Film-maker Richard to shoot new Cannon

Lancaster film maker Richard Albiston, has collected an impressive array of memorabilia connected with the old Cannon film company. He has also just bought the rights to the name. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday May 11, 2015.
Lancaster film maker Richard Albiston, has collected an impressive array of memorabilia connected with the old Cannon film company. He has also just bought the rights to the name. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday May 11, 2015.

A budding Lancaster film-maker is aiming to resurrect the name and style of a famous American film company.

Former Morecambe High School pupil Richard Albiston, 26, who grew up in Bolton-le-Sands, has always been a fan of American film company Cannon Films - famed for action B-pictures including Missing in Action with Chuck Norris, King Solomon’s Mines, Over The Top and Kickboxer.

But it was not until a chance meeting with one of its original founders, Menahem Golan, that Richard decided to try and pull some new ideas together, leading him to set up Cannon Films Ltd, based in Lancaster, off his own back.

He now hopes to start producing films here.

He said: “I always wanted to be an actor and I’d done some things with The Grand Theatre in Lancaster, but I was getting tired with that side of things.

“I did media studies and film at A-Level at Lancaster and Morecambe College and wrote a horror film called Something Evil, Something Dangerous, shot at home and at the college.

“I put it on discs, and started selling it, and people started buying it.

“We wrote a prequel, shot in Bolton-le-Sands, and then I went to Staffordshire University. While there I was invited to Rome to meet with Italian producer Ovidio Assonitis, who made Piranha 2 with James Cameron.

“We sat and talked for ages about his films, and he was talking about re-making Beyond the Door.”

Cannon Films were folded into MGM in 1994, and it was not until 16 years later, in 2010, that Richard decided to contact one of its founders, Menahem Golan.

“I found out in late 2010 that Menahem was still alive and living in Israel, so I called his TV film company up, and arranged to go and see him at the Belgrade International Film Festival in 2011. We talked about making King Solomon’s Mines 3 and I said we should try to get Cannon Films back making films.”

Richard said that Golan was “excited” by the ideas, and asked him to go and write the screenplay.

But Golan died in August last year and the name Cannon Films is now considered a dissolved company, so Richard has set about trying to resurrect it.

“I have set up Cannon Films Ltd and at the moment I just have the name, and Menaham’s fanbase, but there’s plenty of ideas in the pipeline.

“My Cannon has a project called The Field - which is a road horror movie. It’s fully scripted and I’m now just looking for funding.

There’s also interest in Over The Top 2, a follow up to the Sylvester Stallone movie, the idea of which is mine and Menahem’s.

Susan Haworth, owner of Rocking Raccoons in Morecambe, is also involved in Richard’s Cannon project as financial director.

Richard added: “Lancaster is not London, or Manchester, so opportunities can be limited, but I know there are people in this area to take things further.

“I have not made a professional film, but I have a book that has a publishing deal, which is about independent movies in the 1980s.

“I want to look into pre-selling like Cannon used to, but I suppose the biggest question is, how do we find money in a country where there isn’t any for films. “I think pre-selling is the answer.

“Here in Lancaster is a perfect place for a film company as you have every environment within driving distance.”

Richard is currently looking into co-producing two films - in Africa and Australia - with other exciting plans on the horizon.

If you would like to contact Richard about his new venture email office_ra@cannon-films.com.