Esoterica released on DVD January 19th!

6 Jan

An endless night.
A seedy photographer.
A slighted hooker.
A kidnapped child.
A desperate search.
A race against time.
A mystery like no other.

Nakatomi Pictures’ neo-noir thriller Esoterica is available on DVD as of January 19th.

Support the film by buying or renting a copy today.  Esoterica is available from many on-line sellers including Ezydvd, Fishpond and JB-HiFi.

Annette Basile of Filmink describes the film as “a triumph of imagination over minimal budget. What these West Australian filmmakers lacked in cold hard cash they made up for in cool creative flair. On this level alone, the upcoming Esoterica impresses. But it has the other stuff that matters too – a good script, great performances and an actual plot”.

Help bring Lazenby home

11 Mar
With principal photography already underway for our third feature film “Sororal”, Nakatomi Pictures is revealing an exciting development. The second 007 in the James Bond series George Lazenby has agreed to play the role of “Father Sampson”. This is an unprecedented coup for Nakatomi and an outcome that was entirely unexpected and therefore not budgeted for.
So Nakatomi is looking for your support to bring Mr Lazenby from the US to Perth to shoot his scenes.
We need around $70,000 to complete the film with Mr Lazenby and there are a number of ways you can get involved in making this possible.
If you would like to help us do this, please contact us directly to discuss how we can make it happen.
Help us bring the only Australian James Bond back home and onto our set!
Email us at info@nakatomipictures.com or better still, have a chat with us on 0418 119 054.


Sororal has begun

7 Feb

Today marked the first day of principal photography on Nakatomi Pictures third feature Sororal.  Over the next six weeks an increasingly pale looking cast and crew will travel all around Perth, at very unsociable hours, in order to bring the latest Nakatomi thriller to the world.  The film is a strange, ‘giallo’ inspired nightmare that follows a tormented and troubled young artist named Cassie, who is plagued by visions of murder and mayhem.  Her world is turned upside down when she discovers that her hallucinations are in fact real murders with real victims.  To say any more would only spoil the fun.  Sororal is projected for completion by the end of 2011 and is sure to be the most audacious work yet from Nakatomi Pictures.  Pictures and video of the action packed shoot are on their way.

Nakatomi Profile: Benjamin Morris, Sound Designer

25 Oct

Nakatomi Profile is a section featuring interviews with collaborators and artists we have worked with.

Who are you? What is your background?

I’ve been an audio engineer for nearly 10 years, I come from a background in music recording and live engineering. My two greatest passions are sound and film, but it’s taken many years to realize that I can combine those two loves by working as a sound designer. Esoterica is the first feature film that I’ve worked on.

What attracted you to Esoterica?

It’s a great little film – beautifully shot, intriguing story. It’s not often that a film of this calibre gets made in Perth, so it’s a pleasure to be involved with it.

Do you have a process?

Layers – it’s all about the layers! When working on a project as large as this it’s important to concentrate on one element at a time, so you don’t miss some of the finer details. It’s tempting when you’re first handed a film to start working on all the sexier stuff first! Esoterica is full of sexy stuff – chainsaws, gunshots, and eerie atmospheres – stuff that every sound designer loves to work on. I had to restrain myself while working on this film; I got all the technicalities out of the way first so that I had a strong base to build on, and then got down to all the fun stuff!

I always start working on the dialogue first, which is the most important aspect of any sound design. Story is told through dialogue, so you have to ensure that an audience can clearly understand everything that is being communicated. Once you have the dialogue right, everything else just falls into place.

How did you approach the sound design of the film?

I snuck up on it from behind.

What is good sound design?

Sound design should be an invisible art. If you do it right, it should never draw attention to itself. The minute an audience member notices the sound design of a film, the illusion has been broken and they get taken out of the film experience. Sound design should draw an audience into a story, enhance it (and sometimes, explain it).

What is your favourite scene in terms of sound?

A few scenes spring to mind. There’s a scene in an art gallery I’m really happy with, and a scene in an alleyway that sounds great. On the whole though, I really enjoy the scenes where I was able to cut sick with the music! The score for this film is amazing, there’s a few scenes later in the film where I just pumped the music up and let it do all the talking. Those scenes still give me goose bumps even though I’ve seen them hundreds of times.

What were the biggest challenges?

Coming on board quite late in the game was tricky, I would really have liked to have spent a few more months with the film. Also, much of the film was shot in the middle of the night around Perth, when the city is almost silent. I spent a lot of time trying to create the illusion that the city in the film is a lot bigger and badder than sleepy old Perth.

What is the relationship between composer and sound designer?  Are there overlaps?

The relationship between composer and sound designer should always be a close one, good communication between the two is vital. It is important that they are on the same page in terms of the tone of a film. A composer basically acts as sound designer for most of the non-diegetic sound of the film, sound that doesn’t come directly from things we see on the screen. They write music to create mood in a film.

The overlap occurs when music is not present in a film. It’s then up to the sound designer to maintain the mood of a film by using atmospheres and other sound design elements.

Give us your top ten films from a sound perspective and why.

