The following are thoughts, memories and background information on the shooting period of SQUATTERTOWN. I try to structure them by using each shooting day as one blog entry, but the stories might deviate a little. So when you think the text makes no sense please feel free to comment/contact me. This production log is another piece to our large SQUATTERTOWN universe and I hope you like it. But be aware, the text holds several spoilers!
The beginning of our SQUATTERTOWN shoot was rather a stealth start and actually supposed to test if concept, crew, preparations and the production itself were up to the real life situation and could handle all big shooting days to come. On mid December 2010 I set out with a small crew, Diogo (DoP), Seth (2nd camera) and Marc (sound recordist) to the designated Shek Kip Mei location. Within 3 hours during this cloudy Saturday afternoon we were shooting a large number of empty and atmosphere shots from three residential building roofs. Also, Marc was supposed to pick up as much typical roof sounds as possible. Whatever he found and heard on the roofs as well as in the back alleys he recorded. That included also on-set foleys like rubbing an abandoned bamboo mat on the floor or clanking empty gas cans.
The Shek Kip Mei locations is unlike the other squatter housing locations. The three housing blocks from the 1950s are home to a large number of Indian/Pakistani residents and shops. Most apartments are evicted and empty already. The roof is primarily not used as regular apartment space. Hence, there are no informal structures on the roof. Most residents dry laundry, use it as storage room or simply as dump for rubbish. However, some people have build themselves a little private garden with all kinds of plants and even a seating area with sofa. One resident is using his part of the roof as playground for her Husky dog.
You can find a short video giving some more visual insight on the Shek Kip Mei location here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7H2uswWgs4
While we were shooting, one of the residents came onto the roof. First we thought she might want us to stop and leave, as we got no shooting permission whatsoever, but it turned out she was quite interested in what we were doing. She also started telling us that all the three housing block are being bought up currently and will be demolished soon.
All shots we took that day can be found in Webisode #4 during the dialog scene between the BAD and GARDENER. Also the shots locking up a metal door with a chain in the beginning of Webisode #2 were made that day.