Hollywood in Toto

‘Quiet Crossing’ Offers Timeless Tale of Political Oppression

“Quiet Crossing” started as a college challenge of the scholars from the Westminster Film School in London however quickly grew right into a commentary on political oppression, desperation and historic recurrence.

Writer Rik Hulme got here up with an concept for the brief movie after studying “Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall.” Hulme needed to jot down a brief story concerning the horrible, life-changing decisions folks in Berlin throughout Communism needed to make. The story appeared greater than we might make in such a brief interval and with virtually no finances.

So we needed to assume economically but additionally stay politically credible.

The most vital purpose for me and producer Ella Eddy was to ship a thought-provoking, emotional story which might be understood by audiences of all ages and backgrounds. We needed to remind folks of this historical past, one which repeats again and again, however in altered varieties.

The movie ought to let viewers make their very own opinions of how people who find themselves pressured to to migrate should bear the truth of worry and infrequently sacrifice another person’s life within the battle for their very own. They must bear the results of their actions for the remainder of their lives.

Even although “Quiet Crossing” is ready in 1967, the story nonetheless applies to many individuals’s struggles worldwide as we speak. Oppressive political regimes nonetheless reign. Families haven’t any selection however to flee the tyranny of their dwelling nations.

The battle to actually be free from political injustice continues to be, for some, harder than ever earlier than.

We saved the story set in 1967 as East Germany within the ’60s represented for us a “wall.” Exactly the identical sort of wall which is unfortunately nonetheless being constructed between nations all all over the world.

A Tale with a Deeply Personal Touch

I used to be born in Czechoslovakia in 1987, the nation at the moment was nonetheless closely oppressed by the Communist regime in the identical manner the folks in East Germany had been. It was a really private story for me. Many folks from my nation had been escaping or had been even killed while making an attempt to.

Stories like this had been throughout me throughout my childhood, however at the moment I used to be very younger and couldn’t actually perceive the worry of the folks in my dwelling nation (and that felt by my household dwelling behind the Iron Curtain).

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I heard many tales of individuals making an attempt to flee, and it was all the time an attention-grabbing theme for me. Due to my education and in addition from studying articles and books, I used to be effectively educated about this topic, however I needed to watch it myself by way of the medium of the movie. I used to be all the time on the lookout for the best story to begin with, and Rik’s screenplay was very charming for me.

I did in depth analysis to method the theme empathetically sufficient to seize a variety of feelings on display to deepen the movie’s which means. For instance, I needed our set to be constructed as claustrophobic as doable.

With this, I hoped to signify the worry folks felt dwelling behind the Iron Curtain. In the story, the group of younger college students should stay quiet on the time of arrival on the border crossing level, or they are going to be found and executed for his or her anti-political actions.

‘The Blanket Full of Fear’

This represented the notion of censorship for me and the younger college students (with their child) represented the way forward for the nation; a era who doesn’t agree with the oppressive regime and dwelling underneath the “blanket stuffed with worry.” Their toddler youngster represented different generations for me. Essentially, the kid was me in 1987.

I needed to create a background story making these East German college students the opponents of the Communist regime. It was a narrative of their try to flee the results of their actions; the results of their rebellious combating towards their nation’s political regime.

Educated college students represented, for me, the intense way forward for the nation who’re bravely combating to enhance the lives of their households and even to outlive. The course of of creating this background story helped me later after I was analyzing the script with the forged who additionally hadn´t skilled the worry of emigration.

It additionally helped me when working with actors, and their performances, to precise appropriate feelings.

The background story has nice potential to be a feature-length movie and, ought to we discover producers within the story, we wish to progress with it.

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There had been some struggles alongside the way in which. Our finances was very low, underneath $1,000, however our college gave us gear and provided us with a movie inventory which helped us to maintain prices low. We additionally solely had about three weeks for pre-production.

In this brief interval, we needed to do maintain auditions, recruit forged, rehearse with actors, design and construct the set and in addition do technical rehearsals. To lower your expenses, we ended up capturing solely in a single set within the studio, and we used captions to suggests the time and place of scenes.

All crew and forged members labored at no cost so we might make investments extra money into our set construct which was a elementary a part of our story. The set for our interval drama was inbuilt studios on the University of Westminster (Harrow campus) in London and it was designed by my very gifted manufacturing designer, Emily Roberts.

We had to determine easy methods to carry the phantasm of motion to the static surroundings to create the conjecture of a transferring automotive. We had been capable of create some motion within the set with strings and wires pulling some decorations. To help the sensation of motion, I additionally needed to choreograph actors so they might ship performances that had been evoking a sense of a automotive transferring.

Our Italian digicam operator, Federico Belloli, was additionally a necessary a part of this course of. He needed to work successfully with the digicam to get a dynamic image that follows the motion. The believability of the set and claustrophobic really feel representing life behind the Iron Curtain was our most vital objective.

Apart from the low finances, there have been different struggles whereas we had been making this movie. It was the primary movie I directed after transferring my research from Wales to London. Also, for me as a director, it was probably the most difficult brief movie manufacturing as we had been filming on outdated Arriflex 16SR and we had been utilizing an outdated manner of filmmaking.

For occasion, we didn’t use any exterior screens making the motion within the small set virtually inconceivable to see. Sometimes there wasn’t even house to suit all important members of the crew to see the motion. For many photographs we labored with out the Script Supervisor.

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There was merely no house.

Filmmaking on the Fly

We additionally filmed on 16mm movie and considered one of our greatest challenges was that we solely had 800ft (two roles) of the movie inventory out there. We didn’t have sufficient materials to permit many re-takes so we needed to be very organized. To make the whole lot much more tough, we additionally solely had eight hours of the studio time out there, which was cut up into two days, so when it comes to time, stress was very excessive!

There had been some issues which didn’t work out effectively for us. To help the lighting and total temper of the story we had been utilizing hazing machine, however as we labored in a really cramped house the set grew to become over-hazed in a short time which resulted in unusable footage.

Because of the grain on 16mm movie, and the quantity of haze, among the footage was out of focus so we needed to work within the edit suite to select up the photographs which technically labored for us. We additionally spent a very long time with sound design because it was probably the most vital components of our movie.

I made the choice to not use any music with the intention to preserve the expertise as actual as doable. Without using any emotional soundtrack the sound design was a really essential a part of our storytelling.

“Quiet Crossing” was chosen to be screened at 28 movie festivals all over the world, and the brief earned eight competition awards.

I imagine that our movie has served its function, and that we delivered a thought-provoking, emotional story which shall be understood by audiences of all ages and backgrounds and it is going to be ceaselessly carrying the robust message which must be repeat again and again.


Patrik Krivanek is the director of the brief movie “Quiet Crossing.” Please observe Patrik on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. His movie will display on the Oxford International Short Film Festival from June 12-18.

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