Birds and Dice – This Is Indie Filmmaking

 

During the last couple of years, we had the chance to realize many commercial projects. We learned how important our own narrative projects are for us as a team and a company. Alongside the joy of undertaking an in-house production, there also comes an especially important, further style of play: we can strengthen our creative muscles and test new ideas. Participating in film contests has helped us during the past few years in that regard. Our 72 second short film VAND came into being within the framework of ZFF72, the 72 hour contest of Zürich Film Festival. For the current year, we wanted to launch a bigger narrative production with Birds and Dice, a film that comes closer to the service we offer, "Branded Entertainment".

 

Originating from the thrilling story written by Julius Siegenthaler, we especially set ourselves high goals in regards to look and feel. We wanted to shoot a short film with a modest budget, but we wanted it to look and feel like much, much more. For this project, we found three excellent filmmakers in Lars Fankhauser, Jean-Christophe Dupasquier and Janosch Röthlisberger. Once our technical needs were met by incredibly generous sponsoring from Zumirent.ch, it was full steam ahead. After barely one month of pre-production in March, the first take was already shot at the beginning of April.

The production
 
 
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While it often is advantageous to work with a small crew, especially when it comes to concentration and closeness, bigger sets retain a wholly different and own atmosphere. Ideally, a big set ensures good collaborative creativity, like almost no other setting. It was special to have 22 motivated people working hand in hand on the set of Birds and Dice. Since the story dictated we shoot in two very long nights, we didn't expect concentration levels and positive mood to stay as high as they did. Shooting the movie with two brand new RED EPIC-W Helium in 8K, in combination with  with lovingly decorated and excellently lit sets, helped us achieve the look we had sought.

After two exhausting and productive nights that consisted of two shoot blocks, we had managed to wrap everything up. We then tiredly but happily delved into postproduction. 

The Film
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Big lights, a fog machine (Haze, to be exact), heavy cameras and even heavier cranes: such images can increase the heart rate of any filmmaker. With Birds and Dice, we wanted to prove that such excellent equipment isn't to be seen just as expensive toys. With some skill, know-how and imagination, they can be used to bring exciting stories to life. It is thanks to the passion and commitment of the pro-bono working crew, alongside a greatly talented cast, that we managed to get the most out of the limited resources. At this point, a huge thank you to all!

Narrative filmmaking is our passion. Here we can explore, create and transports all kinds of emotions. At the same time,  it is possible to tackle topics and questions that have always kept us thinking. It is precisely this great art that needs practice and polishing. In our opinion, this is only possible with narrative films. From the smallest cut, up to the bigger story context, you always run into small and big problems while working on a project, the solutions to which are not found in any book. Only when you go through the process over and over with every project can you add to your treasure chest of experiences, knowledge and skills. You can always count on it. Birds and Dice was exactly one such project, from which we could learn much, but also implement what we had learned previously.