HITLER LIVES! Behind The Scenes ...
The goal of making 'Hitler Lives!' was to produce a low budget Feature Film that might illustrate to Producers that 'original and creative' Films with micro-budgets can be made without the now standard Hollywood cliche found footage theme... and that the Film Industry Market needs more 'original and creative' product!
Why would we want to make these cheap Trash Exploitation Films?
Film viewers today are led down the blind alley of mainstream Film culture and entirely miss the opportunity of watching classic underground Films of the 60's, 70's and 80's - which are much more entertaining than just another 'fast car franchise' ...
With this philosophy in mind, 'Hitler Lives!' began development ...
It was a fuzzy, shapeless, hellish period in which the film’s bizarre nightmarish conception happened over years of drunken Conspiracy Theory nights debating WWII mysteries between a few like minded friends overdosing on heavy metal. 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...
So initially it was going to be shot over two weeks, on a simple low resolution grainy mobile phone, with an arthouse style, in a dungeon styled 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.
However the Film evolved and after the 15 draft Script Writing process (and the 5 year practical Film Making journey), a full HD Feature Film was produced on a minimal budget.
It became obvious that trying to raise private funding or government financing for a Feature Film about a 'Hitler zombie' living in a bunker in Adelaide, Australia, was going to be an impossible task ... So the Film Makers had no option but to re-evaluate the Film as a low-budget Horror Feature Film and invent new ways to do things when the 'Film Industry method' was so often – and unnecessarily -complicated due to Industry 'standard rules' and overly expensive post-production techniques.
As with so many independent Films, issues were bound to arise with: complicated contracts, work for no wages, the ongoing time it took to start the Film and the lack of shooting budget - which meant many crew members lost interest and moved on .... Once the demanding shooting schedule finally began, the personality clashes appeared (as happens when the physical work starts! ), which lead to many of the crew quitting....
So watching the potential Film balancing on the knife edge of being shelved due to the evaporation of crew members, both Paul Hovey and Stuart Rowsell reluctantly took on the leading roles of Producer and Director, respectively, to get the Feature Film shot ... so the months of pre-production finally begun.
Haunebu Films was established as the Production Company in 2013. On a self funded 'Shooting Budget' of approximately AU$40K - the Independent Production of 'Hitler Lives!' was initiated... With three Bunker Sets along with a handful of Locations and 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 jobs, projects, Short Films and Commercials were 'managed' around the large looming Bunker Set and various Film Making obstacles. A lot of patience was required to meet the deadlines and complete the 55 Scenes before the Sets could be deconstructed, allowing then for the extremely low budget Post-Production to begin.
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.
But thanks to the efforts of many people working for wine and bread - Hitler Lives! was finally completed and ready for distribution.
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 BPCC were incredible. A few Scenes were shot on other HD formats, but they had so many issues with data wrangling and Sound mixing problems that the BPCC was chosen to shoot the entire Film on and the other HD formats were altered and enhanced through Grading to match the vintage look of the BPCC with the Super 16 lenses.
When deciding how to release 'Hitler Lives!' the Production Company, Haunebu Films, were faced with few 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. *
* Post script - we suggest that with the collapse of corrupt streaming distributors like 'Distribber' - be very selective about who distributes your Film!!!
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 some the biggest production companies on the planet.
As Hitler lives! is a Surreal Exploitation Film, it is deliberately Grindhouse in style - there are no regrets for this zero budget 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