HandMade Films, the British film studio co-founded by George Harrison in 1978, is the subject of a new documentary from AMC U.K. Titled An Accidental Studio, the film tells the story of the studio’s early years through the eyes of the filmmakers, key personnel and the man who started it all.
A trailer for the documentary, seen below, features Michael Palin, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins, John Cleese, the late George Harrison and more.
HandMade Films was formed by the ex-Beatle with business partner Denis O’Brien to finance the Monty Python film Life of Brian. The film’s original financiers had pulled out of the project less than a week before filming was set to commence. Harrison, a friend and fan of the Pythons, reportedly mortgaged his home in order to finance the feature.
Life of Brian ultimately grossed $21 million at the box office in the U.S. alone, turning HandMade Films into a creative force in the British film industry for the next decade.
Over those ten years, Harrison served as executive producer for 23 films with HandMade, including 1981’s Time Bandits, which earned $35M in the U.S. in the first 10 weeks of its release.
By the late 80s, a series of box office bombs had put the company in financial distress. They closed operations in 1991 and the company was later sold. Harrison ultimately sued O’Brien for fraud and negligence, winning 11.6M in a 1996 judgement.
An Accidental Studio will be broadcast on AMC U.K. on May 4th and will air internationally later this year.