If you’ve you ever found yourself transfixed by the beguiling beauty of a face across the room, then Andrea Barone’s multicoloured slip into a light suffused desire fantasy, NIGHTLIGHT, will strike a heart-thumping chord with you. Andrea joins us to talk about the super speedy shoot and the discovery of multiple layers of imagination which underpin this seductive fantasy short.
POLAROIDREAM©, was driven by your desire to collaborate with Cinematographer Anton Gunnarson, coupled with access to equipment, what drove the project’s creation on this occasion?
POLAROIDREAM© was our first project together, an experience that still today functions as a boost for our creativity and trust for each others vision. I think that it becomes obvious for any of us to plan future projects together with who you get along well and feel inspired from. Curiosity also plays a big role in the process, which keeps us leading down new paths where it’s necessary to remove any idea of what we have done before and start again from a clean canvas. We go beyond our last achievements keeping our passion and style as tight as possible and this is how NIGHTLIGHT came to birth.
In addition to Anton, most of the team reprised their roles for NIGHTLIGHT. What creative efficiencies did this collaborative reunion bring to the production?
NIGHTLIGHT was shot in less than ten hours! Thanks to Kevin Martin, owner and founder of the Hoxton Gallery, we managed to squeeze our shoot between two exhibition events that were on at that time: a great solo inauguration for the photographer Lihi Brosh and a crowded live hip hop event organised by Maya Mihoc. Every department worked so efficiently that in twelve hours we managed to rig, set, shoot and wrap everything.
In half a day we re-created a ‘party scene’ with numerous extras. The Art Department, led by Liat Polishuk, was key to style up the whole set. Considering the time we had and the dimension of the project, we all have been more than ambitious to be part of that! It’s a step up in production only achievable with familiar faces around and it gets magical when all these creative entities come together in one place at the same time. I think the final product clearly shows how it’s the sum of the parts that are working on it.
This is a very stylised piece across the board, what was the visual evolution of the film across the stages of production and in what ways did that then determine your equipment choices?
The script was originally conceived to achieve an 80s vintage film look that gradually evolved during the process of pre-production, leading us to very stylised choices on set. Since we aimed for a versi-colour atmosphere aligned with the disco-floor vibe, lighting and its role became more and more a protagonist of the story guiding us until post-production.
It’s a step up in production only achievable with familiar faces.
With Anton we used the reliable Alexa XT Plus camera for this shoot, and that combined with the vintage Cooke Xtal Xpress lenses (originally spherical lenses from 1930s that were re-housed with anamorphic elements in the 1980s), gave us the exact look we were after. They have a very special character to them, and with the use of ARRIRAW and the versatile functions of the new Skypanels, we were able to achieve a soft, cinematic, old-school anamorphic vibe that we felt suited this particular project.
Constant chromatic changes functioned as transitions in the cuts without letting any specific tone become too predominant. It has been very exciting to see it all coming into place during the grade alongside the expert eyes of Simona Cristea, Head of Creative Colour at Rushes UK. Regarding set design, make up and costumes, we managed to find a perfect compromise between Hoxton Gallery’s space and the many extras involved in the project, portraying a contemporary and quirky night out in London.
NIGHTLIGHT slips seamlessly back n forth between reality and fantasy, without the typical signifiers to distinguish one state from the other. How was that structure devised?
At an early stage when I started writing NIGHTLIGHT the dimensions were only two: reality and dream. The big nut to crack was the aim of conceptualising a visual story made of imagination, removing classical narratives and allowing a focus on the purely visual journey of the main character. As for the storyline of the film, onset imagination constructed new worlds, new points of views and choices to reinforce the whole idea. While portraying ‘the imagination’ you gradually discover that beneath the surface there’s another world and more as you dig deeper; that is how the editing process permitted me to add new layers between the two different narrative dimensions.
I know you don’t like to spoil future projects, so instead, can you share any forthcoming collaborations you’re excited about?
Ehehe yes you are right. At the moment I’m working on a few commissioned projects which I can’t really spoil but I can promise I’ll come back soon with a new personal film to share with you and Directors Notes readers.