To make us stand out from the many fanfilm productions out there we decided to use a more uncommon shooting location than the "woods behind our house" for our film. Far and exotic locations were supposed to make the scenery more realistic and help the audience to dive into the foreign world more easily. In the beginning we only planned to shoot in Tunesia which was an absolutely authentic shooting location for Tatooine (and the original shooting location of Lucasfilm). But as time came by, we coupled our passion for travelling and for our film more often which is how many other countries joined up as shooting locations. So, all there is to say is: Enjoy our trip- and shooting reports and try not to get overwhelmed by wanderlust ;-)
Before we could fly to Tatooine, our first problem to solve was getting the costumes and props, esp. the "weapons", safely and completely across the Mediterranean Sea. Thus we reached Munich Airport with six totally overloaded suitcases. To be honest,we really were worried about the blasters, although they are non-metallic. If they took them away our whole movie would have been violated. And, of course, things went wrong: The small suitcase (being packed with two Tusken masks and a Stormtrooper blaster) went through the baggage control and made several security officers look dumbfounded, probably because of the alluminium eyes of the Tusken. They opened the suitcase and the Officer suddenly pointed our blaster at us. I was sure that we would be surrounded by the Munich special ops team any moment. But somehow we managed to convince them of our story ("You will let us and the suitcases pass!") and were allowed to board the plain with our complete gear. The force was with us ;-)
Arriving in Tunesia, our first step was to get the car at the aiport. But the reserved Jeep was not there and the"huge" AVIS-Customer-Center was deserted (the sign "we try harder" was really no comfort to us). After 1h a small (at least 100 years old) Tunesian with a red Fez on his head came by. Finally 5h later we were sitting in our car and the tour could begin.
The Sandtrooper costume made the inhabitants cry out in amazement. Tourists used the moment to take a photo - luckily they always left soon enough for us have enough time for shooting.
This is where we met Tunesian officialism firsthand. Some agents of the tourist agency in Matmata asked us to show them our filming permit. Explaining to them in bad French that we were shooting only for private use ("no Cinémŕ" , "no télévision" ) took so much time that the sun was gone by then. Somehow they didn't believe we're only amateurs, might be that our stormtrooper looked too professional ;-)
So we promised them to go to the tourist office in Gabes to buy a filming permit. In that office, however, nobody had ever heard of such a permit. Even more, they told us to simply bribe anyone who might ask us to see such a thing, even their own colleagues! ;-)
So this is it - the search for George Luca's hidden set. Actually it was pretty easy to find. All you have to do is waiting in front of one of the big hotels and simply follow the hotel jeeps who bring masses of tourists to the set every day ;-) Onto the small street, into the dunes - and after 14 kilometres we were very close. I had to think about the route description of a fan in the internet all the time: "...pass the head of the dromedar!". Well, here it was, a small mountain with that exact form ;-)
The small Star Wars village could already be seen in the distance when several trucks passed us, loaded with vehicles of WW2. What was going on here? A new Hollywood movie? Maybe even Indiana Jones 4? Later a local tourist guide told us that it had indeed been "Indiana Jones"! However, as there is no sign whatsoever on any website about first shootings of that movie, this might be false information. Incredible, if we had been there a few days earlier, we might be able to provide you pictures with Harrison, who knows ;-)
On the other hand, if they had blocked the set there for a big production, we surely wouldn't have had a chance to do our movie. So we looked excitedly to things to come and enjoyed the view on...MOS ESPA.
Watto's house was easy to find, so we ran inside and called for him: "A puthe ta Nolja" ;-) As you can see they are indeed just a setting, the backsides are made of simple wood and paper-mâché. So that's where young Anakin fell in love with Padmé - on that table on the right picture!
Fortunately, guided Jeep Tours never stay long at one place. We used the time to have a look around.
5 minutes later the whole set was ours. Unfortunetly, dusk was upon us, so we decided to drive onto a dune to see the setting sun up there. A very bad idea (tip of a desert-experienced friend: „Never drive through dunes on your own“).
One single bad timed braking on the dune and the car wouldn't move one way or the other. Additionally, a sandstorm came over us - perfect chaos without any tools to get the car out. Actually, by that time we all had silently agreed on sleeping in Watto's house that night ;-) Eventually two Bedouins showed up and helped us to free the car. The older one invited us to sleep in his little hut close to the set - of course we agreed on that!
