THE BLOG

From Film Making Novices to Production Company Owners: A Rollercoaster Tale of Success

23/05/2013 12:14 BST | Updated 22/07/2013 10:12 BST

We're going to need a camera, a microphone, some actors, a big bag of aluminium cans... and an old school hue blue VW camper van. And a quick 'teach yourself film making' brainstorm. Then once it's all in place, we'll go and make a film to enter into the search for green student film makers, sponsored by Can Makers and in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI).

This was the general production plan put together by a Viking, a hiker and a half-hearted fisherman, otherwise known as Jens Christensen, Louis King and James Hurst. That's us - The Basterds: formerly students with no film making experience, now a film production company; learning as we go and loving every minute.

The public didn't know enough about the recycling of cans, especially their monetary value once melted down. The script had to show the can's significance, and the potential to make people money. This was when the idea of a heist was introduced. We felt it was an interesting concept to write a movie about a group of South London grafters trying to make money through such a ridiculously small scale crime. While this all seems rather implausible, the information we gathered about how cans are recycled backed up the overall synopsis perfectly. Plus we love gangster movies.

The film making process was not one we will forget in a hurry. We spent a good month writing and planning the film, and to see it finally come together in front of us was a great experience. It took two nights to shoot in several locations. Some legitimate, others not. Alarms were set off, arguments with security guards occurred more than once, and we were evicted from our studio space mid-shoot, leading us to rely entirely on one of our salubrious student flats for the indoor scenes. Who said film making isn't glamourous?

A lot of coffee and cigarettes were consumed, and these small pleasures were the only incentive for our actors to hang around. They were students though, so it worked, although we're not sure it will catch on in Hollywood. The editing process was slow and painful as we learnt on the job, however it was fantastic to see our work on screen.

Winning the competition was a wonderful surprise for us. This being our first film, we felt very flattered from the positive response we received. The fact that Danny Dyer has not only seen our work, but actually liked it - is still almost unreal: "I wanted to see creative videos which told us how important recycling is and the students really delivered the goods. 'Can Heist' draws the audience in with its high octane beginning, keeps your attention and gets the message across that metal is a valuable resource. I'm also honoured that perhaps my film career partly inspired their genre choice!" We'll be dining out on that for a while.

The Basterds Production Company will continue to make film and theatre with the money won from this competition. As this project was made with no funding at all, we are positive that we can make the cash price go a long way. The Basterds were formed as a force against the evils of creative procrastination. Instead of sitting around drinking coffee and thinking of ideas it makes us to get up and actually produce them.

Because of the prize we are now beginning proper pre production on two projects, which we aim to enter into the 2014 film festival season.

The plan is to keep running and we'll be fine.

The 'Myth Busting - 'what happens to your can when it's recycled' competition challenged students to bust common recycling myths in a way that would resonate with young people. You can watch 'Can Heist' on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/canmakersvideo

The entries were judged by a panel headed by Sky Movies Presenter, Craig Stevens, and representatives from Defra, the BFI, film makers and industry experts. The judges unanimously voted 'Can Heist' the overall winner, after naming it as 'Wittiest' category winner, for its clever storyline and innovative approach to communicating recycling messages.