Chaos Rising is an epic fantasy-action film drawing inspiration from the rich and immersive Warhammer universe. Punching way above its weight, Chaos Rising stands strong -the passionate heart of independent film – but with all the qualities of a big-budget production.
We catch up with one of the film’s co-creators and producers, Charlie Parker for a chat…
The film is inspired by the Warhammer Universe – are all the creators Warhammer players?
The Producers of the film, Graeme Carlyle, Graeme McEwan and Roy Murray are avid tabletop enthusiasts who have played Warhammer religiously for most of their lives. The Directors have a video-gaming background, and although they have collected Warhammer in the past, most of their love for the franchise has existed from the comfort of a PC monitor. Specifically for games like Dawn of War, Total War, and Vermintide.
The majority of the team involved in the film are combat and stunt actors who have worked on some really big projects – how did working on this Kickstarter-funded project differ?
The Combat International team has been at the forefront of action and battle scenes for over 25 years. We’ve taken all of this experience and poured it into Chaos Rising; our first fully in-house production. For the first time we’ve had full creative control over how we wanted our fight scenes to look, and most importantly how to perform them.
Does a lower budget make you more resourceful as creators and actors?
We approached each scene with the same passion and calculated brutality that we bring to all the major features that we’ve worked on, so the scale of the budget wasn’t an issue. If anything, we’ve had more freedom on this project, so as a result we’ve been able to realise some of our wildest and most brutal battle dreams.
Working on a tight budget serves as a strong motivation to be as pragmatic as possible when making major decisions as a filmmaker. You rely on favours, goodwill and above all, belief. You have to motivate friends and sometimes complete strangers into believing in your project. So much so, that they are willing to donate their time and resources to help you achieve your goal. This is no easy feat, but the storm whipped up by our Kickstarter certainly helped speed up the process.
How did it feel to achieve your Kickstarter funding in such a short time and become a viral sensation, did you feel a great deal of pressure or was the atmosphere on set one of lighthearted comradery?
The Kickstarter campaign’s success surprised us all. We actually lowballed the target a little at the time out of fear of not reaching the target at all. That was how pessimistic we were in Kickstarters at the time. However, we reached the target in a matter of days. Blew it to pieces. So from then on the pressure became less about whether will we / won’t we and more about – are we going to make something good enough that justifies all of the attention it was getting.
That’s why we covertly decided to increase the duration of the film to 40 minutes in length. This was all script, we had already planned for future instalments, but now we could include it in one big-juicy starter episode.
How long did filming take and are there any funny anecdotes you would be happy to share?
Filming never actually stopped. We even caught a pick-up shot last month! Although this is the way with filmmaking, you’re never finished until it is released. Look at George Lucas with the original Star Wars trilogy! However, that being said, principal photography was shot on weekends over the course of 13 shoot days. We have since tallied up to 25 shoot days (but some are literally single pickup shots).
There are so many anecdotes in this production. We’ve even kidded that a documentary about the “making of” Chaos Rising would be just as successful as the film itself! One particular incident we all look back on fondly/with fear is when we sailed a sinking longboat out into Lake Windemere in the Lake District. Our wardens were less than truthful about the condition of said vessel, and we found ourselves with water encircling our feet and the lifeguard eagerly chasing us down.
Not every day you get to see a longboat full of sturdy Viking scots sailing slowly to the depths of the lake district! Later that very same day, our beloved wardens tripped the power to an entire town because they left the mast of the boat up! It ended up in the news. Much to our entertainment. It must be noted, we had no ownership or responsibility over the boat at that time.
Aside from the film’s release on August 5th, what’s next for you and the team behind Chaos Rising?
This is just the start for us, a proof of concept. Our aim is to work with a production studio/label on some interesting fantasy-action epic IPs in the future! Maybe Chaos Rising Part 2!
Chaos Rising is available on YouTube from 5th August 2023