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Hunting the KGB Killers

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

In October 2006, Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London, with the rare poison polonium 210. It was a case that gripped the nation. As the whistle-blower on systemic corruption in the Kremlin, Litvinenko became embroiled in a world of international espionage and political conspiracies.

Lens Flare TV were asked by director Chris Malone to shoot the extensive dramatised reconstruction scenes for this 90 minute documentary. The feature-length special revealed, for the first time, the remarkable details of the extraordinary investigation into Litvinenko’s murder through the experiences of the key Scotland Yard detectives who have never before spoken to the media.

Director Chris Malone contacted Simon and after an initial chat, Lens Flare TV were asked to provide full production services for the large quantity of reconstruction elements of the documentary, including camera, lighting, and crew.

Simon, who was asked to DOP the documentary, put a team together which included Steven Spence as his focus puller, Ben Hutchinson and Jake Pennington as camera Assistants and Jim Nicholas James as lighting gaffer.

The reconstruction elements were a large proportion of the documentary and after consideration we opted to shoot on the Sony F55 with a mixture of Zeiss CP.2 primes lenses and the Canon CN7 zoom lens for run-and-gun setups.

The biggest challenge of the production was the tight 7-day schedule which meant lighting and camera setups had to be planned well, with lighting was kept overall to a minimum.

Working with gaffer Jim-Nicolas James, Simon planned a mixture of Kino Flo 4-Bank and Dedolight Octodome setups, as well as our Encapsulites which lighting had to be hidden into the set.

There we also two night shoots in the schedule which required a generator and a combinations of Arri M18s and Arri 4K HMIs.

Director, Chris Malone

The finished result was very well received in the press described by The Guardian as a 'gripping documentary more outrageous than a spy movie' and was later broadcast internationally. The team at Lens Flare TV were very pleased to have been involved with the project, and look forward to working with Chris Malone, and True Vision North again in the future.



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