Sunday, November 27, 2011

THE RAID TRAILER v.2 !!!!

At INAFFF we premiered the extended trailer for THE RAID featuring a few extra bits of carnage and also a new piece of music by Fajar Yuskemal and Aria Prayogi (who also worked on the sound design for THE RAID while also composing the score for MERANTAU).

As promised, this version is now uploaded to Vimeo you can click the link or watch the embedded video below.



I promise I will answer your questions soon, most of which are about the delay of the Indonesian release. The reason I'm not saying much about that yet is that I'm waiting to having something concrete to tell you all.

As soon as I have something to announce I will. All I will say is that for those of you outside of Asia who usually are left waiting up to a year for a release, that's not the case this time...

Right, time to shut up now. More to come soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

THE RAID TRAILER v.1 IS HERE....

Apologies for the wait and my constant empty promises, but finally I've found some time to get back to the worlds worst kept blog and do some updates.

It's almost pointless me uploading this now seeing as it's already done the rounds considerably since the roller coaster that has been the last few months. But here it is anyway, a 720p HD upload of Sony's Red-Band trailer featuring music by Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese.
Right off the bat, this is a trailer for a film that has been made for adults. It is not intended for kiddos and contains a significant amount of blood and violence that could be seen as graphic and extreme, so you have been warned.

To quote Todd Brown ....
"Iko Uwais is a charming country boy no more....Twitch is proud to premiere the first trailer for The Raid and while the concept of the Red-Band trailer is unknown in Indonesia let's just say that this first trailer ain't going to get shown on theater screens there any time soon. Or ever. Loaded with a combination of technical fighting and raw brutality the trailer gives it to you straight: This is a movie about a group of men who must kill or be killed and a whole lot of them aren't getting out alive. And as hard as this might be to believe after you've seen the trailer let me tell you this: As crazy as things get this does not spoil any of the biggest moments in the film."

Now watch and please don't forget to comment below...





Alternatively, you can also see it direct at Vimeo. Will update with more soon as well as answer some of your questions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Poster Design: THE RAID

Apologies guys, I know it's the 2nd time I've promised and not posted the trailer, but I assure you we're working on it. Just happened that we need a bit more time to tweak it. The trailer will be online eventually but we have a few technical hitches that need to be addressed before it is ready to go live. I will keep you all posted when it does.

Anyway, to make up for the delay below are some badass poster designs by @oswarez

First up the main poster for the film...

click to enlarge

And now, the one-sheet character posters (work in progress), click to enlarge...

THE GOOD GUYS

Iko Uwais as Rama Joe Taslim as Jaka Pierre Gruno as Wahyu

AND THE BAD GUYS 

Ray Sahetapy as Tama Donny Alamsyah as Andi Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog

Hope you all like the designs, as always any comments you have or questions I'll answer them in the next blog. Awful segue aside....

AND FINALLY THE Q&A...

Q. Mungkinkah bisa milih 35mm cell nya yang adegan Luc??? mauuuu >.< / Can I get a 35mm cell of a scene with Luc? (from PuspitaHassei)
A. We can't guarantee that you'll get one, but will let you know if there is a 35mm cell with Luc in the collection.

Q. Satu hal lagi yang bikin penasaran, kenapa proses post production, sound mixing dan lain-lain itu di lakukan di Bangkok? kenapa tidak di Indonesia? / Why is the post-production process done in Bangkok? Why not Indonesia? (from Ismail Takumi)
A. There are a number of reasons really, right now we are starting to see post-pro facilities emerge in Indonesia but as yet there isn't anywhere that offers us a Dolby License for 5.1 mixing and processing. Also some of our mastering must be done outside because of equipment and materials availability.

And to both Virginie DuChat and PuspitaHassei again, for the trailer - sorry but we have to wait again. It will come out eventually. We're working on it, and as soon as it's out you'll be first to know!

Thanks again everyone for your support and continued comments, keep them coming.

Not going to promise a trailer with the next blog this time. But hopefully it won't be too much longer.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Not the trailer.... But some BTS...

So we're out in Bangkok now at the awesome SIAM FILM DEVELOPMENT Co. (same post-production facility we used for MERANTAU).
We're doing all our color grading, final audio mixing and mastering here and while I finally get a chance to sit back and watch other people work their asses off instead of me - I'm roaming around getting little clips of the "finishing touches".

