Shooting a Tomb Raider Fan Film Abroad


Rebecca Crossdale (Lara Croft) on location in Almeria, Spain. Photo by Dylan Webb.

Fan films are one of my favourite creative mediums in the Tomb Raider community!
It’s always nice to see someone new take on the character of Lara Croft and make her their own, as well as what the filmmakers achieve visually.
Recently, a group of students from the University of Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey, set out to make a short film that would be a hybrid of the classic and reboot Tomb Raider games and started a campaign on Go Fund Me.
The action adventure was released a few months ago (now with over 5,900 views) and I was struck by the impressive cinematography, lighting and especially the beautiful locations and landscapes provided by the city of Almeria in Spain.
The two directors James Ashley and Dylan Webb chatted with me about making this labour of love.

TDD: When did this project start and what made you choose Tomb Raider?
DW: This project started in early October 2016 when my university informed us we had to create a short 5 minute film as part of our course.
I do film production at UCA Farnham and have made several films throughout my time at university​.
These films have all either been dramas or comedies, so for this final project I wanted to do something different.
At the time I was heavily invested in fan films, particularly with Star Wars. James and I tried to get a Star Wars film going outside of our studies but found the costs being way too much, so it was left. I was also getting into the new Tomb Raider video games on the PS4, especially Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. James and I sat down and decided we wanted to make a film that would stand out from our previous work and other students in our class, I love films with a strong female lead and James loves actions films, so Lara Croft was the perfect middle ground, and it turns out we both love her!


JA: The idea to do a Tomb Raider fan film was talked about between me and Dylan as far back as August. We decided we wanted to team up and make a fun film for our final project. There are too many depressing films made with those sorts of projects!

Tomb Raider was a natural choice for us as Lara Croft’s world mixes together several different genres and elements that cater to Dylan and I’s differences in taste.
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale as Lara Croft. Photo by Dylan Webb.

TDD: How much money did you manage to raise with your crowd funding campaign and how did it help with the production?
D&J: We used GoFundMe to raise money for our fan film, mainly due to the project shifting to be filmed abroad and also we are students, money is tight!
We didn't want to remove any elements from our film due to production costs, so we kept it contained in terms of script without hindering the story.
That was an extremely hard task because we had such cool ideas floating around, but they often lead to bringing up the budget. We managed to raise just shy of £350, with our overall budget being £1200. This money helped us out with accommodation and food, essential things for all film productions. 
Without the generosity from family, friends and even some fans we wouldn't have been able to make this film the way we wanted, so we as a team are very grateful!

TDD: How did you go about casting?
DW: For casting, we used Casting Call Pro. I was in charge of casting and I posted the ad up and received an overwhelming amount of responses for this role.
We had over 40 actors come forward to play Lara Croft, and we had and extremely successful audition turnout, I think all but 1 showed up. It felt great seeing how many people wanted to work on this film and play such an iconic role.
We met some great people during the process, but could only pick one and finally went with Rebecca [Crossdale], due to the fact she showcased the most commitment and enthusiasm for the project. She even turned up fully dressed as Lara Croft, something we never asked for but admired. She was definitely the right choice for the role!

Rebecca Crossdale's audition.
JA: We ran two days of auditions in London. We had many hopefuls turn up and with each one we’d talk to them about what the character meant to them and established what experience they might have that would benefit them if they played the starring role.

We also did a very short bit of fight choreography with each potential Lara, to get a feel for whether they’d be able to execute the moves I had in mind for the action scenes.
Finally we selected the top two and ran a final workshop with each of them, it was close, but Dylan and I unanimously agreed that our star was Becky Crossdale.
We have never regretted the decision once, she’s a pleasure to work with and she’s gone above and beyond her role as our lead actress to help us get the film made.


TDD: How did the idea of shooting in Spain come about?

