Impossible to Shoot that at Film School

An interview with Andrew Bond, director of OBSESSION

Please tell us something about yourself: When and how did you decide to become a filmmaker?


I was born in Estonian Soviet Socialists Republic. Survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and stayed to live in Estonia as a stateless person. During my childhood I studied music, singing, painting, dancing, acting. After high school I attended the St. Petersburg Engineering College of Physics and Mechanics. Because of such an intensive education I could not imagine where I'm going to use all of my abilities. At some point of my life (when I was about 24 years old) I understood that film directing is the field where I can use all my knowledge at once.


You attended film school when creating OBSESSION – was it a student film with special conditions or requirements?


Actually it was the only project without any conditions. We were totally free to choose the story, location and the genre. The only requirement was its budget. The school gave us 470€ and equipment. We've spent all the money at the very first day of shooting and then I had to add another 900€ to our budget from my own pocket. But somehow I knew already, that it was worth the cost.


Where did the original idea for this film come from and how has it maybe changed over time? Did this relationship of lovers who always imagined new and exiting origin stories for their love have an inspiration in real life?


The original idea came from the picture I've found on the Internet, where was shown a pretty strange event: two battlers were passing tray from one to other at the full speed of train outside the rail carriage. The picture was so hypnotising and unexplainable that I just had to figure it out – why are they doing it this way? First idea was that maybe they are obsessed with speed. Then, in a few seconds, my mind exploded with tons of different obsessions such as fire, water, air, food, earth etc. And every obsession comes from the way of how the person was born. Originally the idea was to put them all together in a club of unusual people. But professor Sillart told me that I should not gather a bunch of freaks, instead it would be better to concentrate on a couple of them. So there remained only two obsessions: water and speed. All the episodes and events were needed just to explain why those people are so obsessed, and how they are going to live now. Unfortunately there was not such an experience in my real life as the love story in this short film. But I guess that somehow unconsciously Tim Burtons BIG FISH influenced at me during the scriptwriting.


With each new invention the tonality of the film changes, and also the style – sometimes to an action movie, sometimes to magic realism, sometimes to fairy tale etc. – it's very unusual in storytelling.


The changes of tonality and styles in this film are pretty much the same as if one would tell a story that he doesn't yet know the end of. Lewis Carroll wrote "Alice in Wonderland" this way: Alice walking down the rabbit hole and then suddenly falls down. Also you may notice the difference of the boy's and the girl's stories: the girl is more inventive and fictional, whereas the boy tries to stay realistic and believable; the girl goes into the space with her story, the boy stays on the ground.


There are some quite impressive set pieces – filming underwater, car chases and stunts, special effects of outer space – it must have been quite a ride. Did nobody try to convince you of cutting things in order to have an easier shooting schedule?


All of our mentors said that it is impossible to shoot that kind of film at film school. All the art council members said that they will ban this project, but my professor took all the responsibility and gave us a green light. As for the trouble we got ourselves into: What was really hard to find was the rain machine. The fire department did not allowed to use their water engines. I bought a little pump and barrel for water and when we were all ready to shoot the final scene the real rain has started.


Tell us something about the post production – the music, and the effects work. How long did it all take?


Post production was actually very simple. There were only a few effects with fire and smoke (like the shooting star or the falling spaceship). There also was one green screen shot – the universe behind the spaceships window. All the outer space shots are taken from BBC reconstructions and some from real archive footage. All the music was chosen before shooting, so there was no problem with its mood and synchronising. The end credits were made on the black table, and it took in post-production a few minutes to multiply those dancing lady-cosmonauts by four. Total time of post-production was two weeks. We cut the story a little shorter in order to get a good pace for the film.


Please tell us something about the reception of this film, especially on where it has been shown and what reactions it provoked.


People usually start to applause before the film even ends, during the space scene. But professor Sillart gave me "B" for it because he was sure that I can do better than that.


What happened to you since OBSESSION and what plans do you have for future films?


Since OBSESSION I have shot three short films and now I have two feature films in development, which seems to be a good start for a film school student.

Fri, 09.12.2011 0

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