And here's one of them...



That was our sound team (Fajar, Ogi, Bonar and Sandika - Pak Jack arrived later that evening) over-seeing a mix of one of the earlier scenes in the film as the Swat team work their way up the building.

And here's another...


WARNING: This one isn't suitable for kiddies...



While we're here in Bangkok, Andi (our online editor) is putting some finishing touches to effects that we simply couldn't achieve practically. He is a genius when it comes to digital squibs and blood fx. Here's a very small sample of his work in one of our major fight scenes.

For those hoping to get a more clear view of footage (more than one shot) sorry but I'm trying to keep as much hidden for now as possible. The trailer is coming next week, that will show plenty. 

For now I'm gonna keep on teasing these little clips as I fuck around shooting BTS with the HTC.

AND FINALLY THE Q&A...

Q. Berapa harga DVD specialnya nanti Mr.? / "How much will the special edition DVD cost?" (from Ismail Takumi)
A. I've no idea, that's not a decision made by us, but by Jive Collection. I'm guessing it will be a little bit more expensive than the previous release because they have to cover the manufacturing of the extra disc and all the collectible items.

Q. Babule, yang 35mm film cell itu sepanjang apa yak? / How long is the 35mm film cel? (from Virginie DuChat)
A. It's one frame only, mounted in a card. Similar to the bonus feature on the RUMAH DARA DVD.

Thanks also to Kunderemp and A-Bye for your comments.

Next up I promise will be the trailer for THE RAID....

Friday, August 12, 2011

MIDNIGHT MADNESS!


Put bluntly, I'm fucking ecstatic.

After a mad rush to get a cut of THE RAID submitted in time, I've been overwhelmed by the news that the film will have its WORLD PREMIERE at the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in September.

Selected as the opening film of the MIDNIGHT MADNESS program I absolutely cannot wait to see how its first audience responds to the mayhem and carnage we have lined up.

This is the ultimate achievement we could have hoped for as our film becomes part of an alumni of films and directors I have admired, respected.... and stolen from :)

Please visit the festival's website HERE and also the MIDNIGHT MADNESS section HERE

MERANTAU SPECIAL EDITION DVD

Ok, after reading Ben's comment on buying the Indonesian cut of the film on DVD here in Jakarta, I figure now is as good a time as any to mention on this blog about a planned re-release of the local DVD release by JIVE COLLECTION

The original release.

We're finalizing the materials for the release but one thing we all agreed on was that if we were to do a re-release it had to be worth a "double-dip" purchase not to cheat our fans who came out and supported the film on its first release.

So here's a rough outline on what will be featured on the release.
  • 2-Disc Edition
  • Indonesian Cut (135mins) *WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES*
  • International Cut (107mins) *WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES*
  • All extra features previously released on US & UK releases including Production Blogs, Making Of, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, Fight Scene Storyboard Comparisons & a featurette on the Bamboo Pole Stunt (English Subtitles provided)
  • Promo Reel & Trailers
  • Original Soundtrack (included as DVD-Rom content)
  • A Sneak Peak at THE RAID
  • Character Poster Postcards
  • 35mm Film Cell
We're looking at ways to get this release available for online orders, as soon as something is more concrete regarding release date and availability I will post it here.

AND FINALLY THE Q&A...
 
Q. Does the Madman deal that cover Australia cover New Zealand as well? And Did you shoot a making of the fight choreography while you guys shot the film? (from MattK77)
A. I need to double check, but I would presume it does cover New Zealand also. We did shoot behind the scenes of the fight choreography and will look to produce a side-by-side comparison again like we did for Merantau. Thank you also for your kind words, THE RAID has less drama than Merantau, but again we aimed to make the action sequences feel organic and part of the story rather than just random events. Hope you enjoy! 

Q. Are they pretty strict with violence in Indonesia? I know the states is pretty lax, but not sure about other countries. If so, do you plan on having different versions of the film or sticking to your original concept? (from kmiller)
A. It's really hard to guess how the censors will react. I'm hopeful we will get through unscathed, but we'll see once we submit the film. There won't be different versions of the film, usually when a film is cut here the cuts are made direct to the 35mm prints released in cinemas as opposed to the master material. Internationally I don't see anything in the film that would pose a problem for censors in the US / UK etc. It's a hard "R" rating but we don't overstate the violence. 

