Director Costa Fam is shooting the second part of the Witnesses trilogy – offering an unique perspective on war atrocities.
The short film Brutus – the second part of the Witnesses trilogy – historical film consisting of three short stories, offers a new perspective on the Second World War. The first part of the trilogy, Shoes, follows the story of a pair of women’s shoes, starting from the window of a shoe shop, to a pile of shoes at Auschwitz concentration camp. The film has been critically acclaimed and selected at some of the most important international film festivals.
Brutus continues the trilogy, only this time following the journey of Brutus, a German Shepard as he experiences War, racial laws, human atrocity and cruelty. From his fateful rescue as a pup, to pre-War life with his beloved Jewish owner, to his eventual adoption and training by an SS Officer, Brutus shows the humanity and inhumanity of war from the experience of a non-human. The story is based on the homonymous story written by the Czech writer Ludvík Aškenazy.
The project benefits from the experience of an international crew, starting with Costa Fam, who is the writer and director of this project. The DoP is Giora Bejach from Israel – winner of the European Film Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the movie Lebanon (2010). Brutus received support from a team of international producers: Yan Fisher Romanovsky (USA), Alexei Petruhin (Russia), Gabi Ilioiu (USA), Loreto Rodríguez (USA). After shooting the first part of the trilogy in the Czech Republic, the team moved on to Romania for filming Brutus, in partnership with the Bucharest-based production company Alien Film, represented by producer Iuliana Tarnovetchi.
Casting includes famous Ukrainian and Russian actors such as Oksana Fandera playing Brutus’ owner, and Philip Janowski as Hurst, the Nazi officer. Some of the supporting actors were played by Romanian actors such as Ion Grosu, Lucia Maier and Alexandrina Halic.
Shooting started mid-August and took place on various locations in Romania for 14 days. The period film took the cast and crew in locations such as Jilava fort, Bucharest old town, Branesti forest, as well as Stirbey Palace and MediaPro studios in Buftea. According to producer Yan Fisher Romanovsky, the first visit to Romania has been very successful and he’s considering bringing further productions to the country in the future. Furthermore, it is a unique opportunity for Romania to be part of the Witnesses series which has a great potential to travel in the international festival circuit, but also as an educational tool for young and mature audiences alike, who have the chance to explore war atrocities by an original cinematic and storytelling perspective.
The last part of the trilogy, Violin, follows the journey of the music instrument, from the moment it was created, through different owners and historical events, up until the present time. The trilogy is set for international release early summer of 2016.