Kristoffer Rus’s “The Big Leap” wraps shooting 26 April 2012
Kristoffer Rus’s new movie, the Polish and Swedish co-production “The Big Leap”, has wrapped up shooting. A black comedy about spiritual dilemmas posed by the financial crisis, “The Big Leap” will combine CGI special effects and live action. The cast is headlined by international stars Tilly Scott Pedersen (Dagur Kari’s “Dark Horse”), Gustaf Skarsgård (Peter Weir’s “The Way Back”) and Arkadiusz Jakubik (Wojtek Smarzowski’s “The Dark House”). This is the first such ambitious project made to date in Poland!
“The Big Leap” is the story of three people hit by the financial crisis who meet on top of a skyscraper to commit suicide. It quickly becomes apparent that they have different ideas about life and death: Sarah is a believer, John an atheist, and Ben an agnostic. Financial crisis becomes spiritual crisis. The only way to find out who is right is to take the Big Leap.
The movie was born out of the question of God’s existence. “It’s impossible to answer this question”, says director Kristoffer Rus. “Yet I firmly believe that one of the most important tasks we face in life is to address it. The movie is my quest to answer this question, in the form an absurd comedy with brilliant acting and comic dialogues. It’s punchy and off the wall, and all this in a short film!”
The producers brought in international stars from Los Angeles. Tilly Scott Pedersen instantly liked the movie because of its relevance to our times. She said that we can identify with the story at many points in our lives, adding that we don’t often find ourselves actually standing on the edge of a skyscraper, but we frequently face dramatic choices that can prove costly, especially amid the massive changes going on around us. Gustaf Skarsgård sacrificed his vacation to be able to come to Warsaw. He said that he liked the absurd tone of the story, adding that the script’s strength is its ironic and humorous take on the serious topic. The international stars appeared alongside Arkadiusz Jakubik, who got on board two years ago. “I was mind blown by the director’s courage and breath of cinematic vision”.
The actors were most surprised by the movie’s heavy use of technology. The entire film was shot against greenscreen. In post-production a CGI layer will be added – an entire city, shown through stunning camera movements, will envelope the actors and set pieces. Gustaf Skarsgård said that he and Tilly Scott Pedersen had never worked on a movie involving so much special effects. He added that they are both used to CGI, which is becoming a norm, but they had never been in a movie that relied so heavily on computer technology. The film is a first in Poland. “It’s definitely the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced. The vast amount of computer effects and ambitious and daring visuals are only a means to tell a story, not an end in themselves”, says Filip Kaczorek, visual effects supervisor at ATM FX.
Kristoffer Rus is a Swedish director with Polish roots, a graduate of the Stockholm Film School and the Wajda School. His short films have been recognized at international film festivals. One of them, “Apple Tree” (2003), has been screened at Cannes, Marrakech and Palm Springs. His short feature “Street Feeling” (2009) was shot in Poland. Rus is the head director of Weekend Film Magazine, a TV show airing on TVP1. He is currently working on his feature debut, “The Profane’s Massacre”, adapted from the book by Jarosław Stawirej.
“The Big Leap” is produced by Prasa i Film (“All That I Love”) in association with East of West Cinema AB, Sweden (“Nina’s Journey”), TVP S.A., ATM FX and WFDiF (“Rose”). It is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute and the Swedish Film Institute. The film’s sales are handled by New Europe Film Sales. Wajda Studio is responsible for public relations. Renata Czarnkowska-Listoś is the leading producer.