DW: We lost our original producer due to scheduling issues with other productions, so we found another at our university who seemed to really like our idea. It was her idea to take the production to Spain to increase production value for the project, and it turned out to be cheaper to film abroad than in London! Once the rest of the team found out about Spain, it was decided this is what we wanted and I think it helps the aesthetic of the film look professional.
It was a great experience I think other filmmakers should try. We had several production issues, but us knowing we couldn't just hop back on the plane and do a reshoot made us more alert, careful and we were commended for our ability to think on the spot and solve problems quicky! This project has definitely given me a better understanding of how to make a film.


JA: A member of our team came from Almeria in Spain and due to her contacts over there, it seemed like a great option.

TDD: What were the challenges of making this film?
JA: Numerous challenges, our whole crew changed several times before we even finished pre-production, mostly due to scheduling conflicts or visa issues.
When we went across to Spain and arrived in Almeria, our location fell through. 
The bulk of the film was originally going to be filmed in some caves, the final film we came away with was very different as our location manager lost our access to the cave the day before we were meant to start shooting. Our whole script went out of the window.
While everyone was asleep, Dylan and I went location scouting at 1am, desperate to save our film from disaster.
After a couple of hours of exploring, we found a castle, which became the main backdrop for our film. Luckily Almeria has some beautiful countryside too, which we used in the final part of our film. We made up the events of the film the next morning after talking to the castle staff. Thankfully the staff at the castle were very friendly and gave us permission to film there.
We had a small problem with our sound recordist, who was coincidentally also our location manager, sadly Almeria being her home town, she preferred going and socialising with old friends rather than doing that much recording. Which means the film’s sound that you hear, is pretty much all done in post production with dubbing and foley!
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale (Lara Croft) on location at Alcazaba de Almeria.


TDD: Shooting a film that requires weaponry abroad is not an easy task. How did you manage that aspect?
DW: The weapons were a worry for a long time. We were in talks with our university on how to go about getting the guns abroad, and in the end we just decided to be honest and phone the flight companies and explain what we wanted and what we were doing. That was the scariest part as the weapons are key to the film, and we were highly doubtful they would allow it. To our surprise they were fine with it, they understood we were students making a film, and asked a few questions about the project and we were approved. It was such a relief and an exciting moment that we were taking weapons across the border! We wouldn't have been able to do any of this without our amazing producer Christi, who was the one contacting the airports and flight companies to get this sorted and thanks to her we had the weapons in the film - and we avoided being arrested! If anyone if thinking about doing the same, just be honest and ask, you'll be surprised how cooperative people and companies actually are with filmmakers!


JA: All credit for that goes to our talented producer Christi Leigh Cooper, she must have got at least 8 different signatures from the highest authorities at our university and contacted customs weeks in advance to explain that we wanted to take props with us.

With lots of work, she managed to pull it off!

TDD: Is there anything you took away from this experience?
DW: I've touched on this a little already but what I took from this experience is most certainly more knowledge of how to make a film. Going abroad has shown all of us that films are not easy to make, you need to be able to think on the spot and under pressure as well as creatively. It's not an easy thing to do. This was one of the best film experiences I had in terms of the things it had taught me and the confidence it gave me as a filmmaker. I loved working on it and I would certainly do it all again!


JA: It helped me develop my ability to adapt quickly to unexpected situations and think of creative ways around problems we encountered on the spot.

Also to make sure you use people who’re committed to your film whenever possible because you won’t get it made without a massive team effort!
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale (Lara Croft) on location in Almeria, Spain.

TDD: Any plans to do another Tomb Raider fan film in the future?
DW:😎 Most definitely yes. There was always going to be more than one film. Simone, the screenwriter, is working on the next script. Right now we have several ideas floating around and without revealing too much, there may be involvement of dinosaurs at some point! I also like the idea of setting it in a snowy country, I think that will be a nice change from our last film. I'm really looking forward to bringing everyone back to carry on our Tomb Raider films and sharing them with everyone.


JA: If all goes to plan it’s currently planned to be filmed up in Wales and it’ll be a much more story driven piece compared to the non stop running in the first film!



