Jan 20
CLOUD ATLAS – A GUERRILLA INDIE by Corie Henson  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Jan 20, 2012

Kapag sinabing indie movie, what comes to mind is not really the quality but the budget. Mostly kasi ay low-budget ang mga indie movies. For a local indie, a budget of P500,000 or less ay ubra na.

Aside from the budget ay walang malinaw na demarcation line on how to categorize an indie from a mainsream film. Right now, what sets indie apart from the mainstream is the budget and only secondary are the cast, the setting, and the story.

Kapag sinabing Guerrilla production, what comes to mind is the style of filming that does away with shooting permits. Not really considered illegal but the guerrilla style of shooting saves the producer a substantial amount.

There’s another kind of guerrilla in the movies and this time it is the guerrilla financing. With good marketing skills, one can solicit from investors abroad. Of course, you need a good track record to do this.

One good example of guerrilla financing is Cloud Atlas which is currently filming. It is a movie based on the novel of David Mitchell with the same title. Ito na siguro ang pinakamagastos na indie movie of all time.

The globe-trotting movie production has three directors and two separate crews. The shooting started in New Zealand and it will circle the globe to interpret its complex story that spans 6 different eras.

Back to the budget, sa casting pa lang ay obvious na malaki na ang gastos – Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant. Ang mga certified crowd drawer gaya ng mga nabanggit ay hindi matatawaran ang talent fee.

For the production side, it is is handled by the legendary brother-sister team of Andy and Lana Wachowski. Sila ang writer at director ng The Matrix which starred Keannu Reeves and produced by Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures of Australia. Ang The Matrix ay kumita ng $1.5 billion sa worldwide sales.

Ang Cloud Atlas ay international indie movie at international din ang mga investors. Sinasabing $35 million ay nanggaling sa Asia samantalang $18 million naman ang contribution ng Germany.

The investor from Singapore was Tony Teo, a container ship magnate while Media Asia Group, a Hong Kong film distributor, also put in money. Ang isa pang major investor ay ang Dreams of the Dragon, isang film company sa Beijing, China.

Before the production started ay umabot na ng $100 million ang production budget ng Cloud Atlas. Ito ay maituturing na isang record of sorts dahil indie movie pa rin ang category nito.

Ayon kay Grant Hill, isa sa mga producers, ay tumataas ang box office sales sa international market. Ang mga blockbuster movies ay 30% lang ang nakukuha sa Amerika at ang 70% ay mula sa international market.

Speaking of international movies, may three Oscar winners for best picture na nagmula sa foreign production. Inumpisahan ng India’s Slumdog Millionaire at sinundan ng The Hurt Locker at The King’s Speech.

And because of the huge production ng Cloud Atlas kaya pati ang cast ay naninibago sa sistema ng production. Halle Berry portrays a Jewish woman in the 1930s for Director Tom Tykwer and later on she becomes an old tribal woman for the Wachowski team.

Sabi nga ni Halle Berry, full of surprises daw ang shooting dahil kakaiba ang schedule. Hindi gaya ng traditional production na alam na ng cast ang eksena, sa Cloud Atlas ay biglaan daw ang mga takes.


Halle Berry taking instruction from director Tom Tykwer (photo from NY Times)

Dagdag pa ni Halle Berry na may pagkatalinghaga, “It’s sort of like guerrilla filmmaking in a way. Even though there seems like there’s a lot of money, it’s not opulent. All the money’s going into the screen.”

The pioneering effort of Cloud Atlas, if successful, may change the landscape of movie production in the near future. Ang guerrilla financing ay mukhang mas madali kaysa sa pagkumbinsi sa mga big studios.

Ang sabi ni Peter Dekom, isang veteran entertainment lawyer, ay mas maganda raw ang maraming investors dahil ang production ay nagkakaroon ng independence sa kanilang creative discretion.

The seed of Cloud Atlas started in 2005 when the Wachowskis got hold of the novel which has six interconnected stories. In one year’s time, the Wachowskis came up with the screenplay which was a collaboration with Tykwer.

Habang inilalatag ang mga production needs ay naghahanap naman ng funding si Grant Hill. So as to accommodate the international flavor, included in the story and screenplay are slices of different cultures.

At dahil sa kakaibang sistema na pinaiiral ng Cloud Atlas kaya marami tuloy ang excited sa indie movie na ito. Sa American Film Market before the end of 2011 ay nagpa-sampol ng six minutes ang magkapatid na Wachowski.

“Phantasmagorical” ang nasambit ni Victor Loewy, isang international film distributor. Ibig sabihin ay napakaganda ng optical effects at illusion. Fantastic imagery ang isa pang definition nito.

At dahil phantasmagorical nga kaya dinakma ni Loewy ang rights ng Cloud Atlas para sa pagpapalabas nito sa United Kingdom. Hopefully ay phantasmagorical din ang magiging resulta ng Cloud Atlas sa box office.

Para sa mga komento, puwede kayong mag-email sa corzhens@yahoo.com


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