We had preserved fish and hard baguette for dinner and a water melon as dessert. Mabrouk, our new friend, of course had been there already at the real Star Wars production. Thus he had very interesting stories to tell, and so we a very adventurous experience below a perfect starlit sky at the set of Mos Esba. What a night!
The next day we awoke completely covered with sand at about 6 am, went outside and saw 20 Jeeps on the next dune - argh! So I jumped into the Stormtrooper costume and began stopping the first tourists, asking for their license (see short movie "A Trooper´s Diary" in the download section). Their guides were so bold to announce us as the original film crew from the US making first tests for the upcoming Star Wars movies. The tourists, Spanish this time, went berserk and wanted to make about 2000 pictures with us. We felt a bit like real stars then! ;-)
Fortunately (because of the high temperatures) Jeep Tours take place only in the morning and in the evening, meaning that we had a complete day in the original set of Lucasfilm ahead of us - amazing!!
One day after our desert adventure we ignored the next tip of our friend („never drive into the Chot, whole caravans were stuck there“). But Luke Skywalker´s famed igloo could even be seen from the street. It was so close and there were even jeep tracks into that direction. So we dared to drive into the Chot, a huge salt sea in West Tunesia.
About 2km later we burst into the salt and sank about 20 centimeters into the mud. OOPS! While Veit went back to the street to get help, I went to the igloo (about 500 meter away) and destroyed a small wooden table in front of the entrance (I´m really sorry, but we had a real emergency. Besides the table would have annoyed us later when shooting anyway ;-)) and returned to the car with enough material to get us out there. We spent 3 hours digging until the car was free and driving on the wooden planks to reach safety outside the Chot again. I don't need to mention here that we as well as the car were full of mud. Reaching the hotel in Nefta was pretty funny.
The next morning we went to the igloo on foot. The closer we got, the more excited we were.
The igloo and the famous crater were both full of water as it had rained the day before.
On a sidenote, the crater is the hole in the ground in which Owen and Beru live in the movie. The perspective and an artful cut hide that the building is in reality divided into two different sets (with about 300km distance between them). We filmed the inside of the crater in Matmata on Day 1 - as George Lucas had done before us.
So we shot the scenes and remained there a little longer. To stand where Mark Hamill once looked into the 2 suns and where Hayden Christensen jumped onto his speederbike was a weird, but fantastic feeling.
The small marsh into the Tusken Canyon was exciting and strange as well: We entered an unknown place, but it felt as if we had been here before.
It's really unbelievable, you stand in the middle of the valley, turn your head and see scenes you've seen a hundred times before („A New Hope“): „Wow, that's where Ben and Luke viewed Mos Eisley“, „Here Luke was attacked by the Tuskens“,
„That's where Artoo hid himself“, and „Ben Kenobi came that way“, every fan knows these places on first sight.
Ok, enough googling - time to get into the Tusken costumes, let's get to work!.
Ksar Ghilane is a small oasis in the middle of the Sahara. Being no Star Wars set, it is still a place every traveller in Tunesia should visit.
This small oasis, with a nice natural swimming pool inside (a thermal spring) is an absolute must. The way to it, however, is hell. Seriously, our suitcases and bags jumped up to the roof. A drive through these sandcovered runways without an allwheel-car is completely impossible. The scenery here is perfect for wonderful recordings in the desert, like for example in front of a breathtaking sunset.
Set: The hill town of Gourmesa
Coordinates/route description: No need as the place can be found on any map and in any traveller's guide.
Once again no Lucasfilm location, still an awesome place I already visited on an earlier trip to Tunesia. The perfect location for an Ambush of the Sith.
The weather was perfect, and, as usual, we were all alone, no one bothering us. The only thing troubling us was the wind, as Lars's menacing cape kept flying into his face or around his lightsaber ;-)
On our way back we decided to make a little stopover in Ksar Hedada, formally known as Anakins Homestead in "Episode I - The Phnatom Menace". The most impressive at this place was the huge sign with the hint about the Star Wars Movie. The hotel itself was not very exciting.
