HITLER LIVES! Behind The Scenes ...
The goal of making Hitler Lives! was to make an original, highly stylised, experimental grindhouse exploitation Film that might illustrate to 'world wide Film Producers' that creative Feature Films with micro-budgets can be produced ... and that the Film Industry Market needs more of them!
Why do we want to make these Trash Films? Too often the statistically marketed, recipe mega-budget Hollywood Films are all that people watch and they forget about the classic low-budget independent Films that are vastly superior and which in fact influenced the newer mega-budget Films. Young Film viewers today are led down the blind alley of mainstream Film culture and entirely miss the opportunity of watching classic grindhouse Films of the 60's, 70's and 80's - which are much more fun to watch than another 'fast car franchise' film!
With this philosophy in mind, 'Hitler Lives!' began development hell.
It was a fuzzy, shapeless, painful period in which the film’s bizarre nightmarish conception happened over years of drunken Heavy Metal overdosing and Conspiracy Theory debating between a few like minded Film Makers and friends. It was put forward during one of these boozy sessions to create an alternative history, WW2, Occult, Conspiracy, Feature Film ... the likes of which, had never been done before!
Initially it was going to be shot over two few weeks, on simple low resolution grainy Mobile phones, with an arthouse style, in a dungeon bunker. An immortal Hitler 'zombie-type creature' was designed and a killer Metal soundtrack was to be used across the whole film instead of dialogue. This weird concept however, evolved into the birth of a different form of creature, resulting in a 15 draft Script Writing process and the 5 year practical Film Making journey!!
It became obvious that trying to raise private funding or government financing for a Feature Film about a Hitler 'zombie thing' living in a bunker in Adelaide, Australia ... was going to be an impossible project ... So the Film Makers had no option but to re-evaluate the Film as a no-budget Horror Feature Film and invent new ways to do things when the 'Film Industry method' was so often – unnecessarily complicated due to Industry 'standard rules' and overly expensive techniques.
As with so many independent Films, issues were bound to arise: complex Producer contracts, work for no wages, the time it took to start the Film and the zero shooting budget, meant many crew members lost interest and moved on. Then meeting the demanding shooting schedule, once the film was underway, had the resulting personality clashes (as happens when the free alcohol conceptualising stops and the physical work starts!) ... which lead to more people fleeing the sinking ship....
So watching the potential Film balancing on the knife edge of being shelved due to the evaporation of Film Makers, both Paul Hovey and Stuart Rowsell reluctantly took on the leading roles of Producer and Director, respectively, to get the Feature Film shot and the months of post-production begun.
Haunebu Films was established as the Production Company in 2013. On a self funded 'Shooting Budget' of approximately $40-60K, the Independent Production of 'Hitler Lives!' was initiated... Deliberately designing only three Bunker Sets and a few limited Locations, with a small but dedicated Cast and Crew, the Set Construction was commenced at the 600 square-foot Bloodhound FX Studio in Sydney. Over the 5 year shooting period, many other Short Films and Commercials were managed around large looming Bunker Sets and various Film Making obstacles, while the 'Hitler Lives!' Feature was still an arduous work-in-progress. A lot of patience was required to meet the deadlines and complete the 55 Scenes before the Sets could be deconstructed, allowing then for (a budget blowout of about $80K) Post-Production to begin in much smaller office space.
Approximately 28 minutes of digital footage ended up on the 'cutting room floor' during the editing process, mostly to enhance the pace of the film.
An 80 minute length Feature Film was always an ambitious aim for the Producer and Director, but little did they realise that they would both end up also having to take over the roles of the Cameramen, Grips, Soundmen, Lighting guys, Editors, Data Wranglers, Tech solutions 'and' have to do the majority of all the other elements, like the Props, Set Construction, practical Special Effects, blue and green screen Visual FX and create the bizarre Puppet dreamscapes. On top of these roles they would have to manage the complicated layers of Post-Production which involved legal/illegal audio ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), the Ambient Soundtrack and Audio Foley Effects.
