Emma Slade (Line Producer Berlin Shoot)
We finished our final day of filming in New Zealand on Monday 2 November 2008 followed promptly by the wrap party. Despite getting home in the early hours, Paul (Director), Steve (DOP), Joel (Simon), Rhona (Katrien) and myself (Emma Slade, Line Producer), headed to the airport that same day, for our 36 hour trip to Berlin. Paul was the only one of the five of us who had been there before and was very enthusiastic about the location …he was right, the city was magnificent!
Leading up to the filming in Berlin, I had been working closely with Dirk van den Berg (Executive Producer for K5) on the German shoot. Our NZ prep and shooting schedule had been very intense and distance had often made it challenging to work through creative decisions, but we got there. Another challenge was continuity from the NZ shoot… so the nude painting, the bike, other small props, costumes and make-up all came with me on the plane.
We were met by Dirk and Marc Grewe (the German Production Manager), at the airport. It was a grey, cold afternoon in Berlin, but we were thankful it wasn’t raining. Paul was right, the city was amazing. We only had four days, so we literally dropped our bags in the hotel and went straight into a recce of all of the locations.
We wanted the audience to know that the movie was set in Berlin, so all the locations selected were significant landmarks. This decision bought with it logistical issues of course, but the benefit was that we shot in some of the most incredible locations in Europe – a great experience as a film-maker.
Because of the German winter we had short shoot day, so we started setting up early at our first location the Brandenburg Gate/Tiergarten. We were ready to go before the sun! There was a great buzz on set. It was a small crew that had come together for the first time, from all over Germany. Rhona and Joel were in good spirits, Paul had a clear vision of the shots he wanted and Steve could make magic out of the moody weather and light. It was a speedy re-locate to the Central Station. Wow! The biggest train station in Europe. Just phenomenal. There were many challenges filming here, being such a busy, public place, but we got the shots. Then the famous Westin Grand Hotel. The art department in New Zealand had matched all of the interiors to this hotel and had done a great job . The end of Shoot Day 1 was a final wrap for Joel Edgerton. Joel is in nearly every scene of the film and it had been a gruelling schedule, so it was a great way to end, but sad to say good-bye.
Shoot Day 2 began down the road from our hotel on Potsdamer Platz, where in the film, we see Katrien walking down the road with her cello case. The scene shows off the magnificent modern high-rises with the busy centre of Berlin, in autumn. We then headed to Museum Island in the old eastern block of the city which had more magnificent architecture. The cool air and low cloud gave a brooding, melancholic feel, appropriate for the final scene with Katrien as her thought track runs underneath. This scene was a final wrap for Rhona, who had also given a lot to the project. After a round of hugs and photos, it was farewell to Ms Mitra also.
On our last shoot day, we shot a body double for Thomas Kretchmann, as he cycled down the bohemian streets of the Kreuzberg district. A fabulous end to a challenging but incredibly rewarding shoot. An intimate wrap party followed and even though we had only been there for two days, it was sad to say goodbye. The crew had been amazing; friendly and funny; we could not have asked for more. The brief shoot had gone exactly according to plan.
The Berlin shoot was a film-making experience that I will always remember with great fondness. It was great to part of a team that made these Berlin scenes part of a very powerful, poignant film.
Samuel Scott and Luke Budda (Composers)
SAMUEL SCOTT and LUKE BUDDA (COMPOSERS) have been making music together since they met at Wellington High School in the heady days of grunge and 90210. They are both singer-songwriters with perennial Wellington favourites The Phoenix Foundation who have released a string of acclaimed albums, most recently Happy Ending which came out on the legendary Flying Nun imprint.
In 2007 The Phoenix Foundation was hired by oscar nominated film maker Taika Waititi to compose the score for his film Eagle Vs Shark. The soundtrack for which was released internationally through Disney/Hollywood records.
Separation City is the first time Buda and Scott have collaborated on a soundtrack as a duo. Most of the music was recorded at TPF’s secret lair before the final touches where added with Lee Prebble (producer of The Black Seeds, Trinity Roots, The Phoenix Foundation etc) at The Surgery.
Iain Aitken (Production Designer)
IAIN AITKEN (PRODUCTION DESIGNER)
has been designing for some thirty years. Starting off in the theatre, Aitken seems to have designed for nearly every well known play. Initially working as the Head of Design for Theatre Corporate in Auckland on such productions as Twelfth Night, The Seagull and Metamorphosis Aitken moved on to the same position for Mercury Theatre. At Mercury he lent his creative talent to such well known plays as Chicago, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Sound of Music. Also a master designer for opera, Aitken spent time in 1982 as the Resident Designer for the National Opera of New Zealand.
