July 26, 2015

Crew Calls Production of 'The Revenant' a Living Hell: When Is a Director Asking for Too Much?

Last week, the first trailer for The Revenant took the internet by storm, but Chivo's medium format cinematography is far from the only story emerging from the trenches of the production.

In a particularly concerning report from The Hollywood Reporter, Kim Masters outlines a laundry list of issues that have apparently plagued Alejandro G. Iñárritu's followup to the highly-acclaimed Birdman. These issues range from the project going significantly over schedule and over budget (it was scheduled to wrap in March, but it's currently still shooting halfway around the world from where it started), to a conflict between the director and producer that lead to communication breakdowns and wasted time in particularly foreboding conditions.

The Revenant

Most troublingly, however, are reports that cast and crew safety was jeopardized, although this is disputed by both the studio and several crew members. In addition, there are reports that upwards of 20 crew members quit the production outright, or were fired. One anonymous crew member even went so far as to call their experience on the production "a living hell."

Of course, the wilderness of Alberta is not a particularly welcoming place in the dead of winter, as evidenced by reports that temperatures on the production often fell below -25 degrees, with it feeling significantly colder with wind chill. Then, when you factor in that the film was shot in sequence and only in natural light, it's no surprise that the production was extremely challenging for everybody involved. However, it's incidents like the following that have some people questioning the ethicality of the production in general.

Leaving little time for the crew to prepare, Inarritu decided that a naked character should be dragged along the ground. The director remembers being concerned about the actor's genitals and laying down plastic sheeting to protect him. "I asked him several times, 'Are you fine?' " says Inarritu. Each time he asked, he says the actor replied that he was prepared to try another take. "I was super considerate because he was a nice, 22-year-old guy," says Inarritu. While crew members say the actor was in pain, Inarritu dismisses that as "a lie."

Despite the concerns being raised about crew safety, both the studio and other high-ranking crew members insist that safety was a top priority and that industry standard safety guidelines were followed at all times throughout the process. And despite these concerns, the director stands by his decision to shoot the film the way he did.

The Revenant Trailer Alexa 65 Footage

Some crewmembers believe a lot of misery could have been avoided — and money saved — if at least some parts of the movie had been conceived with computer-generated effects. "That's exactly what I didn't want," counters Inarritu. "If we ended up in greenscreen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit." Revenant is about survival, he says, and the actors and crew benefited from having to make it in nature. "When you see the film, you will see the scale of it," promises Inarritu. "And you will say, 'Wow.'"

Personally, this feels more like a mismatch of expectations than anything else. It seems like communication wasn't where it should have been between key members of the production, which lead to some members of the crew perhaps having different expectations than what they were ultimately asked to endure. If that's the case, then somebody higher up in the production should absolutely be held responsible. When it comes to productions like this, the people who participate need to know exactly what they're getting themselves into.

Regardless of the outcome of these complaints, the whole ordeal raises some complicated questions about the filmmaking process when it's taken to the extremes. Where do you draw the line when it comes to the human cost of producing an ambitious film? How far is too far when it comes to getting the shot and making great films, even if standard safety protocols are followed? If cast and crew members sign up for a production that is going to be rough, and they're well informed about the potential challenges, is it fair if they complain when it turns out to be rough?

What do you think? Did Iñárritu and his team take this concept and production too far, or is this just the cost of creating ambitious films? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments.      

Your Comment

77 Comments

It's not that I don't feel for those who suffered for this piece of art, but as a cinephile I have to say that the possibility of the end result being great is well worth whatever it took to get there. Look at Apocalypse Now, Fitzcarraldo, Blue is the Warmest Color...

July 26, 2015 at 2:15PM

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Also, note: THE MACHINIST.

July 26, 2015 at 4:52PM

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Gary Ewing
Short Film Screenwriter, Photographer, Director.
146

When I read "if at least some parts of the movie had been conceived with computer-generated effects" listed as a comment and support of mis-treatment from the crew I tend to discount their charges. Everyone involved in the arts has opinions but the director makes the call on how to best realize his vision. Not the producer and especially not the crew. Assuming safety protocols were followed I see no basis for the big deal. But as all real artists know sometimes you need to defend your vision against onslaughts from all sides, even your collaborators.

