Tag Archives: Passfire

PASSFIRE – THE SERIES

Back in 2016, we were fortunate enough to have a visit to the showroom of Jesse and Jeremy Veverka who were in the process of creating a documentary film about fireworks around the World, the culture behind fireworks and the people in the industry.

The film once released was met with great reviews and was lauded as ‘the finest and most interesting movie ever made about fireworks and the people who’s lives are moulded by them’.

PassFire T-Shirt #EpicFireworks

Since the success of the film venture, Jesse and Jeremy and Hannah Basciano (assistant Producer) went on to create PASSFIRE – THE SERIES in 2017 and they are already travelling once again to make a second series. The Veverka brothers worked in countries across Asia including China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia before going into the production of Passfire and the continent holds a very special place in their affections.

Rocket Line, Greece #PassFire

Basically, if it is pyro related, anywhere in the World, they have been there; from the beautifully picturesque island of Malta for the mechanised firework festival (aka Nar Ta L’art) to Japan to see first hand the magical crafting of the best and some would be forgiven for saying the most expensive shells in the world today. They were in Mexico for the highly dangerous ‘Burning of the Bulls’ to the little island of Chios for the famous ‘rocket wars’ or Rouketopolemos where teams fire rockets from one church to the other to ring the bell of the opposing place of worship.

They have filmed across six continents interviewing everyone from the retail outlets to the professional display teams to get a full spectrum of input.

#PassFire #Malta #Shells

One of the most fascinating was a little closer to home for these American born producers as they attended the meeting of the FPAG (Florida Pyrotechnic Art Guild). This group of firework enthusiasts have adopted many of the riskier sides to the pyro business (not that much of it can be called ‘safe’ but you get the drift); The Mascaletta from Valencia (mascaletta are pure noise created by titanium salutes which sound like rounds of gunfire), girondola (huge flying horizontal wheel), huge Maltese shells and the Castillo which are massive towers with lancework on them high in the air which have girondola at the centre.

Most recently, they have just been filming the first night of the Philippines International Pyrotechnic Competition over at the S M Mall of Asia.

We cannot wait to see the next instalment of this series.

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FIREWORKS. UNIQUE AND POWERFUL

In a recent interview, one pyrotechnician from India is quoted as having said:

They say that to be a pyro-technician or pyro-master, you need 5 things:

The talent of an artist
The hand of a sculptor
The heart of a poet
The eye of a painter
And the courage of a warrior

Never has a truer statement been made.

PassFire T-Shirt #EpicFireworks

Fireworks are unique in the fact that across the globe, there are families who have passed down generation after generation the skills, secrets and recipes for that perfectly clean, beautifully bright firework burst. People in the industry, particularly manufacturers and professional firers, have this unmitigated love affair with this humble artistry.

Star Roller #PassFire Visit Spain

There are still established ‘pyro-families’ who still dominate the world of display fireworks today, including the likes of Grucci, Zambelli, Rozzi, Foti and Vitale to name but a few. Firework production is one of the oldest art forms in the World, which has developed constantly over the centuries from its humble beginnings where gunpowder was accidentally created just outside the City of Liuyang, China to the ‘super displays’ for New Year celebrations in cities like London and Sydney, Australia.

Jesse On Production Passfire

Back in 2013, Epic Fireworks was invited to sponsor a film about the fireworks culture across the globe. We were of course honoured to be included and grabbed the opportunity to gain a better understanding of fireworks and how they touch the lives of millions of people annually. The Passfire team has tried to visit all of the worlds continents, except Antarctica (for obvious reasons) to understand what fireworks mean to the people who watch them, those who make them and the professionals who handle them daily. Most recently, they returned from a trip to Africa, where although it is the second biggest continent in the World, little was known about fireworks.

Salutes #PassFire Visit Spain

So, their journey took in South Africa, Kenya and the Republic of the Congo. The fireworks industry is still in it infancy in Africa and the amount of disposable income, even in business circles, is limited so this naturally lessens the amount of money available for shows. The ‘professional shows’ over in Africa are smaller (due to funding) quieter than the rest of the World (thanks to their incredible tough noise pollution rules) and are generally hand-fired, rather than electronically fired because of cost. They even struggle to get goods in for sale, due to problems encountered with shipping, border controls and transport in and out of Africa. This is the reason one of the companies took the decision to manufacture their own. This year, the team from Fireworks for South Africa competed in Da Nang, Vietnam and whilst they didn’t win on this occasion, they were certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to some beautiful use of colour.

The Passfire Film will be completed late this year and hopefully released shortly thereafter.

There are of course, many others who use gunpowder or pyrotechnics as an art medium, like Cai Guo-Qiang, internationally acclaimed artist. His works include smaller works featuring explosions which literally scorch images onto canvass like his ‘Bikini & offering of flowers’ all the way up to huge outdoor creations including daytime fireworks as used for his ‘Remembrance – Chapter 2 of Elegy’. Whilst his work is not to everyone’s taste aesthetically, there is no doubt that Mr Guo Qiang has indeed got at least 3 of those 5 ‘essentials to being a pyromaster’ in the bag.

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PassFire In Spain

Spanish Rocket - #PassFire Visit Spain

Team PassFire arrived in Spain (Valencia) in time for the Las Fallas Festival. Whilst this is widely attended by Pyro Freaks from around the World including a group of British Pro-firers and enthusiasts over there on a mission, there are also tens of thousands of firework lovers all there to see the spectacle for themselves.

Love KNO3 #PassFire Visit Spain

The Las Fallas Festival is what can only be described as utter madness with fireworks! The beautiful City of Valencia plays host to this event which has been celebrated since some point in the Middle Ages (11th to 15th century) and was thought to have been created by the artisans who disposed of broken art works and any off cuts or unusable pieces of wood and other combustible materials and made them into dressed figures and set them alight to welcome the Spring Equinox.

Fallas #PassFire Visit Spain

The event essentially is 5 days and nights of partying and includes along with the plethora of fireworks and bonfires a great many religious, comedic and historical Ninots (puppets or dolls). The types of ninots are usually determined as a ‘theme’ and they are absolutely spectacular.

Mascleta #PassFire Visit Spain

The main event ‘La Mascaleta’ is a barrage of fireworks and firecrackers which are fired at 2:00pm daily and the best of these is then selected to provide the finale ‘mascaleta of the fiesta’.

Mascleta Model #PassFire Visit Spain

The origin of the word ‘Mascaleta’ is from the latin for masculine (not unsurprising with big boys toys!) and Fallas is derived from the latin for torch so essentially Las Fallas Mascaleta translates as The Torch Man!!

Salutes #PassFire Visit Spain

The next stop on their tour to bring the world of fireworks and its relevant customs together in one film takes the Veverka Brothers over to Portugal and we will of course keep you posted on their exploits. More pics of the #PassFire project on our flickr channel.

Star Roller #PassFire Visit Spain

Whilst in Spain, Jesse and the #Passfire team ran into a little bit of trouble… Here’s a short extract of an email from Jesse Veverka…

“On a final note, you might have also heard that we successfully chased down a few bag thieves in Spain who tried to rob our camera equipment. It’s a true story. We got the bags back and even handed one of the thieves over to the cops. What can I say, the production must always go on!”

Great news Jesse – Be Water My Friend :-D

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