PETROLEUM SPIRIT Feature Film 2016
Set in the 80‘s the dark surreal story concerns itself with the confusing world of teenage sex and toxic masculinity. ‘Eraserhead meets The Dukes of Hazzard’ was the pitch that attracted Producer Evangelo Kioussis to the script and its unique vision by acclaimed commercials director Rob Sanders.
Petroleum Spirit was to be the first slate for Mirror’s start-up partners Evangelo and Simon Baxter. Spring 2014 the Independently financed project went into production in South Wales where the rugged landscape and ruined industry would provide the perfect desolate backwater for the story.
On a low-budget with one week to go, sets built in remote locations, 10 period vehicles purchased through ebay and five Ladas driven from Eastern Europe the shoot was all set. The only thing missing was the lead!
The character of Errol was written as a skinny deaf teenager raised in isolation by an over-bearing Mother - he was the backbone of the story and appeared in every scene making it a demanding role for any actor. But finding the right actor was proving fruitless. Having exhausted the acting schools in England and Wales in desperation the Welsh casting director offered up a local - a real deaf kid with no acting experience, who was coming to his classes to deal with anger issues - Sounds perfect!
When Jarrad walked through the door ‘Errol’ walked through the door. Deaf and partially blind Jarrad had an intensity that no other actor exhibited - he was also fearless. Training as a cage wrestler he was physically bigger than scripted, so after a few character description re-writes Errol was ready to meet his Father - cage wrestler and actor Dave Legeno was already cast to play Ivan and both being over 6ft they made a convincing pairing.
The first week of shooting went fantastic - Rob’s visuals and Jarrad’s performances were dazzling, but on Day 6 disaster hit! One of the investors failed to put money in the bank and the shoot had to shut down. Sets were deconstructed, vehicles were stored and the key crew returned disheartened to London.
A desperate summer of refining the script to accommodate a reduced budget and the news of the tragic death of Dave Legeno added to the production’s woes, but Producer Evangelo had promised the cast and crew that the film would be finished. True to his word they were back in production in September.
6ft 5 Ryan Oliva stepped into Dave’s large shoes and financial rescue came from veteran Bond Director John Glen who became a mentor to the production taking a personal interest in the shooting and post- production.
The film magically took form in the edit room and ultimately the pause to re-write to Jarrad’s strengths and the time to reflect on the first week’s shooting seemed like a blessing. Throughout 2015 the film was cut and sound designed to reflect Rob’s movie ambitions and scored by the wonderfully talented Marc (Alice Creed) Canham whose finishing touches completed the cinematic experience.
script stage concept art by Stephen Trumble
pre-production art by Olly Moss
final art by Rob Fuller
Soundtrack by Marc Canham
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