Beautiful is a black comedy about ‘mateship’. The story revolves around two mates, Barry(older) and Kev (younger), who share a passion for a spot of fishing. On an epic morning, mirror calm water bathed in golden light, the dinghy heads out towards their coveted fishing spot. What begins as a serene start to the day rapidly deteriorates as first Barry then Kev reveal truths that will change the course of their friendship forever, or will it?
“Beautiful was taken from a theatre sketch written and performed by Jason Hoyte and
Jonathan Brugh. The challenge lay in adapting its simplicity on the stage to technicalities of the big screen. Maintaining the honesty of the characters (originally a parody) without losing irony or comedy of the original production became the obvious directing challenge for me.
The majority of the story takes place in a 14 foot dinghy and required an archetypal ‘chocolate box’ backdrop. Great Barrier Island was the perfect location (it is 3 hours by ferry from downtown Auckland) as its panoramic landscape offered safe waters, sensational lighting and epic scenery. The story evolves during ‘golden hours’ of pre and early dawn.
Among the difficulties encountered were managing to film at the beginning and end of the day, competing with the tide, weather conditions and the necessity of housing the camera and 20-odd crew.
Casting for this short film was critical. After an extensive search involving some of New Zealand’s finest actors we discovered the perfect Kev and Barry in established theatre and film actors Jason Hoyte and Tim Gordon.
Tim and Jason spent four days on Great Barrier Island prior to shooting, to shake the city out of them and afford them the time to absorb the environment. As is evident in their performance, these four days were crucial to their honest portrayal of two kiwi mates.
Stephen Latty, the cinematographer, began working with this project from the earliest stages. Steve brought fantastic energy and vision to the whole production. His experience and spirit ensured more time was made available to fine-tune the direction and performance of the actors. Stephen’s background as a Gaffer and Director of Photography (DOP) was invaluable as he, Grip Jay Muro and Gaffer Tony Blackwood, designed and oversaw the construction of the complex scaff-rig, which was built on the stern of a fifty-foot boat and ensured the ‘dinghy’ vision was made a reality. The scaff-rig also provided a certain amount of latitude when it came to light control, particularly when filming in the harsh midday sun.
The ingenious bungy rig that hung from the scaff-rig allowed the camera to feel weightless and movement of the water. It heightened the ‘at-sea’ feel and gave Stephen absolute control of pan and tilt without the confines of a traditional head enables the viewers the perceived sensation of being there.”