Producing the Unlikely: Turning London into Palestine
The process all started when I met Iqbal Mohammed, the director of the up coming short Three Minute Warning, at a really cool film festival in Leeds in 2014 called No Gloss Film Festival which I was attending with my two colleagues; Jack Shelbourn and Gabriel Henrique Gonzalez.
Our short film, HIDEAWAY (2013) was being screened as part of the festival and Iqbal was a guest speaker, with his short film also showing.
Iqbal is such a lovely guy and we all hit it off from the very beginning. In mid 2015 Iqbal approached me to produce his next short call ‘Three Minute Warning’.
I was very unsure at first, not due to the subject matter of the film or with working with Iqbal, but I didn’t believe I could pull of the task to level I knew he would want and expected.
After a couple of weeks of Iqbal’s encouragement I decided to go ahead and produce this short for him. It was something that I had never done on my own before as I had always worked with the same group of people since I wanted to be involved in this industry from the age of eighteen. It was already going to be a hard task as Iqbal lives in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and the film was to be shoot in London. Iqbal already had a DoP attached and a script supervisor but the rest of the crew was down to me to find and in the end the D0P had to pull out a week before the original shootdate and due to other commitments. We had to push the shoot by two week and had pull in another DoP. Which after all pleased me because I got to work with Jack Shelbourn who is a close friend that I worked with many times for Guerrilla 59 our small production company and he is also a very talented man.
That wasn’t the only difficulty about this short two of the biggest problem was the fact its set in Palestine and all words spoken in aerobic. As the film is all about the three minute warning bombs that are fired on buildings in Palestine and our two actors, playing the part of a mother and daughter, are stuck in the building at the time of a bomb detonated above their building.
Once I had agreed to take this project I wasn’t willing to let any thing slide or get in the way. It required two internal location and one external location which seems a lot easier then it turned out to be. I needed an internal flat that could pass as a Palestinian flat/room and an internal stairwell. The external location was a close up shot using a jib to get a shot from above the actor, looking directly down.
I asked around for help from friends that work in the industry and Sorcha Bacon, who turned out to be our first AD, said to try and place called Reel Film Location who looked after properties for Umbrella Guardians when people want to use a place to film under Barnet council. I managed to fine two great locations with the help of Dennis from reel film, but the fact that both the Director and Dop couldn’t be with me for the recce didn’t help and could have created problem down the road, but we didn’t let that stop us. The external location came a lot harder as it needed to look at lot like a street in Palestine and anyone that has been to London can vouch that there aren’t any.
Finally I managed to find a place on Gumtree that was a driveway to a warehouse building and also, to are luck, had a balcony above that we could use to add extra hight to our Jib shot.
The shoot take place over two dates, at the weekend, and tuned out to run very smoothly, All the crew were amazing, they are truly the reason this even happened. The film has gone through its final edit and we are hitting the festival circuit now… So look out!!
I am so happy with how everything went and it was a really incredible experience!