THE NORTH SEA CEMETERY

a Jacques Loeuille & REAL PRODUCTION (FR), Image Creation (BE)  film (52’) – February 2018

SYNOPSIS

About three billions tons of chemical and conventionnal warfare lay in the bottom of the North and Baltic sea. These silent witnesses of both World Wars have become a true treat for the environment. Confined in unstable metal barrels the poison has started spreading in the sea. Only sixteen percents of these deadly substances’s leak would be enough to erradicate any living sea form for centuries.  How and why were these weapons dumped in the sea and is this massive propagation of highly toxic products evitable ?

The Director takes us to Bornholm (Germany), to the Skarregak Straight (between Finland and Denmark), to the French North sea and Channel coasts, to the South of England, to Knokke Heist (Belgium), The Netherlands and Denmark. He dives to witness, bring testimony and defend the cause of our seas’s survival.

 

TREATMENT

The director is physically engaging in the shooting process, while diving with the minesweeping teams, with shipwreck hunters. He will lead the interviews with ecologists and scientists.

Aerial images will establish the scenes of pollutions, dynamic and moving rapidly up to coastlines, using drone shots and Blackmagic technique.

Visualizing pollution, rather invisible by nature, will require CGI giving a visual dimension to the spreading of the poison, as ink reaching out to deep sea. These sequences will prolonge filmed archives of shipwrecks, and those, rather ever unseen, of the actual dumping of warfare.

Submarine imaging is at the center of the film, featuring divers’s interventions and R.O.V. filming (Remote Operating Vehicule), up to 600 meters down. The preparation and supervision of those shots will be part of the dramaturgy.

The style keeps away from the usual environmental issue films catastrophism, providing rather a discreete sensibility in the narrative treatment. The voice over is factual but also subjective, telling the director’s interest in these shipwrecks. It won’t be limited to elucidating the story, but will recalls mariners’ mythologies, and the narration of Jacques Cousteau’s last films.

The interviews will be shot outdoors, on location or placed at the center of the landscapes of painters Caspar David Friedrich, William Turner, of the photographs of the Helsinki school. They will be also executed partly in studio on a blue key, associated in postproduction with suggestive underwater marine backdrop.

The diving sequences are accompained with an original score, inspired by a selection of te Deum, Stabat Mater and Requiems, a musical creation evocating Fauré, Brahms, Schubert, Berlioz, Dvorak, Haydn, Scarlatti and Haendel, bringing the film up to a degree of solemnity but never graveness.

 

 

PRODUCTION TEAM

 

Director / Jacques Loeuille graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Lyon), the Mel Hoppenheim school of cinema (Concordia University of Montreal), and Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts. He is the author of several documentaries (Marguerite Yourcenar Alchimie du Paysage, An Optimist in Andalusia, Roadside Attractions), and worked with Cousteau team. He is a skilled diver himself and a professionnal DOP.

 

Production house / Real Productions, France, was created 25 years ago by Bruno Florentin, producing films for which the author's point of view is key while developed with a setting appropriate image, and television access in mind. Real Productions’s filmography deals with decrypting the challenges of the contemporary world (environment, ecology, human rights, ...), questioning the history and bringing a singular look. Real Productions cooperates with all French broadcasters (Arte, France Télévisions, ...), RTBF, VRT, TSR, YLE, SR .. 

 

Production house / Image Creation.com, Belgium, was founded in 1987 as a subsidiary of Brussels Studio l'Equipe, and acquired in 2000 by its director Martine Barbe, with an editorial line of creative documentaries with television and audience relevance, and expertise in new technologies (interactive museum, multimedia book, etc.). 

 

WATCH TEASER https://vimeo.com/166930085    password: cemetery