Robbers, one of the first feature films to be shot completely on high-definition video, will be unveiled at Berlin this week by its producers Dan Lupovitz, Timm Oberwelland and Leon Melas.
A mock documentary about a film crew following a gang of robbers at work and play, Robbers is the first produced screenplay by Michael Couto and Grant Holly. Couto, a graduate of the American Film Institute, also directed.
"Because it's about a video crew following a series of robberies, the HD technology made sense," explains Lupovitz. "Michael [Couto] works in the world of TV news so he understands the style of news reporting and reality-based programming."
In the film, each robber has a unique style of robbery. "You get to sit in the back seat and watch them as they commit their crimes to greater or lesser effect," says Lupovitz. "It looks at the relationship between the robbers and the film crew, and asks how complicit the film crew becomes in the crimes as they become increasingly involved."
Lupovitz, Oberwelland and Melas are looking to "get the film on the radar" and generate interest among buyers at Berlin. "It's a script which was written five years ago but for whatever reason it didn't happen," says Lupovitz. "When I read it, it seemed to me that the time was good because of the voyeuristic nature of entertainment as shown by reality-based television and The Blair Witch Project. Also the HD technology had caught up with the material."
The film shot for 25 days in and around Los Angeles, and will be completed in mid-March. Lupovitz anticipates that it will first screen for buyers at Cannes; it will be blown up to 35mm for theatrical release.
Lupovitz and Oberwelland were the producers of Simpatico starring Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone. Lupovitz also produced The Velocity Of Gary with Salma Hayek and Vincent D'Onofrio and Search And Destroy with Ethan Hawke, John Turturro and Dennis Hopper. Oberwelland was an associate producer on The Velocity Of Gary. Oberwelland and Melas are partners in Zeal Pictures.