BRWC EXCLUSIVE: Michael Gosden & Tristan Barr Talk To Us About Watch The Sunset

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC BRWC EXCLUSIVE: Michael Gosden & Tristan Barr Talk To Us About Watch The Sunset

Filmmakers Michael Gosden and Tristan Barr have just achieved what many would consider seemingly impossible – they’ve shot a movie in one take! No cuts!

We get on the line to Australia to see how the duo were able to craft Watch the Sunset under such restraints.

Congrats on the movie, it’s certainly getting a lot of attention from the movie. How important a marketing tool has the Internet been for Watch the Sunset?

Michael Gosden: Thanks very much! We’ve been overwhelmed with how positive the feedback has been so far and we’re still only just locking off the film. The Internet has been crucial in helping ‘Watch the Sunset’ reach out to a diverse and ever-growing audience. I think that there are so many different variations and styles of marketing at anyone’s disposal and the Internet houses all of them. We were extremely conscious of how important it is to also have a united front across as many different media platforms as possible.



Tristan: Yeah it’s been Integral. We are currently running a fundraising campaign to finish of post-production with the help of the Australian Government. Without access to social media and networking online than we wouldn’t be able to complete the film. It has also helped us get the attention of distributors and sales agents so the film will have a good shot at finding a strong audience. To support the film: https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/watch-the-sunset/

Watch The Sunset

Watch The Sunset

Could you have shot the movie the way you did – in one shot and so inexpensively – say, ten years ago? How much did technology pave the way for Watch the Sunset?

Tristan Barr: You could have, but I don’t think you could have achieved the quality and aesthetic we were after in the single take. The cinematographer Damien Lipp and us came to agreement that we wanted to majority of the camera’s movement be flowing to assist the dramatic tension similar to how Gus Van Sant’s Elephant was shot. We had 9 different locations and followed the characters in and out of car’s and through these places, and needed Damien to hold the rig for the entirety of the 82 minutes, so with out the advances in the technology we would have in no way had a rig that was possible to do this. We used a 3-axis gimbal and a Panasonic GH4 – compact sized camera that shoots 4k that allowed us to steady the movement for the entirety of the film. This sort of technology is allowing new areas of filmmaking to be ventured into, and we are excited to use the next advances to make innovative content.

MG:The quality and control we were able to achieve wouldn’t have been accessible to us 10 years ago and I feel the entire shooting style of ‘Watch the Sunset’ would’ve been approached differently. The technology that is continually becoming available to Indie filmmakers is bridging the gap more and more between professionals to newcomers.

Did it take a lot to put it together – financially and creatively?

MG: Everyone involved approached the entire project with as much generosity as possible and gave as much as they could before, during and even now after the shoot. For Instance, Damien tirelessly gathered all of his connections in his home town of Kerang to bring the setting to fruition, and all the actors generously gave up their time pouring themselves into this project artistically. I think it’s fair to say that everyone involved dedicated a lot in order to make this film a reality.

Watch The Sunset

Watch The Sunset

Tristan: And sacrificed a lot. I think the less finances you have the more the necessity of creative problem solving comes into play. And with out our cast and crew who were so passionate and dedicated despite the lack of finance, we would have had a generic film.  Every individual’s commitment ensured that every hurdle was overcome in an innovative way, purely out of necessity. We couldn’t buy our way out of anything. I think there is a misperception often in the film industry that finance is equated with quality. But the more I experience in filmmaking I’m finding that it’s the individual’s commitment and expression that equates to quality. Finance helps open up possibilities in terms of budget, but usually just leads to blanket uninteresting choices because “that’s what’s worked before”. Yeah. But that’s “before”.

What kind of cameras did you shoot it on?

TB: The cinematographer Damien Lipp and I came to agreement that we wanted to majority of the camera’s movement be flowing to assist the dramatic tension similar to how Gus Van Sants Elephant was shot. We had 9 different locations and followed the characters in and out of car’s and through these places, and needed Damien to hold the rig for the entirety of the 82 minutes, so with out the advances in the technology we would have in no way had a rig that was possible to do this. We used a 3-axis gimbal and a Panasonic GH4 – compact sized camera that shoots 4k that allowed us to steady the movement for the entirety of the film. This sort of technology is allowing new areas of filmmaking to be ventured into, and we are excited to use the next advances to make innovative content.

Tristan & Michael, did you always plan on starring in the film as well as co-writing and co-directing?

TB: I didn’t see myself in the role originally when I first wrote the concept. But with the constraints we had and the way in which we were collaborating and improvising for the scripting, we quickly made the decision we would act in it too. That decision led to us taking more responsibility over the characters and their story arcs.

MG: So from the beginning we all knew that we’d be playing a role in the film. As the script started to develop we started moulding the characters according to the actors we knew were capable of achieving that role. That’s how Tristan was cast as the protagonist, Chelsea the Lead Actress and so on. I just happened to be the guy who could be the most like a psychopathic hit man.

TB: If the glove fits. (laughs)

Watch The Sunset

Michael Gosden & Tristan Barr

How did you get hooked up with the Australian Cultural Fund?

MG: We looked into a lot of different platforms and unlike other all-or-nothing funding websites; ACF donors don’t ‘pledge’ for rewards. It means as an artist we could focus the funds we receive on bringing this project to life, regardless of whether we reach their fundraising goal. Also, through the Australian Cultural Fund, all donors can claim a tax deduction for any donation over $2 made through the ACF.

TB: We’ve also been granted as a part of the Match program, which means Creative Partnerships Australia will double your donation. So we are incredibly lucky and gracious to have that support.

What will the ten thousand dollars pay for?

MG: Essentially the crowd-funding campaign is for us to finish the post-production of the film properly. It also will help us enormously in getting a solid launch at what we hope to be the top tier festivals around the world.

TB: Our Post Production yet to be completed includes: Special effects, Colour Grade, Sound Design, Exporting Costs, and Titles.

Finally, what does the title refer to?

MG: There are few layers that exist within the title.  But I guess the main theme is the power of redemption from our choices in the past. A new day will always come and the power of what that day can bring.

TB: I think you have to see the movie to get it all.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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