Having won the Oscar for Best Art Direction for Star Wars, Christian’s directorial debut would have a Star Wars connection too. Black Angel screened with The Empire Strikes Back in the UK, Scandinavia and Australia before all prints of the film were lost.
“I was in Romania right after the revolution filming Nostradamus and the company that held all my masters went bankrupt and threw everything out. I never forgave them,” Christian said. “The neg turned up about a year and a half ago by sheer destiny. Rank Laboratories, who had the negative, kept them in WW2 bunkers outside London because they said it was perfectly dry and secure.”
The negative was moved to Universal before Athena Studios restored the print frame-by-frame, ahead of its first showing at last year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. It was here that Guy Veale – who chaired the Q&A – saw it and started the ball rolling on the film returning to Scotland where it was filmed.
So how does Christian feel about his film being rediscovered? “It’s been very interesting. I had no money and a crew of eight people, and I thought maybe I should leave it as a myth because I didn’t think it would ever hold up. Films aren’t paced like this anymore.”