July 26, 2015 at 2:34PM

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This sentence sums it all up, "Revenant is about survival, he says, and the actors and crew benefited from having to make it in nature". I'm sure he cared for their safety, but Iñárritu wanted them to suffer in the name of art. And art is what he created, I'm sure.

July 26, 2015 at 2:49PM

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Just based on the trailer, it seems the director hasn't put story as the priority but thinks a pretty film on location in the elements is enough. It is not.

July 31, 2015 at 1:59PM

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You can tell how good a story is just by watching a trailer that is free from dialogue?

That's pretty impressive.

August 18, 2015 at 10:55PM, Edited August 18, 10:55PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
444

For me, this is the key sentance,..
"If cast and crew members sign up for a production that is going to be rough, and they're well informed about the potential challenges, is it fair if they complain when it turns out to be rough? "
If you know going in, and you can't hack it, then bank the money and move on.
If you didn't know, or were prevented from knowing, then it's a whole different matter and you should take it up with your dept head.
If they then don't do anything, speak to the union rep.

July 26, 2015 at 3:16PM

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Stewart Fairweather
Cinematographer
150

*This is my opinion. I do not know Alejandro González Iñárritu, and have no part in the film.*

Storytelling is difficult. Alejandro González Iñárritu tells his stories using a lot of technology. He uses practical and visual effects. The people who quit or was fired, may not have looked at the production from a practical perspective. Alejandro González Iñárritu, is showing blood, sweat and tears. Film making is difficult. Cannot wait to see this film.

July 26, 2015 at 3:22PM

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Kodi Johnson
Student/Film/Novice
161

The human cost always seems justified for those in power, but those who have to bare that cost have a much different opinion. Sure they signed up to do the job, but how long before the director takes it too far? Is it only when a cast or crew member is injured or killed before the director takes a second look at his actions? Safety protocol works under normal conditions, and they seem to be working in anything but normal conditions. For the director it is his art at stake, but the cast and crew it is their life at stake.

July 26, 2015 at 3:24PM

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I totally agree with you Vargas.

July 26, 2015 at 8:18PM

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Menelikk
Computer Scientist/Film Director
222

Except that, when comes the time to reap the benefits, everybody - including the people complaining in the first place - will stand in line "in the name of art".

Can't you see that we - westerners - have had it so easy for decades now that we see everything as difficult and challenging?

I say if you're going to act in a film that tackles the subject of human hardship, you should know what hardship feels like. I bet you DiCaprio and Hardy didn't winge like little bitches, did they?

In all this sensationalistic mess, we don't even get the name of a single source who takes the credit for saying that the production was "living hell", which means that the people complaining here don't even have the balls to stand for their opinion, so of course they blame the director for doing his job the way it should always be done: all the way.

To top it all off, if you read The Hollywood Reporter's article, the picture painted is different entirely, and most of the people who mattered in the production process assert that they're satisfied with Inarritu's work.

Misinformation and misunderstanding. Amateur signatures all over it.

August 18, 2015 at 11:12PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
444

A great film takes what it takes. Stanley Kubrick could be notoriously difficult to work with. Would I (or even most of the crew who suffered under him) trade any one of his movies to take back their suffering? Nope. Many retrospective interviews have revealed that even the actors treated worst by Kubrick now respect him and his process.

Are there things you could complain about a director doing? Of course. There have been some directors who have gone too far—so far they probably should have faced criminal charges. But roughing it in the great outdoors, shooting in sequence, and shooting with natural light? Get over yourself. You've gotten too used to sipping coffee next to George Lucas acolytes while staring at the green screen monitors.

July 26, 2015 at 4:08PM

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What is that bad? Worse than working in a car factory or in a bank? Really?

July 26, 2015 at 4:48PM, Edited July 26, 4:57PM

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There are special crews that work on National Geographic docs and such. I wonder if they hired a crew who specialized in outdoor work. It is a different mind set and requires different planning not to mention physical challenges. Nothing can prepare you for that work. Crazy as it sounds--it would be worth finding crew members who have some military background.

July 26, 2015 at 5:00PM

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Let's be clear here. On any given day there are about ten people on the set that really care about what is being shot. The rest of the crew doesn't dofferentiate between an Oscar worthy film or an Oscar Meyer commercial. Those are the people that complain. Why? Because they get paid the same for either. One is easy the other is a bitch and a pain in the ass. When I started directing 27 years ago it was one of the first lessons I learned. A large part of the crew is paid labor and don't have a vested interest in the outcome. So..... I take stories like this with a grain of salt. Especially when the department heads aren't the ones complaining.

