The Long Way Back
|Directed By||Fred Waterman|
|Produced By||Charleen Avery|
|Written By||Lottie Van Amelsvoort|
|Starring||Lars Homewood |
|Music By||Allegra Van Bokhoven|
|Edited By||Sabien Aveskamp|
|Production Company||South Sea Islands Broadcasting Association|
|Distributed By||South Sea Islands Broadcasting Association|
|Running Time||2 hours 30 minutes|
|Budget||200,000 South Sea Denarii|
|Box Office||15,000 South Sea Denarii|
Following its release in 1697, the film was roundly savaged by critics and industry experts, but soon established a cult following due to its transparently low production value and poor special effects. While The Long Way Back was an economic failure, Director Fred Waterman said, "we're delighted that the film has bought joy and entertainment to so many people, albeit in ways other than those initially envisaged. We believe it casts light on an important period in the history of Micras".
The film follows the story of Ted Williamson (played by Lars Homewood) and James Montgomery (played by Orville Boyce) two members of the Britannic Expeditionary Force dispatched to Woodstania in 1517. Loosely based on real life events, the pair sail from New Britannia as low ranking infantrymen who find themselves caught up in the vicious guerrilla warfare that defined the Circum-Raynor War in the northern sector.
Following a series of defeats and chronic equipment shortages, Williamson and Montgomery find themselves cut off from their unit, with no alternative but to try and find their way home. Traversing mountains, rivers and hostile cities, the pair take on the personas of a pair of travelling Woodstanian shoe polishers, only to find their cover quickly blown when an army officer from Babkha asks for a shoe shine, and finds the pair inexperienced and unqualified for the task.
After a daring escape from a notoriously brutal labour camp, Williamson and Montgomery eventually find their way back eastward, hidden in the coal storage compartment of a passenger liner, with the complicity of a Nova English crewmen.
The premier of the film attracted considerable attention, with many welcoming the first movie ever to be produced in the South Sea Islands. However, the reviews of the initial screening were generally unfavourable, and downright hostile in some cases, and industry experts expressed both surprise and disappointment at the low production value of the film.
Despite that, the residents of the South Sea Islands generally supported the movie, with consistently full cinemas for the duration of the run. The local actors, as well as a dose of national pride, both meant that the film was well supported, at least within the South Sea Islands. In subsequent years, the film has become a regular repeat on South Sea Islands Broadcasting Association TV broadcasts, with many committed viewers able to recount key scenes almost word for word.
Its premiere in Aqaba in Constancia received little attention from the Constancian gliterrati, despite presence of the Autokrator of Constancia and his family out of diplomatic respect (and along with it, the semi-compulsory presence of the government, corporate, and military elite). Initially dismissed as a b-movie, its entertainment value and eventual cult following soon brought sufficient interest in the producers of the film to cause a significant spike at the Foreign Ministry regarding tourism opportunities to the South Sea Islands.