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Video: Behind scenes of Senna screening in London
Video: Behind scenes of Senna screening in London
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 May 2011   |  7:15 am GMT  |  41 comments

Here is the video of Tuesday night’s JA on F1 screening of the Senna movie in London, featuring contributions from Sir Jackie Stewart, Martin Brundle, Prof Watkins and the driver whom Senna described as his greatest rival – kart champion Terry Fullerton.

It reflects the emotion of the evening and gives a flavour of a memorable event, which played out to an audience of 320 people and raised money for the GP Mechanics Trust. Thanks to all the JA on F1 readers who came and who contributed.

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Saw the film at the New Zealand Film Festival today in Auckland. A wonderful and beautifully crafted documentary! Brought back a lot of happy memories of watching F1 as well as the dreadful memories of that final weekend.

Audience gave the film a large round of applause at the end. My wife went through a whole packet of tissues (could have used one myself).


Hi James, first of all I just want to say that your blog is the best F1 blog on the web. It’s always the first one I go to. Thanks for all the great articles and insights, keep up the great work.

I was wondering if you had any information about the instrumental music pieces used in the Senna film? Are they original music written for the Senna film or were they just taken from somewhere else? Most importantly, do you know where I can get a copy of the music used?

Thanks, Chris


The soundtrack was written for the film by Antonio Pinto. It’s one if the best thugs about the film. I hope Universal release it


Thank you thank you James!

That little reportage got me to tears… amazing words from Sid Watkins, his mechanics, and I just saw the face of the man who Senna genuinely thought was faster than him… the unknown Terry Fullerton.

Watching him speak the words… I was often faster than him, I beat him often… sounds so unreal.

Yet, Senna left us with a far away hidden clue of that he looked up to one driver.

Fantastic! Thank you for bringing the event to us.

(I am afraid when watching the movie I will be in tears all the way.. 🙂


i felt disappointed with terry fullerton’s interview. 

ayrton competed full time exclusively in the karting world championship in 78, 79 and 80 and was team mates with fullerton. 

by 78 fullerton had already been competing in karting world championship for 7 years and ayrton was a rookie. 

in 78 and 79 ayrton finished overall runner up to champions peter koene then peter de bruijn; each season beating fullerton. 

i knew he had a lot of respect for me. we were team mates for 3 years, so i knew he had a lot of respect for me. i often beat him, i was often faster than him. he never really got the measure of me, so he left karting without ever getting the measure of me. so i was still on top when he left, i knew he had a lot of respect for me and thought a lot of me as a driver. 

no one would have heard or remembered him had ayrton not very graciously said his name. not only did he not have a single nice or complimentary thing to say about ayrton, but he used the opportunity to big himself up at the expense of ayrton. 



I also felt the same way. I cant comment personally if what he is saying is true or not since I wasn’t around in 78 but I thought he was a bit snobbish about the whole mention of him by arguably the world’s greatest ever race car driver, didn’t seem very delighted.

As far as the movie goes, I thought it was amazing, as cinematic as anyone can hope for all things considered and understandably the worldwide recognition and awards speak for it. I wasn’t watching F1 at the time but had always seen footage of races in the 80s and 90s and knew about Senna and Prost and Schumacher and Alesi but obviously not much background info on either of those drivers. The movie did a good job of tracking Senna’s racing career, im sure many of you who have deeper knowledge and following of Senna will say that quite a bit was left out but for someone like myself who didn’t follow the sport at the time, it did a good job of giving a brief outline of how Senna became to be known as the legend he is today.


I’ve just bought myself a ticket to this…


A screening at Cambridge Art Theatre and a Q&A with the director. 30th May.

If I’ve managed to make anyone’s dreams come true, I’ll allow you to express your gratitude by buying me a pint. 😉


Is there an Australian release for this?

Or (as normal) we have to wait for the DVD?



Had a question for you. Is the Senna movie being shown at the various Grand Prix that are happening this year. There was an exclusive viewing it Toronto last week that I only found out about after the fact. But was thinking it would be a neat night out to have an “exclusive viewing” organized at each Grand Prix. I for one would be very interested in seeing it with other F1 fans and I’m sure it could be packaged into something worth the price of admission. Just a thought – would be kinda cool to see it on a big screen on a summer’s day with a few hundred fans in Montreal. Don’t know how to get in touch with the promoters/producers, but this would be an excellent way to get the word out. Just a thought. Cheers!


