28. April 2015 · Comments Off on Monsoon: A film by Sturla Gunnarsson · Categories: Documentaries · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

11096488_855734224498835_8517302400769935984_oMonsoon by Canadian filmmaker Strula Gunnarsson is a stunning documentary that showcases the cultural and spiritual significance of the monsoon season in India. The film was the an Official Selection at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award Winner at Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival in 2014.

“Part road movie, part spectacle, part human drama Monsoon is a documentary exploration of chaos, creation and faith in the land of believers. Filmed across the Indian sub-continent and charting the huge system’s path as it surges toward and gradually engulfs every region of the country, Monsoon introduces us to a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are in different ways entwined with the phenomenon.” – Monsoon press kit

Veteran filmmaker Strula Gunnarsson is one of Canada’s most prolific and eclectic filmmakers. He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, studied English literature and film at the University of British Columbia and is best known for his directorial work on David Suzuki‘s documentary Force of Nature, the 2010 TIFF Documentary Audience Award winner.

Gunnarsson joined guest host Talia Schlanger on CBC’s Q to discuss the film.  Here’s the interview.

Production Notes (from Monsoon press kit)

Monsoon was filmed over the course of the 2013 monsoon season using ultra high definition 4K Red Epic cameras, modified for extreme weather documentary shooting by Director of Photography Van Royko.  Production began in south India, in the state of Kerala, where the monsoon first makes landfall.  The production team, including Gunnarsson, Royko, location sound recordist Brice Picard, ‘fixer’ Amit Vachharanji and camera assistant Ari Gunnarsson,  ‘surfed’ the monsoon from India’s southernmost point to its northeast corner in Assam, following the trajectory of the monsoon.  Points in between included the Western Ghats, Goa, Mumbai, Pune, the Maharashtra drought region, Kolkata, Assam and Cherrapunji, the rainiest place on earth, in the state of Meghalaya — ‘Place of the Clouds’.  Production began in mid-May, two weeks before ‘onset’, and shot for 90 days, concluding in September, with the receding monsoon.  Over 240 hours of 4K footage was captured.  The film was edited in Toronto, from October, 2013 to May 2014, by legendary doc editor Nick Hector, whose credits include Alan King’s ‘Dying At Grace” and “Memory”, as well as Gunnarsson’s TIFF ‘People’s Choice Award’ winner, ‘Force of Nature’.  4K post was handled by Montreal’s Poste Moderne.  The score was composed by Bombay Dub Orchestra’s Andrew T. MacKay, based on the Malhar ragas, and featuring some of the top Indian players and vocalists in Bombay and London.  Sound-design and mix were executed by Montreal’s top sound team, Sylvain Bellemare and Bernard Gariépy Strobl in June/July, 2014.

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