Shooting GRANULAR
Granular, is a short conceptual film.
 
Where many of my other projects had a documentary approach to them, this one is at the opposite end of the spectrum : fictional and very stylized. 
The original material is a poem written by Louie Tuccie, who also plays the main part of the film.
It was a very fast turnaround : 3 weeks total from the first day of shooting to the final export a few hours before heading to Portugal for my presentation at THU (*). 
 
The shooting was spread accross a few nights and one afternoon, guerilla style for half of them, "studio" for the other half. I wanted to keep it fresh and surreal and used my experience in street photography to find locations and shoot on the fly.
We carried a few LED panels to enhance the existing light,  a simple technique that I've been using in many of my stills.
It is also my first film using a tripod in order to get those very cinematic locked shots .
(*) THU / Trojan Horse was a Unicorn, is a visual arts festival taking place each year in the peninsula of Troia in Portugal.
The festival opened its third edition with a screening of A Solitary Mann, my documentary on Jeremy Mann, followed by a Q&A.
The goal was to have GRANULAR ready to wrap this presentation, and it did.
" ... reach further "
 
 
 
We're shooting in a desolated street of downtown LA... 5 minutes before that we heard what sounded like a gunshot and decided it'd be preferable to move a little further away to get the takes we needed.
Louie is running for blocks, take after take. The car is trying to match his speed. I'm holding the RED Scarlet by the passenger window at the back. We're accumulating takes. It's raw but it works.
We're using the same method to shoot Alex's car, a lovely 1984 Buick, crossing town on a long boulevard. We're lucky, there's very little traffic that night. I've put a little LED panel on the floor of his car, it gives me just enough silhouetting to make the shot interesting.
Alex Zhang Hungtai behind the wheel of his 1984 Buick
We're done shooting the parking scene where Alex stops his car and grabs the golf bag from the trunk. I need an isolated spot for the next scene. In the distance I notice the bleak light of a beaten up building.
 
I run there to check, and discover a ghetto alley with an intense smell of piss, some diapers spread accross, several exploded vaccum cleaners, and a horde of mosquitos. This is perfect!
 
We shoot there for a while.  Kevin, also assisting me on the set, is holding an LED panel attached to a stick, 11 feet above the ground. It gives me just enough additional light to what's already there. 
 
I'll tweak the scene a little in After FX to enhance a few details.
All the monologues from Louie are shot in my garage, using a combination of LED and Tungsten light.
The voice-over was recorded in an audio booth and mixed in Pro Tools by Kevin Curtin (also responsible for the score and mixing of A Solitary Mann). I wanted all the details of the grain in Louie's voice, all the range available from the smallest whisper to the loudest breath.
We also went through intense Foley work to add all the little details that gave life and depth to the scenes, impossible to capture live in a Run&Gun shoot.
The whispers of the ages…
Time is eternal. 
The plants shook, I felt myself grabbed.
Ground beneath me was…up-ended.
Thousands of little beings…holding tight onto every part of my body.
Asking me to be better, do better, reach further.
Space and time ripped open. No real fabric. No real physical place. 
Just consciousness. Wild consciousness of red and blues.
Incredible.
 Feeling disassociated from myself. Removed from being. Like a spectator.

Large beasts and organic monsters…filled with love, floating around everywhere
Inside of emptiness. Unified by eons of time.
There’s a continuum. Man has no idea where he is.
Tries to figure it out, tries to make sense of his own experiences inside of realm that He ascribes physical meaning to. 
A wild tear in time.
Everything is physical. 
Onto another plane, a sub-conscience plane.
Spiritual, spiritual energy and the voices of the spirits all there, present at the same time.
Like an alarm…like a bell.
WAKE UP man.
WAKE UP.
WAKE UP man.
Wake up.
 
Louie Tucci
 
 
 
on VIMEO:
GRANULAR
 
Cast:
Louie Tucci
Alex Zhang Hungtai
Camilla Yust
 
Shot, edited and graded by Loic Zimmermann
Score, Foley and Mastering by Kevin Curtin

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