The pacing trailer for upcoming short film ‘Shadows’ has been released last week by Camelot Films, and we had the chance to have a little chat with the Director Luke Armstrong and Producer Johnny Sachon to tell us a little bit more about the film.
Tell us a little more about the story, it obviously seems like it gets pretty deep?
By the year 2037, the UK government – along with many others, has become an autocratic, totalitarian dictatorship. In order to control dissent and prevent a civil war after a violent coup, the military government exercises a policy of automated surveillance of the entire population through all smart electronic devices, and a drone program called ‘ The Shadow Initiative’. Discreet drones are used to shadow people of significant interest. The story revolves around two characters named Lee and Jess. The young couple are quintessential revolutionaries, they’re romantics in their ideology and their relationship is built on this emotional connection to the hope of a better future.
Why did you go towards crowdfundiing rather than the traditional way of financing a film?
Crowdfunding was the obvious choice for us. The platform is great for getting your pitch seen by lots of people and the Kickstarter platform lends a sense of legitimacy to it which is important to people who might not have heard of less well known crowd funding platforms. We decided to go all out on the project, and 5k was quite a lot to ask for from our backers. We decided to go all out on our pitch video and write-up and literally bombarded our friends and family with links – the thing we came to learn about crowdfunding is that it’s mainly the people who know you and want you to do well that are the first to put money into any crowd funding campaign.
Cyber attacks seem like an unavoidable problem for the near future, what has drawn you to this type of storyline?
I’m a huge news addict ( Director Luke Armstrong ) – when we were looking for an idea for a project to work on together, I couldn’t get Wikileaks and Edward Snowden out of my mind. The privacy debate that has come out of all that recently is partly what inspired the story – Recently it emerged that there is even a backdoor to the iPhone which can be exploited by GCHQ and the NSA, which allows them to access the microphone, camera, messages, contacts and other data on the phone – even when apparently switched off. This makes thousands of these devices a tool in the box of the security services. How many other devices could also be affected? For years we’ve seen movies like Die Hard 4, and the older James Bond movies like Goldeneye that revolved around hackers doing seemingly impossible things, but they’ve usually been the bad guys trying to bring down government or institutions. Well now we’ve seen that some really crazy stuff is actually possible and is already happening – there’s an element of the Orwellian about what is happening in society today. Shadows is really just a dramatic extrapolation of what is already happening now into what might happen and our characters lives within that world.
When should we expect to see Shadows online?
Probably not for a little while yet, as its doing the rounds on the festival circuit – most likely Q1/Q2 next year (2016), but in the mean time you can always check out the trailer!
What did you shoot it on?
We shot on Red Epic and Red MX with the Zeiss Compact Primes, with one or two small Blackmagic 2.5k inserts on greenscreen from 2nd unit with Samyang Cine Lenses.
How long did post take, and was it a complicated process given all the effects you had in the film?
We actually started post before we began shooting! Over a year ago, 6 months before we started shooting, during pre-production we began modelling the Mothership drone, and when we had something we went out and shot some test shot of Johnny (Producer/Actor) looking round a corner at an approaching Mothership drone on Blackmagic to see if it worked. From then on that was our guide. Luke spent a lot of time planning out each shot in the Mothership sequence with a storyboard artist and the ADs. Everything was shot listed, storyboarded so that we knew what we needed as we only had one day to film those particularly heavy VFX scenes. Naturally, on the day we ended up with slightly different shots and some extra ones as well, which only made it better. In post production, Luke did a rough ‘post-viz’, a really basic animation using 2D stills to block the movement of the ship for the animators and editor. Over the following 4 months a team of six artists worked together to get the 110 VFX shots in the film completed, with Luke doing over 60 himself. Many of the effects are invisible – like monitor inserts or object removals, but there are lots of big ones too. We were lucky enough to have the expertise of Luke’s colleagues who are all artists at various big post production houses in Soho, who all volunteered to work on the project. Post took around 5 months from the end of the shoot to the screening we put on at BAFTA 195 for the Cast, Crew & friends.
Anything else you would like to share with the audience?
Shadows has just been selected into Sci-fi London’s international film festival for 2015 – its the first festival to confirm that we’ve been selected of the 25 we’ve entered so far -so we’re really excited to have the opportunity of having it screened. You can find out more about the film, cast/crew, see photos and the trailer on shadowsuk.com