On our way to Djerba we enjoyed a short survey at Ben Kenobi´s house near the small village of Adjim. Unfortunately this house is only known to fanciers of the Original-Trilogy (Ep 4). In the Special-Edition the house was replaced by a CGI-Painting. The real funny thing about this house is: while in the movie Ben´s House is located in high mountain wasteland, in reality it is situated at the waterfront ;-)
Finally we decided to spend our last day in Tunesia in a luxurious hotel on Djerba. 5 days in the desert make you value a pool, a big buffet and clean beds like never before.
Day 7 Farewell to the Desert of Dreams
On a cold, rainy Saturday morning the team met up to find the sun again - not being seen in Germany for weeks -, and to shoot some scenes at the beautiful original location of "Episode II - Attack of the Clones". As we wanted the way to be fun we crossed the Alps in 2 roadsters, taking the pretty tough Stelvio Pass.
After a few hours' drive we found the sun again. Our temper rose thanks to the mild temperatures and Lake Como - such a wonderful place with all it's small villages, it could be part of a fairy tale. Now we understand why George bought himself a villa here. P.S. Clooney, not Lucas ;-)
As the small villa is located on a peninsula, it is easily to reach on foot. We knew that it was no public place and an entrance fee had to be paid. But would they let us shoot our scenes there? A first cautious "Could we..." was answered by a plain and simple "No!". With a small white lie ("our friends who are going to marry soon met here for the first time and we want to do a movie for their wedding day!"), a few gestures ("You will let us film here! You can pass! ) and the promise not to get too close to the house itself but to film only in the garden (!!!), we finally managed to get permission to shoot.
As the whole place was under constant camera surveillance we decided to act quickly: Important shots first, so that, if they found out we weren't doing a wedding movie, we would have at least some shots of Naboo. Thus we had to get into our costumes fast, style ourselves, get the camera running and goooooooo!
Pfew, the famous balcony was done. Now all that was left was the shot at the house. Shooting at the house? Hadn't they said something about that? We're sorry, but we really couldn't remember ;-)
As soon as the shots were finished, we took time for a nice photo, as we now didn't care anyways ;-)
To get a good distance shot of the Villa, however, we had to leave the peninsula on the water. So we drove a big circle around it in a lake taxi, stopped at the close beach of Lidodilenno Strand Bar...
...got our skin tanned in the sun and finally drove to the North, back to Munich, and hoped that the sun would follow us soon (as a matter of fact, it didn't for several weeks...).
YAVIN IV - The secret Rebell Base
Date: to be done
Set: Tikal, Guatemala
Coordinates: 17°13'2"N, 89°38'9"E
Date: 9. of September 2006
For a short hangar scene we needed just that: a beautiful, big and, most importantly, empty hangar. And this time we had to admit that SIZE DOES MATTER. After having researched the internet for pictures there was only one choice: one of the three biggest hangars of the world, the zeppelin-hangar in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Our contact person (who is in charge for publicity there) was a very friendly and helpful person, giving us one hour to shoot in front of the huge hangar gates - of course at a time when the Zeppelin would be on tour. But before we could get started we were shocked during our preparations. Marcos R2 was rented by the German Garrison for a big media event in Munich for exactly that date. Without an Astromech, however, the scene wouldn't be just half as good, so we thought we had planned for nothing. After I had unhappily cancelled the shooting a small miracle took place: Lucasfilm wouldn't allow anything but original props and costumes at the media event, thus the appearance of the German Garrison and of Artoo had to be cancelled. Bad for them, but good for us: R2 was free for our shooting again. Thanks to Lucas(film) himself we could shoot as planned now. However, the weather could still hit us hard. Because the zeppelin is so big it can be shaken easily by wind. That's why the zeppelin wouldn't have started that day (thus filling the hangar we needed empty) if there had been a thunderstorm or too strong wind (like there had been the day before). However, we were lucky again as the day we went to Friedrichshafen was the first sunny day for weeks ;-)
So the first sun-rays lit our way to Friedrichshafen on early Saturday. The passengers awaiting entry to the hangar at its entrance enjoyed themselves a lot while watching us getting into our costumes and our small white droid on its feet.
