“We’re coping with slavery and slave content material. How are we approaching this materials and what’s the distinctive method of doing that?” “Augustus” filmmaker Jon Alston requested when making his documentary brief function which is gaining awards chatter and hoping to make the shortlist.
Alston’s brief tracks a slave’s battle as he stands up for his rights simply earlier than the Civil Warfare, and seeing slavery evolve into right this moment’s racial injustices and inequality.
Under Alston and cinematographer, Matt Edwards focus on the movie’s journey and the way filming on location helped serve the story.
The place and the way did the journey for “Augustus” start?
It was a wild time. Ayinde Howell, who performs Augustus, had this concept for a screenplay that he began in 2017. I labored with him briefly at USC on a brief movie, and I checked out it; on the time, it was totally different.
It jumped round time frames, however I believed if we make it extra protagonists centered, we are able to hone in on what we’re making an attempt to say within the story.
How did you determine the interval components of the movie?
Alston: We watched quite a lot of movies to get concepts. We watched “12 Years a Slave” and new movies to get a way of how digital camera motion affected issues.
We went out to scout on the weekends as a result of we have been engaged on issues. Matt went down earlier than we began taking pictures.
Matt Edwards: There was a humiliation of riches for places in Richmond. So, it was simpler to schedule and make issues look superb.
Break down that opening sequence with the current after which the flashback to the previous.
Edwards: Jon was pushing me to do one thing slightly totally different. However we had some rain breaks and needed to cease, however that gave us time to speak in regards to the pictures.
A few of my favourite frames are frames that I had arrange, and Jon would recommend, ‘Tilt it up,’ and we did, so all credit score goes to him.
The concept was to not classically body the reminiscences, we needed them to really feel otherworldy which all got here collectively by way of framing, lighting and music to seize the essence of the story and one thing that was a bit excessive.
Alston: With the dungeon sequence within the tunnel, Matt discovered a strategy to open up that tunnel and that dungeon. He introduced that angelic mild into it and that visible with the sunshine on the high mentioned, freedom is on its method. It was one of many nice iconic pictures within the story.
Edwards: These plugs went as much as the outside. I don’t know when the final time anyone ever took them out. However, that’s one other factor that you are able to do. When you’ve got time to scout, you simply see these issues. My subsequent drawback was, ‘Can I discuss this location into pulling the plugs out?’ and so they allow us to do it. However it was in regards to the lighting design and this one mild.
What in regards to the finish, when the speech is being given, the place you have got a crowd of individuals inside the home, listening as Augustus offers this discuss?
Alston: To begin with, the home and that tunnel have been linked; it was the identical location. That’s the identical home. The backstairs lead from the home to the dungeon.
So, we shot it at 2:30 within the morning, and we had three and a half days to shoot 18 pages of script. It was hectic. We spent a lot of the day within the dungeon to get that sequence, however when it got here to taking pictures in the home, there was no daylight, and it’s our finale, it wanted to be within the daylight. We rigged it [using lighting] to get that out and to make it appear to be it was a Sunday afternoon.