Wild Gazebo Reverts to the Elements of the Badlands
“We wanted to find a landscape completely alien to most viewers. We tried to take the audience somewhere they’ve never been before.” Benjamin Askinas, a film student at Emerson College, helped make this shared vision a reality.
Askinas, his co-director John Curtis and director of photography Doug Porter have built a reputation in the highly competitive Emerson film scene as the guys who are always finding that new way to see an idea. They chose to pursue their newest idea at the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
The trio, who operate as a self-made production company named Wild Gazebo, needed a venue for their new Em Magazine promotional video. The three have worked together to create, direct and produce the last two promotional videos for the Emerson College fashion and lifestyle publication. Their unprecedented contribution of film to the magazine has inspired them to push the envelope in their quest for fresh content.
Inspired by a childhood family vacation and the Bare Bones theme of this springs issue of Em Magazine, Askinas suggested the Badlands and it took little research for the rest of the team to agree. The vast collection of mountainous rock formations miles from civilization, right in the heart of bison country posed as an exciting and challenging place to shoot.
“We had to shoot the whole thing guerilla style,” said co-director John Curtis, “None of us had seen the landscape in person [except for Askinas a decade back] and we had to find all the specific locations as we were getting ready to shoot them.”
This past March, the Wild Gazebo boys set out with their actresses for a weekend of shooting. This climactic journey was a breath of fresh air accompanied by intense focus to fit the shoot in the small time frame of a weekend between classes. They were only able to go on the trip after months of planning and fundraising.
The $1,000 contribution from Em Magazine helped, but it wasn’t even half of what was needed to feed this beast of an idea. Taking into consideration cost of airfare, hotels, car rental, equipment, food and much more, the boys determined that the smallest and most accessible amount of money needed was $2,500.
They went after this goal by setting up a kickstarter account that consists of a well-produced video with interviews of everyone involved explaining the concept and need for donations. Curtis sums it up well in the video when he says, “We’re really going to need everyone’s help to pull through on this one. We’re going to need the right kind of camera and little bit of lighting equipment to capture the sublime texture of this insane space.”
Their kickstarter also has a written section that attempts to grab readers with the concept and inspire them to get involved in any way possible. In it, the promo video’s concept is delved into even further, “Bare Bones is about the experience of building something from the ground up. What processes build upon discovery? This is the question and journey the video will explore.”
Pushing the suspense of whether or not they would have adequate funding to the week before the crew was supposed to fly out, the kickstarter donations came through and the trio had their dollars to stretch.
They got their things together with a team of three filmmakers, two actresses and an idea for a highly visual and conceptual story. It consists of two girls (played by Ilaria de Plano and Justina Lewinska, both Emerson students and fashion models) who meet in the country and embark on a fantastic journey. Through a barrage of costume changes, the girls move forward from American punk clothing to colorful high fashion dresses paralleling their physical movement from intimidating desolation into more decorated terrain.
Director of photography Doug Porter sounded like a kid in a candy shop as he depicted the experience of choosing images from the vast beauty offered in the Badlands. “It was easily one of the most dynamic places I have had the pleasure to shoot. We could just see so far with the bare environment, and that extensive view was filled with these grand-natural formations along with an incredible range of lights, and colors. There was a lot of room to get creative and a lot of naturally beautiful images just waiting to be captured.”
Wild Gazebo has turned heads with their last two videos, Power and Generation Why. They did so by getting as unique and original as they could in a city (Boston) dense with innumerable other artists attempting to do the same. This, along with their clear determination and passion for their craft, bodes well for their upcoming release of Bare Bones.
The video will feature a song by the band Spirithouse that was made specifically for the shoot. The sound was partially inspired by the Black Keys, and it has a raw, upbeat sound.
Bare Bones is scheduled to release on Vimeo April 26, 2012.
Generation Why. Wild Gazebo Promo Video #2
Power. Wild Gazebo Promo Video #1
Kickstarter Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1831655751/bare-bones-0?ref=live