Q. Can't wait for the red-band trailer. (from kunderemp)
A. Yes I know this isn't really a question, but it's an opportunity for me to tease regarding the trailer. You sir will not have to wait long - the trailer is coming. Maybe the next blog entry.... Unless I write something else first.

Q. Any idea when it will release officially in Indonesia? In the first Jan. or last one? or perhaps february? (from PuspitaHassei)
A. We are looking at releasing the film in the end of January, possibly the 19th or 26th. Once we finalize a release date I will post it here. Not sure if it helps, but there's a possibility that the November screening would be on a weekend.

And that about does it for this blog. 

Next: THE RAID TRAILER (maybe)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Catch Up #2: Distribution

During the shoot I like to edit all the action sequences on location, it's become a force of habit since MERANTAU as it helps us see if the choreography is working and the shots are connecting properly.

Proof of editing on set: I'm only 98% of the time full of shit.
As a result of this, we ended up with 2 fully edited scenes by the time Todd Brown paid us a visit on set. It was after that visit that he suggested we prep these two scenes and any other rough cuts we had from the shoot to present at the Cannes Film Market back in May.

Initially, our plan was to prepare a promo reel - but shooting the film out of sequence and still having a lot of unfinished scenes meant we would instead send 5 sequences from the film that we had completed by that time. These were the major fight scenes in the film that could give buyers a sense of what they would be getting, and how different our approach would be this time round.

We hoped at best that the scenes would whet the appetite for the buyers leading to potential sales later in the year once the film was complete. However, interest started to mount amongst those that viewed the footage and soon a number of distributors started pre-buying the rights to the film in a number of different territories among them SONY PICTURES for the US, ALLIANCE for CANADA and MOMENTUM PICTURES for the UK.

We have been genuinely humbled by the response and are proud to be able to announce that THE RAID sold to the following territories so far.

Following taken from Twitch.
US (Sony), Canada (Alliance), the UK (Momentum), Australia (Madman), France (SND), Germany (Koch), Japan (Kadokawa), China (HGC) and Turkey (Calinos) with further deals currently being finalized that will cover the Benelux, East Asia and other territories. I'm not going to hit you with the full press release but here's the reaction from Scott Shooman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions:

In a Cannes market filled with serious award-caliber dramas, it was so refreshing to see someone get throat punched!  We knew right away that we needed to get involved.
So there you go, if your country is listed above THE RAID should be coming your way in the near future. If not, I will keep updating any other territories sold as and when that happens. Fingers crossed we can announce more sales in the coming months.

AND FINALLY THE Q&A...

Q.  Will be in Jakarta and Bali from october 17 to oct 31 and was wondering if there is any early viewing schedule for the movie? (Ben)
A. First up, huge thanks for the incredibly kind words in your comment can't begin to explain how amazing it feels to know a film I made connects with a viewer. Your support goes a long way.
To answer your question, unfortunately we don't have a screening in Indonesia during those dates but we do have a sneak screening lined up in Jakarta sometime mid-November. Where are you based? We are touring the film at festivals starting September so who knows, it may play nearby.

Q. When can we expect a trailer? (Kmiller)
A. Our plan is to release a REDBAND trailer sometime this month. It's pretty brutal and action packed, really hope you guys like it. As soon as it's ready for release I'll be posting it on here and I'm sure it will end up on a bunch of other sites also. 

As a sidenote the trailer is pretty violent, so please bear that in mind. I got a lot of complaints locally from people about MERANTAU being too violent for kids, and my response is "absolutely it is too violent for kids - I made it for adults". THE RAID... it's 100% made for adults. I've never been one to dwell on violence in an explicit way but the violence here is like a gut punch, it's fast and brutal but it has a lasting effect.

And Alex thanks for your comment also, hope these updates make up for such a ridiculously long absence!

Next blog will cover the announcement of our World Premiere. 

Until then, thanks for reading!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Catch Up #1: The ActionFest Promo & Official Stills

Last year at the first ActionFest in North Carolina, MERANTAU was honored with the prize for Best Film. As a sign of thanks and goodwill to a festival that shows so much passion and respect to a genre that often is neglected and ignored at major awards ceremonies, we decided to prepare little video for the audience that played before one of many truly kick ass films.

The video has since featured on Twitch, you can find the article HERE or play the clip below...