July 26, 2015 at 5:36PM

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Steve chase
Director
86

Well stated... And in particular when you simply have a bunch of anonymous little whiny b*i*t*c*h*e*s like in this situation then you know it's because the M&M supply wasn't up to par in craft service and someone caught the sniffles and had to pee outside one time and their wiener got chilly.

July 26, 2015 at 7:49PM

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Einer Leigh Welles
Software Executive, Inventor, Philanthropist
20

Einer,
You're a philanthropist who considers the crew "little whiny whiny b*i*t*c*h*e*s". With that attitude, what do you expect from them?

July 27, 2015 at 3:10AM, Edited July 27, 3:13AM

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Charlie K
1251

Or maybe that's just what they are. After all, people who complain anonymously aren't usually of the brave type.

The opinion of a few gossip queens shouldn't exactly matter.

Who's Shackleton? Whatever that guys sells, you bought into it real good, with a bit of sugar coating on top, and "I'll have some more."

Don't take this the wrong way, but as a matter of principle, when anonymous criticism goes against human (artistic) progress, chances are you shouldn't defend those who complain.

August 18, 2015 at 11:19PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
444

Sounds like a situation similar to Blade Runner.

July 26, 2015 at 5:36PM

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Most of the people defending him in these comments would probably be the first ones to jump ship. Tom Hardy put the director in a headlock for being such an asshole to the entire crew. And it was closer to 50 people that were fired/quit.

July 26, 2015 at 6:04PM, Edited July 26, 6:08PM

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It would be cool if you could stop calling the Arri 65 a ''large format'' camera. It's medium format. Simple 120 size 70mm sensor. Large format mostly refers to the 4x5 inches film format and bigger.
This may sound like nitpicking but as this is a site a lot of people use for learning, I feel like you should at least get it right.

July 26, 2015 at 6:29PM

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Hubert Hotte
Photographer
124

I changed it, but honestly, I don't think that traditional photography nomenclature really matters within the context of filmmaking. 70mm film may be close to what is considered medium format in photography, but in filmmaking, that's as large as it gets, hence the reason I usually refer to it as large format. For me, it's about the size of filmmaking formats relative to one another, not relative to still photography formats.

July 26, 2015 at 6:54PM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4309

In that case, we can stop referring to Canon 5d III and Sony A7S as "full frame."

July 27, 2015 at 2:40PM, Edited July 27, 2:41PM

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but's not really either... because a medium format sensor wouldn't have been 16:9... it's a 4:3 sensor, like the model they released prior to this one. Which enables proper anamorphic images and even that "Full" imax projection. rather than a digital tv screen. Plus medium format would be at least 8k, but whatever.

July 26, 2015 at 7:19PM, Edited July 26, 7:19PM

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David Carmichael
Shooter, editor
142

If it's a 70mm sensor, then it CERTAINLY is large format by motion picture standards. This isn't photography; it's filmmaking.

July 26, 2015 at 7:32PM

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.

July 26, 2015 at 7:32PM, Edited July 26, 7:33PM

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You beat me to it. "Large" is relative, and I have yet to see an 8x10 movie camera.

July 27, 2015 at 3:15PM

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Without great effort, there was never a great piece of artwork, and sometimes the effort goes a bit deep, so will the result .
As for the living hell if you cant live the hell, you have no right to taste the heaven.

July 26, 2015 at 6:47PM

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subhakar tikkireddy
FilmMaker
113

Your best article is a while, don't mean to sound like i'm giving you a back handed compliment, but it I feel like it was, congrats!

I agree with the idea that something has to be said about communicating to crew and cast about what will be endured in the production, but here comes my rant.

Crew members are notoriously known for running their mouths, whether right or wrong, it's not their fault, it's human nature. Its super common for someone with secret or "unknown" info to "just" add their 2 cents, about something people have interests in, i'm doing it now by commenting. It's the nature of the net.

