Eye In The Sky, a film about a commander in England, drone pilots in The United States, terrorists located somewhere in Kenya. Do they have the authority to strike at these high value targets on foreign soil? How far can they take this action, and what are the stakes. All these are weighed up in this thriller about remote warfare.
SAMDB had the opportunity to do an Q&A with director of Eye In The Sky, Gavin Hood (writer / director Ender’s Game and Tsotsi, director X-Men Origins: Wolverine to name but a few).
What inspired you to become a film director?
I was an actor before I became a director. There were very few films being made in SA when I started in the industry in the mid 80’s. Mostly dreadful B action movies for the US straight to video market. I realized at some point that if I wanted to do better work I needed to generate my own work and I started working hard at my writing. Directing followed from writing my own scripts.
Films such as Eye in the Sky are shot and set in many varied locations. How to you approach such a project, and prepare yourself to realise the written story in a visual format?
That’s a very broad question. But it all starts with a great script. I then spend a lot of time gathering visual references and ideas online. Then I put together mood boards that indicate camera, lighting and color palette ideas and I do rough sketches of how I think I might layout the floor plans of sets to best stage action and be able to accommodate camera moves etc. Finally I take these initial ideas to my team – production designer, cinematographer, pre-vis and story board artists etc and with the help of many talented people it all slowly comes together.
Being from SA, and being able to shoot various films here (including Eye in the Sky), do you try bring a piece of your SA heritage to each project?
My emotional and political experiences growing up in SA definitely influence the way I see the world and the themes I’m drawn to.
Film or digital? And why?
Digital. It’s come so far. Cameras are lighter and you can shoot for longer in way less light. Get over film. For all practical purposes you can achieve any film effect you want in post. And I love the digital intermediate process where you have so much control over the image.
Any advice for aspiring film directors?
Make short films to practice your craft. That’s where you learn in a safe environment. Don’t make a feature until you’re sure you are ready. I’ve seen so many bad first features. Remember, there’s only one thing harder than raising money for a first feature film, and that’s raising money for a second feature if your first one was bad.
What’s next for you?
That depends on what audiences think of Eye in the Sky!
We are grateful, and thank Gavin for sharing his experiences, and journey with us.