Moving out of New Zealand to spread his wings, Aitken then took a step into the unknown and worked as a freelance designer in Canada and the USA returning downunder in the late eighties.
A job in production designing for commercial’s offered Aitken an opportunity to sidestep into television. This led to a prolific career in commercial design working on such high profile campaigns as Singapore Airlines, BMW, 100% Pure NZ, Lotto and Visa.
Australian comedy He Died with a Falafel in his Hands was Aitken’s first feature film and he took the role of Production Designer. Next was Sylvia as Supervising Art Director and then in 2006, the Samoan comedy Sione’s Wedding.
Aitken lives mainly in Auckland although will venture to the capital city from time to time.
Mike Horton (Editor)
MIKE HORTON (EDITOR) has had a prolific career as an Editor spanning almost 40 years, lending his keen eye and precise vision to many of New Zealand’s most acclaimed films. Beginning in the late 70s, Horton worked with such directors as Geoff Murphy, Roger Donaldson, John Laing and John Reid on Kiwi cult classics like Goodbye Pork Pie (1981), Smash Palace (1981), Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1980), Carry Me Back (1982), Utu (1983), and The Quiet Earth (1985). In the nineties is known for his work on Ian Mune’s End of the Golden Weather (1991) and Lee Tamahori’s smash hit Once Were Warriors (1994) and more recently Peter Jackson’s global blockbuster The Lord the Rings: The Two Towers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, BAFTA and Eddie and won numerous awards. He has also won three New Zealand Film and Television awards for editing on different films.
Horton’s career started way back in 1965 cutting the first drama shot on Colour Film for the NZBC Killing of Kane director Chris Thompson. He was also one of two editors who cut the news output on ‘Wahine Day’ in 1968. He then left the NZBC in 1971 to freelance cutting 100s of commercials in both New Zealand and Australia.
Steve Arnold (Cinematographer)
STEVE ARNOLD (CINEMATOGRAPHER) Australian Cinematographer Steve Arnold has been shooting films and commercials all over the world for the last twenty years. His list of credits includes seventeen feature films.
He is reknowned for his “absolute flair for matching his beautiful cinematography to the tone of the drama and the director’s sensibilities”. This talent has produced a stylish, diverse body of work, with looks ranging from subtle naturalism through extreme stylisation.
Separation City, Arnold’s third feature with director Paul Middleditch gave him the opportunity to contrast “New Zealand’s stark beauty with Berlin’s wintry romance”, producing a photographic look that is praised for its elegance. His two other films with Middleditch are A Cold Summer and Terra Nova which received an ACS Gold Award for Best Photography in a Feature Film 1998.
His latest feature Disgrace has already received a lot of recognition worldwide recently having won competition (FIPRESCI Award) at the Toronto Film Festival and also at the International Festival of the Middle East.
Arnold’s list of feature films include Highlander: The Source, La Spagnola (which received 13 AFI nominations including Best Cinematography) and Anna and The King (2nd Unit). His experience in television ranges from music videos, documentaries, mini-series’, telemovies/features/series including Malpractice, Grange, Day of the Roses and more.
Paul Middleditch (Director)
PAUL MIDDLEDITCH (DIRECTOR) began making films at the age of 10, gaining notoriety in New Zealand as the winner of a string of national student film competitions judged by, among others, Jane Campion and Vincent Ward. Middleditch was then launched onto the international stage by his win, at only 19 years of age, of the Clermont Ferrand award for Best Direction of his short film Light of the Blade. The famous French short film competition is the biggest of its kind in the world. Middleditch then followed this outstanding achievement by becoming the only person to have three films in competition, three years in a row, at the Clermont Ferrand Festival.
At the same time, Middleditch had also established himself as New Zealand’s top music video director, winning best video a record seven times at the NZ Music Awards. This soon led to interest from advertising agencies in New Zealand, and he directed his first commercial campaign, at the age of 20, for Pepsi Cola International. Since then, he has worked prolifically over the last 20 years, directing commercials all over the world, picking up more than 200 awards. 2003 saw his BudLight ‘Strongman’ spot premiered during the Superbowl telecast and received the highest rating ever for a comedy commercial. Middleditch has had a remarkable seven commercials shown at the Superbowl over the same period of years. Middleditch has been recognised as the top director in the southern hemisphere and is currently number two in the world.
1997 saw Middleditch shoot his debut feature, Terra Nova, produced by Peter Masterton. The film screened in competitions all over the world winning many awards including the Best of Festival award at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the First Film prize at the Montreal festival. He then completed his second feature, A Cold Summer, which screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Montreal World Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and the Puchon Film Festival amongst others. Paul was nominated for best Director at the prestigious IF awards for A Cold Summer. Middleditch has also directed one of the episodes for the Two Twisted series with Bryan Brown.