Archive for the ‘China’ Category
Two award-winning filmmakers are ready to dig in to the international passion for fireworks with their forthcoming film “Passfire”.
Documenting fireworks, the people who make them and the cultures behind them across the globe, this production is sure to explode on the big screen.
Brothers Jesse and Jeremy Veverka have spent more than six months planning their latest production, which has garnered support from the National Fireworks Association based in the USA. The film aims to document the rich, yet rapidly changing fireworks traditions that exist around the world and make them accessible to both fireworks enthusiasts as well as the broader public.
“Ever since I was a boy, I would always look forward to fireworks shows on the 4th of July — a fascination I still haven’t outgrown,” said director of photography Jeremy Veverka, 31. “I realized that there are many other adults who haven’t outgrown it either. People have based their entire livelihoods on fireworks, not for the money but for the love of making things go boom.”
The brothers were inspired to pursue a long-term film project on the topic after Jesse, 34, wrote an article for CNN Travel entitled “Liuyang: Where the World’s Fireworks Are Born”. His profile of Liuyang, China - the world’s de facto capital of fireworks – sparked interest from Harry Gilliam, president of Skylighter Fireworks, who signed on as an executive producer for “Passfire.”
“Fireworks have a powerful, almost magical attraction to people,” Gilliam said. “I’m tickled pink that such an accomplished, professional film company is producing a documentary on how and why fireworks affect people so universally. I have been particularly impressed with the Veverka Brothers’ insights and enthusiasm for the link between fireworks and different cultures all over the world, and I am honored to be able to help bring this production into being.”
The Veverka Brothers aim to record the biggest blasts, along with traditional manufacturing methods and cultural affairs with fireworks — a feat which will take the duo around the world. “Passfire” takes an exclusive look at the 36-inch san-jaku shell in Japan. This legendary 36-inch shell, which takes six months to craft, weighs about 400 pounds and costs almost as much as a new car. Also in Japan, “Passfire” shows how a master shellmaker assembles a 12-inch shell, known as an “ichi-shaku.” Stars (round balls) are sandwiched between layers of bursting charge to create a beautiful burst-within-a-burst affect that is nearly perfectly symmetrical. Watching them being made is almost as beautiful as watching them being used. The filmmakers also discovered that Shinto priests are often on hand at Japanese factories to thank the gods for ensuring the safety of workers. This is just one aspect of culture connected to fireworks that “Passfire” aims to explore.
Highlights of the production also include tours of the world’s largest fireworks factories in China, scenes of jumbo-size Thai Girandolas helicoptoring into the sky, celebrations at a fireworks festival in Tultepec, Mexico, honoring the patron saint of pyrotechnics, San Juan de Dios, and a glimpse of Malta, where Catholic parishes compete with one another for the best fireworks shows.
“There have been some interesting stories about the way fireworks are made, their history, or how shows are put together, but there has never been a film of this scale that looks at the way people show their love for fireworks around the globe,” says director Jesse Veverka, adding that many of the scenes offer glimpses of fireworks that have never been seen by the broader public before.
Despite the global perspective, Jesse and Jeremy realize that a part of fireworks culture lies in their own backyard — the USA. They are documenting the work of Tom Dimock, a licensed pyrotechnician in Ellis Hollow, New York. Dimock co-organizes a special fireworks show every Labor Day, and has won several awards from the Pyrotechnics Guild International. They’ll also be checking out fireworks around American Independence Day (4th July), where the sky of the entire nation lights up with brightly coloured blasts and the largest shows of the year.
“Passfire” is a big project with a budget of around a quarter of a million dollars. The Veverka Brothers have already raised seed money with the help of the National Fireworks Association, Skylighter Fireworks, and independent producers. The filmmakers will launch a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund the next phase of the budget on January 28, 2013, in order to continue filming throughout the spring. This production requires support from fireworks fans so the filmmakers can continue production.
This is the largest project that the Veverka Brothers have taken on in their careers so far. Previously, they created the feature-length documentary “China: Rebirth of an Empire,” which screened at 24 film festivals internationally and took home six awards, including Best Documentary. Their documentary short “Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village” and narrative short “Bus to Somewhere” continue to screen at festivals worldwide.