As soon as we were permit to go in and they had opened the hangar gates, time began ticking: we had only 1 hour to shoot! In that very moment we realised that 3PO's armor could not be closed properly (Threepio's actor had to be changed 2 days before the shot so we had no chance to see if the costume would fit him. A big mistake!). Hence Threepio and the Rebel Fleet Comander changed costumes and characters. We lost precious time there.
The real highlight of the day for our two girls: Fotoshooting with C3PO and R2!
Eventually the shot could begin. Clapper-board, camera's on and... ACTION !
I have no idea how but we managed to shoot everything in time. In the end the astrodroid got a final kiss and brave Dirk could be released from the golden mask.
So the Bantha Poodoo Team said goodbye and made it's way to a well earned lunch on the lake promenade of Friedrichshafen - with a perfect view on the fabulous scenery!
Hereby I explecitely want to thank Kathrin Runge and the Ground Crew on behalf of our team for their help. Mad trips and projects like this fanfilm wouldn't be possible without people like them! And, of course, once again thanks to Marco Hammerand whose small astromech did a perfect job! For the whole trip back to Munich he remained bravely on the roof of our car, reliably repairing the hyperdrive ;-)
To flee from cold and rainy Germany me and some friends decided to have some relaxed Scuba-diving days in the South-Chinese sun. On the internet I found out that some of the Kashyyk shots (not all of it was CGI) from "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" had taken place on the coasts of Thailand and China. Thus scuba diving was our main focus, we decided to fly to a tiny island near malaysia. As we found out later our decision was pretty good ;-)
So why not use this opportunity and bring along the Clone armor? We didn't want to have as much trouble with the airport security checks as we had on the trip to Tunesia so we separated the blaster into 5 pieces and different suitcases. After 14 long hours on the plane we had finally reached paradise.
However, the bad weather (10 days full of rain) spoiled our good moods. It wasn't easy to chill under these circumstances; But now we had more time for shooting. The beautiful beaches were deserted and the foggy rainy weather made the athmosphere completely Kashyyk-like.
Thus the small island became a perfect location for DoO66: deserted beaches, characteristic cliffs, a dense mountain scenery with foggy gorges and a jungle thicket green as poison.
Fortunately the sun showed up every now and then, giving us the chance to make beautiful shots. And with temperatures of about 30 deg C and a humidity of more than 80% most of the time acting is the greatest pleasure: "Make-uuuuuuuuup, please dab the sweat off my face!" ;-)
The only visitors we had during the shooting were a few locals. Interesting enough, their English was as good as our Malaysian. 2 simple words, however, we could undestand easily: "STAR WARS, STAR WARS". Well, that's what I'd call international understanding ;-)
Date: 12. June of 2010
Set: Li River, Yangshuo, China
Coordinates: 24°47'N, 110°30'E
The shooting of Malaysia had given us brilliant beach- and jungle-material but we still lacked the typical rock formations along the coast of Kashyyk. My job made me go to China for 6 months where I took the chance to travel to the southern provinces for a weekend.
Those provinces are well known for their tropical climate and endless rice-fields. A speciality of the region along the Lee River are the extraordinary rock formations which were already used by Lucasfilm for their Kashyyk-scenes.
The weather was perfect. A bit cloudy, tropically wet and all the bizarre hills were surrounded by huge fog patches - I managed to shoot some scenes that couldn't be any closer to Episode III. And I had shot them at the original location! Just amazing. Only thing missing: the Wookies ;-)
ANDO PRIME - Caught in the ice
As every hardcore Star Wars Fan knows, the shooting for "Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" took place in the Ice Desert close to the Norwegian town Finse. However, as we have a brilliant scenery directly next door (the Alps), we decided to abandon our motto ("shoot on the original locations") this one time to save some money. Hence we chose a shooting location that lived up to it's name.
Retrospective we can say that shooting Hoth was the most difficult and physically exhausting of all our shots so far. Honestly, compared to that even Tunesia was like a walk in the sun! Up to now we shot for 3 days (better: tried to shoot), leading the whole crew to the edge of collapse several times, and we only shot about half of the planned scenes. Thus, unfortunately, this chapter isn't finished yet, but read it yourselves.
