More behind-the-scenes from our last shoot

Cast and crew getting ready to shoot a scene

Cast and crew getting ready to shoot a scene

Before locking ourselves away for a couple of weeks to work on editing footage that now amounts to most of the film, just time to post some more behind-the-scenes photos from last week’s shoot.

It was a great day filming. On the cast front, alongside Leo, Kaya Yuzuki returned to play Matron Hisamatsu, and, as we mentioned in our last blog, we had two new cast members; up and coming actress Charissa Shearer (watch out for her!) and we were honored to have the very talented character actresses Susan Jameson, who has been a regular face in British drama for many years, to play the part of Helen Keller.

On the crew front, South and City College Birmingham students proved to be a great asset on set once again with hair and make-up students Tania Ashworth and Samantha Wilson doing a fantastic job for us!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be preparing for our last day of filming which will take place in September – so watch this space for more info!

Most of the wonderful photos below are courtesy of fellow local film-maker Phil Pugh. Phil is also completing filming on his own feature film, much of which was shot on a custom built set- just down the road from our own!

If, like us, you are a fan of true independent and original films, then you might want to check out Phil’s film here!

Birmingham South and City student Tania Ashworth applying make-up to Leo Ashizawa

South and City college Birmingham student Tania Ashworth applying make-up to Leo Ashizawa (Takashi Nagai)

Birmingham South and City student Sam Wilson working on Charissa's period hair style

Fellow South and City college Birmingham student Sam Wilson working on Charissa’s period hair style

Tania doing the finishing touches to the hair!

Tania doing the finishing touches to the hair!

Producer Nigel Davey shares a joke with Charissa Shearer, Susan Jameson and costume ace Monica Price

Producer Nigel Davey shares a joke with Charissa Shearer, Susan Jameson and costume ace Monica Price

Leo and Charissa relaxing between takes

Leo and Charissa relaxing between takes

Director Ian Higgins discussing a scene with Charissa Shearer

Ian discussing a scene with Charissa and Leo

Veteran actress Susan Jameson gets into character with Charissa Shearer

Susan Jameson gets into character with Charissa Shearer

Susan with Leo, rehearsing the moment Helen Keller meets Dr. Nagai

Susan with Leo, rehearsing the moment Helen Keller meets Dr. Nagai

Charissa and Leo just before a take

Charissa and Leo waiting to film a scene

Monica, Tania and Leo with freshly shaved head!

Monica, Tania and Leo with freshly shaved head!

Producer Nigel Davey with wardrobe ace Monica

Producer Nigel Davey with wardrobe ace Monica

Susan and Charissa about to go for a take

Susan and Charissa about to go for a take

Leo having a spot of make-up retouching!

Leo having a spot of make-up retouching!

Our two assistant camera  men, Josh and Dan step in front of the camera to act as body doubles for us!

Our two assistant camera men, Josh and Dan step in front of the camera to act as body doubles for us!

Director Dominic Higgins setting up his camera while Josh sets up another angle

Dominic setting up his camera while Josh sets up for another angle. Photo credit: Chris Willmore

Kaya Yuzuki and Leo about to film a scene

Kaya Yuzuki and Leo about to film a scene. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Leo with Steve Green on clapper duties

Leo with Stephen Green on clapper duties. Photo credit: Dan Woodward

Advertisements

Fat Man is conceived – video clip

Below is the scene where Prof. Peierls writes up the memorandum which lays out the details necessary to construct a super bomb. This information would lead to the building of Fat Man, the atom bomb which destroyed Nagasaki.

The clip is pre-sound mixed

Our Indiegogo campaign is going great, thanks to everyone who has so generously contributed! Check it out by clicking the link below!

imgres

War – up close and personal

surgeon

As we prepare for our next shoot in Mid-March, the scenes we shot in early February are taking shape in our edit suite. The main focus of the February shoot was Takashi Nagai’s personal experiences of war during his service in the second Sino-Japanese War.

Takashi Nagai was called for military service in February 1933. Japan and China had been unofficially at war since 1931. Takashi was sent to China as a medical officer in the 11th Hiroshima Infantry Regiment. He would actually serve two tours of duty in China, the second being in 1937 when the unofficial war finally became official.

Takashi’s personal experiences of the horrors and brutality of war had a profound effect on him and influenced him greatly, so for directors Ian & Dominic Higgins it was important to portray at least some of his experiences in China.

“There’s no doubt that Takashi returned from his first tour of duty traumatised but also far more spiritual”, says Dominic.

“Up until his time in China, he was still the scientist exploring the possibility of life after death and religion through the clinical microscope of science, war changed that”, adds Ian.

