An independent film maker from east Belfast has stirred up a global media frenzy of titanic proportions this week — all from the comfort of his home just off the Newtownards Road.
Two weeks ago, George Clarke, 33, posted onto YouTube footage taken outside the 1928 premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s film ‘Circus’, featuring a woman, or a man in drag, apparently talking into a mobile phone. Now he has an offer to go to Hollywood to investigate the ‘time travel enigma’ following the interest it has generated on news corporations around the world.
George, who runs Yellow Fever Productions, an independent filmmaking company, said: “I knew it would gather interest but I really had no idea it would be picked up by the major news channels.
“When I posted the footage of the Charlie Chaplin film premiere with my question about the mysterious woman walking in the background looking like she’s talking into a mobile phone, I knew it would gather some interest.
“I had no idea though that a week later I would have this invite from RTE to go to Hollywood and investigate what is only a two second clip that has stirred everyone’s imagination.
“When I posted it two weeks ago, in two days it had almost two million hits — I couldn’t believe it then when it was mentioned on the Jay Leno show on the Friday night.
“The week after that, Jon Stewart mentioned it on his show when he was talking about Barack Obama. It’s crazy, all I did was post the clip on YouTube and my Facebook, I didn’t send out any press releases or do any other PR at all.
“I have been indated with about 6,000 emails and have done interviews with news channels and radio stations in Canada, America Australia and Japan — and also with Frank Mitchell of course! It feels I have been all over the world from the comfort of my settee!
“I have refused to take money off the advertising on the YouTube site, even though YouTube approached me about this as the clip now exceeds 4.5million hits, but it’s not what I’m about.
“Someone is going to make profit on it though, so I have thought about it a bit and have decided to make a T-shirt to sell — hopefully I will be able to raise a substanstial amount for the Billy Caldwell Foundation as I’m filming a documentary on this little boy at the moment,” he added.
The Tyrone child has to stay in the USA for treatment. “He is very sick, so I would like a lot of the proceeds to go to that, as well as help support independent film in Northern Ireland,” added George.