Day 1 Mission in the iceIn the beginning we feared we wouldn't have enough snow; the opposite was the case. We sank into fresh powder up to our thighs ;-) The scenery was unbelievable: Yes, this was Hoth !
Unfortunately, due to deep snow and impassable terrain, the shooting was extremely grinding and exhausting. For every location-change to another spot a few hundred meters away we had to fight through the snow for about 30 mins.
In one scene the Snowtrooper helmet slipped through our hands and slided down the whole slope; the bloody thing was gone. The idea of getting it on the next day with one of our snowboards didn't really strike Lars as a good one: If the wind blew it away or a skier took it with him as a souvenir, the shooting would be over. Hence Lars followed the helmet. After 90 mins he was back on the summit, just in time to catch the last gondola to the vale. Man, we lost precious time there. After this heavy work on 3200m height and -14 degrees we were dead in the evening ;-)
Day 2 Trapped in the snowstormOn this day we honestly wished to be a Bluescreen production. Weeks of planning and acute preparations had taken place, everything seemed perfect. Loads of fans from all over Germany had applied to take part as actors, supernumeries and helpers, every camera angle was adjusted adequately to the location, and even the weather was supposed to be sunny and friendly.
But as on our tour in Tunesia (where we had exactly the same problem as the Lucas-Crew had had 30 years before us in the Chot el Djerid), again we went through the same fate as Lucas before us when shooting „Episode V". In 1979 a heavy snowstorm forced Irvin Kershner (Director) and his camera team to shoot out of the hotelsuite-window while poor Mark Hamill suffered a few meters outside in the blowing cold. So why should our small team fare any better...Whether we should see that as a curse or as a good sign will be seen in the future ;-) Anyway, the moment we left the gondola the wind tried to tear us apart. We tried our luck (although nearly all slopes were closed) as we wouldn't give up that fast. Moments later the Crew marched gallantly through the storm to the actual shooting location, carrying all the heavy equipment. The conditions there, however, were everthing but rosy.
With a wind speed of about 35 mph and -17 deg it was freezing, and the dispersed icesnow decreased the sight to about 10 yards. The result: impossible to shoot here! We needed quick decisions now as time was short! Completely exhausted and frozen to the marrow we fought our way to the next ski lodge.
By then we had lost 4 hours. For me the day was over in that moment. Plus, we were stuck in that lodge. However, we wouldn't be the Banthapoodoo Team if a small miracle hadn't taken place. Nope, the sky didn't clear up, that would have been way too easy. With loads of diplomacy and help of my purse we convinced the innkeeper to help us out.
Thus, minutes later the whole team found itself in the front (!) cage of a snow cat on the way to a lower situated station.
Thanks to this funny experience the group recovered fully, so we managed to start shooting (a bit behind schedule) at a quieter part of the mountain
We bravely shot one scene after the other as if the snowstorm had never happened.
Day 3 Above the clouds freedom must be......endless. A week after the stormy experience we accepted the generous offer of a friend to cross the Alps in a plane.
I used that chance to make some aerial shots of Hoth, of course ;-). Without knowing the exact route before, suddenly I recognized a mountain formation. To our right was the Hintertuxer Glacier, the very mountain which had spoiled our shooting a week before with wind and storm.
Strangely enough everything looked completely calm from up here ;-)
Day 5 The end of the Iceplanet?Nearly 2 months after our last adventure in the mountains we came back to shoot the missing scenes. As we had to stop shooting last time thanks to a snowstorm, we thought it couldn’t get worse this time. Far from it! A few days before we had been out in the sun, enjoying a cool beer in a beer garden. We seem to be cursed, however, and so the weather got worse and worse. What now? Cancel the event? Nah, we wanted to get this done once and for all. So we dared another trip to the icy heights (3200m) of the Hintertux Glacier.
While last time shooting was simply impossible due to the storm, this time the conditions were bearable. The temperature was at about -5° C with moderate winds. Personally, I would have preferred sunshine for better light and, hence, quality; however, I have to admit that the foggy weather and the snowfall created a very authentic Hoth-like atmosphere.
Because of the bad weather and fresh powder the shooting took ages. The thin air up there made us feel whacked and the actors in their costumes were in the danger of hypothermia in a matter of minutes (in spite of warm underwear).