They're there to do a simple job which is only a small part of the full production, so they may not be 110% focused as much of the time, as say, the director, dp, ad, or even some cast. They do their job, go stand or find a place to sit until they need to tweak or undo their work. At a point, they will begin to focus on things that aren't any of their business. But that's where being professional comes in, your job is to do what you're hired to do to the best you can by communicating to your peers, leaders, and followers when it deems appropriate and not hindering the focus of the creation. "same thing as waiting for the right time to say something." Why bash something that's still being made, it's not done, like saying that a child will be a miserable senior... There are more variables that are still in play that don't revolve are you.

Bottom line, is if you can handle the fire, get out of the kitchen. There is something to be said about safety because movies aren't worth lives, but that's not your job, that was someone else's job- they were hired to make sure you were safe, therefore you can just do your job, which by the way, isn't commenting to the public about "what you saw someone do or say out of context from where you were standing that day."

I'll leave with a great example. Star Wars 7 & Mad Max 4. All shot as practical as possible because of the desired effect. They're both shot in extreme biomes, sure there are a bit more "in studio stuff" than this film, but still, they stick through it for the final product being made. (Titles as reasons aside) A moviegoer doesn't care if you were cold or hungry or if it was raining on set, it's just a "fun fact" that they'll forget about, because all they give a shit about is, is final product worth paying for?

July 26, 2015 at 7:11PM

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David Carmichael
Shooter, editor
142

"There is something to be said about safety because movies aren't worth lives, but that's not your job, that was someone else's job- they were hired to make sure you were safe, therefore you can just do your job, which by the way, isn't commenting to the public about "what you saw someone do or say out of context from where you were standing that day."

Just a question, but at what point does one start speaking up if things are unsafe? I understand and agree with the part about just doing your job, and that it's other people's responsibility to handle the safety, but what if those people fail? Case in point for the terrible tragedy of Sarah Jones. There were people put in place to ensure that the crew was safe (AD's, producers, UPM's, etc) but that failed. So, when and who says enough is enough if the higher ups won't say anything?

July 27, 2015 at 3:56PM

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Ian Van der Werff
Director | Assistant Director
98

You are getting PAID to work on a major motion picture. Was it cold? Waaah. Were you bleeding or near death? Then STFU or quit. Go drink your Starbucks by a green screen in some piece of shit film that ISN'T awesome. Art is hard. If it weren't everyone would be doing it and no one would care about it. (I am going to assume the reality of these complaints is actually to stir up controversy as press for the film).

July 26, 2015 at 7:27PM

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Having financed several pictures, I come from the perspective that the VISIONARY behind the project has put forth an enormous amount of thought and effort to actually bring the project into fruition, long before the crew ever signs on. Once principal photography is complete, the VISIONARY (filmmaker) will face further battle and hurdles to navigate and overcome until it ever reaches a screen where the crew can then come and sit down and munch little pieces of popcorn and nibble on little milk duds or goobers as they watch a story unfold before them and wait to see their names in lights and think... "I made that movie". Of course the crew has an important function but in contrast to what the director endures it's incomparable. On a large budget movie like this the crew is being paid very very well! One hundred times what the average person earns per day. I've met Alejandro González Iñárritu. He's a brilliant artist and true person! Anyone and everyone should be honored to even have the chance to be on board his production! In the future -- I'd suggest for the bratty, whiny children who complained because they felt a few goose bumps from the cold air to have a boyscout tutor them on going outside... Or if that's too much for them then maybe they need to stick to shooting indoor car commercials. These type of whiny crew members will never care about the vision! They will always be too concerned with the M&M supply in craft service department or how they can b*i*t*c*h that the wasabi was too spicy on their sushi. They're poison to any production and they need to be fired! Thank God they were! They're a danger to have on a set! Get them off and tell them to never come back ever again! If they walked off, then they did everyone a favor! But either way -- whoever the whiny b*i*t*c*h*e*s are... They have have no balls so they should just shut the hell up. They will never about passion or putting elbow grease and tears and sweat and blood into their work. They belong in TV Commercials in the 1980's when the budgets were extensively high and all you needed to concern yourself with was what was for lunch.

July 26, 2015 at 7:35PM

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Einer Leigh Welles
Software Executive, Inventor, Philanthropist
20

Please crew on a film. Then come back and try again.

July 27, 2015 at 8:31AM

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.

July 27, 2015 at 8:31AM, Edited July 27, 8:36AM

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I can't believe all these comments completely defending the director and producers and practically mocking the crew. On-set safety is no joke, no matter what you think of the quality of the movie's trailer. And think about how carefully written the original article was; Masters only wrote what she could defend writing as a journalist. The real situation was quite possibly even worse than what she describes. No, no one died. But if circumstances are that bad, someone COULD and that makes it bad enough.

