Hedley Foundation Karten Media Suite, the production team behind the feature film of the event “T2K 2009 – The Percy Hedley Edit”. The film captures key moments from the T2K wheelchair race through the Tyne Tunnel in 2009, and includes a soundtrack created by project workers using sound beam technology, which enables music to be created by cutting an invisible beam using hands or even eyelids. Charlie Harcourt, former member of the band Lindisfarne, helped to compose the soundtrack.

David Burdus, T2K race organiser, said: “Tunnel 2K is the fastest wheelchair race on the planet. We’re lucky enough to attract the best Paralympic wheelchair athletes to this short but immensely challenging event through the Tyne Tunnel – there really is nothing else like it in the world. The team at Percy Hedley have truly captured the spirit of this amazing race”

Des Bustard, fundraising director of the Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “Some of our service users wouldn’t be able to use standard recording or production technology to create a film like this. It’s absolutely fantastic that they’ve had the opportunity to work on this project and, with the investment that’s been made in state-of-the-art technology at our Karten Media Suite, they’ve been able to overcome traditional obstacles in film making to produce a moving, sensitive and powerful film.”

As well as the 2009 edit, guests also had the chance to watch a short film released in 1953 by students from King’s College, Durham (now Newcastle University). The film was screened at every cinema in Newcastle during the university’s rag week to raise funds for the establishment of the Percy Hedley Foundation. Today is the first time since then that the film has been shown on the big screen.

Jonny Tull, Cinema Programme Manager at the Tyneside Cinema, said: “We’re delighted to host this unique film festival, and show our support for the inclusivity agenda in the process. This event wouldn’t have been possible before our refurbishment in 2008, which included implementing a full accessibility plan and resulted in the Cinema being awarded a Lord Mayor’s Design Award last year.”

Tyne Tunnel Manager, Peter Hedley, said: “The annual race through the tunnel is something all of us at TT2 are immensely proud of. It has to be seen to be believed. It’s been fantastic to celebrate the athletes’ achievements through the film event today, and the achievements of the Percy Hedley group who made this powerful film. They truly deserve an event like this that recognises what they have accomplished.

“It’s also been fascinating to screen footage of the original vehicle tunnel under construction. The techniques used are in many ways very different from the way that the new tunnel is being built, but it’s interesting to see some of the same challenges being encountered.”

This year’s T2K race is due to take place on 16th September 2010. London Marathon winner, Josh Cassidy, announced his intention to participate in this year’s tunnel race after crossing the finish line at the marathon on Sunday (25th April).


The image attached shows project workers from Percy Hedley’s Karten Media Suite arriving at the Tyneside Cinema to watch the big screen premiere of their film about the Tyne Tunnel wheelchair race “T2K 2009″. From left to right: Juliet Fraser, Mark Beech, Daryn Robinson, Tamsin Greulich (from Tyne Tunnel operator TT2) and Richard Hunter.

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