But we went on til the last gondola left the mountain, celebrated the last (so we hoped) day on Hoth with warm food in a small skihut in the valley and returned to Munich completely shattered, but confident. And that is where the dream of Hoth was undone. One of the two HDV-tapes was apparently damaged. 40 recorded minutes, being 3 hours real-time shooting, were useless. The whole cruelty in the icy heights of Austria had been in vain, thus the disappointment was unbelievably high. We had been cold, we had fought, we had carried boxes full of props up the mountain and worn out expensive costumes. But it had been fun and so it would’ve been worth it for good recordings. Now, however, we have nothing but memories, pictures and a only half the recordings.
Day 6 Finally...... ...everything went fine. Altough we had to wait for another 2 years. In December 2009 we managed to shoot the last scenes at the German Zugspitze. The weather was just perfect and finally we can say "the circle is now complete" ;-)
Everyone who had the chance to visit Marco Hammerad, will probably never forget that moment. After entering the entrance door the stairs lead down to a basement room, which was absolute authentically adapted into a (imperial) STAR WARS scenery. This (probably worldwide) unique room was rebuild by Marco with so much passion and attention to detail, that every SW-Fan will instantly cherish the illusion to be inside a stardestroyer or the death star. In spite of the potentialities an amateur film-maker has today to achieve great effects by combing bluescreen-shots and computer generated backgrounds, we still belief there is nothing like a real build scenery. Therefore Marco´s SW-room was the perfect environment for our appearance of the dark Lord. After getting in the costumes and the preparation of the scenery (e.g. hiding PC and printer ;-)), we were ready for shooting.
Thus the spotlights boosted the room temperature, Alex really had to fight not to die inside his Vader mask because of overheathing. And while the dark Lord of the Sith took decisions about the future of the galaxy,...
...brave Marco slept quit and peacefully. I hope because of the heat and not of our dialogs ;-) Thus the actors still had enough energy for making nonsense, the shooting could not be that hard ;-)
Finally the whole crew took - still in their costumes (!) - place in Marco´s VW-Bus to enjoy a short ride to the next Ice-coffee. The appearcance was of course a very galactic experience for the sunday guests, but this is another story ;-)
The STAR WARS basement build by Marco (mentioned above) was of course a masterpiece, no doubt! But it still had on big disadvantage: it was way to small to convey the impression of a huge and mighty stardestroyer. Besides it was just a room in his basement, but what we additionaly needed was an imperial corridor. Therefore it really made sense to think about constructing of a larger and bigger Set (please find details in our construction report "The Set").
Date: 9. of August 2008
Set: Stardestroyer-Set , Hoehenkirchen (near Munich), Germany
On a rainy, cold Saturday a team of actors, extras, and voluntary helpers from all over germany met to with our first big indoor shooting.
For the first time we enjoyed the luxury of being completely independent from weather and daytime. Surely without our watches we’d have completely lost our sense of time ;-)
Though being still amateurs (regarding indoor shootings) we had to confront new challenges. To sum up I can say we needed more time arranging the decoration and setting the lights (had to be done for every single shot) than shooting the entire scenes.
However, the actors had at least enough time to make nice photos ;-)
Several hours later all participants were really exhausted, but as long as they had enough energy to make nonsense, we could shot ;-)
And finally, after dressing up our high-maintenance-Sith, we even could begin shooting Vaders "stirring" scenes.
Somehow even "Pete", Bene´s remote model car managed to get on board, and of course no one wanted to admit his guilt ;-)
Our Dark Lord with an untypical gesture, but don´t worry, this shot will not be seen in our movie. Stormtroopers....
...and many more Stormtroopers. To be honest, you can´t have enough shots with Troopers be it Storm- or Sandtroopers. So we used the presence of the "dressed in white"-guys in order to shot as much Troops as possible.
I´m still wondering how the Rodian Female did manage to get on the Stardestroyer. But the Gunner was definitely impeached from duty due to his disregarding behavior violating the imperial clothing regulations ;-)
On November 15th, the stardestroyer set was supposed to close its doors forever. But not without opening it one last time. One last chance for our fans to take a look behind the scenes. Which is why our small welcome-team dressed up to receive guests both young and mature.