James, I would need your help. During the screening night I was talking to Manish and about a possible screening night in Belgium, he told me he was working with Pierre van Vliet for this, but in the mean time he asked me to see if there are any film festivals in Belgium that the movie could be shown. Now, I have found a festival who are interested and they asked me to send them a screener of the movie. Now I do not have the contact details of Manish (and I don’t expect you to give them to me) but can you talk to Manish about this (he can contact me directly if needed) the screener should be send to this address

Ghent International Film Festival

Wim De Witte, Programmer

Leeuwstraat 40b

B-9000 Ghent – Belgium

VAT: BE0419.305.066

tel: +32 9 242 80 60 (direct: 77)

fax: +32 9 221 90 74

e-mail: wim.dewitte@filmfestival.be

skype: wim_de_witte

Hope you can help, so we can have more people watching this brilliant movie!

and thanks again for this great evening!



Will do thanks



were you able to talk to Manish?

I just got news from a Belgian magazine (HUMO, one of the biggest of the country) and they told me that if the movie can be shown in that film festival they already have an article ready as promotion material for the movie (apparently the head of the magazine is a Senna fan as well, so it helps…)

Would it be possible for me to get in contact with Manish?

thanks a lot!!


Sent him your message and email


Thanks for the post & video.

I found a date for the US release. August 12.

Don’t know where but, of course, it will be really hard to wait.


How do you watch the movie without crying? I can’t get thru the trailer without tearing up.


Seen the posters for it in my local cineworld so must be getting a decent release.


Fantastic, hope there is a larger distribution of the film so it gets to far away places (i.e. Victoria, BC Canada).


Well you’re in luck! I saw the film at the Canadian premier in Toronto on Wednesday night (at a documentary film festival), and Asif was there for a Q&A session afterwards (he flew in the morning after the London screening). He announced that a distributer had picked up the film for wide release in Canada for August.


I have been waitingnfor this for years and years. Daft to say this, but will it be emotional? I was a really really big Senna fan, its was watching Senna in the beginnig that got me watch F1 and have followed it ever since.


Incredibly emotional. The end of the film took me straight back to that weekend in ’94 and what a horrendous weekend it was. I vividly remember the weekend getting worse and worse from Barrichello’s accident on the Friday through to the terrible events that followed on Saturday and Sunday…

An amazing piece of cinema and worthy of the legend that he was…


Thanks guys, looking forward to it, I’ll probably feel a bit emotional if it takes me back, I was just 19 at the time had been watching all the races since about 13.

I hope my cinema shows it!!!



Sebee, ask Sir Jackie and I think he’ll say that the racing is just as good when you more or less know that all the drivers will end up alive.

James, I’m in France. Can you tell me when it’s coming out here ?


On subject of France, did Asif tell the UK screening audience that Alain Prost declined offers to have this firm screened for him?

I’m quite interested in how this film will be received and reviewed in France and if the heat of battle moments of past will be misinterpreted.


No doubt. I think back to Kubica’s accident in Canada and think back to my reaction at the time. I didn’t think for a minute that his life was lost after that massive off. I think I explained this well in another comment above. I feel that with the forces, speed, precision – the danger is probably higher. But because of the safety and technology it’s not displayed to us in crashes and lost lives. Which means we’re likely desensitized to the dangers of F1 today. There were constant reminders of the danger back in the 90s. Even in 2000s with those loose wheels flying around and taking lives pointlessly. The more I think about it, the more I realize you had to be a little but “nuts” to drive in F1 in 1990 or before.


Excellent to see even more quotes from people on the night. It really was a pleasure to be able to go along to it.

Jose (Galapago555 on here) and I had an interesting chat with Manish and Asif on twitter yesterday which made me chuckle.

I asked them how many times they’ve seen the completed film (bearing in mind how many premiers they’re going to).

The current score (estimated) is Manish 74 and Asif 100+.

I’m looking forward to seeing it again at the biggest Cinema screen I can find, and will definitely be buying it on Blueray.


I’m at 8 now.


I’ve offered to buy Asif a beer when he gets back to London on the condition I get access to their archive footage.

The expression snowballs chance of getting access to the film archives of course 🙂


It’s funny, I was watching in the 90’s and distinctly remember feeling absolutely petrified, particularly at the starts, thinking that any one of these people could be dead or seriously injured in the next few seconds.

Of course that is less the case now, and it’s more a case of is your favourite driver going to have a good start or spanner it up?

