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Making It Real
Although PREMONITION was set to film in New Orleans, Louisiana, the filmmakers had to make a last minute change when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. After postponing the start of production for a few months, the filmmakers opted to remain in the state and film in Shreveport. "We had the opportunity to go to various other parts of the United States,” recalls Amritraj. "Then the Governor of Louisiana called and asked for our support, so we decided to stay. It worked out beautifully. It's a great city and the people have been wonderful.”

A great many of the crew were experienced production personnel from New Orleans who were displaced by the hurricane. Happy to have film production staying in the state, they staged an impromptu Mardi Gras party on set. The spirit of New Orleans was alive and thriving in Shreveport. As for the serious business of making the film, however, it was decided early on that PREMONITION was going to be a thriller rooted in the familiar of the everyday. No hocus pocus magic tricks. Says Yapo, "I wanted to focus in on the characters and stay in reality. I wanted to elevate inwards and not put something on top of it, visually or effects wise. I wanted this movie to be real.”

Production designer Dennis Washington was given the task of making a small town atmosphere feel both recognizable and foreboding. Filmed in primarily practical locations, the filmmakers wanted to create the feeling of "anywhere USA.”

"My longtime art director Tom Taylor and I mixed many locations with a mix of alterations, adjustments and additions to make reality "real.” "The atmosphere was very important,” says producer Ashok Amritraj. "We wanted to make sure it didn't feel too claustrophobic, that there is enough breathing room while at the same time letting the audience experience what Linda is feeling.”

Yapo brought in his "Lautlos” director of photography Torsten Lippstock to help him create the look of the film, which had to closely hew to Linda's psychological state. Says Yapo, "When Linda was experiencing something strange, we changed to a handheld camera. This was a more vivid nightmarish approach that we added to a few scenes. The tone changes right away. When we are in regular classic composition we jump to hand-held. It elevates the whole experience and puts the audience very close to Linda.”

Of the many things the camera had to accomplish, it had to lead the audience, but also show things that Linda may have not yet noticed. "It's all about Linda's emotional journey and technically, we need to do whatever we can to support that journey through the film,” says Yapo.

One of the ways Yapo thought he could stretch the confines of reality was in the car crash. "The film is about loss, grief. A woman loses her husband in a car accident. So, if we do this car crash it has to be the most devastating car crash ever seen on film. It's the only time we can exaggerate in the movie.” The scene was shot on a remote highway outside of Shreveport with the help of veteran stunt coordinator Joel Kramer and co-coordinator Steven Ritzi.

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