“THE SHAMAN” Diary: Shoot in Iceland

A few weeks ago we had written about an interesting sci-fi short film, The Shaman made by Marco Kalantari (you can check out the synopsis,trailer and whole film here). And now Marco shares some insights on how he went about shooting for the same in Iceland which formed an essential part of the film.

The ShamanOne of THE SHAMAN’s most spectacular moments is the run of Joshua and Lene towards the battle colossus. The way it was created is a paradigm for the power of low budget film making.

THE SHAMAN is set in a utopian world that had been torn apart in a 70 year long war. Marco did not want to compromise on the look of the location, and hence decided to shoot part of the film in the stunning Icelandic landscape. But before he could do that, meticulous planning would be necessary. VFX supervisor Lau created several previz animatics in order to visualise the various angles, and the scale of the colossus. While the scenes on the wide open plain were to be taken in Iceland, those inside the ditch would be shot in Austria, and would finally need to link together perfectly.

The shoot in Iceland was a massive logistic challenge. The tiny budget would not allow the entire crew to travel, so Marco’s plan was to first wrap the Austrian part of the shoot, then fly a small three-man crew and main actor Danny Shayler to Reykjavik. They would carry the costumes and the Arri Alexa camera with them, and then film the scenes of the shaman’s team running towards the colossus with the help of local Icelandic stand-ins. The time frame they had was narrow: Three days for location scout, preparation and shoot.

On the day after arrival Marco and Thomas cruised the south-western part of the island in the search for possible locations. The weather would as always be unpredictable. After a long day they locked down three spots on the west side of Reykjavik for their shoot. Arnor and Hjalti, two students from the Icelandic film academy, joined the team. They would act as doubles for the shield-fire masters.

Early the next morning, the micro crew drove to Kleifarvatn, and started to take their first shots.
In some scenes location manager Lisa Scheid was doubling Lene, and for some shots Marco put the clothes on himself. The shoot in Iceland was by far the toughest day of the THE SHAMAN project, but the epic images captured in the vast, ancient lava fields proved that the trip was worth the effort.

The paradox is.. the smaller the budget, the bigger the freedom of creation.

Check out the video below which tells us how Marco and his team managed the Iceland schedule.


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