The modern-day ‘Lord of the Rings’ film – shot in Birmingham


Birmingham Live
Monday August 13, 2018 “New take on Lord of the Rings by Somali-born  Birmingham director

A present-day Lord of the Rings fan-film shot in Birmingham has had more than 230,000 views on YouTube in its first two weeks online.

The Return of the Ring (LOTR fan film 4K) offers a new twist on the JRR Tolkien classic, which became a multi Oscar-winning hit for film director Peter Jackson.

Fifteen years after his silver screen trilogy concluded with a box office worth more than $3 billion, The Return of the Ring has been set in modern-day Britain for less than £1,000.

Shot in various city locations in just four days, the 22-minute film follows a resilient Elf who finds out the Ring has returned and sets out to re-claim it.

Bporn in Mogadishu in Somalia but now living in east Birmingham, 28-year-old writer-director AR Ugas has moved on from wedding videos to start narrative filmmaking and screenwriting.

Full name Abdul Rahman Ugas, he says: “I loved the Lord of the Rings films, but couldn’t finish the book to be honest!

“In a unique twist on the genre, my story does not take place in a medieval setting with horses and swords.

“Rather it’s set in modern day Britain and follows a resilient Elf who finds out the Ring has returned and sets out to re-claim it.”

James Alexander Barnett from Wolverhampton is the cinematographer on The Return of the Ring and the original score has been composed by Yunus Khan.

AR, as he calls himself, was moved to Holland when he was a baby because of the civil war in Somalia and then went to Egypt for four years in his late teens.

Thanks to his Dutch passport and the EU, he was able to move to Birmingham in 2009.

Now working in a call centre and as a health care assistant, he dreams of emulating M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) as a filmmaker aiming for higher concepts than standard genres.

“Once you live in the UK the world opens up to you,” says AR, whose father buys and sells land in Ethiopia while mum lives in Brum.

“If you make it here in the creative world, you can make it anywhere.

“I may or may not make a Chapter 2 to this film, because you are not allowed to make a penny with fan films because you are dealing with somebody else’s property.

“But my next project is a feature film called We Have The President’s Daughter – and a producer is lining up an Emmy winner to direct it.

“Paul Wilmshurt has directed shows like Doctor Who and in 2006 he won an Emmy for the documentary Hiroshima.”

The original Lord of the Rings films, released from 2001-03, were called The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

The trilogy won 18 Oscars from 30 nominations, including best picture at the 2004 Academy Awards.

Born in 1892, the future author JRR Tolkien was a young boy when he lived at 5 Gracewell on Wake Green Road from 1896 to 1900.

His playgrounds were the still-green spaces of Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill.

The Return of the Ring – story

After the events in “The Return of the King” in which the Ring was destroyed and Sauron’s empire collapsed, peace was spread throughout Middle-earth.

But that peace was not destined to last long. Incursions and raids by wild bands of Orcs and opportunistic land grabbing by the Dwarfs sends Middle-earth into a spiral of violence.

A worn-out Aragorn, facing never-ending rebellions, war and famine decides to take drastic measures and launches a genocide campaign, cleansing Middle-earth of anything non-human.

The Race of Man manages to end all the other races, slaughtering them and sending the survivors into a life of hiding and exile.

They destroy any sign of their civilisations and thousands of year later there are no more traces to be found.

Their history, lives and suffering are nothing more than fairy tales.

That’s when AR’s story starts. Illyandra, a young Elf, discovers that the Ring has made an unexpected return. She sets out to find it and use it to revive Sauron, now seen as a folk hero to the non-human races hiding in our society.

The Ring was sent to John, a young man who will have to make a choice that will decide the fate of our world

Five things director AR Ugas has said on Twitter during his The Return of the Ring journey

1. June 30 – after a long period of sporadic planning, shooting and editing, I can finally say that we’ve completed ‘The Return of the Ring’.

2. Plan a project. Start a project. Work on said project & finish it. Too many people follow their own hype, announcing a new project every other week and not finishing a single one of them. You’ll get a reputation as not being serious which is destructive. Trust me.

3. Even the (worst) film can get accepted into any random Film Festival on the other side of the world (that was only set up to make money). You can trick your aunty and ex on Facebook but you won’t trick the industry. Message: don’t play yourself.

4. Don’t wait for people to become big before you start supporting them.

5. Some of the best films don’t make sense to a lot of people. Look at a man like David Lynch.


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