Café Mirage – Production

Pattern Maker Films is proud to announce that block 1 of Café Mirage is complete, safe and sound in the can. It was a challenging yet fun eight shooting days across Fulham, Kentish Town and Chalk Farm in London. We cannot wait to shoot block 2 in the coming months in Paris.

Due to the size and logistics of the project, having gone through numerous attempts to film everything in Paris with a Paris based cast and crew, the film ended being shot in both London and Paris. Compromises had to be made therefore all the interior scenes were to be shot in London and all the exteriors of course Paris. With a good production designer (Alessandra De Palma) and director of photography (Ariel Artur) on board this challenge was daring and fun.

With all the cast and crew attached I can confidently say this is one of the most talented teams PMF has worked with. The bulk of block 1 was filmed at the centrepiece location to the film: the café. It took a long time to scout, contact and visit the right café, overcoming many rejections. The café had to be French, obviously being the key factor, and that narrowed down the choices. But we found our home with Fulham’s Bistro Mirey, a lovely French/Japanese place with wonderfully helpful owners and chefs Gerald and Ko.

The other filming locations in block 1 were the apartment scenes, based in Chalk Farm and Kentish Town. The owners of the properties were a great help, and once more one of the main objective was making the apartments look as though they were in Paris. Luckily the properties were well chosen and supported this aim with some beautiful set pieces. Both the actors and crew created some beautiful work.

One of the most challenging yet exciting stages of production with this film was the Paris block (block 2) in September (specific dates 13th – 17th). With my very limited French I was still able to secure the production’s permit for exterior shooting and a deal with a café for a shooting location. Under such tight budget restrictions, I managed to make this happen. This section (and certainly most important) to the production was done entirely digitally. With the budget raised, Eurostar and accommodation booked for the cast and crew, everything was ready to go.

To help me with the paperwork and other things, I hired translator to bridge the gap between the French connections and myself. As a whole, the deal process went through pretty quickly. With every project I try to stretch myself and do something I didn’t do on the previous, with Café Mirage filming overseas was a necessary step and communicating with other cultures and languages is something I also enjoy.

Block 2 Paris was completed successfully, and it is always a music to ones ears when you get everything on the schedule and more. Having a permit to shoot in the city and doing everything by the book made the schedule smooth and worry free. We were only stopped once by the Paris authorities for checks, during film.

We did a few scenes at the Gare Du Nord over the 5 days. A busy location and an obvious choice when shooting in Paris, to capture the characters arriving and departing from Paris. Exterior shooting requires crowd control. The Gare Du Nord was the most challenging with this factor because of how busy and noisy it was, and we had tramps (not homeless people) – for want of a better word – intentionally ruining our takes by invading the set and being loud.

Extras was another task that we needed to tackle. Being on such a minimal budget, we took a skeleton cast and crew out for this block to accommodate the budget and stay within the rules of our permit agreement. So finding extras to be in the scenes was going to be an improvised and on the moment exercise. Thankfully we had people whom agreed but we also went through rejections and some scenes had to be dropped entirely because the shooting was feasible or manageable due to the size of the project.

Transportation was all on foot with the use of the Metro. We came to and from Paris by Eurostar and stayed in hostel accommodation at Jo&Joes in zone 5, a hostel I will recommended due to how clean and tidy it was.