Let's hope Rebecca won't have to run around in the snow wearing shorts. 😉
Special thanks to Dylan and James for talking to me! I look forward to your future projects!
Rebecca also wanted to talk to us when she has the chance.
In the meantime, check out the film and some more exclusive behind the scenes photos below...
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale on location at Alcazaba de Almeria.
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale on location at Alcazaba de Almeria.

EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale on location in Almeria, Spain.
EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Crossdale as Lara Croft. Photo by Dylan Webb.

Official Tomb Raider (2018) Film Trailer is Here!!!


Official poster featuring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft.
It's finally here!!!
The first footage of the upcoming Tomb Raider movie reboot starring a fierce and very athletic looking Alicia Vikander!

Late last night GMT, the leading lady appeared on The Late Late Show for the world premiere of the trailer which was very well received by the audience....oh and James Corden cosplayed Lara.

She also took part in IGN's special live stream in which she talked about her history with the Tomb Raider games, answered some fan questions and shared stories from the set.

Kate's Thoughts on the Trailer

As we see in the new silver screen Wonder Woman, times are changing for the better for female characters in film. Some think we no longer need characters like Bridget Jones. What we do need are strong, independent and sometimes, even, rebellious women to set a positive example for young girls and women world wide to challenge those segments of society and say "yes I can and I will".
I've not yet seen "Wonder Woman" myself but everything that I have seen about it gave me confidence that this is a female superhero film done right.
I feel the same about the new Tomb Raider trailer. This is a young woman with no superpowers nor a greek god for a father. She isn't a billionaress and doesn't have a private plane to take her where-ever she wants whenever she wants. She's a girl from London with a difficult past and uncertain future who just has her intellect and relentless fighting spirit to go after the things she wants. I guess that makes her a different kind of superhero.
What I also like the look of is that everything is so similar to the reboot games but they've gone one step further. Alicia's Lara already has the physicality and the personality from the classics that everyone associates with the character.
That brings me to my other point.
As someone who is passionate about the film industry, Alicia Vikander is an inspiration in her own right.
She literally threw herself into this role, building her body up through intense workouts in the months leading up to filming and then pushed herself to the limits by using her dance background to do almost all of the stunts herself!
Just take a look at this behind the scenes featurette...


I believe this is who Lara Croft needs to be now and I have a strong feeling that this could be the perfect Tomb Raider movie!

To keep up to date, you can visit the official website
www.tombraidermovie.com
Follow the Facebook page
facebook.com/tombraidermovie
And Twitter
twitter.com/tombraidermovie

Nicobass' Tomb Raider 2 Remake Released!!!



20 years after the release of the second Tomb Raider game, Nicobass has granted fans' wishes and has brought us his own next generation remake, of the first section to be precise, set in and around the illustrious Great Wall of China. A project that started in early 2016, a group of Tomb Raider community members from the world over teamed up to make this happen; with Jennifer Milward being the voice of Lara Croft, Alexandre Serel writing the script and Dean Kopri composing the incredible score. Also, the beautiful background on the main menu and loading screens are by our very talented header designer, Inna Vjuzhanina.

A fanmade level on this scale has never before been seen and this has created a huge buzz amongst the fans, embracing it as if it were an official title. In the first 24 hours alone, the download link crashed as a result of too much traffic!

It's certainly a work of art from start to finish with rich and beautifully realistic enviroments, complex  puzzles and extremely hidden secrets! The play style is very much inspired by Crystal Dynamics' pre-reboot games, as if it follows on from Tomb Raider: Anniversary, but with more obscure pathways.

If you have a PC or if you watch a playthrough video, you're in for a treat!
You can download the level on the website here.
Also, be sure to check out the Facebook page.

TDD's Top 5 Tomb Raider Cosplay Performances



Cosplay is one of the most prominent creative outlets in the Tomb Raider community.
It shows fans from all over the world that they can transform into their hero, no matter who they are.
From this comes countless different takes on that character where we are freed from the official "canon".
A good example of that is when cosplayers take part in friendly competition with performances.
With great difficulty, we have narrowed down five of our favourite Tomb Raider cosplay performances to showcase, otherwise we'll be here all day!
So, without further ado....

