Hunted and alone save for an old radio transmitting the recriminating voice of his abandoned love, Rafa G. Arroyo’s post-apocalyptic short LOST, posits the question of what fuels us to continue the fight for survival in the face of utter despair. As part of LOST’s online premiere, we invited the Spanish Director of Photography to explain how the bleak landscapes of his hometown inspired him to take on the directorial mantle.
I remember taking photos of the surroundings of my hometown (Ciudad Real, Spain). It was an awfully hard dry season, I hadn’t ever seen the landscape so deserted and I thought, why not make a post-apocalyptic story within this landscape? I’m a cinematographer but this time I wanted to tell a very visual story and I have a certain weakness for apocalyptic and dystopic stories. So my goal with this short film was to create a deteriorated atmosphere within a cloudy and desolate landscape where my character would wander alone.
Location scouting was quite easy since I had been photographing the surroundings of my hometown for about 2 years. In fact, while writing the script, I was visualising my character wandering around these places. Although due to the dry season, I had to go back to see the locations to check their current status.
When creating the aesthetic, it was very important to work the art design so that we could make an aesthetic like a futurist western both in the styling and in the design of the interior. As we did not have a lot of budget, we looked among our old objects to recreate the refuge of the main character.
I have a certain weakness for apocalyptic and dystopic stories.
The filming was hard since we had to shoot in 6 days because of the fact that I chose to shoot during a rainy week, restricted to certain hours of the day to create that feeling of loneliness. Due to the rain, we had to stop shooting frequently and in a few instances, we had no choice but to shoot under deluges because we ran out of natural light.
We shot on the Sony a7rII, which we sometimes rigged to a Ronin, connected to Atomos Ninja Flame as that’s the equipment that I own. As I mentioned earlier, we had a pretty limited budget (€500) and so we couldn’t afford to rent anything. All the exteriors were shot with natural light and we used a practical vintage light and a LED tube for the only interior scene which is the refuge of the lead actor.
I edited and coloured relatively quickly. In a little more than a week, I already had an initial version of the film. However, the hardest work during post-production was the sound. Since we couldn’t count on capturing direct sound during the shoot, we had to create all ambient sounds in post.
I’m not used to being a director but I’m very proud of the result and the work that the crew put in despite the problems we encounter. I was afraid about releasing LOST online because I didn’t want to put a public link on Vimeo and then see it die. I’m really happy and very grateful to DN for showing an interest in our film and sharing it with a larger audience! In the end, all the hard work that we carried out is rewarded.