So good hearing the West Memphis Three were finally released from prison over the weekend after 18 crazy years. I have kept up to date with the three guys over the last fourteen years or so after I first saw the documentary Paradise Lost back in 1997 at the Melbourne International Film Festival. I remember that night very clearly. I remember the cinema (The Forum) the seat I sat in (6 rows from the front, middle section, two in from the left aisle) and that I don’t think I moved from the edge of my seat from the very first frame, till the last, I don’t think I breathed either.
Quite simply, Paradise Lost changed my life. It’s one of the most, if not the most engaging film I’ve ever seen, it’s the film that convinced me to quit my job and apply to film school.
If you haven’t seen Paradise Lost, stop what you are doing right now and begin. Or better still buy it here and enjoy part two Paradise Lost ‘Revelations’ as well. I can’t wait for Part three ’Revelatioins’, which I’m sure will be getting a re-cut right about now. A trilogy 18 years in the making, and now with a happy ending!
Hard to imagine how these guys can adjust to any kind of ‘normal life’ after losing their childhoods and for one Damien, spending seventeen out of the last eighteen years on death row, for a crime he (and they) did not commit. I wish them all the best!
Tons of info about their release and the campaign to set them free over the years over at wm3.org
Also, where I be today without the soundtrack to Paradise Lost!?
Congratulations to Amiel and team for their film Hail has been selected to screen at the Venice Film Festival next month.
To help raise some much needed funds to get some of the essential cast and crew over to the festival they have organised an exhibition and fundraiser to be held in Melbourne this Friday night at Goodtime Studios from 6pm.
Photographs by me and Director of Photography Germain McMicking taken on set during the shoot will be on sale. (The prints look beautiful, are 30×20 inches and printed on archival paper. Limited to 5 editions each at $350 each. Bargain!) There will also be some poetry readings by star of the film Daniel P. Jones and music by The Midnight Juggernauts. Full details of the night are here…
Our final week took me back again to Beaconsfield, Tasmania. This was my 4th trip, but this time I had some cast and (a reduced) crew in tow. As well as shooting some key sequences in the streets of Beaconsfield, we were most importantly able to shoot 400 meters below ground in the real Beaconsfield mine as well as some other scenes on the ‘brace’, the area underneath the now iconic triangular poppet head of the mine, including a recreation of the famous footage of the boys coming out after fourteen days trapped below ground.
I think overall we have done very well. From the start we approached the script like a feature film, even though we only had a ‘TV’ budget and schedule. In most parts I think we have succeeded and if we haven’t it wasn’t from not trying as hard as we could.
I’m so impressed with the crew that I have had around me. I’m looking forward to the time I can work with each and everyone of them again. On all levels they have delivered above and beyond what was expected. It’s been a gruelling schedule to say the least and I know I could not have made it through the shoot without a bunch of guys and gals around me who worked as hard and as fast as they did while still maintain a high level of creativity and craft. Thanks to everyone on the crew, from the production office, to the unit boys, right through and up to the heads of department!
We have spent the last week shooting on sets built in a huge warehouse in Yarraville. The main set is ‘the 925′, which is the name of the drive (925 meters underground) that collapsed on Todd and Brant in the Beaconsfield mine in 2006. Even though we shot in a real mine, we could never create a ‘collapsed mine’ in a mine, so we had to build it.
I’ve never really shot on sets, in fact I’ve made a point of not shooting on them, but I’ve learnt so much watching The 925 develop from inital recces and research, to rough sketches, to drafted plans and ultimately construction.
Production designer Jon Rhode has done an incredible job not only designing but also stretching our very small budget a very long way (over 50 meters end to end!) on this set and all the other smaller ones. Standing on the set of the 925 when it was lit and dripping with water felt alot like being in a real mine, I kept feeling like I needed to put my hard hat on.
Monster Children has been my favourite magazine for years. So I was pretty chuffed to be asked to do a couple pages in the latest issue (#31).
They usually publish two different covers, which is cool in itself, but I was particularly excited to see both covers for this issue featuring past heroes of mine. Dennis Hopper on one cover as there is a great article about Hoppers photography and David Carson on the other, who when I was a graphic designer was like a god to me.
Featured in the spread were a couple of snaps of my very own monster children, Ollie and Rosebud.
Returned on Saturday from a week shooting deep down underground. Filmmaking takes you to some pretty cool places, but I’m still trying to comprehend not only where we have been, but how on earth we got there. To even step foot in an underground mine is difficult enough, but to gain access and take fifty cast and crew for a week of filming under ground is a thought almost to crazy to consider, particularly on a schedule and budget as tight as ours.
Mines are dark, wet, small and full of safety, technical, geological and physical considerations. A crew member with over 25 years in the industry said to me during the week that what we were doing was the most logistically and physically tough shoot he had ever been on. Which on one hand excited me, and on the other made me realise just how hard everyone was working to make this happen as smoothly and efficiently as it could.
The underground environment goes against everything a film crew needs to work; flexibility, accessibility and time. But what the mine took away from us in logistics, it gave back ten fold in providing a location that visually and structurally we could never have recreated in a studio. Speaking of which this week sees us back in Melbourne filming in the relative comfort and convenience of a set built in a huge warehouse in Footscray.
A huge thanks to A1 Consolidated gold mine, tucked high up in the hills about 4 hours drive from Melbourne (just near Woods Point, which is dying for a Deliveranceremake to be filmed there!). A1 essentially shut down for the week to facilitate the shoot and give us mostly free reign on their very cool place. And also a huge thanks to location manager Chris Stanton and the rest of the production team who help seal the deal!
And a massive thanks to the cast and crew who endured the cold, the mud, the dark and the insanity of it all.