July 26, 2015 at 7:37PM, Edited July 26, 7:38PM

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Benjamin Reichman
Post Supervisor/AE/Editor
289

If that many crew members quit, I think it's the director and not a handful of "whiny crew members".

It's not like a crew member was killed by a train, recently, right?

July 31, 2015 at 2:01PM

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A crew member just got killed by a train, right. And one person dies of a car accident every 12 seconds in America. What's your point?

I do think that a majority of people have it easy and their tolerance for hardship is very low. So of course, from their united perspective, it's the director's fault.

It's easier to blame individuals than it is to blame human weakness.

August 18, 2015 at 11:25PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
444

Says the editor, sitting in his heated comfy edit suite flipping thru a delivery menu. ; )

January 28, 2016 at 1:05AM

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Hooman
Director/producer
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The comment about computer generated effects is a red herring. You shouldn't take one side or the other just because you feel that the dinosaur looked phony in Tree of Life. This isn't an article about a lazy crew. This is an article about a production gone very wrong. It is true that some great films have been salvaged out of miserable productions, this is also irrelevant. If you're basing your opinion on the article above, there is not enough information to form a solid one. I know someone who worked in a key roll in this production. This person nearly had a nervous breakdown, and it had nothing to do with wind chill. We all sacrifice for what we do. Crews run the gamut from disinterested to dedicated, but I can tell you that the vast majority are the latter. This is a major production that attracted the best and the brightest. If you're thinking you'd give your eye teeth for a chance to work with a director and DP of such note, well that's how everyone felt at the outset. These are guys and gals that signed onto a feature that shot in Alberta Canada over the winter, you think that didn't weed out the faint of heart? These are the people that chose not to shoot indoor car commercials, but instead to commit to a project that promised to be many times more challenging and draining. The majority were local and knew what the conditions were likely to be. The fact is, none of knows what it was like on that set, but a crew mutiny doesn't result because everyone failed to pack wool socks, or because they're incapable of appreciating the merit of a project.

July 26, 2015 at 11:23PM

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scott pommier
Director
104

Great comment. Thanks Scott.

July 27, 2015 at 12:02AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4309

Seconded, thanks for this.

July 27, 2015 at 3:59PM, Edited July 27, 3:59PM

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Ian Van der Werff
Director | Assistant Director
98

There you go. Finally a reasonable view we can all learn from.

Things are rarely clear-cut; and in this case we don't have that much information. Not enough to blame the director, not enough to blame the crew either.

I'd be naturally inclined to defend a high-integrity director, but that's the cynical side of me expressing itself; maybe wrongfully.

August 18, 2015 at 11:30PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
444

The supplied information is inadequate. Any frostbite reported? No need to amp the already second-hand information until all the tales come in.

This topic demands a mention of the Sarah Jones tragedy.

Okay, okay, I admit speculating is fun if we've been there, been stuck in a tough tough clime with only loyalty and a near-masochistic respect for deadlines to keep us there. RE the alleged hard winter conditions, I wonder if the "-25 degrees" figure comes from boasting or windchill reports. In my experience, -20 and colder is when batteries say "we're outta here" faster than you can shoot. Maybe it was super-cold a lot; more than likely the temp dipped that low briefly and some crew ran with that number to frame the entire shoot. (Once someone invents a way to look up historic weather records, someone should do just that.)

A lot of savvy crew people are mountaineers and/or backcountry skiers. They know how to stay cozy in these conditions. Modern winter clothing is amazing when deployed with real experience.

July 27, 2015 at 12:06AM, Edited July 27, 12:55AM

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Depending exactly where they were here, -25 is a normal base temp. It drops to, and I've filmed in, -48 w/wind chill.

I know those numbers are hard for some people to wrap their head around, but they are a reality in Alberta in the winter. (and Saskatchewan and Manitoba)

July 27, 2015 at 11:37AM

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seanmclennan
Story Teller
855

Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate" Parte Dos?

July 27, 2015 at 12:52AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
996

Any of you industry folks not willing to work on films like this, just give me a call. I'll take your spot.