#5

The evolution of Lara Croft feauturing French cosplayers Lili Dîn as Young Lara Croft from The Last Revelation, Julie Peugeot (AKA CosplayLaraCroft) as Classic Lara and Manou (AKA Kyrati Couture) as Tomb Raider Underworld Lara. 
We love this nostalgic concept and the wonderful costumes! Not to mention Julie's kick-butt moves!

#4

The Angel of Darkness - *Sigh* Why can't these two ever get along?
Despite a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, the great performances from Ukrainian cosplayers Tanya Croft and her boyfriend Alex as Lara and Kurtis Trent combined with very impressive combat kept us engaged from beginning to end!

#3

Ever wondered what would happen if Lara wandered into Mortal Kombat? Well, you're about to find out! All these cosplayers stayed in character the whole time, up until the moment they took a bow in front of a well received audience.
Besides, who doesn't love crossovers?
Featuring Tif (AKA Illyne) as Guardian of Light Lara, Hervé Juncker as SubZero and Jonathan (AKA Cosplay Quest) as Scorpion at Paris Manga 2011.

#2

Tomb Raider: Underworld - This is possibly the closest to a professional stunt show than any other cosplay performance we've seen!
Very tight choreography and dramatic scenes from Italian cosplayers Virginia (AKA JillStyler) as Lara and Selene as the Doppelgänger.
There's no wonder they won "Best Choreography"!


#1

Reboot Lara discovers the hard way that her past isn't going away so easily!
Our #1 favourite has to be this original and creative performance by Belgian cosplayers Visual Aurelie and Marine (AKA Tsukichan Cosplay). Very fitting for the 20th anniversary last year and leaves a die hard fan with all the feels!!
Well deserved win in the group category!


Let us see your cosplay performances and your favourites!

Lara Croft Models: Where are they now?




In 1996, during the promotion of the first Tomb Raider game, four models including Katie Price were hired by Eidos to dress as Lara Croft at ECTS (European Computer Trade Show - the UK's largest gaming convention at the time) to pose with fans and give out goodies. Following it's popularity, one of those models, Natalie Cook, soon became the face of the new fictional heroine every gamer loved and therefore set the mark for a new initiative for live-action Laras which would go on until 2010.
In this article, we explore what happened to those eight ladies since donning the iconic ensemble.

NATALIE COOK (TOMB RAIDER 1)


There is very little information about Natalie Cook after she retired from tomb raiding but in November 2016 for the franchise's 20th anniversary, she was a special guest at Play Expo in Manchester, UK, for which she wore her original costume and took photos with fans on both days. She was also a judge in the cosplay competition.

Here she is posing with our very own Kate Sykes!


RHONA MITRA (TOMB RAIDER II)


Don't think we need to tell you what happened to English actress Rhona Mitra's career after she hung up her Lara boots but incase you missed it...
Mitra dove into playing a long string of strong female characters in films such as "Shooter",  "Doomsday", "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" and "Hard Target 2".
She has also acted in a number of TV series, her most recent role being Dr. Rachel Scott in "The Last Ship".
From left to right: Doomsday, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Strike Back, Hard Target 2.
Find out more on her IMDb page.

NELL MCANDREW (TOMB RAIDER III)


McAndrew had a successful career in glamour modelling following being "Tomb Raider III"'s official model. She was a TV presenter on "Racing Rivals", "Born to Fight", "It's a Knockout" and "The Big Breakfast".
Moving into fitness, McAndrew made a few instruction videos, the first of which "Peak Energy", released in 2002, became a best seller.
She has run in many a marathon and for the 2008 Great North Run, she even dressed as Wonder Woman for charity. In March 2012, McAndrew became the first woman to cross the finish line in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run.
Last year, she released "Nell McAndrew's Guide to Running".

