When a major motion picture airs, we see the actors and actresses on screen, view the work of the director and principal photographers, and hear the score and dialogue penned by the screenwriter. Yet, when a shoot rolls into town, those on location know a different reality. Dozens or hundreds of people scramble to do their jobs to make the shoot successful, people whose names race by on screen credits long after the final shot.
For many witnesses to the shoot, those are the people from whom we learn about the film, its background and other juicy tidbits.
When Islands of Happiness came to the Ananda Assisi community for nine days of shooting in late summer, the international crew was ready. Producer Roberto Bessi directed the activities of the film crew, which included principal photographer Adolfo Bartoli, who has shot Oscar-nominated dramas, documentaries, and more than 250 films (including The Jungle Book ). Assisting on cameras 2 and 3 were Bryan McSweeney of California, who has spent the past two years filming Kriyananda, including his daily Bhagavad Gita programs on the international Kultur TV program; and Bhaktan, from Ananda Europa.
During the final four days, California-based director and screenwriter Ted Nicolaou presided over the shooting and principal interviews. Some of the interviews will appear in Islands of Happiness, while others will appear in two other film projects being developed through this effort:
- A 20-minute bonus featurette on Ananda Europa, to be included in the main film’s DVD package and, eventually, the movie website; and
- A feature-length documentary of the complete history of Ananda Europa.
Coordinating the production was Shivani Lucki and Nandini Cerri, principals of Hansa Productions LLC.
Numerous community members and others helped carry equipment, roll cable, prep studios and on-site locations, make up the on-screen participants, cook meals and many other tasks. In other words, it was a busy week and a half on a movie set.