ACTIONFEST PROMO (HD)




PRODUCTION STILLS
 
Also released was a gallery of stills again at Twitch I've added them below along with a few new images...

















As you can probably see, there's a bit of action in this film.

Next up we have some distribution news to catch up on...

A shit ton of stuff to catch up on, but first apologies...

Okay so I'm useless at this. I've followed many filmmakers blogs, ones that regularly update with ease and I honestly have no idea how they can stay so disciplined. I tried but failed.

The production process on this flick has been killer, way harder than anything we encountered on MERANTAU. We wrapped on June 8th at around 5.30am after a stupifyingly long day that literally left cast and crew with nothing but fumes to work from. The cheers from that final call of "its a wrap" a mixture of happiness and relief. We all got our normal lives handed back to us, and finally I could spent time with my family (before launching straight into post-production).

I won't even try to cover what happened over the course of the rest of the shoot in one blog. It's futile, there's too much to talk about. From the schedule which changed on a weekly sometimes daily basis, to the action scenes that we adapted to fit our shooting time, stunts that went according to plan, others that took way too long for us to get right. It all culminated in one clear thought.

Filmmaking is a bitch to get right.

But there is nothing I'd rather destroy my health and sanity doing.

I'm so shit at updating you all that I've actually wrapped the film, began and finished the offline edit and in a few days time will be winging my way to Thailand to complete color grading and sound mixing on the final cut of the film ready for it to make it's way to it's World Premiere...but more on that later.

I will at some point get round to writing up an adequate report that covers all the goings on in the shoot and my later equally sleep-deprived editing sessions but before then I need to backtrack a fair few steps and release a shit ton of news that I really should have covered a long time ago along with some recent and just plain amazing news that has left me both excited and terrified in equal measure.

Thanks to Sam and Xino for their kind words in the last blog. Again if anyone has any questions feel free to ask away I will do my best to answer each of them in upcoming blog entries.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week One, Week Two and a bit of Three...

I told you I'd be a shit blogger. 

I originally started to write this in week 1, now a few weeks later I'm having to add more just to bring it up to date. In my defense, I've been just a tad busy. I do regularly post little snaps and comments on twitter so should you be interested you can follow my exploits here:


You'll have to excuse my sometimes emo-ish rants about nothing of particular importance, sometimes I forget I'm a 30 year old man.

Anyway, back to the blog. The first week has been an exercise in sleep deprivation and chaos that has given me an instant reminder of what I've missed so badly since the shoot of MERANTAU. Despite having to walk around the dusty set wearing what ends up being a foul sweat filled cup of a mask every day I absolutely love being back behind the camera.

Minor discomforts aside the only thing I truly hate during the whole shooting process is "time" and the fact that it has a limit. Ten more days would be one bliss comfort. Especially for the fight scenes.

The first week of a shoot is a litmus test for cast and crew to see how we gel, naturally some shots/scenes get dropped and me and my brilliant AD team (Dondy, Plenthonk, Gita, Bendolt and Oim you guys kick ass) search frantically in our tight schedule to re-arrange or re-shoot.

While writing this all the days are a blur, day one is no different from day 8. I remember sights and sounds but not the order in which they happened. Shooting a film is a delirious experience with time hurtling you forward while you see each scene unfold on the monitor with varying degrees of success. I've had every frame of this film in my head for just under a year, now its sitting on my laptop.

I'd love to share anecdotes about shooting but I have a deep hatred of "pat yourselves on the backs" promo materials where everyone says everyone is great, best person they've ever worked with etc. Having said that I've got nothing but praise for my cast and crew who have withstood intensely long days with over 2000 slates within 15 days. To give a shout out to any individual person would make me an inconsiderate asshole to the remaining 100+ people who we have worked with so far. So you're all brilliant, you're all amazing and the best people I've ever worked with. Readers you can feel free to call me out as a fucking hypocrite for that one.

One of the overwhelming feelings I've had this time round is just how much action we're shooting, I don't necessarily mean fight scenes but manouvers, chases, any moment where its all physical rather than drama. So far in just over 15 days we've shot around 95% action 5% drama but even then the drama has been more of a lead-in to the action. Panic set in until I saw the schedule again and finally focused on how action heavy the shoot is in the first 2 months. If all goes well we will only have 2 more martial arts scenes left to shoot by April. Time for Iko and the fighters to rest, which they desperately need cos this has been a mean shoot each day with more injuries than I'm comfortable with.