July 27, 2015 at 2:02AM, Edited July 27, 2:05AM

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Robert,
You've had some good articles lately. Maybe you should have skipped this story, as it's an article about an article about heresay.

July 27, 2015 at 3:04AM, Edited July 27, 3:04AM

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Charlie K
1251

The human cost always seems justified for those in power, but those who have to bare that cost have a much different opinion.

July 27, 2015 at 3:34AM

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revanth
67

I worked on a feature where there was conflict between the director and a so-called producer. I say so-called because he was only there because he managed to convince people to put money into the project and kinda pushed his way in. Him and the production manager were buddies and during pre-production, they seemed to spend far more time pushing white powder up their noses and arriving at lunchtime. Also the so-called producer wanted to direct the film, and he started issuing instruction to me that everything had to go through him to the director. Well, in the real world I told him that as I was directly responsible to the director, that6 is where my information went, and if he wanted access to it, he could ask the director. Needless to say he tried everything to get me fired, but the director and the real producer would have none of it. It eventually ended up with this so-called producer arriving on set in a somewhat elevated state, arguing with the director and pulling a knife on him. The director decked him with one well aimed punch and then instructed the real producer that if he so much as arrived anywhere near the set he would walk off, a position wholly supported by the camera, lighting and grips crew. The one thing I always did was to provide d daily report of my activities on a weekly basis. I was doing special locations and casting on location, and being a director myself, I had been chosen by the director. This ended up with the so-called producer being banned from anything to do with the production, which was a welcome relief. My work was done at the end of pre-production and I went on to do other things, but it was a major disruption having someone who didn't have an understanding of the production process, but thought he could buy his way in. Fortunately for me, there were some very well experienced people in the production team (With stellar CVs and serious industry cred) who supported me because my way is to do the absolute best that I can and I will go the extra 10 miles. I managed to find them everything they needed in terms of specialised locations and cast within a 50Km radius of the primary location, including a whole abandoned town which I arranged rental for 4 weeks. I will say that it was a learning experience, I had never encountered people int he industry like that before. But with regards to shooting in extreme conditions, if that is what you sign up for then don't whinge when it gets cold or wet.

July 27, 2015 at 3:50AM

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Roger Paul Mills
DOP/Director
161

I have a friend currently working on the film and haven't heard any complaints.
Yes, this kind of shoot will push people to extremes, but I don't think anyone should be surprised that shooting a survival film with available light in Alberta in the dead of winter will be a pretty difficult experience.

July 27, 2015 at 5:17AM

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Samu Amunét
Director
335

If the actors know what they are getting into they should not complain.... but for some cold outdoors scenes they should get properly trained people who are used to endure harsh conditions like military, survivalists etc...

A lot of people will say yes for the paycheck until they realize they have to stand still in ice cold water for minutes. And if some people of the crew are careless and forget to bring extra warm clothing and heat blankets it can turn into a nightmare fast.

Then the actors/crew get mad and the director gets mad because it isn't going anyone's way. Add some egos, some words and some hurt feelings and you have the recipe for disaster.

July 27, 2015 at 6:05AM

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gandulf charpentier
director of pornography
673

This film looks amazing, and if it takes home any Oscars, they will say it was all well worth it. I admire Iñárritu's filmmaking techniques, and I am a huge fan of "Birdman" and "Babel". The crew who left production and couldn't handle it, will be sorry when this film goes on to be a classic. I'm sure many people would of loved the opportunity to work with Iñárritu and Dicaprio, and I am one of them, no matter what the conditions. I can't wait to see this film.

July 27, 2015 at 10:21AM

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Tim McCabe
Editor/ Writer / Camera Operator
81

It's about setting expectations. If the production told everyone what to expect, and the crew were comprised of people who understood what they were trying to achieve, you wouldn't have so many complainers. If you got some grips from LA, working in Alberta in winter (welcome to my home mofos!) then yeah, I don't imagine they would be too comfortable.

Of course, this could all just be part of the PR for the film...

July 27, 2015 at 11:32AM, Edited July 27, 11:32AM

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seanmclennan
Story Teller
855

Well Leo didn't shoot any extras, and Alejandro didn't hold a gun on Leo at anypoint so clearly the production couldn't have been that bad.

