Your film explores the underground world of sex trafficking, what made you want to explore such a dark part of society?
Our first idea came out with the character of “Pavel”, the Russian spy interpreted by Oleg Karnaukh. We wanted to create a sort of anti-hero and we thought that making him a spy working as an activist for a top secret agency who saves human being from sex trafficking would be strong and bold. The darkness of this theme reflects directly on Pavel and his world.
Your film has a high production value; can you tell us about the development of the project and the team involved?
The genesis of the project started in late 2011 when we took part of a 48-hour film competition in Geneva, Switzerland. We had to create a short film from start to finish in 48 hours. We enjoyed ourselves so much making it that we decided to keep on shooting other scenes every week-ends after the competition, thus developing the characters even further and more and more talents jumped on board. We shot without a script, without money, purely improvising in guerrilla style and using the resources we had handy, stealing shots here and there. We were able to convince many high-skilled people to help us achieve this madness; from the helicopter pilot (yes… a real helicopter), the James Bond fight choreographer, the special effect technician from “The Transporter” who blew up a car for us, the talented sound designer and foley artist team - Loïc Gourbe & Florian Penot - who are behind all the Luc Besson’s productions including “Taken”, and the outstanding visual effects team at Freestudios SA in Geneva who created all the 3D mappings and who were with us for all these years.
The whole project took 5 years to make and we had LOTS of material (over 30 hours of dailies…), so cutting it was like creating a documentary from scratch: we were writing the story in the editing room, it made me learn a lot!
Do you have plans to expand the short into a feature?
I think it could be a great web series concept and we, on purpose, left an open ending with the character of “Irina” who / spoiler alert / takes over Pavel in his mission to save people. This film could easily be a pilot of something bigger. If someone is interested to produce it as a web series or expand the project into a longer piece, we’re here to work, call us!
There are some great performances in the piece, can you tell us about your process working with actors? What do you find helpful in achieving such strong performances?
The main characters were interpreted by non actors! We only used professional actors for small parts because since we shot for such a mighty long time and in a very broken up schedule and order, it would have been very hard to juggle around pros’ availabilities. When working with non actors, you have to work with what they are and extract your character within them and what they are conformable playing.
Tell us about which filmmaker’s influence your work?
This film was very much influenced by the boldness of Robert Rodriguez with his first film “El Mariachi”, we also were influenced by “Pusher” by Nicolas Winding Refn, and of course “The Jason Bourne” franchise and “Taken” by Pierre Morel.