Ravikanth Gurunathan in Heist Latte (Photo: 48Hours)
Ravikanth Gurunathan in Heist Latte (Photo: 48Hours)

Pop CultureApril 30, 2021

VF48Hours 2021: You won’t believe how good this man is at heists

Ravikanth Gurunathan in Heist Latte (Photo: 48Hours)
Ravikanth Gurunathan in Heist Latte (Photo: 48Hours)

Auckland team Battle Cat Delta Force, Go! talk us through their VF48Hours heist movie, Heist Latte.

As five-time 48Hours veterans, Auckland-based Battle Cat Delta Force, Go! have learned that sometimes less is more. Case in point: their 2021 heist film, Heist Latte.

“The first few films we made for 48Hours were brilliantly stressful and manic,” says  team member Yarden Elyashiv. “Driving all over town, getting mountains of footage and no sleep… these days we try to 48 smarter, not harder.” 

The location of this year’s film was limited to a single apartment building, in which a series of harmless low-stakes pranks between flatmates gradually escalates to a chilling psychological showdown. 

This film is about…

If it’s about anything it’s about living with flatmates, and how small annoyances become huge issues and feel like direct attacks on your way of life. The plot follows one flatmate’s futile attempt at living his life while the other sets out to ruin it. As we were throwing around heist ideas, we kept coming back to “two people stuck together”. The word “heist” had also lost all meaning by that point of the brainstorm, so we just ran with it.

The biggest challenge we faced…

This was the smallest team we’ve had in a while, so there were far fewer hands to hold boom poles, block unwanted light or make a quick run to the shops. Usually we spread the responsibilities around so everyone has a task and it’s not all left with a few people to carry – it would’ve been great to have someone start editing long before we finish shooting, for example. With a slightly bigger team you have the option to fill the frame with more people and movement, which changed the kinds of stories we were throwing around in the brainstorm. It’s also so much more enjoyable with more friends around!

The highlight of the weekend…

Discovering our reflection shot! We finished the brainstorm on Friday with a general sense of what the shoot would be and an idea of how we wanted the timing and pacing to feel. We flew into Saturday with a shot list and not much else, but we knew the final shot would be a reflection somewhere in the apartment. As we were waiting for night to shoot the finale, our cinematographer Lewis was walking around the location desperately trying to find a reflection that wasn’t a mirror. Turns out double-glazed windows provide dope reflections – my favorite shot in the film and it was a total fluke!

Our top 48Hours tip…

Locking in location before the shoot weekend has changed the way we make 48Hours films for sure! On Friday night when you’re writing you know where you’re shooting, so automatically it gives you parameters to work within, which makes landing on an idea way easier. Secondly, it means you’re not just shooting in a flat, so visually the film is more interesting. We also go into the weekend with a small list of things we want to improve on from our previous entry or just techniques we want to try – it sounds like just adding more barriers but it ends up channeling all our creativity.

The VF48Hours 2021 Grand Final is on May 22 in Auckland. For more information visit 48hours.co.nz

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