Absolutely the only way to start a new year is with inspiration. (You can’t dwell on mistakes you made, opportunities you missed or cookies you ate—and by “you” I obviously mean “me.”)
Each New Year’s Day I make sure to watch a film that provides that inspiration. It doesn’t have to be a Breaking Away or Rocky (or Creed) kind of inspiring. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt.) What’s most exciting to me is when the people involved in the film—in all aspects of the production—are trying to bring you something amazing. Ken Russell’s Tommy is one of my favorites—it is in no way perfect, but everyone is working so hard throughout to make it a great experience for you; you just marvel at the obvious energy and enthusiasm. I keep thinking, “These guys went all in!”
If I can recommend anything like that for you this year, it’d be the independent film Victoria, just out on DVD and VOD. Directed by Sebastian Schipper, it’s set throughout Berlin and is shot in one continuous take—and, oh, did I mention, it’s a heist movie? It’s an astonishing accomplishment, and one that relied entirely on the imaginations and capabilities of the filmmakers and cast.
I guarantee that if you watch it, you will have many, many exhilarating “How could they possibly do that?” moments. (And you’re a video professional, you know what’s possible.) I watched it with a cinematographer friend, and he was trying to work out some of the shots for hours afterwards—in fact, he still is.
“We started the camera a little after 4:30 a.m.,” recalls Schipper, “and after two hours and 18 minutes—after we’d run, walked, strolled and climbed through 22 locations, had more than 150 extras handled by six assistant directors, and seven actors followed in succession by three sound crews—we were done—at 6:48 a.m. The sun had slowly risen while we filmed, and [lead actress] Laia Costa finally walked away from our cinematographer, Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, who looked like he had just run a marathon. Well, he had. We all had.” (The cast and crew ultimately shot the film three times straight through over the course of three nights.)
I’ve compiled a series of articles, videos and interviews related to the production of Victoria that you can find at www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/victoria. I hope you’ll find a little inspiration there to begin your new year.