HMZ Film attends Gravity masterclass at London Film Festival with Alfonso Cuarón and Tim Webber
On October 11th 2013, HMZ Film attended an exclusive Gravity master-class at London Film Festival with director Alfonso Cuarón and VFX supervisor Tim Webber which was hosted by critic Mark Salisbury. Coinciding with the film’s UK premiere at the festival, the talented duo talked us through the ground breaking visual effects and concept development of the Oscar touted space thriller. The project that was due to span around eighteen months eventually sprawled across an incredible four and a half years of iterations and refinement.
Technicalities such as the importance of lighting were discussed at length. 1.8 million individually controlled LED lights made up a manually controlled lighting system, the authenticity and reflection of the unique unfiltered light in space was obsessed over until perfected. Cuarón joked ‘I remember saying that when we finished the film I wanted NASA to call us and say they were suing us for putting cameras in their ships!’ Cuarón was quick to point out that acting was never sacrificed to attain visual brilliance, the physicality of Sandra Bullock’s performance was likened to a dancer performing complex choreography. The longevity of a CGI heavy picture is questionable with the pair referring to ageing of classics such as Jason and the Argonauts. Although it looks visually dated now, the story and universal emotional themes are still as relevant as ever. It is the hoped that Gravity will stand the test of time and its power will overcome the continued technological advanacements in the coming years.
The Mexican stressed that ‘all of this technology, are only tools to achieve the cinematic experience and cinematic moment. For us, the conceptual aspect behind it and theoretical aspect of what we are trying to convey was more important. All of the technology was in service of that’. When questioned whether they were happy with the accolades and critical reception toward the film. Both admitted that the end of the grueling creation process resulted in an overriding sense of relief rather than happiness. Cuarón’s charisma is evident, especially when he said “They ask if I’m happy and elated by its success and all of this. For me, it’s like the fox who has been chased by hounds for four and a half years, and then the fox gets away. Is the fox happy? The fox is happy when he is frolicking with another fox, playing with the cubs in the meadow, mating, but when he escapes it’s just relief. That’s not happiness.”
All in all, the evening was a fascinating insight into the making of a mega budget Hollywood blockbuster which has gone on to become a record breaking box office sensation.