July 27, 2015 at 2:37PM

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As some one is has actually worked in temps of -30F during production, it takes the right gear, the right mindset and ability to handle the cold. its not for everyone. so if you signed up for this, you'd best be able to handle the shooting conditions. its a challenge to say the least. gear prep, understanding you simply can not shoot as fast as you can at balmy 20F temps, ect is part of it. not surprised its taken longer than expected because of the short amounts of daylight available in winter that north. OTH it does force your production days to reasonable hours because when the sun is gone, you're done. Sounds likes a bunch of 75 and sunny types who just didn't really understand what its like and what it takes to do production work under those circomstances
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July 27, 2015 at 3:46PM

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Steve Oakley
DP • Audio Mixer • Colorist • VFX Artist
478

There seems to be a disconnect here between people who identify with the director vs. those who identify with the crew. A lot of No Film School readers I suspect are the former, and aspire to one day be in Iñárritu's shoes themselves.

I also suspect those people have not spent a lot of time working as a crew member on real, big or even semi-big budget productions.

It's easy to play auteur and throw around terms like "art" and "visionary". But I would recommend those people spend some (read: extensive) time crewing in a below-the-line position, working hard to make SOMEONE ELSE'S vision a reality...and then revisit this topic.

July 27, 2015 at 4:18PM, Edited July 27, 4:20PM

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Inarritu's becoming more and more gimmicky. Shooting a film in sequence ? Sure, you can call it art. But... really ?

By the way, I'm really disappointed by the Arri's video-ey look. I'm a fan of digital (Interstellar, projected from film, looked like crap to me), but there's something odd about the look of "Revenant" judging from the trailer.

July 27, 2015 at 10:22PM

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What's so gimmicky of shooting on sequence? Refn does that too and is something that has been done in the past. Seriously I'm getting tired of people calling gimmicky everything that goes out of the regular formula of shooting.

July 30, 2015 at 3:46PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
472

Try working in reality TV, movie production is nothing compared to some reality shows as far as bad working conditions and crew abuse. Deadliest Catch for example has crews working upwards of 20 hours at times and in most cases you have to take care of a lot of stuff yourself. The Amazing Race is another one where you can work long hours and have to lug around all the gear yourself. I've been on shows where I had to shoot for over 5 hours straight with no breaks and almost a 40LB setup on my shoulder, multiple days in a row. Movie production is cake compared to all this.

July 28, 2015 at 1:44AM

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I think as long as you know what you are getting into and as long as the hard work is justified, I can live with it. I mean, if you go work for Deadliest Catch, you know that it is going to be a lot of hard work in difficult conditions - so be it.

However sometimes the editors are just plain lazy, they don't plan ahead and as a result you have to shoot 12 hours without a break and without a tripod, then it is not okay.
I recently hiked up a mountain for 1,5 hours with 70 pounds of equipment, thinking that there was no other way to get where we wanted to shoot. But when we got there, there was a paved road leading up the mountain and we could have gotten there in 10 minutes with a cab. The only reason we hiked was because the editor likes hiking and didn't think for one second that it was really hard for me to bring 70 pounds of equipment up the steep hiking path. This kind of plain inconsiderate behaviour then really pisses me off. I mean I like to put everything I got into getting good footage - but this was just a waste of my energy that I could have put into other activities.

July 30, 2015 at 6:12PM

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-

July 30, 2015 at 6:12PM, Edited July 30, 6:12PM

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You know it's sad that the film industry thinks it's above decency and treating people right. I worked in the "industry" many years ago and had my fair share of shit to deal with. Thankfully I was with a Union otherwise I would have been tossed out with the rubbish.

In properly organised companies there's a code of practice and complaints procedure. And also you can't expect your staff to do certain things without having certain reprisals.

Yet, in "film" those 'procedures' are thrown out the window and the crew either ridiculed, mocked or fired for not going along with the 'creative vision'. That fucks me off. The director is not God the director is the manager of the shoot. His job is to do a bloody good job. Not wreck the people that are there to actually make it happen.

In his statement it's telling that he half admits to going the full hog and not keeping a happy contended crew. Yes a green screen may create a less than real scene but is it better that you keep people safe and emotionally protected or get a reputation as being a pain In the arse to work with and be wreckless with peoples' lives? They all have families y'know! In the end it's a bloody film! You're not curing cancer.

Sorry, but it's stories like this that make me glad I left the industry.

July 28, 2015 at 5:16AM

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emma cook
Animator in training
74

Shut up.