The reaction on that afternoon were very amusing. While the older kids and the adults used the time to take a deeper look at the set and to discover the litte details in the consoles, doors etc., the younger ones imediately dived into their own little universe and began to conquer rooms, capture troopers and save the galaxy ;-)
My favorite quote of the day came from little Marc-Anakin who asked our AT-ST Driver: "Are you the guy who was kicked out of the AT-ST by Chewie?" ;-)
I think the kids had a lot of fun on that afternoon. And who knows, by the time they´re grown up, our movie might be finished ;-)
MOS ESPA CANTINA - The scum of the universe among themselves
Didn't you - as probably any STAR WARS fan - once look in vain for the "JUMP IN"-button on your TV remote control? To submerge only once into the movie (Episode IV), to enter the Mos Eisley Cantina only once as a famous smuggler, to press past dangerous figures to the bar and to order a Red Rancor or a Bantha Fizz - a dream. On October 20, this dream was close to becoming reality for some of us ;-) We already shot a scene at the original Mos Espa set in Tunisia where our young hero enters the Cantina. One year later, we were ready to shoot the indoor shooting.
The search for a fitting location was long, but in the end we found a beautiful old vault in the heart of Munich. Still, there was much to do before we could start. Many props and decoration parts had to be either built on our own or to be organized by other fans. At this moment we were very eased to count Thomas Manglitz to our friends and supporters. Thomas is the owner and operator of the enchanting movie-figure-museum in Mönchengladbach, Germany.
His exposition of STAR WARS puppets, droids and dioramas is unique in Europe and alone worth a trip (not only because you will soon be able to admire our self-built costumes there in a private corner).
Thomas generously provided us with an exclusive collection of extremely rare and valuable puppets, masks and costumes which is why our cantina-location became incredibly authentic.
The genuine bar was polished by Marcel´s FX-4MK1 Service-Droid, giving the bar the needed hustle and bustle by moving it's uncountable arms and flashing lights at the same time.
All we still lacked for the shooting were the actors and extras...actually many extras. An empty, sterile Cantina was no option. No, we wanted a glooming, eerie place, filled with dire, dangerous figures from all over the galaxy.
And they came! Smugglers, pilots, bountyhunters and aliens. Not from all over the galaxy, though, but from all over Germany and...
...from Belgium ;-) On the 30th STAR WARS Celebration in London we met Dominique and his friends. The small Belgian STAR WARS fan group decided to support or film and set out on a 900km-long journey to Munich. The costumes with which Dominique, Cookie, Cassandre, David, Stephane, Thierry and Ophélie came to the set took everyone's breath away!
Our beloved and proven Hoth-team surprised us with a fantastic weird Rodian - regular's table. Sandtrooper, Jawas and the Wookie of Alex (the best and most authentic one we have ever seen) topped off the scene.
And eventually we felt a little bit like in a dangerous and filthy hive of villany, in a galaxy far, far away ;-)
The shooting could begin, and time flew past. Thanks to the energetic help of the makers of Tydirium and The Price of Freedom we managed to shoot takes on this long day that we wouldn't have dreamed of a year ago. Because, actually, this film was never intended to be more than a short film with a Sandtrooper in the desert ;-)
And so the Banthapoodoo Team wants to thank everyone here who helped us to make this wonderful day come true and helped us with words and deeds! On that day we were in the Mos Espa Cantina...
JABBA´s PALAST OF THE TWO SUNS
Date: 15. of November 2009
Set: Tournai, Belgium
In the ruins of an old estate close to Würzburg we shot the first part of the shooting. For the second and main shooting, however, we travelled the 900 kilometres to Tournai in Belgium a couple of weeks later. Sitting in an old, forlorn house, which is also the workshop and warehouse for many more fantastic puppets, we finally met the most famous crime lord of Tatooine.
But not only that, we also met a complete team of cheerful and motivated extras Dominique had signed up for us.
The shooting, however, became a small challenge. Because my French was rusty at best, I gave the stage directions in English and Dominique translated them into French. Somehow this made the shooting extra special and funny, and in the end we got the exact (!) shots we needed.
This is why we cannot thank our Belgian friends enough, and we are looking forward to meeting you guys at the film premiere.