I'm not going to go into details about the fight scenes as I'm not too keen on giving away plot details associated with each fight but from what we have shot I can say that our intentions with this film are becoming a lot more clear and a lot more focused. This is a major departure from what some viewed as soft choreography in MERANTAU. Gloves are definitely off for this one with all the guys performing 100% with some mean and nasty slams, stabs, punches and kicks. My mum wouldn't approve but I'll make her that rom-com I promised someday to make up for it.

We've had a few set visits this time out, we were happy to have the winners of our competition arrive and take a look around on set. They got to see first hand how boring and time consuming it is to shoot an action film. You don't get to 2000+ slates without a little repetition. We were also graced with visits from the guys at Filmoo.com, The Mo Brothers and Joko Anwar.

Then the mighty Canadian, Mr Todd Brown came along after the Hong Kong Filmart to check up on things. I should explain a little about his involvement - Todd came on board way back when we were shooting MERANTAU. After taking a look at our initial BTS promos he took an interest and along with our sales agent Golden Network helped us pretty much get all of the international recognition that we ended up getting for our first flick. We were beyond naïve until Todd came along, we had no idea how the industry worked at an International level. So with him on board suddenly our little project that we had intended to only hit at a local level expanded significantly with Todd putting us in touch with our sales agent and handling our festival strategy.

Suffice to say, we wanted to work with him again. So we are. Todd is on board as Exec Producer through XYZ FILMS alongside partner NATE BOLOTIN. They have been a huge support to me and this project since I first proposed it so in all honesty the set visit had me just a tad nervous. There's more at stake this time round and playing the footage and rough cuts warts and all is a horrible experience. Thankfully they seem more than happy with the results so far. There will be a lot of tweaks before its close to how I envision it being in the final cut but its given us more drive and energy to see each day of work go towards something that people outside of the four walls of the studio consider special.

I'll close by shamelessly publicizing some links to Twitch where you'll find a bunch of stills taken by much more talented photographers than I with my shitty blur-cam phone.
Behind The Scenes Report

Until next time, here's my shitty snaps...

Wardrobe and Art prepping the Swat Team.

Ass Kicker of the month Yandi getting into character.

Yayan (Mad Dog) and Joe Taslim (Jaka)

Tegar Satrya (Bowo) and Iko Uwais (Rama)

Batik Day.

The All-Star in final make up check before shooting.

A POV rig - works perfectly as a rig but sadly not for the shot we planned.

Cheers for reading.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Camera testing, the press conference, Berandal and sometimes this happens...

WARNING:
                    If you haven't already seen MERANTAU, please don't read the section
                       on
BERANDAL as it contains some spoilers for the finale of the film.

Late updates seem to be becoming something of a regular feature on this blog but as we are now 9 days away from DAY ONE of the production things are naturally getting more and more hectic.

Anyway, here's the latest blog during which I'll cover what we've been up to the past week. 

CAMERA TEST

Prior to shooting it's customary to conduct a day or two for a camera test. This is basically an opportunity for the crew to work together, figure out the best work flow for all departments while testing specific make up effects, camera rigging, lighting setups and sound recording. We conducted a lot of tests during the day we spent in the studio from squibs tests, controlled explosions to a claustrophobic set that allowed us to try out some rigging enabling the camera to track and turn 180 degrees in a wall less than 1m wide.

The test highlighted a lot of pitfalls (essential for us prior to production as we still have time to fix any issues) but also gave us confirmation as a lot of our more experimental ideas were executed without a hitch.

Once Matt is less busy and has time to update his blog he will go into a lot more detail regarding the camera test and rigging we plan to use on the film. For now here's some snaps I took while I should have been busy working.

Lighting setup at the studio.
The Panasonic AF-100 setup with Nanoflash recorder and Bartec follow focus
set up on the fig rig – this is fucking heavy we are unlikely to use this setup for
the film we’re now looking at some shoulder mount setups.
Preparing for a birds eye view shot.
One of our more claustrophobic locations.
Tegar Satrya (as Bowo) after a spot of bother.



THE PRESS CONFERENCE

Earlier this week we held a press conference to announce the production of THE RAID at FX Mall. It was a good turn out and the press seemed very enthusiastic and supportive of us as we detailed our 2nd film.