The war scenes required the usual attention to detail and planning the directors insist on before cameras roll, which meant storyboarding, pre-visual art and shot lists…

hospital-board_shotlist sc-59-board

During the filming of the war scenes, the directors have kept their cameras focused on the human cost of war and our make-up artists Stephanie Bentham and Jenny Gillings, aided by Birmingham’s South and City college students Donna Woodman and Dolly Karoni, did a fantastic job helping us to bring a sense of reality to the scenes.

Below are some stills from the China war sequences…

war

Takashi1

scared-face

war3

war4

solider3

We’ll be posting an exclusive preview of a very special scene on the Production Hub page soon!

The filming gets back underway….

This Monday and Tuesday we’re shooting more scenes and that means we’ve been hard at work these last few days with plenty of planning and preparation. Before any shoot, we design the scenes. We do this by using storyboards and shot lists.

 
When it comes to the storyboarding we opt for 3D software as opposed to the traditional hand drawn ones, as the software we use allows us to work with “virtual” cameras and lights, meaning we get to test out different ideas with camera angles and lighting set-ups well in advance of the filming dates.

3D pre-viz

3D pre-viz

Using 3D software that utilizes virtual cameras, lights and actors (even if they sometimes resemble mannequins) really helps bring a scene to life.

For those of you who have access to the “Production Hub” we’ve uploaded the storyboards for the up-coming shoots.

Coming soon… a special extended preview.

284839_389531964470724_1010984318_n

Wasting no time at all, directors Ian and Dominic Higgins have been busy at work in the editing room since the New Year began, cutting a “special extended preview” of All That Remains.

“We’re very excited with how this film is shaping up and we really wanted to let everyone who has supported us and everyone who has contributed to the making of this film up until now, see for themselves, the results of all the hard work so far”, says Dominic.

“Although we have a lot of work ahead and plenty more scenes to shoot, the trailer will give a really good impression of the scale of this project and the vision behind the scale,” adds Ian.

The trailer will premiere in 9 days’ time on our official Facebook page, but if you have access to our Production Hub, you can watch it right now!

Greenscreen shoot – Week 1

The first phase of the filming is now complete, and many key scenes from the first half of the script are now in the bag.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s a good time to look back and see just how far we’ve come with this project.

It’s been two years of hard, hard slog- research, research and more research, endless script rewrites, an outpour of storyboards and production artwork, countless hours spent fund raising…   Long days and sleepless nights, but we’ve been driven by a passion to make this happen.

Script

Most of the filming is now taking place in a location in Birmingham. We were lucky to find a perfect location for our shoot. Everything we need is literally on one site, studio space for our greensceen set-up, catering facilities,  a coffee and tea area for cast and crew to relax and even a hotel to put up the cast members who were sleeping over. And with the beautiful Lickey Hills on our doorstep, what more could we ask for?

For most of the cast this is their first real experience of working with greenscreen, which brings new challenges for them and an exciting vibe to the set.

Greenscreen

Getting ready for a take

We’d like to give special thanks here to, Tomasina Scott, Kikuko Wall and Sheila and Bill Evans.

Sheila and Bill have been amazing to us during our shoot, when they haven’t been preparing wonderful food for the cast and crew, they’ve been coming to rescue in the props department!

On the last day of this part of the shoot, our cast and crew had the choice of enjoying authentic Japanese cuisine, courtesy of a local Japanese lady, Tomasina Scott. Interestingly we learnt that Tomasina grew up in Hiroshima and that her mother was there the day the first bomb was dropped. A big thank you to Tomasina for spending the day with us and for preparing all that delicious food!

Once again we have to thank, Kikuko, a very special lady, who came all the way from Telford to bring us a suitcase full of beautiful Kimono’s for us to use on set.

From left to right – Kikuko, Sheila, Yuna, Meg and Tomasina

The second phase of filming, which will concentrate mainly on scenes after the bombing, will take place in late October/early November.

In the meantime though, there’s plenty of work to do with the footage we’ve now got, as most of it has been shot in a greenscreen studio, meaning the sets and locations have to be added, and then there is the “grading” process – the part where we give the film its unique look. We’ve added a few stills of shots we’ve worked on below, to illustrate the work that goes into creating the final images you’ll see on screen.

close-takashi

Below are some stills from our first week’s shoot, enjoy! All behind the scenes photos by Phil Pugh.

Nicholas

Nicholas Lu-Fong plays Makoto Nagai

Nicholas gets into the part with a new haircut.

Nicholas gets into the part with a new haircut

Leo (Takashi), Nicholas (Makoto), and Yuna (Midori).

