When Art Departments Rebecca Alleway was offered the position as Art Director on Sally Potter’s most recent film The Party which premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival she seized the opportunity – here is what she had to say about her experience with this stellar cast -:
“Sally Potters team called and I was interviewed by Sally who I was going to work with closely. Idea’s for the set came from the work shops with the actors and making character boards and as the characters intellectual neurosis evolved, the sets evolved.
The challenges were also the very thing that made the project interesting. Sally wasn’t sure whether she wanted to shoot in black and white or colour so I had to make sure that the textures, walls, fabrics and furniture worked in both. This was a long process – making up different colour boards, photographing furniture and collecting fabrics. We had to see what worked together. I tested every piece of furniture to see how it looked in black and white, for example, the grainy textures worked better.
Every “colour board” was camera tested until we all decided which one worked the best.
Sally wrote the script and had a very clear vision of how she wanted to shoot the film. The process was very involved and hugely rewarding, discussing her characters in depth and how the film was going to evolve throughout shooting.
Alexey Rodionov the DOP and I had to make sure the colour tones both worked in colour and in black and white on camera. Skin tones were a large consideration when the final colours were decided. Alexey also wanted to light the set with just practicals, so the lighting in each area was plotted out very carefully in pre-production.
The house and garden were built at West London Studios, so I could float walls and provide Alexey with the flexibilty to shoot the angles he wanted. Making the house and the garden environment as real as possible, with ageing and layers of dressing were really important to Sally.
It was incredibly inspiring working with Sally and the actors. It was very much like a working on a theatre production, in this intense and close environment.
We shot the film in sequence, from each characters point of view, so everyday was incredibly busy on set as the story evolved.”