Incredibly imaginative as a cgi artist, Curious Films’ Ash Bolland has evolved into a live-action director with a sharp eye for drama and the ability to create a heady mix of effects and action. Take a look at his recent seamless spot for Foxtel and his short film Burn for Coke last year – all in Related Content.
MTV Exit and the band Simple Plan, in partnership with USAID and Walk Free, have produced a music video directed by Ash for the band’s track “This Song Saved My Life” to highlight the dangers and impact of human trafficking. We catch up with the New Zealand director and talk about his latest project.
How did the creative relationship work with London agency 18 Feet and Rising? Was it a set script or did you collaborate considerably on the narrative?
18 Feet and Rising had a basic story, I then took that and developed it into a 14-minute screenplay for the film that I had translated into Chinese mandarin. We storyboarded everything in detail.
We shot a 14-minute film with dialogue (which is on the festival circuit) and then I cut this music video from the film.
What did you draw on for references for the style of the film?
We didn’t for the story but, yes, for lighting references and look and feel, we looked at Babel, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Not Suitable for Children.
You’ve got extraordinary performances out of the actors, how did you go about casting them?
I was very clear about what we wanted to achieve, and that the kids knew about forced labour – this is about real issues happening in the world. We were very lucky to get kids that were very smart and funny on set, dream cast. The main girl is 24 years old! She is such a gifted actor. We worked really hard in rehearsal to get into the right tone.
Where were the locations?
It was all shot in Surry Hills, Sydney, except for the exterior wides of the city which were from Buenos Aires and L.A.
What were the main challenges of the production and how did you overcome them?
Making Sydney look like Asia! Shooting a 14-minute short film in two days… But the crew and cast and my producer and DOP were amazing. I feel very proud of what we pulled off with the limited time and resources that we had, I’m so happy that it’s reaching out to people and doing what we set out to do. I thought it was really important that the script strongly conveyed that the kids were saving themselves and I think that does come across.