Leo (Takashi), Nicholas (Makoto), and Yuna (Midori)

Wardrobe

Wardrobe department

Actress Yuriri Naka undergoes  a two hour make-up session

Actress Yuriri Naka undergoes a two hour make-up session to play an atom bomb scared victim

Meg and Leo

Actress Meg Kubota and lead actor Leo Ashizawa enjoy a coffee and a chat

Dinner

Dinner, East meets West. A local Japanese lady brought a Japanese banquet to the set. Special thanks also to Sheila and Bill Evans for the splendid food they made for us on the day

Ian and Leo

Ian and Leo discuss Character

CAMERAMAN_SMALL

Nicholas is proving to be a natural in front and behind the camera

Painting light

Dominic painting with Light

Cast and crew

Directors Ian & Dominic show cast and crew some of the shots they’ve been working on

Two crew members stand in for our cast as we set up a shot.

Two crew members stand in for our cast as we set up a shot

Cast and crew

Cast and crew

Meet the cast

Meet Takashi and Midori

With the first few days of filming now complete, we thought it was time to introduce you to some of the main cast.

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai

Leo Ashizawa is Dr. Takashi Nagai. Leo is an actor with great screen presence and charisma. Two qualities that help make him so well suited to the role of Takashi.

Check out Leo’s personal website here.

Yuna is Midori Nagai

Yuna Shin is Midori Nagai

Yuna Shin is Midori Nagai. From her first audition, Yuna seemed to be the perfect choice for the role of Takahi’s faithful wife, Midori. Yuna brings a great emotional depth to the role.

Check out Yuna’s website here.

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama

Meg Kubota is Tsumo Moriyama. Meg is a very experienced actress who brings a great a presence to her role as Midori’s watchful mother. She is an actress who is capable of producing beautiful subtle performances.

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama

Dai Tabuchi is Sadakichi Moriyama. From the moment we first saw Dai perform at the audition, we knew he would be perfect for the role of Midori’s father, a man who exudes warmth, compassion and sensitivity.

Juni Chi is prof. Suetsugu

Junichi Kajioka is prof. Suetsugu

Junichi Kajioka is Professor Suetsugu. Junichi is an actor with lots of experience under his belt, having starred in the recent Chinese blockbusters City of Life and Death and Flowers of War, with Christian Bale (check out directors Ian and Dominic Higgins’ review of City of Life and Death here). With his tireless enthusiasm, he was not only great fun to have on set; he also created a very memorable professor Suetsugu on camera.

We were also very lucky to be able to have the chance to work with up coming actor Tanroh Ishida who, having not long finished work on a new Keanu Reeves movie and a Cameron Diaz/Collin Firth vehicle, is just about to head off to Hollywood yet again, to test for another major new feature film.

There are many more great actors involved in this production, of course, and we’ll be introducing those in a future blog – so be sure to stay tuned!

With a filming schedule that will run into November, there’s a lot of work ahead, but directors Ian & Dominic Higgins are very excited with how things are shaping up. “We’ve captured some great performances so far and we’re looking forward to sitting down and watching back over it all, while we prepare the next shoot”, explains Dominic.

“We now know for sure we have the right cast for the parts, and look forward to the rest of the filming”, adds Ian.

A Song for Nagasaki… and Hiroshima.

One of the things we hope to achieve with All That Remains, is to bring the story of the atomic bombings more into popular culture, so more people are made aware of these events.

With that in mind, we thought we’d post a blog about how the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima have been remembered in popular music through the decades…

THE BELLS OF NAGASAKI (Nagasaki No Kane) was written by poet, Hachiro Sato for the 1950 movie of the same name. It became one of the most enduring hits of the decade in Japan and was even played daily on the speakers at the train station in Nagasaki.

 

Wishful Thinking’s HIROSHIMA album was first released in the UK on the B&C label in 1971.

Initially the album made little impact however, in 1978, the album was re-released by Global Records and sold well in excess of 1,000,000 copies in Germany, where it remained in the charts for 41 weeks. It has since gone on to become the 17th bestselling single in Germany since charts began.

In 1990 it provided German singer Sandra with one of her biggest hits, when she released the song on her fourth studio album Paintings in Yellow.

 

ENOLA GAY is a song by British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). It was written by front man Andy McCluskey and was released as a 7″ single on 26 September 1980. ENOLA GAY reached number 8 in the UK charts and topped the charts in Portugal and other European countries. An early version with a slightly different arrangement appears on the group’s Peel Sessions 1979–1983 album.

 

English punk rock band, Crass released the single NAGASAKI NIGHTMARE on their own label, back in 1981.

 

In 2002 Bryan Ferry released his album Frantic which included the track, HIROSHIMA, written by Bryan Ferry and Eurthmics Dave Stewart and inspired by the 1959 movie, Hiroshima mon amour. It features Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead on guitar.

 

HIROSHIMA-NAGASAKI RUSSIAN ROULETTE was original written and performed by American folk singer, Jim Page. It was later covered by Irish folk singer Christy Moore who in 2007 was named as Ireland’s greatest living musician in RTÉ’s People of the Year Awards.

