Going to Hell is a 90 minute documentary which tells the whole tortured story of Soul Searcher’s production. This is not your typical “HBO First Look” style programme. It is not filled with actors explaining the plot of the film you’ve just watched and patting each other on the back. It’s a no-holds-barred, warts-and-all record of the many ups and downs (mostly downs) of the production. It’s like Lost in La Mancha, only Soul Searcher somehow got finished.
I was delighted to discover that Raindance selected Going to Hell as one of its top six documentaries about filmmaking, alongside such towering classics of the genre as the aforementioned Lost in La Mancha and Heart of Darkness. Read the article here.
Here’s the official Going to Hell synopsis:
In April 2002, writer-director Neil Oseman and writer-producer James Clarke set out to make an ambitious fantasy-adventure movie. Telling the story of an ordinary guy who is trained to be the new Grim Reaper, Soul Searcher requires martial arts, countless special effects and a climactic chase between a 1973 Ford Mustang and an express train to Hell. Despite the pair’s optimism and over a year of development work, they are unable to raise financing for the project. Oseman decides to go ahead with the film on a shoestring budget, and although Clarke has reservations, he agrees.
In October 2003 they begin a six week shoot, taking place almost entirely at night, with an unpaid cast and crew. They have just £7,000 in the bank. The shoot quickly becomes a nightmare with freezing temperatures, props that fall apart and a malfunctioning camera.
But the problems are just beginning. Two weeks in, Clarke quits, leaving Oseman and his heroic Assistant Director Ed Reed to carry the project. The schedule overruns, exhausting cast and crew as they shoot from 5pm to 9am more than once.
As post-production arrives, the troubles continue. Reed drops out, the money is long gone and there are 250 FX shots to complete, not to mention that Oseman is dead-set on recording the score with a real orchestra. Can he complete what may just be the most ambitious movie ever made on a five figure budget?
Also from Monday, for £3.95 you’ll be able to rent the deluxe edition of Going to Hell, which includes some invaluable “how to” featurettes for any indie filmmaker covering low tech FX, lighting, martial arts, props and sound design. That’s almost two and a half hours of content for less than £4 – bargain!