It may be Happy Hour but in this quiet neon flooded bar, a lone woman will have to fend off unwanted attention before things take a fatal turn for the macabre. Director Rémy Bazerque and producer Tibo Travers join us to discuss their stylistic experiment in tone and audience expectation, and also share news of their forthcoming collaboration Cerberus, which possibly has the most entertain Kickstarter pitch video ever made.
The original idea for Happy Hour came from the desire to play with audience expectations, to make them connect with a character and turn that connection upside down. We thought of the film as an exercise of style that respected the unity of time and space and curtailed the need for much dialog. It was also an experiment in tone as it’s always challenging to mix suspense and comedy, especially in these sort of scales. We wanted the film to be highly stylistic. We decided to shoot on 35mm as the film look really helped create the heightened world we needed. It also contributed in setting enough distance for the audience to connect with the comedy aspect of the film. That was important as without this heightened universe, the film could have been very dark and oppressing.
Thanks to the talent of our designer Charlie Marie Austin and our production team at Sweetdoh, we managed to completely transform the Joiner’s Arms in Shoreditch into this sordid joint. This was quite challenging as we were working on a modest budget but even the owner of the bar couldn’t recognise his place when we showed him the final result. Our DoP Chloe Thomson shot the film on an Arriflex 35mm, moving on a Matador Dolly. Both Arri and Panalux gave us great deals on the kit, mainly because we shot Happy Hour in December. The shoot was a one day job, though the whole night before was spent prepping and designing the place as we couldn’t block the functioning bar the evening before.
Post-production took a lot more time and money than we planned and was a learning experience for us – but it was worth it. There is one lesson we learnt we’re happy to share with other filmmakers thinking of shooting in 35mm: do NOT shoot 24FPS (at least in the UK). It’s going to make your life highly complicated for quite a bit of time….seven months in total, as we had to design the title in CGI – which is time consuming when working on expenses! The film eventually started its festival life (premiere in Raindance, Selection in London Short Film Festival, Emden Film Festival, Tres Court Film Festival, and a prize for Best Short under 5 mins at the Berlin Independent Film Festival).
We finally had our online release last week, to help launch the crowdfunding campaign for our new short film Cerberus, an action comedy about two brothers stuck in purgatory, who shot the devil’s dog. Take a look at our pitch video and head over to the Cerberus Kickstater page to find out more.