Burn Burn Burn
Production Company: Rather Good Films
Director: Chanya Button
Role: Production Designer
Winner of the Grand Prix Odessa International Film Festival | Umbertide in Umbria | Cinema City | Nominated for BIFA Discovery Award 2015 | World Premiere BFI London Film Festival 2015
Burn Burn Burn is a coming of age tale following the fortunes of Seph (Laura Carmichael) & Alex (Chloe Pirrie) as they embark on a nationwide road trip to scatter the ashes of their late friend Dan (Jack Farthing).
I wanted the look of the film to evoke the poignant bittersweet tone of the script; An autumnal colour palette to give the film that overall slightly nostalgic feeling - punctuated with bright pops of colour to instil a sense of life, energy and chaos as well as mirror the youth, spontaneity and charm of the characters involved.
Spanning across a vast breadth of locations allover the UK - encompassing everything from the natural beauty of the Scottish highlands to gritty London nightclubs, heritage sites in York and Somerset, to poky terrace houses in Merthyr Tydfil and the small matter of a dress rehearsal crucifixion at a church- with plenty of pubs and petrol stops along the way!
As such, one of the core challenges was to ensure that there was a visual cohesion to all of these locations and that they expressed our characters' feelings . Furthermore, we wanted to give the audience the sense of a journey and for a dramatic progression from confined urban environments to vast, open landscapes.
Given that Burn Burn Burn is a road-trip film, one of the most important design decisions was choice of car our protagonists would drive. It was important that the vehicle would have the perfect balance of being instantly recognisable and have great charm and character on one hand, without being overwhelming or contrived on the other. We searched high and low across the UK before we found our wonderful vintage Volvo 240GL with a burned red body and tan interiors.
The film opens at Dan's (Jack Farthing) wake. It was important to set the tone with eccentric and richly dressed interiors. We decorated Henry's (Nigel Planer) study with a mix of antiques - mahogany furniture, brass fixtures & fittings complemented by modern tech and decorated full of fishing equipment & fish taxidermy!
Constructing walls into the location, on one hand brought life to the room - as it gave us control over the colour palette, and on the other permitted us to hang dressing that would have otherwise been impossible in a listed property.
We wanted to create an eccentric & magical party which would enchant and absorb the protagonists and temporarily blindside their cynical outlooks on life- at least until the following morning.
For this I researched some unusual regional rituals, costumed processions, symbolic dramatisations, traditional dances and fire ceremonies and came up with the idea of building a 15ft tall straw effigy at the epicentre of the party which could be set alight. This was entirely unscripted.