The Raid team.
As we have already announced the cast for the film at the press con, here finally, is the full list of actors and actresses that will feature in THE RAID....

      THE RAID

Iko Uwais- Rama
Joe Taslim- Jaka
Donny Alamsyah- Andi
Pierre Gruno- Wahyu
Ray Sahetapy- Tama
Yayan Ruhian- Mad Dog
Tegar Satrya- Bowo
Iang Darmawan- Gofar
Eka Rahmadia- Dagu
Verdi Solaiman- Budi
Fikha Effendi- Isa
R. Iman Aji- Ari
Henky Solaiman- Bapak

Our thanks go out to the press that turned up and continue to support us since Merantau, we're still a relatively new production house in Indonesia and we're very grateful for the way they have welcomed us. We talked about the production and the differences between Merantau and The Raid (stuff I've already bored you guys with in the first 3 blogs so I won't re-iterate).... We also spoke about our plans for release, and "hint hint" a possible special advanced screening right here in Indonesia towards the end of 2011, way before our planned release in January 2012. So fans, keep your eyes peeled once I get confirmation I'll be sure to announce it here.

BERANDAL...

Naturally, a lot of questions since we announced THE RAID at the press conference revolved around BERANDAL and why it has been delayed. Outside of the fact that the project had grown in scope and various scheduling issues preventing us from being able to cement a production date, there have been developments in the project since. 

While developing THE RAID in script form I started to toy around with the idea of creating a link between it and BERANDAL. And now I can announce that BERANDAL will actually serve as a sequel to THE RAID providing a continuation for Iko Uwais' character Rama. While some would see this news as a spoiler (i.e. his character doesn't die) I feel that if I killed off his character again so soon after MERANTAU I'd be one almighty fucking hack bereft of ways to finish a film. 

So there you go, spoiler.... Iko survives and lives to fight another day.

In BERANDAL we plan to explore the criminal world and introduce more side characters while creating a franchise for IKO UWAIS, but not one in which his character stays the same throughout. Our plan is to show a growth in each film as experiences begin to shape and mutate his personality for better and for worse.


SOMETIMES THIS HAPPENS...

Yep.





AND FINALLY, THE Q&A...

Q. Do you plan on doing another one-shot fight scene? (from Kelly)
A. We don’t have plans to do a one-shot fight scene in THE RAID, the choreography design has to fit a shot like that. My focus has always been to showcase the complexity of the choreography and the guys have been pretty intricate with their fighting style on this one so every time I do try to do a single shot scene it doesn’t capture the choreography to its fullest. So unfortunately we won’t have a single shot fight sequence this time round, but we do have some uninterrupted long takes that are going to piss off my DoP immensely ☺
 

Q. I'm excited about the first person pov (but also glad you're not sacrificing the clear fight scenes). Any chance we'll get a preview of it? (From Kris)
A. For the POV shots we’ve done limited testing and aren’t planning to use it that often, only a small fraction of shots will be done using this system. We will see how it works once we shoot the fight sequences during production, I doubt I will preview it to be honest as I want to keep as much of the film fresh and unknown as possible. You won’t be getting an almost 3min trailer this time round… that was overkill on MERANTAU. This time we’re going leaner with our trailer enough to tease without spoiling what’s to come.
 

Q. In recent days there are news that make me worried. As you know, government apply new tax for foreign movie. I wish this movie in Indonesia will not be considered as foreign movie nor have difficulty to be played in Indonesia cinemas. (From Kunderemp)
A. Not to worry, everything about THE RAID is an Indonesian production. Fully financed here, production company, staff etc. The only thing bule about it is me, the DoP and our fantastic Exec Producers at XYZ FILMS. So for sure the film classifies as Indonesian.

Q. Do you have any plans to shoot in 3D, like a fight scene?
(From Rezcinema)
A. Besides the obvious budget issues personally, I don’t really like 3D. I can’t watch a film in 3D for longer than 10mins before I start to get a headache so the thought of spending months editing a film in 3D is just too much. Also, I genuinely wouldn’t know what to do with the medium besides throwing shit at the audience. I don’t really see how it would benefit a film like this. The talk is about complete immersion in the world of a film – but I don’t feel immersed in a 3D world, cos its not truly 3D its just layers with extra depth.


Other far more talented filmmakers than me can run with 3D technology, I’m happy to stick with 2D. 

