2013
Wednesday 18th Sep

Mad cows

Beware of any "bovinized" behaviour of humanity. Stink director Ian Ruschel talks about making the Creative Club of São Paulo Festival spot

What were the major challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?

The main challenge was to make a film the way we had planned with a tight deadline and a reduced budget. We had two days of shooting and dozens of scenes to shoot. We knew from the beginning that we would have to find one or two locations where we could do the entire film.

Our location producer searched several places and found an amazing abandoned factory that was about to be demolished. That helped a lot.

We shot 80% of the film there, we made a huge bonfire inside it, we burned some broken furniture that was already there, and we broke the windows of the factory. We had freedom to do whatever we wanted to, because the place would be destroyed anyway.

And the good thing is that it was huge, we could simulate a dark alley, where the officer presses the guys on the wall, for example. The fight scenes, the rotten toilets … all of this was shot in this factory.

The post work is extraordinary – were these all carefully planned in pre-prod or did a lot of the effects and storyline develop in the edit?

The narrative and story structure were thought through beforehand. As we had little time and a tight production, we could not afford to come up with too many ideas during the process. Of course some improvisations couldn’t be ignored, but we pretty much followed to the letter what we had planned.
We only had three nights to edit the film, and I think we wouldn’t have managed to do this if it wasn’t that way.

We had two larger plans with post-production effects. In one of them, we made a photo of the city skyline a week before the shooting and delivered it to Clan VFX so they could transform this image into a post-apocalyptic backdrop of a city in flames. The other one was the 3D ox in the middle of a dark street, which was also made up from a photo.

Seeing the before and after, it is amazing how they managed to create the atmosphere into these pictures. It exceeded our expectations. The work of grading from Casa Blanca was also very important to give a shape to the film.

Who wrote the narrative – did you work closely with them in developing the treatment?

The creatives Fernando Nobre and Fabio Brígido from Agency Borghi / Lowe sent us an extremely well written text and with a very rich imagery content talking about “human bovinization”. It was a text about the bovinized way of thinking, the lack of creativity, about people doing all the same things. And we had to create a movie, find a way inside to tell a story in order to translate this metaphor.

The work was entirely collective and collaborative with the agency. After a few meetings, and exchange of ideas, we arrived at the final idea. The solution was to create a realistic universe in which the result of human bovinization was almost the end of the world, as the evolution of “same-thoughts”, “same-actions”, resulted in the apocalypse.

The inside story of the film is of a man who left a message to anyone who would like to listen, in an old recorder. A man who managed to hold out until the last moment, before also being contaminated. He is the voice of the film. We see the world through his point of view, as flashbacks of the time when bovinization took over of the planet.

Well, the film looks as though it was a mammoth production ….

It’s nice to know that the film gives that impression, but actually, it wasn’t a big production. The team was small, and the people – all friends and trusted colleagues – who were involved really believed in the project.

They are people who understood the project from the beginning and enjoyed it. Even because this is not the kind of film that arrives every day, especially in the market in which we work, so we all went headlong into the film, and we saw an opportunity to do something different.

All of us worked as co-authors, and this may have made all the difference in the outcome. Almost everyone involved had more than one function. The assistant director also produced objects, the line producer and I used our own cars as camera-cars and production cars, everyone worked double for us to achieve the result we wanted.

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