We realize the shooting with simple means. The lack of perfection is elevated to an aesthetic framework, the narrative is precisely geared to this.
We can draw more from the full: We are more free with pictures and sound and can realize some pictures, which would otherwise have to be slimmed down.
The film BOTTOM'S BATTLE tells the story of eight actors who live in an old officers' mansion in the forest to rehearse the theater production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". When the eight actors start rehearsing on the dodgy terrain of the old ammunition depot, it turns out the director has canceled his participation. After the first shock has passed, the ensemble starts settling in the tumbledown villa. Soon, living and working together in a very confined space will bring the mood to the boil. Only two livable rooms for eight people, cat washing under the watering can shower, little sleep, and the challenge of putting together a play without the director draws down the groups’s reserves. During the day they rehearse and negotiate the content and meaning of the play, the night transforms the already eerie place into a shimmering backdrop against which the protagonists play, love and fight. Thus, a chaotic-enthusiastic spectacle unfolds, in which the Shakespearean confusion mixes with the ensembles odyssey through the mix of players and characters, ammunition depot and magic forest. On the opening night, at the climax of this event, the levels between play and seriousness finally blur, when one of the actors causes a scandal.
The obscure backdrop of a former military terrain with the adjacent woodland and the officers’ villa will be our main film location. The former ammunition depot was built by the Wehrmacht in 1934/35 and taken over by the Soviets after the Second World War. After the withdrawal of the Red Army, some of the buildings became private property. The site includes bunkers and warehouses and a number of villas, one of which will serve as a shooting location.The house with its dilapidated appearance makes the perfect choice for the dreamlike enchanted atmosphere that will characterize the main part of the film.The discovery of the complex and its dark history by the protagonists is crucial for dealing with their own identity. The improvised theatre stage will be set in one of the warehouses, through whose creative charisma the protagonists hope to revive the place.
Collaboration with the Burgtheater Sommer
A special feature is the cooperation with the Burgtheater Sommer Rosslau. The eight protagonists are also actors in this year's summer theatre season. In the 2018 season, there will be a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Andrea Pinkowski, who already staged “Peer Gynt” in 2017. With this we want to shed light, if not on a unique, yet very special encounter of fiction and reality. At the same time, the film reenacts this very constellation from the beginning, in a slightly different setting, and thus moves very close to an almost documentary reappraisal of the real theatre situation, which is artistically exaggerated. Our director Fabian Prokein himself took part in the productions of “Romeo and Juliet” (2016) and “Peer Gynt” (2017). Therefore he has a well-known ensemble at his disposal which is familiar with the material, additionally parts of the production can be included in the film. The eight actors will start filming after the last performance. Benjamin Kolass, who has directed the Burgtheater Summer since 2005, will be the producer of the film.
Film based on improvisation, has recently become a format that is attracting more and more attention. The format isn’t new, for example, films by John Cassavetes, Jean-Luc-Godard and other well-known masterpieces used improvisation as a main tool in the work with their actors. Meaning there is no finished script, but a thread of basic situations and figure constellation from which the actors develop their roles. This makes it possible to strike a very personal, very intimate note in a unique moment. In our case it is added that a well-rehearsed acting ensemble is available, the narration seems to blur with the reality of this ensemble and the film also deals with the different interpretations, perceptions and conflicts of reality and fiction at exactly this point. At a time when the power of interpretation in the media is increasingly becoming an instrument of power and manipulation, it is important to us to enter into an artistic debate at this point.
With the modern and realistic narrative style, we want to shoot a film that may seem in touch with everyday life, yet strange and distant with its raptured setting. We hope that this will provide a fresh and innovative viewing experience that will captivate the viewer. The aim of the film is to achieve an evaluation of the festival and to make it accessible to as wide an audience as possible. We will negotiate various further distribution channels after the shoot. Cinema distribution and/or video-on-demand marketing are also under discussion. The film is to be shown at festivals from 2020.
The film is above all a struggle for viewpoints, artistic
expression and self-assertion. It tells the story of young people
who become a mirror of the current mood of identity crisis. In
doing so, it is flagging up a very topical issue and tries to offer
a way out instead of neo-nationalist thinking, which on the one
hand emphasizes the community and on the other hand confronts
hardened egocentric patterns of thought with ironic
self-reflection. Recognizing and appreciating human aspirations and
failures remains the only way of looking at them. In this way, the
film aims to contribute to the cultural awareness that is
indispensable for an open-hearted society. Through the cooperation
with the Burgtheater Sommer, a big step has already been taken
towards the realisation on the personnel and organisational level.
Nevertheless, it is simply not possible to shoot a film of this
size completely without money.
For this we need you and your support.
In autumn 2018 we want to shoot for 20 days. The money will be used for:
- Technical equipment (camera, light, sound)
- Transport and travel costs, ancillary costs, props
- Hard disks & storage media