Little Minx has staged a gritty shoot-out in eastern Czech Republic in a campaign for new video game Ghost Recon Alpha. In a 20-minute piece that’s both an action short and an extended commercial, soldiers come up against war criminals and automated attack drones in central Russia.
Locations in places as diverse as Scandinavia and London were considered for the shoot, but Little Minx settled on Ostrava in eastern Czech Republic as a double for their Russian setting. It proved the best choice for the budget and the alternatives elsewhere in the world were tougher to access.
Rhea Scott produced for Little Minx: “We chose Ostrava because of the spectacular steel factory that we ended up using. The diversity and scale offered by the location was uncanny and meant that we could practically shoot all of it there.”
Filming lasted 19 days, with the weather and distance from Prague being the biggest challenges facing the production. Ostrava is a three-hour drive from the Czech capital and lies near the border with Poland. Rather than travel backwards and forwards, everyone stayed in Ostrava for the duration and they faced the challenge of maximising the budget as though they had all the facilities of Prague.
We chose Ostrava because of the spectacular steel factory that we ended up using. The diversity and scale offered by the location was uncanny and meant that we could practically shoot all of it there.
Rhea Scott, Producer
Fady Salame produced for Unit+Sofa: “The only challenges were to find a decent place to accommodate a huge crew and to logistically deal with the fact that any equipment was at least three hours away. We sourced most of the support locally, but anything to do with film equipment came from the big city.”
Scott adds: “The weather was also a big issue. It either poured or was incredibly sunny, which created huge continuity issues over 19 days of shooting.
“We also had to make some serious modifications to the location to make it look as if everything had been there for a century when it had not, such as the train. The location also underwent some major deforestation, since the area was completely overgrown.”
Facing both blazing sun and stormy weather throughout the shoot, a lot of clean-up had to be done in post-production. In addition, the attack drones were created digitally and were integrated into the original footage using extensive on-set photographs for reference.
The only challenges were to find a decent place to accommodate a huge crew and to logistically deal with the fact that any equipment was at least three hours away.
Fady Salame, Producer
Scott concludes: “We used Unit+Sofa. I was so impressed with their services. The owner, Fady Salame, was there every day making sure production was running smoothly. There was not a thing he would not have done to make this a successful production.”
The finished film blurs the line between commercial and action film, something that we could be seeing more of in the future. Several major gaming brands are already investing in advertising campaigns that reinvent their console content as live-action cinematic thrillers. If successful, these could pave the way for branded filmmaking on a much grander scale as advertisers explore new ways to connect with their customer base.
Production Company: Little Minx, Los Angeles
Producers: Rhea Scott, Frédéric Thonet
Production Service Company: Unit+Sofa, Prague
Producer: Fady Salame
Location Manager: Pavel Kovac
Director of Photography: Trent Opaloch
Directors: François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy
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