 

More recently…

A THOUSAND PAPER CRANES is a track from the album, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined  by Japanese experimental rock band Mono, released in 2004. The album comes with origami paper and instructions on how to fold a paper crane.

The song is inspired by the true story of 12 year old Sadako Sasaki, who after being diagnosed with “atomic bomb disease” (leukemia), turns to her native Japanese beliefs and makes one thousand paper cranes so the gods will grant her wish to be well.

 

A Thousand Suns by American rock band Linkin Park was released on September 10, 2010, under Warner Bros. Records. The album’s title comes from the Hindu Sanskrit scripture, the Bhagavad Gita:

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one,”

A quote made famous by J. Robert Oppenheimer in reference to the atomic bomb, which references the numerous apocalyptic themes of the album.

THE REQUIEM/THE RADIANCE/BURNING IN THE SKIES

 

THE RADIANCE (ZWIER.Z. REMIX) OFFICIAL HD MUSIC VIDEO

 

LOST IN AUGUST is a song that deals with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, from Japanese Electro / Hip Hop / Rock band, 5th Blood.

Contains language that some people may find offensive.

If you know of any other songs about  the atomic bombings then let us know…

London calling – The casting gets underway.

Casting

Our first auditions were held in London last Monday and already we are excited about what some of these potential actors will be able to bring to this film.

For directors Ian and Dominic Higgins this is one of the hardest parts of the filmmaking phase- getting the right cast. “We are visual filmmakers so when we cast, we are thinking, how will that face fit into the design of our film? “, explains Ian. “We are also casting for iconic roles here, so these faces need to be memorable, but performance is also paramount”.

”Absolutely, even though the visual style of the film will have a very animated look, with its strong painterly wash, we didn’t want to use CG actors because of course, an actor is much more than a physical prop”, adds Dominic. “A great actor has the ability to make you laugh or cry, because they allow you to see, in their performance, something that is honest. CG actors are actors without a soul, and this film is about a man who discovers he has one!”

The auditions will continue over the next few weeks, and will also include online submissions – where actors will be invited to submit videos of themselves reading specific lines via sites such as Youtube.

“We’re really looking forward to the call back stage, where we put shortlisted actors together to see what kind of “chemistry” they have together, which is absolutely vital if we are to convincingly portray what is, at its heart, an epic love story,” explains Dominic.

“It’s all about the chemistry on screen”, says Ian. “It’s the magic ingredient that connects an audience to our characters in an emotional way and makes us truly care about them”.

Stay tuned here for updates on the casting! We’ll also be uploading some of the successful auditions to the Production Hub section soon.

The Seamless Art

The painterly look of All That Remains.

As All That Remains will contain lots of archive material spanning from Pre-World War Two Japan to Post atomic bombing of Nagasaki, a lot of effort is going in to cleaning up and restoring these archive shots, and this work has had an impact on the intended visual style of the movie.
Directors Ian and Dominic Higgins are keen to explore ways of seamlessly blending the archive material that we have with any dramatic reconstruction scenes. Ian Explains, “this way, when we cut to the archive shots, during the dramatic reconstructions, the audience isn’t taken out of the drama, and consequently that vital emotional connection isn’t broken”.

“We have lots of amazing archive footage and we want to use as much as possible, but we like the idea that you can’t always tell what is real footage and what are shots that we’ve re-created on computers,” adds Dominic. “Of course, there will still be times when it’s obviously archive material as some of the footage is so badly damaged, but that’s OK, as it’s also part documentary there will still be moments taken from a retrospective point of view anyway– we just don’t want the drama sequences to be punctuated with the sense of distance from an event, that you get when watching old footage.”

“We always like to push the boat out both visually and from a story telling point of view and  I don’t think there’s been a film shot quite like this before, with different elements  blended together and given this pseudo painterly look – the idea of mixing in real people from the time and real recordings of actual events with the reconstructed sequences using actors and CGI this way feels more natural and the scenes will have much more potency,” concludes Ian.

Below are some more stills showcasing the “painterly look” and how it helps blend the different elements together.

Painterly look

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

You may have noticed there is another link on the menu called Production Hub, which is password protected, well, you may remember when we were running our Indiegogo fund raising campaigns, certain perks promised privileged “peeks behind the scenes” on some of the sequences in progress and other areas of production development/design – well this is where we’ll be posting them.

In fact, we’ve just uploaded a video sequence testing out the painterly/graphic style discussed in this blog – as it is also part of a key sequence in the movie (the atomic bombing) we’re keen to keep it under wraps at this stage, hence it not being posted in the public section of this blog, but for those who purchased the relevant perks, if you haven’t already, you can see it now!

Those who purchased the relevant perks on our indiegogo campaign should have received their passwords to unlock the page.  If you haven’t, then email us here.

You can also check out the personal blog of Ian and Dominic Higgins for more on the techniques and ideas behind the movie.