Annex and Plaza stage urban rugby action for HSBC and Hong Kong Sevens
Annex Films and Plaza Films brought rugby to the streets of Hong Kong in a new co-production marking HSBC’s sponsorship of the recent Hong Kong Sevens rugby competition. Serious Play shows a group of people emulating fancy-dress fans roughing each other up in an improvised game.
The project spent a week in location prep that led into a five-day shoot. A pair of Alexa cameras and a Phantom was used for the actual shoot, as well as two cranes, a quad bike, a Steadicam and a stunt team for some of the bigger action set pieces.
Carson Ng line produced for ASAP Production: “Most of Hong Kong’s streets are narrow and crowded, and very busy most of the time. It posed great challenges to have a big film crew filming serious action sequences with many rugby players and stuntmen in these kinds of locations!”
It posed great challenges to have a big film crew filming serious action sequences with many rugby players and stuntmen in these kinds of locations!
Carson Ng, Line Producer
A selection of real rugby players were trained by a stunt co-ordinator and a rugby coach trained the stunt men in the basics of the game. They practiced on an old airport runway in preparation for the shoot.
Ng adds: “We did very detailed planning and pre-discussions with location vendors and authorities. We had meetings with the police department and traffic department to go into details so that I could propose to Paul (Middleditch, the Director) what we could do in those locations he liked.”
Becky Swindale is Production Manager at Annex Film: “We were closing down sections of streets for a few hours at a time for filming. Some of the locals were concerned about rugby balls being thrown around, so we had to make sure everything was strictly contained.”
One challenge was that some of the key filming areas couldn’t be completely closed down, so it was up to the crew to divert pedestrians during filming. Shooting took place around Chinese New Year but the team wanted to avoid making that a theme.
Some of the locals were concerned about rugby balls being thrown around, so we had to make sure everything was strictly contained.
Becky Swindale, Annex Film
Romila Sanassy produced for JWT London: “We shot around Chinese New Year but wanted to avoid any New Year decorations. Our Location Manager did a great job in making sure all the locations we shot at would be decoration-free. Many locations had famous branding surrounding it. We had to paint out a considerable amount of branding and be very aware of camera angles.”
Sanassy adds that production teams should allow extra time to get the right permits for a Hong Kong shoot, given how many approvals are needed from local authorities, and the process isn’t speedy.
Swindale concludes: “It was our first time filming in Hong Kong and everything went smoothly. Carson Ng with ASAP Production was fantastic and arranged all our filming permits with local film offices.”
Agency: JWT London
Agency Producer: Romila Sanassy
Production Companies: Annex Films (London), Plaza Films (Sydney)
Production Service Company (Hong Kong): ASAP Production
Line Producer: Carson Ng
Location Manager: Ka Ying
Director: Paul Middleditch
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