Q. Will there be a "bloody" hot looking guy? A guy that will be covered in blood? (From Puspitasari)
A. There will be blood. Broken bones. And chaos.

Okay that's it for now, more next week as Day One approaches ever faster, please keep your questions coming in...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Choreography

Working on the choreography for Merantau was a great experience. The team were always open to discussion and the whole process was truly a collaborative effort.

On The Raid we've continued to use the same approach. For each scene I give the guys a situation, a sense of location, number of opponents and any weapons or props that could be at hand and then from there they would workshop the scene themselves. I'm not a choreographer, I have a very basic understanding of silat so all of the technical elements of the choreography is entirely left to both Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian.

Workshopping ideas for choreography (Yayan, Esa and Iko)
Where I come in is to help shape the fight giving more in terms of pacing and tone figuring out with them the order of the opponents and finding ways to either maintain a breakneck pace or to find moments for the audience to breathe. Occasionally I will have specific ideas in mind for stunt sequences but then once we return to the hand to hand combat the team resume complete control. 

The next step in the process is for the roles to be assigned. During pre-pre-production on Berandal our casting department at the time Icha (Melisa Hana Kristianty), Fadi (Fadiptya Hadi) & Asep (Yoghi Andre Mulyanto) scoured Indonesia for fighters of all backgrounds to feature in the film. As Berandal got delayed, then pushed back even further we were lucky enough to still have folders full of names to call upon for use in The Raid

Casting one of the gangs in The Raid

With everyone together they then go through the choreography learning each move, while building a sense of trust with each other (this is hugely important) before I come in and make a video storyboard for each sequence. The video storyboard is basically handycam footage shot and edited to be as close to the final film as possible. 

Using this time in pre-production helps us find a rhythm to the fight sequences and allows us a chance to fix any problems in the choreography design, shot decisions or editing way before production begins. We don't have the benefit of experience as other filmmakers working within this genre, so this process helps us enormously to craft our action sequences. 

Later in production we use the video storyboards as a template for all departments to use as a reference including our on-location editor who then replaces the edits in the timeline with the final shot delivered straight from camera. Nothing is ever perfect, and this on-location editing process allows us to be as sure as possible that we have a functioning sequence that is free of any jarring edits before we move onto our next scene/location.


A New Approach

Earlier in the first blog I spoke about how I've become bored of watching martial arts films where the only interest lies in the action. Apologies but I'm going to repeat myself here. Often I sit to watch a movie and I find myself amazed and in awe on the first viewing, but then when it comes to the 2nd and 3rd time round I'm skipping forward only to see the fight sequences. What I hoped to achieve with Merantau and what I hope to continue with The Raid is to make a film that would work just as well as a drama as it would an action film. Although in all honesty, The Raid is going to be one breezy drama, with our action kicking in around the 15mins mark and barely letting up until the final shot.

When you see a film like Ip Man or Flashpoint what makes the fight sequences so thrilling is not purely the choreography on display but the fact that we as an audience have invested a certain amount of time in the characters and that the fight sequences genuinely count for something. They're not filler, they have a sense of worth and purpose. That's what I hope to do with this movie, spend enough time fleshing out the characters and storylines so that when the action comes it's got a certain weight behind it, with more at stake than just how cool the fight looks.

The differences between The Raid and Merantau lie within our presentation of Silat. Due to the psychology of Iko's character in Merantau as someone who sought a peaceful solution to any obstacle faced his fighting style started more stand-offish before becoming increasingly aggressive as the film went on. In The Raid however, every attack is a life or death situation therefore the choreography design is way more direct, more brutal and less merciful. People are going to get a kick out of the fights and stunts we have lined up, it's pretty punishing stuff.

Another difference is that we are accommodating more fighting styles into the mix this time round. With each film we hope to introduce new talents so we give our supporting cast their own moment to showcase their skills in fight scenes designed specifically to their strengths. National Judo champion Joe Taslim has a brutal fight where he gets to showcase throws, grappling techniques and pure upper body strength while Eka (who some of you will recognise as a stunt performer from Merantau) is given more to do as a swat team member in a major group fight sequence.

We've also worked to establish a sense of hierarchy amongst the opponents they face. As a kid growing up seeing the incredible Dick Wei (My Lucky Stars, Heart of Dragon) appear in a Jackie Chan movie always signalled an upcoming fight that was going to be more than just a goon being beaten in a few hits. 

