We spoke with Alexander Bather, OffTheRails very own Video Director that has just broken through the door to the world of independent filmmaking with his debut short film Butterfly.
The film grips you from the outset, where a dark screen accompanied by powerful narration from Old Soul Radio Show host W.B. Walker sets the mood for what’s to follow.
Breathtaking visuals and a plot that twists and turns leaving you at the edge of your seat. If you get a chance to watch Butterfly at any of the upcoming film festivals, we urge you to seize the opportunity to see it on the big screen.
Firstly, what is the meaning behind the title Butterfly?
I wanted to create a character that would stand out and could carry into further films. She needed to have a unique name and Butterfly seemed pretty fitting.
What were your main inspirations for the film?
My biggest inspiration for the film was music. If you could hear my Spotify you wouldn’t believe how diverse it is. I can listen to a track and I can have a whole story created. I’m also a massive film fan and I think all the different films I have watched since being a kid will have subconsciously inspired me.
The styling is great, where were the garments sourced, and was there a major thought process behind the selection of the pieces?
I wanted Butterfly to look American and from the deep country. I had the exact look in my mind as she needed to be a memorable character. I rang Katie, the actress, as she runs an online vintage company called Vintage Hearts and we spoke about the look for 5 minutes. The next morning she was sending me options that were perfect. The top she had was great, just the wrong colour. We needed the top to be white for the dramatic look for when she gets all bloody, so Katie made it that evening. I then called the only place in the UK to get really good quality fedora hats which is Thomas Farthing based in London.
Music plays a massive role in creating a certain mood throughout, did you know before or after the final take of each scene what certain tracks would accompany?
Like the clothing, I had specific tracks in mind (they were obviously going to be too expensive since we shot this film on such a low budget) so we used them as inspiration. Myself, Jamie Mccool, and Ross Munro sat over 4 nights in the studio and they created 4 incredible tracks that were perfect for the film. I then spoke to W.B. Walker who runs the Old Soul Radio show based in West Virginia which I have been a fan of for about 5 years. We spoke about the potential of him narrating the movie and if there were any artists he knows that would be happy to feature in the film. Travis Napier had a great song coming out called 1865 and allowed us to use that for the chase scene. We were lucky to also have the artists Justin Payne and Glen Simpson, so I feel really lucky in the music department.
What was your highlight from the entire process?
My biggest highlight of the entire process was being on set and directing my first film, which was extremely stressful. However, I love being under pressure when it’s doing something I love. It was also great seeing it on the big screen at the private showing of the film at Ducie Street Warehouse.
Were there any major obstacles?
There were a few major obstacles, however, the biggest was the sound. The location was meant to be set in the middle of nowhere although you could hear the odd car going past. The generator was miles away but you could still hear a small rumble coming from the distance. We covered it with soundproof blankets and also blocked it with two cars, it made a small difference but not much. After trying to fix it in post-production with the help of some amazing sound engineers, we realised it was still unfixable and so we had to ADR the whole dialogue sequences. Greg Veryard who is a legend did a great job of mixing the dialogue and the sound design.
What did you find to be the biggest difference between creating your first independent film in comparison to the work you usually create for Temple for your variety of clients?
The biggest difference was that I had full creative control over this, I didn’t have a brief that had to be fulfilled, it was my story. The issue was budget, it was fully self-funded and I feel grateful/ thankful for everyone that believed in the process and got involved in it.
What’s next for Butterfly, will there be a sequel?
Butterfly will be returning. Myself and Mark Rigby are in the process of writing the feature script. The story is so intense and explains exactly where Butterfly came from and why she does the things she does. I wish I could go into it more now, but I guess you will have to wait and see.
Being part of the OTR team you knew this question was coming, what is the most OffTheRails thing that you have done?
It has to be solely going after what I wanted. I quit my good job that I studied 5 years at Salford University for. I went all into creating a production company in Manchester called TEMPLE studio, combining all of the best creatives I had worked with to create a powerhouse.
MORE FROM ALEX
SPECIAL THANK YOU
TEMPLE STUDIO @THETEMPLEMCR
MARK RIGBY: @MARKZWEIZIGBY
Director of Photography
PADDY MCGOWAN @paddymcgowandop
DIMA KALENDA @dima.kalenda
CHRIS MARTIN @Chrismartindop
JUSTIN PAYNE @Justindeanpayne
TRAVIS NAPIER @travisnapier
JAMIE MCCOOL @mccool_music
ROSS MUNRO @rossmunro24
GREG VERYARD @good_vibrations_sound_design
KATHERINE BENBOW @katherine_hourglvss
MARTYN ELLIS @bm.ellis
W.B. WALKER’S OLD SOUL RADIO SHOW @oldsoulradioshow
DAVE BARDSLEY @Bardsleydavid
MEDIA DOG HIRE @media_dog_hire
DROP CITY @drop_city_ltd