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Friendly Fire

I am back from Xiamen, China and am still trying to process the amazing experience.  I will be writing about my trip soon but in the meantime this weekend Nik and I will travel to Berlin for the premier of the new animated film Friendly Fire.  Nik composed and performed the music for the film and we are very honored and proud to be part of this project.  I hope that you will visit the website listed at the bottom of the article to learn more about the production and that you will have the opportunity to view the film at a festival soon.

14th October 2008

Filmmaker Andy Kaiser at work

Brand new studio The End of the Pier Films will be premiering their first production on Sunday November 16th at a private screening for crew at the Babylon Kino in Berlin.

Friendly Fire is a 7 and a half minute stopmotion film written and directed by Andy Kaiser.  It tells the story of one soldier's temporary release from the horror and destruction of the First World War.

The film was written in 2001 while Andy was directing 'Celebrity Deathmatch' for MTV, but shooting didn't start for another 4 years because the independent project repeatedly had to be shelved in favour of paying commissions.  Principle animation on Friendly Fire finally began in Berlin in March 2008, and it was a unique and challenging shooting experience for everyone involved.

Andy's goal with Friendly Fire was to create a film without once resorting to a digital process, to make a film using technology pioneered by Ray Harryhausen and Fritz Lehmann and to see how far it can be pushed.  Every effect in Friendly Fire was achieved in-camera, without the option of touching up or rig-removal in post.  This created a myriad of challenges, not least because the age of the techniques used meant that there was a very limited resource of information and advice available.  Every shot had to be invented from scratch, using techniques such as front projection, high-speed (a floor-shattering 2000fps), multi-layered rostrum work, live action and matting.

Friendly Fire action shot

The shoot ended in June 2008 and post production started immediately, running until October 2008.  Because of the in-camera effects, there was very little visual post production to complete besides optical grading, however the audio post became a dance between several European cities - the music was written in Gent, the foley recorded in Munich, the sound design produced in Dusseldorf and Cologne and the Dolby Digital mixing finally brought the production through London and back to Berlin.

Friendly Fire is a contemporary example of a film with its roots in the golden age of cinema, and it was made partly in homage to the early pioneers of special effects, but also as an experiment to see if a film made with technology from a bygone age can stand amongst the digital productions of today.

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