LARA WELLER (TR4: THE LAST REVELATION)


Again, it's unclear what Lara Weller has been doing in the years before and after the 10th anniversary photoshoot with four of the other Lara models but that same year, she stepped back into the Croft persona to help a friend open his game shop MadForce and did an informal interview reflecting on her days in the role.

See tombraidercollection.com's exclusive video here...

LUCY CLARKSON (TR5: CHRONICLES)


The youngest of the models, taking on the role at the age of just 17, Clarkson said in an intervew with GameTap that she "modelled herself on Lara Croft".
Having suffered from an eating disorder, she became a spokeswoman againgst "size zero" and a campaigner for healthy living.
She was a regular presenter on BBC News 24 and is a celebrity patron for SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).
Lucy now lives in Miami where she is still modelling and does fitness instruction.
She sings too. You can listen to her cover of the Spice Girls' "2 Become 1" here...
Last year, in full Lara style, Lucy accepted a challenge from This is Fashionable to learn how to power surf!


JILL DE JONG (TR6: THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS)


Jill de Jong moved to the US and aside from modelling, ventured into acting, appearing in several commercials which you can see some of in her showreel here...
She also starred in an independant film about a female assassin entitled "Jillian".
De Jong then moved to focus on models' well being and founded the "Models Do Eat" initiative, providing food recipes and health coaching.
For this, she interviewed non other than Lucy Clarkson whom she struck up a friendship with after they met up in their home state of Miami.

KARIMA MCADAMS (TRs: LEGEND & ANNIVERSARY)


Then known as Karima Adebibe, she took on the role following the development take-over from Crystal Dynamics.
The first speaking Lara who did training in fire-arms and in combat with the SAS, she promoted Legend and the 10th anniversary remake of the first game.
After that, she continued modelling and also appeared in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and "Vikings".
She turned to focus on her acting career, studying in New York City and is currently attending LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art).
Very recently, she played the role of Miriam Attar in the ITV drama, "Fearless"
in which she acted alongside Helen McCrory.

ALISON CARROLL (TR8: UNDERWORLD)


Known as "the live-action Lara Croft", action being the key word, Carroll incorporated her years of gymnastics experience into the role with a special routine she performed in character while on tour.
After over 2 years as the final model, she continued her passion for acting, appearing in "The Kid" and "The Gridiron". She also starred in independent films, "Live is an Art" and "Amsterdam Heavy".
She also founded "The Lightning School of Gymnastics" and choreographed the winning junior team at the British National Championships.  

You may see her as another certain action herione...

Most recently, she did the motion-capture for the main character of Aloy in the PS4 game "Horizon: Zero Dawn".


We think it's clear to see that aspects of who Lara Croft is have rubbed off on these ladies' lives and careers in one way or another.

Who was your favourite model? Let us know!

Tomb Raider Suite - The Album!!!


One of two official artwork designs featuring Classic Lara!
Following the success of the 20th Anniversary live concert in London last Christmas, composer Nathan McCree has set out to record an album with a live orchestra at the one and only Abbey Road Studies but he can't do it without the help of the fans!

A Kickstarter campaign was recently launched and has so far raised £121,900 out of the final goal of £160,000. If you wish to donate, you can get your hands on some exclusive merchandise, a VIP invite to launch parties both in the UK and the US with Nathan himself and some special guests! Even a seat at Abbey Road to see the recording!

Found out more on the website.

The campaign has 3 days left and it's all or nothing so if you are unable to donate, please help spread the word.
Thank you!


The Digger's Daugher is 1 Year Old Today + Giveaway!



Today marks the 1 year anniversary of TTD's launch and to celebrate, we're hosting a giveaway!!!!

For your chance to win this collectible Larazade t-shirt, all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments below or on our Facebook page...

Tomb Raider first partnered with the energy drink Lucozade in 1998 and the campaign ran until the end of Core Design's development of the games in 2002. Late on in the campaign, commercials appeared showing various women in their home town embracing Lara's spirit in full, leaving onlookers bewildered.
What was the catchfrase of those commercials?

You have until next Monday (12th June) to enter. Good luck, Raiders!