July 30, 2015 at 3:47PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
472

Well actually I would die to be on that set...They signed for this amazing shooting which did not take part in a greenscreen world. They should be grateful to enjoy such an amazing experience! :)

July 28, 2015 at 7:08AM

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Johnny Karstens
Director of Photography
74

I'd like to recommend people the following documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdcRiPLp4oU 'The making and unmaking of Heaven's Gate' and also of course the film itself Heavens Gate (2012 directors recut). It will give you an idea what the effect of articles like this can be on a major piece of art.

July 28, 2015 at 8:23AM

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Marnix Ruben
Director
148

Could be worse, could be "The Abyss".

July 28, 2015 at 8:46AM, Edited July 28, 8:46AM

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Chris Geden
Filmmaker
114

Wow. Thats sounds really like nobody was talking with no one. The crew members should know before the say yes to work on that film, how the conditions are. Canada in Winter its crazy.
Well i would be honored to work on a film like this. Ok if it goes to far and it gets dangerous. Maybe quit andtake the experience with you.

July 28, 2015 at 3:06PM

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Cathy Danneberg
Filmmaker, Editor, Designer, VFX
567

As an ambitious young production designer, I have often found myself under the leadership of insanely creative men, with huge visions and a seeming lack of ethical consideration for the human body and an over belief in the magic of film. However, as long as everyone is safe (from real harm) and getting paid. Complaining is unprofessional. If you aren't strong enough to handle the pressure your under, be humble, do the right thing, and back out. I have seen and heard a lot of people complain on sets, quite frankly, if you can't take it, then leave, filmmaking isn't for everyone, and if someone's not safe, then put a stop to it. Otherwise, do your job!

July 28, 2015 at 4:07PM

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It seems like people complain a lot nowadays.

July 30, 2015 at 3:48PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
472

It seems like crew people want it now the easy way, all inside a warm green screen studio with a coffee on hand. Everyone involved in the arts has opinions but the director makes the call on how to best realize his vision. Not the producer and especially not the crew. Assuming safety protocols were followed I see no basis for the big deal.

July 30, 2015 at 4:09PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
472

So your opinion is the crew didn't know what the location was, that they were shooting outdoors, and they didn't know the time of year?

That's your opinion?

July 31, 2015 at 1:55PM

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If crew is working with this guy and complaining, they have a good reason. No amount of pomposity changes that.

July 30, 2015 at 4:48PM

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Jacques Adelle-Boix
Director
168

On this days , theres a few directors like him.
Some guys of the crew are technicians but no artist, so is normal his reclaims in extreme conditions. Guys from the crew that love art must be spending the best of times.
An artist die for his piece of work. I remembers me a good think of a Spanish writher...

"If Things that worth where made easily, everybody would do it"

Alejandro, mucha suerte, disponible si necesitases a uno de esos trabajadores incondicionales.

Agur!

July 30, 2015 at 8:47PM, Edited July 30, 9:04PM

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Sounds like it was as bad as shooting an indie I did sound for in the Florida Everglades in August. Afterwards, I was chatting with a couple of shooters I hired for a gig and described the "evil producers" involved.

They politely corrected my phraseology by informing me that where that came from, using "evil" to describe producers was redundant. They simply call them producers...

July 30, 2015 at 11:53PM

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W Smith
Doer
241

So, apparently this film is about fighting and running and riding a horse and fighting and running, from what I gather from the trailer.

July 31, 2015 at 1:52PM

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d

July 31, 2015 at 1:54PM, Edited July 31, 1:54PM

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I've spent the majority of my career as a DP and camera operator (and assistant camera before that) working in less than desirable locations, ie: snowing, cold, ridiculously low temperatures.. and on the other extreme, desert environments, windy, sandy, dusty... blah blah blah... basically, non-studio locations where the conditions are more readily controlled. Filmmaking in "extreme" conditions really does call for a certain kind of crew member that can deal with a harsh environment and enjoys that challenges that the physical world will thrust upon you. Even large features that seemingly have all of the resources available are not immune to Mother Nature.... that said, I don't criticize crew members who complain about harsh conditions but I would also advise that if working in the great outdoors isn't something that you're used to or have much experience with, think twice about saying YES to the job.

July 31, 2015 at 6:56PM, Edited July 31, 6:56PM

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