Thanks to films like “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980) and “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), the world has seen countless found footage-style flicks.
In found footage films, events on-screen are seen through the camera of one or more of the characters involved, often accompanied by their real-time off-camera commentary. The most common use of the technique is in horror films, where the footage is purported to be the only surviving record of the events, with the participants now missing or dead.
But perhaps the world has seen enough of that. It’s time for a different breakthrough format to keep things interesting.
In 2013, Russian indie rock band Biting Elbows made a music video for their song, “Bad Motherf*cker”, featuring almost 5 whole minutes of ass-kicking action all seen from a first person’s point of view (POV). It went viral, raking it more than 29 million views on YouTube.
To his surprise, the man who directed the video, Ilya Naishuller, received thousands of messages and comments from people saying things like, “This is awesome!”, “I can’t wait for a feature like this!”, and “Make more of this please!”.
Among those people was Timur Bekmambetov, the director of the “Night Watch” series and 2008’s American-German action thriller film, “Wanted”, which starred James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie.
Timur proposed to produce a feature-length version shot in the same POV style and have Ilya direct it. Ilya turned Timur down initially because he thought that it was a gimmicky idea that couldn’t possibly work on the big screen. But Timur persisted.
And within a week, the concept for what was to become the world’s first action adventure POV film, titled “Hardcore”, was born.
The plot is as follows:
“Hardcore” is a modern, action sci-fi story about Henry, a newly resurrected cyborg who must save his wife/creator Estelle (played by Haley Bennet) from the clutches of a psychotic tyrant with telekinetic powers, Akan (played by Danila Kozlovsky), and his army of mercenaries. Fighting alongside Henry is Jimmy (played by Sharlto Copley), who is Henry’s only hope to make it through the day.
Ilya had the film mostly complete when he realised that he needed help putting the finish touches on “Hardcore”. So he set up an Indiegogo page, which successfully raised USD254,954 by 2,078 people in only a month!
To put that into perspective, his initial goal was to raise USD250,000.
“Hardcore” was shot almost entirely on a GoPro, using a custom designed camera rig that allows for a very natural and intensely personal experience. It puts you in the place of the protagonist, which means that you become him as you experience the journey together in a very personal way.
Stuntmen wore special headgear holding 2 cameras. The rigs and cameras were later offered as perks for Indiegogo supporters.
Watch the trailer below:
“Hardcore” premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as part of the “Midnight Madness” slate. TIFF runs from 10th – 20th September 2015.
The film will also see a worldwide cinematic release but there has been no news on whether it will be released here in Malaysia as of yet. We’ll update this post with more information as soon as we know 🙂