1. Apocalypse Now


The soundtrack of this film is sublime, everything from the voiceover to the effects editing is masterful. The term “sound designer” was coined because of Walter Murchs’ work on this film. He pioneered techniques in this film that still seem fresh today. The opening sequence is amazing; I love the way Murch ties together the sound with the vision.

2. Barton Fink


A great example of a film where sound design is integral to the narrative, and not just there to reinforce the visuals. The Coen brothers worked very closely with sound designer Skip Lievsay to create a soundscape that helps explain the subjective viewpoint of the main character. The most amazing use of atmos I have ever heard in film.

3. The Empire Strikes Back


Ben Burtts’ contribution to film sound is immeasurable. After designing the sound effects for Star Wars, George Lucas made him sound designer on Empire, and it’s the best example of his work. This film still sounds flawless by today’s standards.

4. Alien


Another great example how atmosphere is used to create mood. I love the self-destruct countdown sequence at the end of the film, the way the tension is built up without the use of music. It worked so well that James Cameron ripped off the idea for the sequel!

5. No Country For Old Men


The sound is so immersive that I didn’t even realise the lack of music until my friend pointed it out to me towards the end of the film.

6. Saving Private Ryan


Speaking of immersive, the opening scenes of this film are incredible. The use of subjective sound techniques really takes you into the reality of the battle in the most brutal way, and makes the scenes that much harder to watch.

7. Seven


All of Fincher’s films sound amazing, but this is a personal favourite. Count the number of police sirens used in the atmos – it’s relentless.

8. King Kong


Most big budget films these days have great sound design, this is a step above though. The sound effects editing is amazing, great creature sounds too.

9. Eraserhead


Alan Splet was the king of abstract atmosphere. The industrial sounding drones in this film are hypnotic, I could watch this film with my eyes closed.

10. Animal Kingdom


I thought I’d mention this one because it’s the best sounding Australian film I’ve seen in a long time. Great score, great naturalistic sound design. And a voiceover that sounds nearly as good as the one in Apocalypse Now.

Check out the ‘Esoterica’ trailer

17 Aug

If you haven’t already done so then you must check out the trailer for Nakatomi Pictures’ upcoming neo noir thriller ‘Esoterica’.  Don’t be alarmed if your browser is cropping the video.  Simply click on the red headline of this post to go to a dedicated page.

Nakatomi Profile: Richard Mellick, Actor

13 Aug

Nakatomi Profile is a section featuring interviews with collaborators and artists we have worked with.

Who are you? What is your background?

I have no idea who I am.  I’ve been trying to work it out for 44 years but nothing has become clear yet. I’ve been a school kid, song writer, poet, actor, bushwalker, telemarketer, public servant, director, playwright, sleaze bag, single parent, and recently a grandfather!! Will that do?? My ancestral background is Lebanese and Irish. My professional background is dodgy and my personal background is Sydney, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and now Perth. I worked in Indigenous theatre for ten years and toured to the most remote places in Australia. My son’s mother is from the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. I’m a middle class son of a doctor from Beecroft, Sydney.

What attracted you to Esoterica?

What attracted me?? Meeting Sam was a great moment because for some reason he believed I could play the role. Not many directors have this response to me.

Tell us about the role you played?
Making the film was so long ago i remember nothing about the role I played except the costume Sandy got for me. Oh, hang on, I remember this really sexy woman (mel) sitiing on my lap and slapping me. (I already knew Mel. We worked together on Lockie Leonard and I told her I wanted to have her baby. She didn’t believe me so we went to the tent and had breakfast instead)

Do you have a process?
I have a process and it always starts with 3 large joints….. only kidding—- 3 large pots of tea. I start by reading my the script. I know that sounds unusual but that’s what they told us to do at NIDA. Then, I pray pray pray that somehow the director will tell me what to do. If he/she doesn’t, I panic and usually end up on the cutting room floor.

What was the shooting like?
Shooting Estorica was probably the most bizarre experience of my life. I was doing Shakespeare In The Park playing an 80 year old man (Adam) and then going on set from 11pm until dawn. I would drive home feeling like someone had taken my brain out. And I was lucky! The crew did this for 5 weeks straight! The food was good and again Sam was too. He told me what to do and I just did it ( I think. Lets see on Sunday at the preview………)

What have you done since the shooting of ‘Esoterica’?
Since Estorica I have been to Bali, buried my father, split up with my girlfriend, watch my 18 year old son leave home and again, become a grandfather. Isn’t that enough??

Give us your top ten film performances and why.
Robert De Niro in everything he has ever done. Except that really dumb film where he plays a prison escapee. (I know Sam, that answer is such a cop out)

Robert DeNiro


Nakatomi+Brains?=this post

9 Aug

Ruslan Kulski runs Brains?, which features news about filmmaking in the world’s most isolated city, Perth.  The delightful Mr Kulski took time out on a Saturday to meet with us and grill us about our sophomore feature ‘Esoterica’.  This week the site will feature several of our pithy responses on a range of topics.  Below is the first video in the series where we were asked a seemingly simple question; “What is Esoterica?”. Check out the site and don’t forget to subscribe!