The filmmakers are available for immediate interviews and can be reached at email@example.com or 607-216-4304.
More information can be found at www.passfiremovie.com.
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/passfire
Follow us on Twitter: @veverkabros
Please Donate Here
SERIES 1 – EPISODE 4 – VISITING THE CHINESE FIREWORK FACTORY
DATE – TUESDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2012
After last nights rocket demo we were all still knackered and met for breakfast a little later than usual at 0900. There was a little more choice food wise this morning so we all made the most of it
At 1030 we went to our suppliers office to talk about the rocket demo from the night before. We discussed the rockets in great detail, the things we liked, things we disliked, prices, packing requirements, shipment dates etc…
At 1200 we went back to the hotel for lunch. We had a bout 2 hours free for lunch as we were being picked up 1400 to visit a barrage/rocket factory.
Lunch consisted of fried rice, noodles, braised pigs trotters, fish, snake (YES SNAKE), shrimps, pigs blood, octopus, sparrows….the list goes on and on….
We all meet around 1400 and made our way to the barrage/rocket factory, the journey took around 60 minutes. It was very very cold but at least it wasn’t raining. We were first given a cup of Chinese tea and then escorted around the factory. I took a load of pictures and made a few videos of the workers producing the fireworks, at this time of year 99% of production was for the American market who need the fireworks well before the 4th July celebrations.
After touring the firework factory we decided to make our way back to the hotel. We should have had a cake demo tonight but the rain was now bouncing down and we decided to postpone the demo for another day. On exiting the firework factory the road was very very bad and we were all bouncing about in the back of the car
We all arrived back at the hotel at 1800 and decided to get some dinner. We got to the restaurant in the hotel and realised that the food on offer was exactly the same as lunch! We decided to walk to a restaurant just around the corner. We had rice, mega spicy beef, chicken, vegetables and a few beers each.
We got back to the hotel around 2100 and decided to have a few beers in the lobby bar. We had another 3/4 beers each and were ready to call it a night……then we bumped into the Celtic Fireworks team from the UK. We continued to drink, drink and drink and before we knew it, we had emptied the bar dry. We all left at 0130 knowing that our heads were going to hurt in the morning.
To be continued…
Testing, testing 1,2, boom
After enjoying our most successful bumper year here at EPIC, we were left with very little stock as anyone who has been since Bonfire Night will acknowledge!! So, the time has come to leave the UK shores for the freezing cold temperatures of China.
We are planning to be out of the country for up to 5-weeks and will be checking out barrages, fountains and rockets to see what we would like this year.
There has already been some feedback from the pyro community in relation to what we will be looking for but we always welcome feedback from customers in regards to this as it isn’t really about what we would like. We have sent details over to our manufacturers in China with some of the ideas and we are exploring the possibility of bigger, better and more colourful barrages as well as some new, innovative products.
Whilst there, we will be testing new combinations, advising of what we do and don’t like and make recommendations for amendments to suit our clientele in the UK.
On a typical day, we will rise early, have some breakfast and then go to the manufacturing sites, meet agents and negotiate the best prices for the best discounts and then the early evening, set off to the firing site to see them in action. I would like to say that this is a controlled firing site but, this is not the UK and things are a little different in China where they just pull up in a ‘safe’ area (which is usually just at the side of the road), light the fuse and stand back!!
Each of the areas in Hunan province specialise in certain products. This is one of the main reasons all our rockets, barrages and mines are made by the companies we know from 20-years of testing and quality control will be able to supply the goods and ensure compliance with BS safety standards.
This will therefore be your last chance to let us have your thoughts. One of the recent comments was that we need more red breaks, more classy professional style cakes with consistent and uniform effects for using in displays where multi-effects limit the usage and more noisy boys. We have also been looking into the box and criss-cross effects in rockets and will be sure to let you know on our return what is coming.
If you do have any feedback about what you would like added to our range, please let us know and we will endeavour to help.