London’s 3 Mills Becomes Berberian Sound Studio
Date posted: 29.08.2012
Having shot his debut feature, Katalin Varga, on location in the expansive Romanian countryside, Peter Strickland's new thriller saw him move into London's studio space to create the claustrophobic, eerie world of the Berberian Sound Studio.
Shot at 3 Mills and produced by Keith Griffiths (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) and Mary Burke (Submarine), the film is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday.
A twist on 70s genre movies, writer/director Strickland drew on his love of experimental film scores, sound effects and analogue recording equipment to create an elliptical, nightmarish tale that pays tribute to the Italian Giallo genre with an original score by Broadcast.
"A set was built at 3 Mills Studios in East London and filming began in March 2011. The first time Peter was there was the first time he'd ever been inside a studio," says Burke. "For him it was like stepping onto another planet."
The story follows English sound recordist, Gilderoy, who is played by Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) when he moves to Italy to mix a horror film. From his small, controlled Surrey home, Gilderoy finds himself plunged into the decadent, morally insecure world of the 'Berberian' post production studio, filled with nightmarish sounds and threatening characters.
Strickland aimed to create a specific world for the film - the entirety of which takes place within the Italian studio to which Gilderoy has been summoned to work.
Producer Keith Griffiths comments, "Although Berberian Sound Studio largely takes place in the cramped confines of a studio, Peter's script shifts between the different realities of the lead character Gilderoy in an hallucinogenic fashion, making it trickier to film than his debut picture, which was shot entirely outdoors on location."In the studio, vintage analogue sound equipment was sourced for props to build the banks of flashing lights, dials, buttons, knobs and tape machines.
Production designer Jennifer Kernke's (Institute Benjamenta) task was to construct a sound studio as it might have appeared in 70's Italy. She assembled shelves full of household objects and vegetables used by foley artists to create a vast range of sounds.
"We wanted to give the impression of a kind of garage industry where things were cobbled together and we hoped we got that semi-pro/making-it-up-as-you-go-along feeling across in the look of the auditorium and sound studio," she says.
"I'm not sure if Peter realised when he was writing it that it was a hugely ambitious project, substantially different from Katalin Varga," says producer Keith Griffiths. Whereas that film was expansive and external, Berberian Sound Studio is an intimate affair that takes place indoors and focuses on the smaller details."
Berberian Sound Studio is released in cinemas across the UK on 31st August.
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