FIELDTRIP is an original sci-fi shortfilm created by Soren Bendt and Paul Arion. It is a love letter to 70’s science fiction.
Q (Laurentui Ciucur) a minelayer and soldier of The Old Homeland crashes in his own minefield. His only companion is the robotic AI called ESS, which controls his damaged spacesuit. With oxygen and power running low, they must together navigate the minefield, only to make a gruesome discovery. A dark sci-fi comedy about consequence, man, and machine.
Creators Paul Arion (paularion.com) and Soren Bendt.
Soren and Paul met at MPC London. Working together they created high-end visual effects (VFX) for blockbuster Hollywood productions. Soren pitched to Paul a rough idea of a ‘dude in a suit’ in 2013. Together, and over a period of 3 years on and off, they co-wrote the script for a short-film initially called ‘Proximity’, which evolved into ‘FIELDTRIP’. Due to being close collaborators and friends they decided to co-direct, fund and build the project together.
FIELDTRIP gained proper traction when Paul Arion returned from Iceland with inspiring photography. One of the first concept pieces drawn by Soren Bendt on top of Paul Arion’s photography.
FIELDTRIP Storyboards by Soren Bendt.
In February 2016 they shot the first 4 minutes of FIELDTRIP, inside an OT-64 APC tank kindly provided by Richard Moor (Russianmilitary UK) in north England. The initial shoot was scheduled to happen earlier, but it was delayed when the fully functional amphibious military vehicle was demonstrated to a potential buyer, and sank into a small lake. It was recovered weeks later but had suffered water damage all around, which turned out to fit the design aesthetic of the film very well. The first 4 minutes were shot over a weekend, in 24 hours, with a skeleton crew of close friends.
The OT-64 APC which became the FIELDTRIP set.
The Polish and Czech vehicle built in the 1960s was the perfect setting for the retro style look and claustrophobic feel of the film. A few customized parts, camping lights, and a smoke machine finalized the look.
FIELDTRIP UK crew from left to right: Paul Arion, Jakob Worre Foged, Jamie Holmes, Laurentiu Ciucur, Fabian Nowak, Andrej Bicanski, Soren Bendt. Photo by Lee Greatorex, who was also part of the crew. Everyone acted, everyone did makeup, everyone died.
The world of FIELDTRIP is rough and dirty, everything has suffered intense wear and tear, including the characters. Sitting between ‘Retrofuture’ and ‘Dieselpunk’ in what was coined as ‘DistressedPunk’. This design aesthetic was key in how the props were built: at home, in Soren’s small flat in west London UK.
Pictures from the production ‘workshop’: Soren’s flat in west London. Soren Bendt and Paul Arion working on the space suit.
FIELDTRIP Concept art by Soren Bendt.
After completing the first 4 minutes of FIELDTRIP, the ambition grew and so did the monetary requirement. A kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was successfully funded in July 2017, and the Iceland shoot was set for August 2017.
FIELDTRIP Concept art by Soren Bendt.
FIELDTRIP Illustrations by Soren Bendt.
7 people, 4 cars, 10 days. Soren and Paul did the initial scout and met up with the rest of the crew (survivors of the UK shoot) in Reykjavik, then went south from there. To save time and money, everyone slept in pairs in the cars, public baths, coffee and soup to keep the production going.
All kit at Reykjavik Airport and hauling of the kit to the DC plane wreck.
Multiple challenges arose in the desolate and beautiful landscape of Iceland. Vehicle access to the DC plane wreck is restricted due to the popularity of the site, thus the crew had to get there by foot. The 2 mile walk from the parking site, hauling all the equipment through the sand proved especially taxing. Batteries draining at night due to the cold storage in the cars. Numerous broken props etc. The crew that made FIELDTRIP, also lived it themselves.
FIELDTRIP shooting in Iceland.
FIELDTRIP ICELAND CREW from left to right:
Soren Bendt, Fabian Nowak, Lee Greatorex, Andrej Bicanski, Paul Arion, Laurentiu Ciucur
and Troels Lindrup Madsen.
Post production, VFX & editing was done over the following years, with multiple delays due to demanding full-time jobs and the scope of the VFX and sound design. The final sound was delivered by Scott Marshall and Bamsound Creative (BCVR), and scored by Simon Porter.
ESS (the suit AI) point of view. Concept and final composite by Soren Bendt.
Plate vs VFX. Final composite by Paul Arion, smoke plumes FX by Fabian Nowak.
Graphic UI design by Soren Bendt. The art direction was designed to fit the 70’s aesthetic. To give a sense of all the tech running on older 8bit computers mixed with more tactile technology, such as tape recorders and CRT monitors. Glitching and bugging out, matching the harsh conditions of the world and drained state of the main character. Final Composites by Paul Arion, Caner Salmanli and Soren Bendt.
FIELDTRIP was completed in 2021 and set for release in 2022 on the film festival circuit.
Starring: Laurentiu Ciucur. Supporting Cast: Andrej Bicanski, Jamie Holmes, Fabian Nowak, Troels L Madsen, Lee Greatorex and Jakob Foged.
Sound Supervisor: Scott Marshall. Post Production Sound: Bamsound Creative (BCVR). Music and Composition: Simon Porter. Sound Effects Editor & Design: Michael Botwright, The Foley Factory. Foley Artists: Pete Burgis, Franziska Treutler. Additional Sound and On-set Recording: Lee Greatorex. ADR Recording: Simone Fracucci.
Lead Compositor: Fred Burdy. Compositing: George Palcut and Caner Salmanli. FX TD: Fabian Nowak. Environment Artists: Alex Popescu and Gianluca Pizzaia. Colorist: Garry Maddison.
Produced by BendtArion. Associate Producer: Claudiu Arion. Directed by Soren Bendt & Paul Arion.