A film guaranteed to put anyone to sheep
App writers take a foray into the moviemaking business
FORGET actors, dialogue, a plot or even an average film length. A new flick is pushing the boundaries by producing a whopping eight-hour slow-motion film starring only sheep.
Titled Baa Baa Land, the film – which is made in the UK but financed by Americans – is set to premiere in September.
While the official red carpet showcasing will take place at the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s West End, it will also go live online on the same date to be announced.
The digital version – set for a global audience – is set to premiere on Calm.com, the California-based meditation application that produced the app Calm.
Despite the movie only featuring the farm animal, it is also one of the longest films ever produced. But, although it is about 480 minutes long, producer Peter Freedman said the film was only the 19th longest of all time.
This makes it only five minutes shorter than Empire, Andy Warhol’s 1964 film, and the same length as his 1967 work The Imitation of Christ.
Meanwhile, the longest movie ever made is Logistics, a Swedish experiential art film made in 2012 and lasting 857 hours, or 35 days and 17 hours.
“It is also an example of Slow Cinema, a genre of art films known for long takes, slow pace and lack of action or narrative,” said Baa Baa
Land’s executive producer and co-founder of Calm Alex Tew.
“It’s better than any sleeping pill – the ultimate insomnia cure.”
In its trailer, which was recently released online, the film is described as a meditation, a dream, an enchantment, a tonic for the soul”.
For those who lack the time to watch the entire film, an 86-second trailer available on the Calm.com blog gives a taste, while a voiceover explains its rationale.
“In a world of constant stress and information overload, of anxious days and restless nights, comes the chance at last to pause, to breathe, to calm our racing minds and fretful souls, to sit and stare at sheep,” the voiceover in the trailer said. Freedman explained that
Baa Baa Land was the first screen epic entirely starring sheep: “A cast of hundreds – all of them sheep.
“Count them if you can, but don’t stress if you can’t. Sit back, wind down, drift off to sheep.”
He insists that this type of film is not meant to compete with others.
“Is it also the dullest movie ever made? We think so.”
“We hope that audiences will too,” Freedman said. Like the Star Wars, Harry
Potter and Indiana Jones movies before it, Baa Baa Land is financed with American money but made in the UK by mainly British talent.
It was shot entirely on location in Essex, a few miles from London.
“We’re in discussion about US and wider distribution and in talks with an American TV channel,” said Michael Acton Smith, its other executive producer and Calm’s other co-founder. “We don’t expect it to break box-office records but believe there is at least a niche audience for it.
“Baa Baa Land has no car-chases, explosions or star names, all it has is sheep and fields. Nothing happens for eight hours.”
Smith added that while the average camera shot in Hollywood action movies like The
Bourne Supremacy lasts two seconds, the average shot in Baa Baa Land last over 30 minutes.
“Apart from some music over the film’s credits, the only soundtrack is the sound of sheep making the sort of noises that lend the film its name.”
He said Baa Baa Land was no relation to La La Land, the recent Hollywood hit with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
Its poster, however, does pay an affectionate tribute to
La La Land’s and to a line associated with the latter, declaring, “Here’s to the ones who dream... of sheep”.
“It is, if anything, more of a homage to the films of Andy Warhol, the late American avant-garde artist and film-maker. Many laughed at
Empire, Warhol’s eight hour, slow-motion movie of the Empire State Building on its first showing in 1964, but it’s now considered a classic.”
EWE SO DULL: An eight-hour slow-motion film with no plot, dialogue or actors has unveiled its trailer, poster and plans this September for a red-carpet premiere and global webcast.