Remarkable Documentary “A Year in Champagne” Shot on a Magic Lantern Hacked Canon T2i

by Hugh Brownstone1 Comment

We write about gear – in this particular instance, a Magic Lantern hacked Canon T2i, a Canon C300 and a Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

And then we write it’s not about the gear.

We write, instead, that it’s about the story – in this particular instance, a documentary shot over the course of a year in the Champagne region of France, and a celebration of their most famous product.


At the risk of destroying dramatic tension, it’s obviously about both – and ultimately about neither. It’s about the skill of the filmmaking team in making the most of what they’ve got, all things – ALL things — considered.

Not hardware. Not software.

Wetware. As in:




noun: wetware

human brain cells or thought processes regarded as analogous to, or in contrast with, computer systems.

How could you conclude any differently after watching the trailer for this gorgeous and gorgeously told story – and then wandering on over to their web site to read about the team who created the film?

Congrats to David Kennard, Martine Saunier, Todd Ruppert, Jamie LeJeune, James Kennard, and the publicity team of Polly Legendre and Alisha Lumea.

But yeah, Magic Lantern rocks once again.

A Year in Champagne – Official Trailer

About A Year in Champagne

The exploding cork. Endless tiny bubbles floating up and up in the glass. An indulgence. A celebration. A seduction. A triumph. This is the essence of Champagne, isn’t it?

But it’s not just bubbles in a glass that makes the wine, or the mystique. Only sparkling wine produced within the boundaries of the Champagne region is truly “Champagne.” At first glance, the region is not an obvious source of romance. Champagne’s history is grim and bloody, swept by war and destruction from Attila the Hun to the filthy trenches of WWI and the Nazi depredations of WWII. The environment for winemaking is desperately hard — northerly latitude, chalky soil, copious rain, frost, rot. Yet it’s these difficulties that help make the wine unique.

With renowned wine importer Martine Saunier as our guide, we get a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the real Champagne through six houses, from small independent makers like Champagne Saint-Chamant, where each and every bottle is still turned by hand in the cellars, to the illustrious houses of Gosset and Bollinger which have been instrumental in shaping the image of Champagne around the world. In Champagne, they don’t sell Appellations, they sell Brands, many of which have been famous for 200 years.

In the vineyard, 2012 threatened to be “the year of all our fears,” as one eminent Champagne wine-master put it. Cold. Rain. Insects. Wind. More rain. The sun had gone away and looked like it might stay away forever. What happened at the last minute, to help chase the nightmares away? What saved Champagne from ruin?

Happily, unlike other great wines, non-vintage Champagne is not the product of a specific year and its weather. Style is the driver, and a signature house style is as much a creation as a movie star. Natural assets are just the starting place, and as the French say: “il faut souffrir pour etre belle,” one must suffer to be beautiful. The magical transformation happens behind closed doors and in miles of cellars, cities beneath cities, which hold literally hundreds of millions of bottles.

The blender of the wine works like an alchemist, mingling the brightness of one year’s summer with the difficulties of another year’s spring to create a better vision, and a taste experience that is true to the house’s style; then creating the bubbles in just the right amount, so the bottle won’t explode. After all, as customers we don’t even consider the fears of the winemakers. We crave the fantasy: the special zing of our favorite bubbly, when we push out the cork, the first tingle of bubbles on the nose, the taste explosion in the mouth, the thrill of the moment when you swallow pure gold…

A Year in Champagne is the second in a series of three 90-minute wine films for General Release, created by InCA Productions and Executive Produced by RTR International, Inc. A Year in Champagne will be distributed in North America by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The first film in the series was A Year in Burgundy, premiered in 2013, and the third will be A Year in Port, which was filmed in 2013 and is currently in post-production.

Learn more about the film at

A year in champagne

Via Hollywood Reporter:

Documentary filmmaker David Kennard's A Year In Champagne has been acquired for distribution in North America by Samuel Goldwyn Films, it was announced Thursday.

It is the follow-up to Kennard's 2013 documentary A Year In Burgundy. This time he takes his camera to the Champagne region of France, bringing to life the area's history and how the world's most prestigious sparkling wine is created despite chalky soil, frost, copious rain, rot and other difficulties.

Wine importer Martine Saunier acts as guide, taking the cameras through six houses, from small producers to world class houses like Gosset and Bollinger.

“Champagne is a beverage that people immediately associate with luxury and celebration, and the film pays tribute to the region and people who make this very special wine,” says Goldwyn Films senior vp Peter Goldwyn. “David takes the viewer on an incredible journey and delivers a vibrant, inside look at the complex world of champagne production.”

“The winemakers of Champagne hold their secrets close to their chest. Who would guess that the world's most famous wine is produced in a place with such bad weather and such a hair-raising history?” says Kennard. “Only by living amongst them for all four seasons of the year — as we did — are their secrets revealed: their sheer chutzpah, their reliance on luck and their enormous skill to conjure up the most magical, joyful drink from the most unpromising beginnings.”

Goldwyn is planning a spring 2015 release for the movie, which has already screen at the Santa Barbara and Palm Beach International Film Festivals.

Read full news story on Hollywood Reporter “Goldwyn Acquires North American Rights to Wine Doc ‘A Year In Champagne'”

(cover photo credit: snap from A Year in Champage Official website)


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