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For our supporters and potential funders, it’s sometimes difficult to see why we need the specific funding when so many short films seem to be made for next to nothing. Considering what we’re achieving, our budget is still tiny but we want to make a film that our supporters will be proud of. One that will go far because the subject matter demands it.

One of the key reasons we want to make ‘Arena’ is the creative challenge of rendering part of our film in 1943 eastern Poland as well as 2017 Manchester. As we’re based in the North West of England, that’s a challenge but one that filmmakers have to rise to and learn as part of their overall craft. It’s one of the reasons why the crew we have want to make this film because it stretches their skills and is a learning experience.

Luckily for ‘Arena’ we have one of the best production designers, Alexa Hartle. We thought that you might like to see some of her research so that you understand why we need to raise the money to make our ambitious short film.

Alexa and our director Mike Ogden researched the fact that a lot of western motor vehicles were shipped to Soviet Russia and eastern Ukraine during world war two. Alexa found this wonderful, blue scruffy Ford Model A from a local supplier.

Details like road signage and a rusted, used look. We’re trying hard to avoid the classic looks-like-new feel. This ties in to the notion of anti nostalgia our director wants to see. It can’t feel cosy. This is where production design ties in to the storytelling of our film, to elicit tone and theme visually. Alexa is so good at this. Here’s another example –

Small things like worn out hand tools, good props not off the shelf.

Surprisingly, a lot of food gets eaten in ‘Arena’ and Alexa has arranged for a food stylist to help with this. However, for certain characters there’s a thematic difference. ‘Horst’ gets the best while the children… well you can see for yourself.

Alexa’s research extends to armaments. The pistol in ‘Arena’ has its own backstory attached to the family and is there for a reason.

There’s a doll featured. Back then, children’s toys were hand made and very poignant. The one featured in ‘Arena’ very much so.

The doll was our first production buy as Alexa found one in Greece which we had shipped over before it got sold. So I suppose the doll was the start of pre production.

We’d like to head in to production soon but need to raise more finance to achieve our goal of making this ambitious short film.

Please head over to production Alexa Hartle’s own web site here