PGS the film / it occurred to me…

I posted some shots of our filming in Bhutan yesterday, and it occurred to me that some of you might be thinking – how can you make a movie with such a minuscule crew?

Well, you can, if you know what you’re doing, and you work with good people.

In the mid 80s, I made a feature film with a crew of 7. The crew was so small that in the end credits, I had to make up crew positions and names because otherwise the end credit roller would have lasted twenty seconds!

The film was called BACKLASH. It was shot on Super 16, and was invited into Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section.

I didn’t realise at the time just how prestigious that was.

The screenings were a sellout, and in fact at the final screening I had Smauel Goldwyn Jnr come up to me pleading to get him a seat!

BACKLASH then was invited into every major festival around the world, and the Samuel Goldwyn Company then released the film theatrically in North America. The film subsequent got a theatrical release world wide.

I remember, before that first screening in Cannes, I was taken into the huge Festival du Palais cinema, where the film was to be shown later that evening. At Cannes, the organisers do a rehearsal with the filmmaker before the screening, to check sound levels and the luminance of the screen and so forth.

The only other festival where I’ve experienced that technical attention to detail was at the New York Film Festivsl, with a later film called KISS OR KILL.

Anyway I remember at that rehearsal, in the huge Palais cinema, totally empty – just me and the Festivsl organisers and the technical crew – getting up onto that massive stage, and as the first reel screened I lay on my back on that stage and looked up at my movie.

It was a sequence which I’d shot with two actors and two crew – cameraman and soundman, plus myself as director. And here it was, that sequence shot in the remote outback, about to be screened on this gigantic screen to the world’s greatest cinephiles.

What astonished me at that moment is that it took only two actors, and two crew, to capture that filmic sequence.

Same with PGS.

I don’t need a big crew to make this film. With technology now, with advances in cameras, post production workflow, computer graphic imaging etc, it’s even easier than when I made BACKLASH


… to make a great film you have to have a great story, and you have to know how to tell that story.

That’s hard.

I don’t know what fate lies in store for PGS – but right from the start I’ve listened to my intuition in the making of the film, and will continue to do so.

It’s taken me this far, so far…

I’m just the tillerman guiding this vessel of light downstream, trying to avoid the hidden rocks and shoals along the way, trying to take it safely to its destination…

… which is you.

© Bill Bennett

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