Writer/Director Jesse O’Brien always wanted to make movies as a kid. He started making short films in high school with his best friend, cinematographer Samuel Baulch, and years later they completed their first independent feature, Arrowhead.
Set on a distant moon, Arrowhead tells the survival story of a stranded prisoner of war who discovers a new life form.
Jesse talks to AnyCam about how he made the sci-fi thriller, made with a modest budget of $180,000. Check out the Arrowhead trailer and the interview with Jesse O’Brien bellow:
Jesse O’Brien on Arrowhead:
The draft script took two years to write, after which Jesse made a short film for $600 and crowdfunded the feature film. Check out the short Arrowhead: Signal. The crowdfunding campaign fell short of his target of $40,000, however the concept gained a lot of attention, and Jesse was contacted by the (now cancelled) Fox channel TV1 who provided funding to finish the feature.
Check out the short below:
Arrowhead was shot in Australia, production was divided between shooting on weekends on set in Melbourne for the spaceship’s interior, and in the deserts of Coober Pedy, where films such as Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Pitch Black were filmed.
Jesse highlighted the importance of the director/cinematographer relationship, as they have to share the same vision for the project. Prior to each shoot he and Samuel would spend time discussing each shot and storyboarding together.
Some of the challenges which the production faced were:
- The punishing conditions of shooting in Coober Pedy. Aside from the intense heat, production was upset by the sheer number of flies, a lot of which they had to digitally remove in post-production.
- Not having much in the way of camera gear; the lack of dollies, steadycam, etc. meant that all the shots had to be locked down and they couldn’t use camera movement for some of the scenes.
Arrowhead is now available on Blu-Ray, VOD and iTunes.
For Jesse O’Brien’s IMDB filmography, go here.