I don’t know if “thrill” is the right word but there certainly was a lot of adrenaline involved, and a subconscious distancing from the drivers as people to reduce the emotional involvement.


I know safety is important and lives are precious – absolutely no argument. But after seeing Senna I was reminded that this sport used to be very dangerous. I don’t feel this about F1 today.

I wonder what the educated long time fan feels about this question. Is F1 better now or was it better then because of the risks? Did that danger make the sport more thrilling? Did it make us watch because they were doing something heroic and perhaps crazy and unbelievable? Compared to today where any Joe with a few million getting his own F1 car toy to drive – even a Ferrari F1 car.


Personally speaking I loved F1 back in those days due to the era of drivers, the ability for the cars to race very close to each other and because I was probably younger and less cynical.

Watching the movie on Tuesday reminded me (particularly the Senna/Prost battle at Suzuka, just how closely they were able to drive behind the car in front – nigh on impossible in corners nowadays.

The danger has never been part of the thrill for me as a fan, and seeing sir jackie at the Senna movie reminded me of the photo in his book where there are circa 12-16 drivers on the picture from the early 70s (I think). 4 of them are alive today.

One of the greatest legacys of Roland and Ayrtons deaths was the increase protection (particularly around the head and shoulders) for the driver. I for one am glad something positive came out of a sickening tragic weekend.

While watching the film, when Imola 1994 popped up on the screen I actually felt quite sick, knowing what was coming up.


You are absolutely right, and I feel the same way without a doubt. My feeling wasn’t sickness, but what I can only describe as repulsion and resignation at witnessing that weekend. Over the 80 minutes your emotion about the man is refreshed, and while you know the ending it cuts that old wound again.

The men of this era were doing something they clearly knew they could pay for with their lives. They unfortunately had regular reminders. For me, while watching this film it came to mind that it took a very special individual (or a bit crazy one) to play that game at that time.

We had close calls with Massa recently – which fortunately resulted in no loss of life, and significant improvement to helmets. Illustrating there is still much to learn about safety. Remember the crazy hoopla about HANS and how many drivers wanted not to wear it?

There are fine lines that may be crossed in such a discussion, because we are talking about human lives here. But danger can equal excitement. And excitement is captivating. Which made me wonder if that danger is missing or forgotten. Or if we simply have the luxury to forget about danger of F1 because of the significant safety improvements since Senna.

Tom in adelaide

Wow, thanks so much for this small taste of the night.

Could somebody tell me if any adelaide footage appears in the film? There is a small memorial featuring Senna’s handprints placed at the old chicane here. It’s quite an emotional spot actually, representing many things that have been lost forever.


Yes, some great Adelaide footage in there


Great montage- captures the evening well.

Nice and thanks again


I’m a bit uncomfortable with the pro-Senna bias implicit in the movie but overall can’t wait for this to be released. Any idea on the number of screens it will be shown on, James?


I saw the film at the Canadian premier in Toronto this past Wednesday night, and Asif was there for a Q&A session afterwards (he flew in the morning after the London screening). Someone from the audience had exactly the same issue with the film, i.e. that the film was biased in Senna’s favour. However Asif’s answer was great, he said “The clue is in the film’s title… I wanted to tell Senna’s story from his perspective, through his eyes.” He wasn’t trying to make a traditional documentary that tries to be “objective.”

Absolutely brilliant film, by the way, it exceeded my expectations (and my expectations were very high).


Clearly its always going to be slightly biased towards Ayrton, but I didnt actually see it portraying prost in a particularly bad light (as in pantomime villain).

I think it emphasised that both of them made mistakes and misjudgements on their relationship/rivalry that they would probably do differently.

But there are also some very good moments in there I’ve not seen before (I wont spoil it for everyone who hasnt seen).


It is slighlty biased to Senna on the whole Prost vs Senna affair and there are incidents that were not shown from their encounters.

However my girlfriend, who came along to the screening and knew little about the story, didn’t feel that Prost came out in a bad light. She thought there was an obvious disliking to Prost being so closely aligned with FOCA, but on a personal level felt that Prost was a good person and merely a fierce competitor to Senna.

She was also in tears at the end of the film and thought it was the best documentary she had ever seen. She is not a massive F1 fan and shows what a great film Asif and Manish have made.


Over 70 in the UK, apparently


Guys Sounds like you had a great time… wish I had got to the tickets a few minutes earlier.

Can;t wait till it hits the big screen.

Senna… God Bless

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