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9th May 2013
Slim chance
Title of film: Kingdom of Sport, Hotel
Director: Sam Holst
Production Company: Markenfilm, Wedel
Director Sam Holst chews the fat about shooting gym commercial for Germany

Your spot for Kingdom of Sports is very filmic – great framing, cinematography and lighting. Was the final film reflective of your treatment?

Thanks. I think it’s reflective of the treatment, but hopefully progressed further from there. The hotel room setting always felt right in terms of tone, and a space to create some sense of mystery. There was an inherent darkness, but also humour to the idea – so a lot was about balancing those elements. I worked with German cinematographer Julian Hohndorf who is a hugely talented guy with amazing hair. We’d never shot together before, so it was good to connect on this one.

What was the original brief?

The script was simple and strong on the page really, but the guys were really open to where it could go. From there it was about building the visual world, narrative, performance and other details that best served the idea.

Essentially it’s a heightened premise or story about the dangers of being overweight. The idea is basically that he is fat and has passed out, so his shirt button (due to his big belly) has popped off at such a bullet-like pace that it has shot the other person in the room. Hence, him missing the button and her button-sized bullet hole connecting the two characters in the end. Fat kills – so get to Kindgom of Sports and kill fat!

Did you storyboard each frame?

I’d say the board was conceptual and not something that was adhered to so rigidly. It gave a clear idea of where it was to go – key frames and visual ideas – but then on location, shooting and with performance, it took further shape. The edit with Anne Beutel was also fun. It’s nice when a board – or treatment – isn’t seen as the end point, but more as a means or part of a process for where something can go.

The shoot took place over one long day in a Hamburg hotel. The crew and cast were great. Our lead was a gifted young actor by the name of Gavin Spokes, and Maya Stollenwerk in stoic support. Each of them gave so generously in their performances, albeit at different ends of the physical spectrum.

New Zealand or Europe, where are you based now?

I’ve been based in Berlin a little while but with the nature of the job, moving around a lot, between London and so on as you do. There’s still Australia and New Zealand with a smashing of jetlag in between, so a bit of everywhere really.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the final stages of post on another campaign in Europe, spending some time at the Binger Filmlab in Amsterdam and developing my first feature.

Kingdom of Sport, Hotel
Agency: Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg, Germany
Agency Producer: Alexander Schillinsky
Executive CD: Sascha Hanke
Creative Director: Jochen Mohrbutter
Copywriter: Mark Haessicke
Art Director: : Alexander Hesslein
Director: Sam Holst
Production Co & City: Markenfilm, Wedel
Producer: Katherine Smithson
Director of Photography: Julian Hohndorf
Post Production & City: Infected Postproduktion, Hamburg
Editor & Company: Anne Beutel
Music & Music Publisher: Audioforce, Berlin