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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

The Other Fellow James Bond documentary premieres in New Zealand

22 June, 2022

Today is the official world premiere of “The Other Fellow,” a British documentary by Australian director Matthew Bauer, which explores the challenge of living with the name James Bond.

The documentary will open the 17th Annual Doc Edge Festival in New Zealand on June 22, 2022 (see more screenings on the festival here).

the other fellow documentary matthew bauer james bond official poster

Official poster for The Other Fellow documentary

Bond Lifestyle already reported on the documentary in June 2013 (read article here), when Remmert Van Braam visited Matthew Bauer on a set of the film in London.

The documentary is an energetic exploration of male identity via the lives, personalities, and adventures of a diverse band of men, real men across the globe all sharing the same name - James Bond.

“The Other Fellow” is co-written by Bauer and Rene van Pannevis and produced by Michelle Brøndum for The Other Fellow Ltd.

matthew bauer james bond documentary

Matthew Bauwer explains "The goal was to make a film that entirely stands on its own, with its whole own story and unique cast of characters. By the end of the second act the audience should be seeing them as characters in their own right: “this James” and “that James” not merely as men named James Bond."

1952. ‘Goldeneye’, Jamaica.

When British author Ian Fleming creates the character of 007, he needs to christen him with a “really flat, quiet name”. Perusing one of his favourite books BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES Fleming steals the name of a Philadelphia ornithologist by the name of James Bond…

2022. Seventy years later.

In SWEDEN we meet GUNNAR SCHÄFER. A superfan of all things 007 with his own James Bond Museum, there is more to his persona than simply fandom. The son of an escaped Nazi who vanished mysteriously after World War Two, GUNNAR now sees James Bond as a replacement father figure and immerses his life in all things 007.

ww2 escape james bond

Johannes Schäfer (played by Charlie Palmer Rothwell) makes a WW2 escape.

In NEW YORK CITY theatre director JAMES BOND has made countless media appearances as his famous namesake and finds the name a reoccurring hindrance. As a gay man, JAMES has apparently very little in common with Commander Bond and the alternative version of himself ad agencies, concierges and casting directors always wish to exploit.

South Bend, INDIANA. JAMES BOND JR.’s life has been marred by several disbelieving police officers and the weight such a name lends a black man in Indiana. THE OTHER FELLOW finds him in Indiana State Prison where he is awaiting trial for murder. In the same town a white man also called JAMES BOND is about to be caught up in a confusing media frenzy and mistaken identity.

indiana james bond documentary other fellow

What's in a name as Indiana's James Bond (Chae-Jamal McFarlane) is trapped in a dire predicament

Somewhere in ENGLAND an unnamed mother chronicles a tough past with an abusive ex-husband. A bold identity change creates new challenges in the face of 007, and soon dramatically contradicts the other James Bonds across the world and their sometimes-shared experiences.

And in PHILADELPHIA - amid the 1960s Bond mania - ornithologist JAMES BOND and his loyal wife MARY travel to Jamaica to finally confront IAN FLEMING about an identity theft that is changing the lives of all James Bonds across the globe, including theirs.

james bond london documentary

British soldier James Bond remembers the reality of war.

Via Vancouver, Toronto, London, Denver, Guyana, Europe, the US and Baghdad, THE OTHER FELLOW paints a rich picture of the worldwide digital and cultural footprint of cinema’s most famous spy. And what being in that looming shadow actually means for people when it creates an identity crisis like no other.

the other fellow james bond guyana

Guyana's James Bond proudly remembers his best Bond movies.


DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

MATTHEW BAUER

"I was approaching my thesis film for NYU film school and somewhere from the aether appeared the enticing question of ‘What would it be like to have the name James Bond?’

I jumped on Facebook to send this question to a bunch of real men named James Bond. Immediately. I started to see the effect, influence, quirks, setbacks, and fallout of 007 as usernames like ‘Bond James’, ‘Bond, James Bond’, ‘James Alexander Bond’, and ‘JB Bond’ proved that a complicated bunch of stories and real-life characters were out there.

By a sheer coincidence, of all the hundreds of James Bonds I contacted, it was the first reply that led me to a key emotional crux of THE OTHER FELLOW – discovering a once imprisoned mother who had to use the name of James Bond to escape a cruel life of domestic violence and marital abuse.

Very quickly I saw that whilst the James Bonds I spoke to have a lot of the expected, sometimes funny experiences one might assume, there was also a more serious dimension to the name. Many of the real Bonds had been harassed by the police, bullied at school, found romance complicated, refused bank accounts and none of them felt seen.

This led me to a gay man dealing with the world’s perceptions of masculinity typified by James Bond. And then, a man named James Bond Jr. was arrested for murder in the US. He agreed to let me interview him in prison. It was at that moment I realised THE OTHER FELLOW had the chance to explore more serious, social, societal, race, identity, and gender issues through a completely unexpected lens.

indiana james bond family

An Indiana family's own bond helps their James Bond navigate life.

And yet one question still remained – why would they not just change their name?

Some of our characters have. Our Swedish James Bond changed his name to disassociate from an absent father figure and gain a new one in 007. Or London’s James Hart who eventually had a surname change to avoid the “mire of the name Bond.”

Alongside all this accidental intrigue and identity wrangling, I looked too into the story of the ‘first’ James Bond – that ornithologist whose name Fleming stole for his first 007 novel, CASINO ROYALE. Many Bond fans know this part of the story, but I found there was another lesser-known dimension surrounding what happened to the first Bond and his wife, Mary.

james bond documentary mary

Mary Wickham Bond (Tacey Adams) and husband James (Gregory Itzin) realise their identity has been stolen by a cultural phenomenon.

She had written a long-lost short novel called HOW 007 GOT HIS NAME. It details the experience of contacting and meeting Fleming. Through painstaking research, we found lost audio and news interviews with the original Mr. and Mrs. Bond. This was the moment THE OTHER FELLOW became both a historical and a sociological documentary.

ms bond documentary the other fellow

Mary Wickham Bond (Tacey Adams) and husband James (Gregory Itzin) take matters into their own hands.

It was always important to me to visually represent the noise of information that surrounds and interacts with my James Bonds. This is the noise that carries the Bond phenomena around the world in 2022 – TV news, interviews, clickbait headlines, radio chatter, mass media, social media, and the internet – noise that these characters are more sensitive to than a normal person.

Our final act depicting the mother’s name change decision is the moment when all the other fellows of THE OTHER FELLOW narratively combine. Their stories and experiences collectively share resonance, emotions, joy, and danger."

matthew bauer guyana filming the other fellow documentary

Director Matthew Bauer in Guyana

"Working with an extremely low budget, we have extensively used drone footage, a superb original score and VFX to create a high-gloss cinematic feel to THE OTHER FELLOW. Its re-enactment sequences, editing, production values and global caper wilfully align this documentary to what audiences expect from a 007-adjacent feature film."

ian fleming the other fellow documentary

The spy-maker himself Ian Fleming dominates post-production.

"On a personal level, I hope THE OTHER FELLOW resonates with all audiences - and not just people with a funny name. Through encountering how these characters have overcome - or sometimes failed to overcome - this somewhat unique sociological situation, these are the stories of gender, identity, bigotry, masculinity, feminism, race divides, and popular culture in the shadow of a cinematic icon."

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Stay up to date about future festivals and showings of The Other Fellow documentary via social media channels:

instagram.com/theotherfellow
facebook.com/theotherfellow
twitter.com/theotherfellow

and the website theotherfellow.com.


OB Wham

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