Call of the Taiga: short film final shoot

It seems we are in sync with the planetary movements.  The full moon shone long enough on the 9th to shoot the last remaining scene.  Moonbeams reflecting off snow and a dancing glow from the fire allowed sufficient light to shoot the film at ISO 1250, aperture 4.5, with a 17-85mm lens on Canon 6D, in biting cold.

And it’s a wrap.  What a wonderful way to finish.. beneath the full moon in a circle of fire.  The final edit is almost complete.  Some sound design and creation of wolves by Anders Goberg in After Effects remains.  Call of the Taiga soon to be uploaded to vimeo.  Afterwards I’ll post the screenplay and breakdown..  so for now.. har det bra!

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Call of the Taiga

Plot Synposis:  Having escaped an epidemic by fleeing into Norwegian winter woods, a lone survivalist stalked by a wolf pack finds hope in the existence of other beings while orienteering through a hostile, abandoned environment.

Much obliged to the weather today!  -3 degree and snow storms as wished for.  Ideal for shooting the mainpoint.

The hut camouflaged from above.

(screen-shots before colour grade)

Todays snow iced the hut splendidly.

There, there be wolves..

Check out the first episode of Frozen Planet with David Attenborough for mention of wolves and Taiga.

Only one scene remains to shoot.  For this we await a clear night sky.  Although the clouds are looming, tonights forecast predicts an empty sky and 100% full moon, beneath which we will light a circular fire.. to keep the wolves at bay.

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It seems unlikely you could have made it this far alone

Let us take a slight tangent into the woods..

Anders Goberg, Martin Jacobsen and I are making a short film in the eerily abandoned paper factory warehouses of Skotfoss on the outskirts of Skien, Norway.  Although urbex sites are a source of infinite thrills, nothing equals the local voice in finding cinematic abandoned sites.. What a mad stroke of luck to find Skotfoss almost literally in our back yard..

Plot Synposis:

Having escaped an epidemic by fleeing into Norwegian winter woods, a lone survivalist stalked by a wolf pack finds hope in the existence of other beings while orienteering through a hostile, abandoned environment.

Getting a little retro on it with an old Hitachi cassette player..

Now we await the weather.. snow and mist to shoot stills with Anders homemade slider and, the final scene, set around a hut we’ve created raw in the woods.. survivalist style.  Come on Thor, God of Thunder, bring the storm..


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Bram Stoker’s Dracula

(..from the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula..)

What a curious detail to note.. but oh so succulent..

Bram Stokers Dracula.  Demeter a reference to Deodati?  

One cannot help but wonder if, in his novel Dracula, Bram Stoker makes reference to Polidoris’ The Vampyre and the sublime events that took place in 1916 at Villa Deodati (refer previous post).  Stoker named the ship Dracula comandeers to sail to England, ‘The Demeter’.  Is this a reference to Villa Deodati?  Deo is a synonym of the Greek goddess Demeter.  What beauty lies inherent in the notion that Stoker named the ship that carries his antagonist toward a destiny of love and death after the Villa in which the first-known English language vampire story was written!  The voyage of the Demeter represents Draculas’ lock-in to a search for timeless love.  Perhaps reading The Vampyre for the first time represented to Stoker a similar lock-in.  A lock-in that left a sense of certainty in him, a certainty that he, himself must write a tale of the vampyre..

No doubt we merely speculate.. but not without romance..

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FRANKENSTEIN: the Modern Prometheus

One black night..  almost two centuries ago.  Incidently, this night is stormy.  Four writers staying in chateau ‘Villa Deodati’ on Lake Geneva pose a writing challenge.  Our four, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John Polidori set forth to manifest their darkest nightmares on paper.  Who, they wonder, can create the most spine-tingling tongue-crawling horror tale?  Imagine the heavy hideous jeevies that hung and sank in the air as Shelley conjured Gothic masterpiece ‘Frankenstein’, and Polidori concocted the first known vampire tale written in English; ‘The Vampyre’. 

‘Summer’, 1816.  The unusual enduring cold coins infamy.  1816 is to be forever known as the ‘year without a summer’.  The Shelley couple, Lord Byron and John Polidori settle in for the evening after a sunshiny day on arrival at the Chateau by the lake.  A sudden shift in the sky breeds thunder and lightning storms.  Strewn inside by the fire, the conversation moves from galvanism and Darwinian theory to the supernatural and ghostly.  A copy of German horror short-stories ‘Fantasmagoria’ materialises and the group begin reading macabre tales aloud.  Inspired and possessed by mood, they strike their mutual writing challenge.  Hence, the horror begins!

Days pass.  Shelley is struggling to conceive an idea.  Meanwhile, Percy, composing ‘The Burial’ has freaked.  He’s hallucinating over supper and running about screaming in terror.  Who would have thought.. of the author of ‘Ozymandias‘!  One wretched night, following a fearful fit from Percy, Shelley jolts awake well past midnight.   She is saturated and horrified by her dream.  The dream of Frankenstein.

Now, we could go on forever here…  Of the next two years during which Shelley developed the initial manuscript of 100 pages for publication, of the innumerable adaption and influence in modern popular culture, of the socially challenging nature of the novel during the era of The Romantic Movement, of the inherent feminist influence of Shelley’s mother (author of ‘The Vindication of the Rights of Women’) and of Shelley’s other works, including apocalyptic science fiction novel ‘The Last Man’.  Or we could investigate the sad tale of The Monster.  A sensitive creature rejected due to his ghastly appearance.  We could delve into Polidori’s, ‘The Vampyre’, which provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

But today this is enough.

The icy ‘summer’ of 1816, nights that sparked dark dreams to remember and ideas that would shape horror to come.

‘Frankenstein’ (1994) Francis Ford Cappola

‘Frankenstein’ (1931) Boris Karloff

It’s Alive, It’s Alive It’s ALLLIVVVE!!!

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