Authenticity in Filmmaking

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Have you ever watched a film set in a specific location of the world, only to find that the filmmakers didn’t actually film at that said location causing you to jump out your seat, jab a finger at the screen and gasp in horror?
I’m looking at you Fargo.

This is the issue I’m dealing with right now.
As an amateur filmmaker with very few pennies to my name, should I even be attempting to make my first feature as authentic as possible?

Frozen Lake is essentially a road movie set in a dystopian future that takes place across China, Mongolia and Russia. A long way from my quaint home in Cornwall.
The cost of getting equipment, actors and crew over to these countries would blow my entire budget. And that’s just the transport.
That’s not including accommodation, food, money conversion, potential translators or even the return flight home.
It’s not just the money aspect. I’d also need to sort out insurance for filming abroad, research the ever-changing local laws and regulations on filming and get government permission before I even plan on flying out there.

So is it really worth being authentic when it comes to the locations of my film?
Yes and no.
I will tell you why.

My screenplay takes place in the future (2075 to be exact) and after nuclear war has broken out. This leaves me with quite a lot of lee-way in regards to the backdrop of my world, even if my world is based on our real one.
Unlike most post-apocalyptic films, Frozen Lake’s scenery doesn’t consist of dust plains, rubble-strewn cities or dark grey landscapes.
Instead of the nuclear blasts within my story destroying everything in its wake, it has allowed the world to become its own eco-system.
All vegetation has flourished, changing the Mongolian deserts (where the majority of the film takes place) into expanses of overgrown green forestry.

Many places within my own country could easily be used to film these sections.
The United Kingdom is bursting with greenery and its all at my finger tips ♥

Having scouted and found several potentially locations for shooting Frozen Lake, I feel more confident as an amateur filmmaker in letting go of this strictness of authenticity.

However.

There is one location I refuse to film anywhere else but its own.
The Frozen Lake.
The frozen lake which is at the heart of my screenplay is the Lake Baikal in Russia.
I can’t remember when I had even heard of Lake Baikal or where I first saw it, but I have fallen completely in love with it.
I’ve spent hours watching videos and pinning photos of the Lake Baikal, picturing Afon walking through his home town of  Listvyanka, staring out across the frozen lake.

Every other location within my film can be passed off as somewhere else.
But not the frozen lake.
Maybe its due to my obsession with the place.
Or maybe because of the unlikeness of finding a lake in the UK that freezes.
Or the fact the whole film revolves around the characters making it to Lake Baikal.
Either way.
I want to film at Lake Baikal.
Maybe not for this idea of authenticity, but just for the love and emotions that have grown out of my screenplay that originated from the imagery of the frozen Lake Baikal.

I want will to stay true to the place that helped give birth to my screenplay ♥

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2 thoughts on “Authenticity in Filmmaking

  1. That’s the beauty of filmmaking. We warp reality to what we want it to be. Selective focus and detail through the camera unlocks so many possibilities that simply don’t exist to the naked eye. I’ve always loved the green tones of Russian films (stalker, koktebel, etc.) – a little grading and you’ll have Russia. I mean, filmmaking really is 24 (or 25) lies per second.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Completely agree with you 🙂 it’s wonderful as a filmmaker to use a location that’s essentially on your door step and turn it into any other place in the world!

      Like

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