ASTANA – Amateur filmmakers in Pavlodar are shooting a fantasy-action movie titled “The Mechanics” using CGI (computer-generated imagery) technology.
Andrey Zakharov, the leader of the group making the film, is an engineer-administrator at the Aksu Ferroalloys Plant near Pavlodar. He is also a professional photographer and the author of the video project underground.kz which shines light on Kazakhstan’s rock music scene. Although he hasn’t studied filmmaking, he has managed to muster up the courage to create a film.
“The Mechanics” is a product of Zakharov’s imagination as well as his first independent film. He is a director and screenwriter and is also responsible for overseeing the film’s shooting process. “We have neither sponsors nor investors. Our group is funded with enthusiasm. We are funding the entire project ourselves and we create the characters, model the costumes and make the decorations on our own initiative. We rely on our friends and fans to tell us when something is missing. The purpose of this film is to break the stereotypes about Kazakhstan filmmaking,” said Zakharov.
“The Mechanics” is about an ordinary girl named Casey who, by circumstance, finds herself trying to save the universe with a group of peacekeeping heroes called the Mechanics.
According to Zakharov, the film has many dynamic scenes. Some parts of the film are entirely computer generated. So far, 60 percent of the film has been drawn and 30 percent has been shot via traditional means.
The project casts amateur actors and is being shot in basements, attics and public streets. The film’s budget is about four million tenge (US$21,978). British director Gareth Edwards’ 2010 movie “Monsters” had a budget of $15,000 and was a box office success, grossing $4.2 million.
Zakharov noted that the film will be completed in December and then undergo post-production and editing.
He added: “Once everything is ready, we will try to get Timur Bekmambetov involved. We have already spoken with people capable of helping us reach him in Moscow. We aren’t ruling out other options though.”
Timur Bekmambetov is a Kazakh-Russian film director known for his vampire franchise “Night Watch” (2004, Russia), “Day Watch” (2006, Russia) and “Wanted” (2008, USA) among others. Similarly, he started his career with the independent movie “Peshavar Waltz” (1994).
“The Mechanics” is being made without support from professional filmmakers, so there is the possibility that it may not do well at the box office. However, no matter the outcome, the team will have gained valuable experience and completed something not many do.
Famous classics such as “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990) were independent projects.