Your film Before the World is obviously a heart-felt project, how did it come about?
Yes, 100% ! For a long time I’ve wanted to talk about pollution and climate change but I was waiting for the opportunity to do it in a different way. Listening to the track I thought, ‘What if my main character was acting as though polluting was the coolest thing on earth?’
It represents for me the way we act collectively. In a way, we pollute with a smile on our face. We seem to ignore the consequences of global warming. That’s why I decided to use real footage of contamination and insert the artist directly in these polluted backgrounds.
So who is the lead character?
The lead character is the artist himself, Basile di Manski. He has this nonchalance and this fun way to act that fitted perfectly what I wanted to represent: our careless attitude destroying our planet. He represents all of us.
It was important for us not to give a lesson. To show that we all pollute, including ourselves. We are all like this guy, having fun while our planet is suffering because of our acts. But we don’t care, we smile and keep going.
It looks mega budget – was it?
Not at all! We had to double the label’s budget investing our little savings to make it happen. But we thought it was very important to make this film. This is a testimony. This is a manifesto. This is our little visual contribution to raise the conscience on this major human issue. Making the film made me realize that the situation is way worst than what I had imagined. Every day it’s more and more urgent to act personally and collectively.
This project had an impact on my life. I’m much more conscious and much more active today than before.
Tell us more about the process please.
We found the right existing footage fitting to each idea and then filmed the artist on a green screen matching the camera angle, the light and the action perfectly.
Nothing would have been possible without a crew of amazing professionals in Barcelona that gave their time to make this film a reality. I can’t thank them enough. They trusted me on this, even if the idea seemed too crazy and too ambitious. They believed we could make it and we made it all together. To me, that’s the most beautiful thing in this process: to experience the solidarity, the trust, to share the passion with the team. We laughed a lot during the one day shoot. The atmosphere was incredible. We made 35 shots in a day and managed to end two hours before schedule. That’s unbelievable! I still don’t understand how we made it!
This must be your most VFX-intricate piece (I suspect your previous film, War Dance, was done a lot in camera). Has it been a comfortable move working in CGI?
Yes, War Dance was 100% real. Yes, this is a major move into CGI. This film is 90% CGI. I have to give all my thanks to Martes Studio, the Barcelona based studio, who worked for an entire month on the post. They’ve been with me also in the key month of preparation before the shoot, talking everyday together on how we could achieve each shot.
The editor, Xavi Trilla, and I, worked during this month on a very precise animatic/edit, that has been our guideline. So, the day of the shoot, we knew exactly which stock footage we would use, meaning we knew the exact camera angle, size, light.
I’d made a 2D animated short film when I graduated from film school. So, I had clearly in mind that the success of any CGI or animation project is the animatic. You have to plan everything before filming or drawing. That’s why I spent a month prepping the animatic and the edit, so I wouldn’t let any detail out of my control.That makes the whole process much easier and much faster.
I met Martes Studio on a previous project, a Puma commercial produced by Canada and shot last summer. We worked very well together and the film went very well, so we decided to start this new adventure together.
What were the main challenges of the production?
The research of the stock footage was a challenge but also very entertaining. I watched thousands of clips on Shutterstock until I found the right ones in terms of actions, angles, light, quality of the image. It’s a fun process for a filmmaker because it’s like trying to get the right shot, but not by using a camera but by using a website.
It was important for me to use the maximum amount of real footage in the film because I wanted to show the real situation. So, this film is somehow a documentary, as almost everything you see is coming from reality.
Then, clearing the rights of the footage was very expensive, more than what we expected in the first place. It was 20% of our budget.
Finally, the main challenge was the post which required an entire month. But as we planned everything beforehand it was quite smooth. Actually, we were laughing a lot seeing the film coming to life and we were getting more and more excited in the process. At the end, we only wanted to share it with the world, to see their reactions. And it’s great to see the feedback has been extremely positive and constructive. I hope many people will see it and spread the alert message!
Directed by Cyprien Clément-Delmas
Produced by INTRUSION
Executive Producer: Margaux Moulet
Producer: Noemí Flair
Postproduction house: Martes Studio
Design & animation
Edited by Xavi Trilla
Support animation: Sergio Herrero
Starring Basile Di Manski
Artist: Basile di Manski
Music: Jacques & Basile di Manski
Music label: Pain Surprises
Commissioner: Etienne Piketty
1st AD: Dani Velázquez
Creative assistant: Margaux Moulet
Director of Photography: Marc Miró
1st AC: Nonna Serra
2nd AC: Víctor Garrido
Gaffer: Ferran Grau
Best Boy: Alan Douglas
Grip: Jordi Monfort
Art Director: Ángela Baldó
Set Decorator: Juanchi Rivas Fontán
Art Assistant: Albert Planellas
Stylist: Eus Cantó
Hair & Makeup Artist: Lola Funes
Grading: Ruben Galamba
@ La metropolitana
Camera & studio: Aclam
Light: Service Vision
Production equipment: Ricard Hidalgo
Special thanks to: Cloé Bailly