The craziest part of making this film was the fact that something we made with a budget of a tank of gas and McDonalds & Coffee for the crew that would fit into the car with us could go on to win so many accolades and be the success that it is. Rotten Love in many ways was the spring board in the career of everyone that was involved with bringing the project to fruition.
The script was originally a 4 page story written by Sarah [Giercksky] for a screenwriting contest and I rediscovered it one day when we were looking for a new project to produce after we had wrapped on Sargad. Sarah was hesitant at first about the script as she pointed out that she had not won the contest that she had entered into, but there was something about the story that instantly created images in my minds-eye and I knew this was something I wanted to help bring to life.
I adapted the story into an 11 page screenplay, created an in depth shot-list and began putting together our team. I had the whole thing in my head, clear as day. I knew how I wanted the camera movements and pacing and found it very easy to communicate my vision. I remember discussing ideas with our DOP, Johannes [Karpe] and he just knew exactly what I meant and was able to translate that onto the set and on to the screen together with Mikael [Johansson], our Steadicam operator. The lighting of each scene and the visuals they captured are a big part of what made Rotten Love stand out during its festival run.
Planning the shoot was the hardest and most time consuming part of the project. From the beginning Sarah and I brought in Jasmine [Martinez] to be the First Assistant Director. Jas was the FAD on Sargad as well and did an amazing job, as a debut Director I was extremely lucky to have someone as organised and focused assisting with the shooting schedules and keeping things moving. Without her I think the whole thing would have just ended up incomplete and abandoned, because when it came to the actual shoot the problems just kept coming and they wouldn’t stop coming!
We had originally planned to have 4 shooting days with 2 days for each of our 2 locations with a team of 10 people. We ended up filming the entire thing in less than 24 hours (Straight) with a team of 5 which included Sarah and I, who were also acting in every scene together.
We turned up to our main location where we had been promised that a grave would already be dug, we would have time to scout and plan in the various areas and rooms, have space for everyone to sleep and have 48 hours to plan and shoot. Instead we were met with frozen ground that was horrible to dig, but had to be, to be able to proceed as well as with new information regarding the fact that there would be a large Easter celebration happening the following day and we would need to be gone before morning and there was no longer any space for us to sleep.
So after we (I) had driven 3 hours to the location we; dug the grave, lay in the grave in -5 degrees and very little clothes shooting the final shot using a drone that blew the cold air down on us, shot through the night and then packed up, cleaned up and we (I) drove everyone back home before driving myself back to my own bed as the sun began to rise in the sky and I could finally breathe out and fall asleep – briefly – before being awoken by my phone and Jas on the other end requesting her car be returned.
I remember thinking that after all of that, we were home free. Now we could begin post production and let the smooth sailing begin.
I think we went through 4 or 5 different editors before I ended up deciding to do it myself. It was a similar situation to “Go For Broke” and both projects have taught me a lot about editing and the process as a whole. I believe it is very important for all Actors and Directors to edit at least some of their own projects so as to be aware of the importance of continuity and the age old wisdom of “shit in = shit out” and that not everything can be “fixed in post”.
The final touches came when I met Andreas [Gyllström], my guardian angel. He was introduced to me by my friend Glen Gabriel who is an amazing Film Composer. Glenn told me that Andreas wanted to leave the world of dance music and DJing to get into Film Scoring and Sound Foley, I met Andreas and we instantly hit it off, we just clicked.
Andreas did the full Soundtrack to Rotten Love, he tweaked the sounds, added foley and composed the entire score. Since then Andreas has worked on all of my film projects and has won several awards in the process, he is an amazing musician and is incredibly dedicated to his craft.
With our film finally finished and my tax rebate recently deposited into my bank we had artwork made and began submitting to festivals.
And the rest, as they say, is History.
Bloodyfierce Productions and Cuprite Productions present in association with UnCut ungfilm
A film written by Sarah Giercksky and Directed by Xander Turian
‘Rotten Love’ Starring Sarah Giercksky Xander Turian
soundtrack by Andreas Gyllström
Edited by Xander Turian Director of photography Johannes S Karpe
First Assistant Director - Jasmine Martinez
Sound Engineer - Joakim Gustafsson and Andres R Ramos
light engineer - Johannes S Karpe Steadicam operator - Mikael Johansson
Executive producers Xander J Turian and Sarah M Giercksky