I’m finally back home after over a month camping in the desert while shooting our next film, OF DUST AND BONES. The experience was beautiful, intense, life-affirming and hard. Everything making a film should be.
It was humbling to watch this group of talented, wonderful people gather in the harsh conditions of the high desert, and work tirelessly every day in the heat, carrying equipment up and down hills, over the land and far away, bringing their hearts and souls, to make this vision I had come to life.
There are already so many precious memories from making this film, memories I will treasure forever. By following our hearts and making a film the Rebel Heart Film way, creatively free and pure, I think we’ve made something truly special. We shot only 3 pages a day and so had the luxury of getting things right, never compromising. We shot in mostly one location, so we had the luxury of changing the schedule all the time. If the light wasn’t right, we didn’t shoot. I’m telling you: this is the way to make an indie film.
As I think back, a few moments stand out to me:
– One evening as we walked back to base from a spot in the desert just after sunset, the light looked so beautiful that we spontaneously started shooting material with the actors that was not part of the script. After scampering around for half an hour, free and in the moment, we all looked at each other and smiled like children. The joy of pure creativity.
– One afternoon, we humped the camera up a steep hill to get a drive by shot of the picture car on the winding desert road below. We didn’t bring our AD (he had to move our truck below), it was just me, TJ Helmuth (our DP), Tom (1st AC), Alexa Ammon (producer), Hans Wittenburg (2nd AC) and Tiffany Roophani (stills photographer). It was absolutely breathtaking up there, desert mountains stretched out on each horizon, boulders and dust and no sight of man; the stunning vastness of this land. We all sat up there, so happy, taking pictures, talking about how epic it was, how lucky we were, how some people were sitting in offices at that moment, and here we were, perched at the peak of paradise. Finally, after twenty minutes had passed, TJ asked “What are we waiting for?” and we suddenly realized that we could have called action a long time before.
– One sunset, we were shooting inside, when someone suddenly said “have you seen the sky out there?” and within minutes the whole cast and crew were outside, running around pointing at the glorious sunset in ever direction. The joy and excitement were palpable. We were children again, pure and full of wonder.
And so many times, I’d look into the monitor and have this strange sense of a dream being brought to life. I can’t count the number of times I cried while shooting this film. The worlds that I imagined coming to life; the emotions, the moments, the perfect purity of it all.
I’m glad to be home now, but I’ll never forget the month we just had. Huge gratitude to everyone who was there and who made it so special. I know it wasn’t always easy, but this film is going to be something wonderful, and it’s because of each of you and what you brought to it. Your love is in every frame.
Huge love and gratitude,