The legendary Dick Wei (狄威)

This guy was a formidable opponent, and a serious challenger to the antagonist. The plan is to build up a certain degree of expectation in the audience so that each opponent carries with them an element of danger, that they could very well tip the balance and cause an upset.

We are also looking to explore more in terms of camera movement this time round to accommodate this shift in fighting style. Our plan is to really experiment with the flexibility offered by the technology we have at hand and see how to best serve the choreography. 

Panasonic AG-AF100: Very light and flexible, this will be used
for 95% of the shoot with a PL Mount & Zeiss Cine Lenses.
Panasonic AG-HCK10: Used for one extremely claustrophobic
set piece and giving a POV perspective to some fight scenes.
Testing the GoPro HD cams, we later opted for the Panasonic AG-HCK10
instead for more image stability during rapid movements.

For anyone worried, no we will not be doing a bunch of shitty close-up rapid edits - my team worked their asses off for months designing kick ass choreography and I intend to show it all with as much clarity and fluidity as possible.


Q&A

Not many questions this time round, but I'll answer those that asked.....

Q. Just want to ask, do you have any female roles in this film, and if so who is playing them? (From A-Bye)
A. We do have some female characters in the film, Rama (Iko's character) has a wife expecting a baby at the start of the movie. I'll announce the cast in another blog update soon, so until then I won't mention any names yet (though my cast are doing a pretty shitty job of keeping details quiet - just check their twitter accounts if you absolutely must know who is involved.)

Q. Mr. Ray Sahetapy is playing in this film also? Is he playing Tama? (From Sam Na'a)
A. Ray Sahetapy is indeed in the film, and yes he will be playing Tama. Absolutely cannot wait to work with him on this role. He has some killer scenes and it's great to have someone of his seniority lending his talents to this film. Again, I'll have more details on casting in the next blog.

And finally regarding the bootcamp blog and the boat carrying punishment my favourite question...

Q. Who fucked up? & Let me guess, was it Iko who fucked up?  

(From our awesomely loyal Facebook Fans Surya Adiputra & Narpati Wisjnu Ari Pradana)
A. Iko always fucks up, that much is a guarantee, but for the bootcamp I think everyone had their moment to show their abilities in fucking up. Thankfully they learnt a lot also and have come back saluting and shooting like pro's.


That's it for this week, as always, thanks for reading and if you have any questions please add them to the comments section below.

Cheers!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bootcamp

Partly to bestow a feeling of authenticity and partly so I could make my actors suffer, we sent the guys that make up the key members of the swat team to do bootcamp training. We were lucky to have the support of Kopaska (Komando Pasukan Katak - Indonesia's Navy SEAL) as their instructors who put them through a 5 day intensive course so they could learn the basics of weapons use, strategic attacks and defense techniques.

They all came together as a group laying down the foundations for the chemistry I need to exploit in the film. It helped that each person threw themselves into it in a big way, while we gave some notes in order to gradually establish a sense of hierarchy and authority. Joe Taslim (playing Jaka in the film) showed exactly why he was cast as the leader of the group, he's a fucking towering presence leading them through drills. After seeing how dedicated and committed he has been to this project from choreography to bootcamp he should be coming out of this film a seriously big name.

We had our behind the scenes team taking footage of their experience throughout and once we start releasing video blogs it will definitely be a part of the collection. 

Until then here are some photos showing the ups and downs of the bootcamp training.

Day One: Pick up at 04:00am


One of many drills.







Everytime one of the team fucks up, the whole group had to carry this boat around the grounds of the base.



Weapons orientation.
Eka testing a Heckler & Koch MP5
Iko Uwais at the firing range.
Vehicle exit techniques.
Locate and capture exercise #1
Locate and capture exercise #2
Locate and capture exercise #3
Locate and capture exercise #4
Locate and capture exercise #5
The SERBUAN MAUT team.
....And someone fucked up again.

So that's it for this week, next I'll talk a little more about the choreography design and shed some light on Berandal also. We're currently preparing materials for a press con to announce production in the coming weeks. We'll be making a teaser poster for Serbuan Maut soon, once it's completed I'll post it on here along with any other materials we give out.

Until then if you have any questions at all please feel free to post them in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer as many of them as possible.

Cheers for reading.