Along this mind draining 5 year journey the Film Makers experienced many spectacular disasters which almost derailed the Film, such as Pre-Production meetings that had crazy drunken afterparties which resulted in a few broken relationships! One afterparty in particular led to a punch up between a Lead Actor and another Actor due to a drunken altercation with a girlfriend! On one heavy drug indulgent, binge drinking night, a Lead Actor ended up in a police cell for the weekend - the exact weekend which had been organised to shoot an expensive Burlesque scene at the popular Newtown Vanguard Theatre! A few weeks later a Lead Actor spent several weeks in hospital for alcohol poisoning which stopped production... Then there was a total computer hard drive crash and simultaneous backup failure that led to an extra month of reconstruction editing depression - and on top of that, there was the very sad motor bike related death of a friend and Actor within the Film.
After all the Hell of Shooting the Feature Film - it was all finally completed due to uncompromising harsh deadlines - which have to be followed or a Film may never be fully completed and sit on a shelf for eternity.
In regards to the digital photography within Hitler Lives!, the Film Makers explored several types of Cinema quality HD Cameras, experimenting on a 'look' to the Film, before settling on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with a Bolex 1:1.6 F=10mm Kern Paillard Switar H16RX Camera Photo Lens and a Bolex 1:1.4 F=25mm Kern Paillard Switar H16RX Camera Photo Lens as the main component of the Filming process. The 'look' that these Super 16 Lenses gave the Film was that brilliant Super 16mm grain of an old 60's Hammer Horror Film - which was exactly the feel that was desired. The look of old Super 16mm Film can be hard to replicate digitally, however the results from the Blackmagic PCC were right on target. A few Scenes were shot on other HD formats, but they had so many Ultra High Resolution issues and Sound mixing problems that the Blackmagic PCC was chosen to shoot the entire Production on and the other formats were altered and enhanced through Grading to match the vintage look of the Blackmagic PCC with the Super 16 lenses.
When deciding how to release 'Hitler Lives!' the Production Company, Haunebu Films, were faced with several options:
1/ The traditional movie Release path; run around the Film Festival planet seeking laurels and head pats from the Film Industry establishment....
2/ The traditional movie Distribution path; approach film marketeers and distributors on bended knee hoping one might deem the Film worthy of their services and offer the Film Makers a pittance for all the intellectual property rights in perpetuity....
Considering the options, Haunebu Films chose NOT to do either of them, as both the Producer and Director decided to sidestep that whole 'movie ego game' and deliver the film directly to the public, via Internet Distribution to the leading Internet Streaming Sites such as iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Xbox, Vudu and Playstation… Producer Paul Hovey made the Internet Distribution call very early on and the entire production process had been set to meet the Internet Distributor quality guidelines.
Haunebu Films are very pleased to have met the goal of producing a full Feature length Film which has broken all the traditional rules and still holds up to the quality standards of the biggest companies on the planet.
As Hitler lives! is a Surreal Exploitation Film, it is deliberately grindhouse in style - there are no regrets for this Trashy vibe to the Film and the Film Makers hope that those watching Hitler Lives! will also revisit the classic 60's, 70's and 80's low-budget grindhouse films that inspired it ...
... a note from the Producer ...
If you’ve just watched Hitler Lives! GREAT! If you are about to - even better I'm excited for you, you won’t be the same again!
I've put 5 years of my blood, sweat and tears into this film, while holding down a day job, this film has consumed every moment of my spare time, holidays, weekends and nights, not to mention Lots and LOTS of money from myself and the director so we can make the beautiful sets, props, costumes and effects you see and record and edit it on the best quality equipment available.
Maybe this film will lead you to do some of your own research and explore some of the crazy stuff you hear about in the film. I hope it does, we want to entertain and also inspire the thirst for knowledge,
I'd like to ask you on a personal note, please don't pirate the film .... It's less than ten bucks online to rent, or buy a DVD copy from the merch page and you will have a hardcopy of this film for the rest of your life. We guarantee you will laugh, cringe and quite possibly reconsider a lot of what you are told is history!
It's been an adventure and without your $9.99 in the kitty, crazy independent films like this won’t get made and you'll be stuck with the 29th Spiderman reboot and transformers 36, revenge of the endlessly rehashed!
We hope you enjoy (or enjoyed) 'Hitler Lives!'
Paul R. Hovey
Haunebu Films Producer