…in which Producer/Director ANDREW LEAVOLD introduces his two cinematographers (that’s “DOPs” in film-speak!) on his PUB: THE MOVIE Fredumentary…
These two guys, Jarret Gahan and Matthew Victor Pastor, are my left and right hands on this project, almost completely responsible for how the interview and fly-on-the-wall footage is going to appear in the finished film. I met former Brissie boy Jarret Gahan when he was a teen Troma fan renting VHS from my Trash Video store in Fortitude Valley in the Nineties and found in him a perfect partner for ratbaggery – and, weirdly enough, our very first collaboration almost two decades ago was Fred-related! Jarret is also a filmmaker in his own right – shorts, music videos, his own feature-length documentary GONE LESBO GONE (2015) – as well as working for Melbourne’s Monster Pictures, filming and editing their bonus features and internet content.
I then ran into Matthew Victor Pastor, aka “Baby Face” – also a Melbourne-based director – during a shoot in Manila, where I helped the half-Filipino set up his VCA graduate short I AM JUPITER, I AM THE BIGGEST PLANET (2015). Since then Matthew and I have run amok on several continents as he tours the globe with his most recent feature film MELODRAMA/RANDOM/MELBOURNE! (2018). This week I asked both of my hugely talented DOPs about working tirelessly with me since 2016 on PUB: THE MOVIE…
Andrew: How would you describe our first collaborations together, prior to PUB?
Matthew: It’s been great. Over the years Andrew has been integral to my filmmaking. We first worked together as he helped me produce one of my short films in the Philippines where a lot of his work is made. In fact during some of PUB’s shooting Andrew made a cameo in my film MAGANDA! in a hilarious performance as a tweaking ‘Meth Mystic’. Other than collabs, he’s inspired me as his contribution to the history of Filipino cinema is incredible, and essential.
Jarret: Epic. Funnily enough it all began with a music video for your crossover band with Fred Negro, THEY MIGHT BE NEGROES, back in 2001 I believe. I had envisioned it would be something like Bjork’s ‘Big Time Sensuality’ or AC/DC’s ‘Long Way to the Top’ music videos with the band on the back of ute playing around Brisbane city but ultimately we shot the bulk of it in a chicken coop. To this day that is my favourite music video I’ve ever produced. Following that there was the feature, LESBO-A-GO-GO, on which I served as the DOP for all but maybe seven minutes of the finished film. Unfortunately I’d moved to Melbourne before production wrapped on that one. We shot that over the course of a year from memory, in pocket of spare time where everyone was available. That was the first feature I’d ever shot so it was hard to believe that all the insanity we captured over the course of a year would cut into an actual film but it did and it’s gone on to cult infamy. That was a big learning curve as it was the first thing I had shot for someone else where I didn’t have complete creative control so it was a lot of lets shoot it this way for you and lets shoot it this way for me and see which works out better in the edit. It was great actually as had it been anyone but you there’s a good chance we would have only shot it one way, the director’s way. So while my way wasn’t necessarily always the best way, it was great to work with a director who had trust in that maybe we should shoot it my way also. Since then we’ve gone on to produce a number of things together but they were the formative years and have lead to a great deal of trust between us on-set, Hell, it’s what lead to me being cradled in the mouth of a tractor, twelve-foot off the ground at 2am in country Queensland during winter for one shoot down the track.
What drew you towards working on PUB?
Matthew: I want to work with friends, I want to work with interesting stories, and I want to work on stories which capture Australian identity in some way or form.
Jarret: It’s Fred, I’ve seen this guy perform countless times in a variety of bands and his showmanship is second to none, he’s as endearing as he is crazed. The first time I saw Fred simulate sex with a cantaloupe on-stage is forever seared in my retina, I had never seen anything quite like it before as a nineteen year-old at the time. His music and antics are legendary and through you I got to know the man behind the legend. He’s not only the nicest guy in rock n’ roll, he’s the most multifaceted, a talented illustrator, incredible storyteller and true advocate of community. To be a play a part in telling his story is a true honor.
What’s it been like, sharing camera duties with someone else?
Matthew: It’s been enjoyable, and Jarret is a friend. Normally there’s a lot of pressure on me because I DOP my own films, my own personal projects that I direct. In this case the pressure is off, its shared and more of a collab.
Jarret: It’s been surprisingly easy. Since I’ve been working on marketing and home entertainment assets for films over the last few years, I often edit end product that’s a combination of my own post-shoot interviews along with on-set b-role or interviews captured by other camera operators. Subsequently this has lead me to more collaborative with other artists in delivering a singular vision. In the instance of PUB: THE MOVIE, I’ve got to work with Matthew Victor Pastor as a fellow cinematographer. Matt’s not only a talent behind the camera but also a gifted filmmaker in his own right, with several award-winning features and shorts to his name. Funnily enough I even produced an episode of the independent filmmaker series, RUNNING ON EMPTY, entirely about him. So it’s been a true pleasure getting to work with him in this capacity. He’ll often go for the creative shots while I’ll ensure I get the master shot, so there’s a great dynamic between us.
How would you say you and your co-DOP’s styles differ?
Matthew: Actually I’m more a run and gun kinda guy. When we were shooting at the opening gallery event I was zipping and zagging around, trying to create some sort of 90’s music video kinda style. I really hope the footage matches Jarret and the direk Leavold is happy…
Jarret: Like I mentioned prior, Matt’s got a flair for finding that creative shot, in fact probably around ten in the space of a few minutes whereas I’m a little more old school and will find that perfect master shot. I think that may be what defines us, Matt’s definitely more a narrative filmmaker whereas I’ve become more a documentarian over the years, with a predilection for talking heads.
What’s been your favourite PUB shoot so far?
Jarret: Easily the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY reunion back in 2016, there were three of us filming that night at The Tote and the entire place was chaos but in the best way possible, it was a positive buzz. We’d set up Joe to grab the master from the back of the venue while Matt & I went straight into the pit to capture both the bands and the fans. My monopod has battle scars from the night that never fail to bring a smile when I bust it out and remember that shoot.
Matthew: Fred’s house was amazing. So many gems, so much of history and colour and life. It was a giraffe heaven, soft toys, cups and tea pots, all giraffe everything!
What are your thoughts about Fred as a documentary subject?
Jarret: He’s a fascinating character. As I mentioned prior he’s multifaceted and I’m not sure that greater public realize how much he’s been responsible for that we should be grateful for. He’s ripe for celebration and what better way to do that than in a documentary dedicated to him.
Matthew: He’s magic. The thing about someone like Fred is with the amount of creativity bursting through him everything surrounding him becomes more colourful. He encapsulates a creative energy that I feel is rare in Australia. It’s great that a film is being made, as he doubles as a time capsule of a time forgot.
Tech question: what kind of equipment do you prefer using?
Jarret: Presently the Sony A6300 set to 4K.
Matthew: I’m Panasonic GH series. I’ve had from 2, 4, 5s. I shoot using natural lighting, and prefer it this way.
What do you think audiences will take away from their PUB viewing experience?
Matthew: I’m not sure at this point to be honest, but hopefully people learn some history, I sure did.
Jarret: Appreciation. Appreciation beyond myth or legend, appreciation for the man himself. I also think they’ll be thoroughly entertained through every step of the film, it would be impossible to tell a story of Fred and it not be.