A South African team has submitted an entry for the fastest film made in the world for the Guinness World Records; coming in at 10 days and 12 hours, to beat the previous record holder of Sivappu Mazhai, a 2010 Tamil action film made in 11 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes.
Shotgun Garfunkel was conceptualised, scripted, shot and edited in less than two weeks by three Johannesburg-based production companies, working collaboratively; proving to movie sceptics and supporters alike that conventional methods of big-budget movie-making are being successfully challenged.
Directed by Johnny Barbuzano, the film centres on a group of friends who are trying to recapture the partying days of their youth. On-screen talent included Jenna Dover, Meren Reddy, Eduan Van Jaarsveld, Tiffany Jones Barbuzano, Bryan Van Niekerk and Asher Stoltz.
Big-name sponsors included Sony Broadcast and Professional Solutions, Nates Audio Visual and Produce Sound, an audio post-production studio.
Software innovations assist editing
The latest innovations in editing software were applied to ensure that the post-production team beat the impossible deadline set by the previous record-holders. Mushroom Media’s Warwick Allan, and his three-member team, handled every aspect of post-production, editing and finishing the 85-minute film.
“We are part of a new breed of post-production companies, willing to push the service boundaries and use the very latest in technology - we are small; energised; don’t take no for an answer; and use highly-skilled freelancers to meet the ambitious expectations that our clients have of us,” says Allan.
With the brief of editing and grading a feature film, of 85 minutes’ duration, complete with final audio mix and encoded to play in an independent cinema, within the 11-day deadline, the company set about its ‘mission impossible’. A tight three-day schedule was given for editing, followed by single day for grading. A last day of polishing, finessing and encoding the film for cinema projection saw the team beating the record set three years ago.
“The reason for our editing success was a server facility that allows us to cut different segments of the script independently and then consolidate them into a single master timeline, which is ‘fine cut’ to create flow and consistency.”
Once edited, the company was required to brighten the picture and enhance the colours to look natural and softer - the grade process, particularly as many of the scenes were shot at night. “The look that the production team wanted was very much like a Woody Allen film - authentic and natural, but polished.”
The latest software and hardware, coupled with the latest in digital cinematography, made the production possible within what seemed like an impossibly tight timeframe. Advances in technology enabled the post-production team to edit footage shot on the same day - literally within 15 minutes of the driver delivering it to the studio. With traditional filmmaking taking from a few months to several years to complete and traditional production methods undergoing a six-phase process consisting of story generation, scriptwriting, casting, shooting, editing and screening, the film has set the bar for the burgeoning South African film industry.
“The challenge for us was not whether we could create the fastest film ever, but whether we were willing to give it a try - often there’s a myriad of reasons given why a project will or won’t succeed, as opposed to what often is missing - a can-do attitude. Filmmakers, irrespective of where they fall in the production process, must adapt or die. The way forward is small, robust and nimble, and with emerging technology at the centre of the business,” concludes Allan.