Exclusive Trailer Breakdown! Director Luke Sparke talks us through his epic Occupation teaser

The first teaser trailer for writer/director Luke Sparke’s Occupation dropped late last week and has already had a quarter of a million views.

There’s so much in the trailer to be excited about – those aliens look badass – but the trailer also leaves us with a lot of questions.

We invited Spake to breakdown the trailer for us.

by Luke Sparke (Director)

It’s very exciting to show off the very first footage from our film Occupation. So much so I thought I would pop into Cinema Australia and give a little breakdown of what we see, and what things are yet to come.

So what is going on in Occupation? There’s a lot to take in.

We start on some fuzzy footage through a handheld device. A girl, Isabella, played by Izzy Stevens stares at us before we cut to the logos without a word.

Now we cut to black smoke billowing across the countryside that conjours up images of past wars. But this war isn’t fought on a distant battlefield. We hear Isabella: “… I guess it’s important to document the end of the world

Then we jump to our ten heroes perched on a hillside, including some of the cast that don’t feature in the teaser but will play such important roles: Rhiannon Fish, Felix Williamson, Trystan Go, Charlie Terrier and Zac Garred. All ten stand and look out onto…

A massive spaceship in the earths upper atmosphere. This was one of the first images I had in my head before sitting down to write the script. It’s just one of those moments that stays with you. A lot of thought went into the design of the ship, what it’s purpose is and where it came from. A lot of those questions are answered throughout the film. I made sure it keeps going into the distance so we have no real idea just how big it is…

Then we’re back to Isabella for her final line. It feels like they’ve been through some sh*t and she delivers it with a sense that their story has come to an end. What they’ve been “really trying” just might not be working…

After a black screen we hear the words

Take cover!

And all hell is breaking loose. All these shots have full practical explosions, which was a thrill to be able to do. We had a week at the showgrounds where we basically blew the sh*t outta it. Cinema Australia was there one night and can attest to that!

After some more explosions, we get a high shot look at the invaders packing heat. Everyone always got a kick out of seeing these guys on set. The guys at Sharp fx did a fantastic job.

More practicable explosions and a quick glimpse at one of their ships….

We had many different ways to create the teaser, but i think everyone landed on: 59 seconds of action to make a statement that this is no ordinary Aussie film. I think from the reactions, it worked. 

Then we’re in the fields where a guy on a 50. cal machine gun tears up the dirt. Again, great to have our prac sfx guys on hand. During one take, the 50. cal could be heard two suburbs away!

And finally we come back to our heroes. Steph Jacobson, playing Amelia, races forward as explosions go off around her. This ‘field attack’ was one of the most ambitious to shoot but the cast and crew had a lot of fun doing it, which made the days more enjoyable. I think at one point my DOP Tony O’loughlan and I had 7 cameras rolling on certain shots just to get my storyboards achieved. It’s a fantastic ‘big screen’ few minutes.

And straight after Amelia is Dan Ewing as Matt, sleuthing through thick smoke. Matt’s journey is an interesting one through the film and something Dan really worked on with me.

Then we come to the trailers only breath, but the films aussie humour. Charles Mesure, playing Arnold, makes a joke about his past relationships. We’re very careful in the film not to play up the heightened danger as a gag, but it’s moments like this that help relieve tension.

After that, we smash out more quick cuts of FA-18’s, helicopters and laser guns before landing on one of Sydney’s most iconic buildings destroyed….

It was one of the last shots we did on the main shoot.

Quickly followed by one of my favourite images….

And a massive shot of Sydney decimated before landing on the title. The last 3 shots were all in the very first draft of the script and survived all the way to what you see now. The team worked around the clock on all the wide destruction shots right till the bitter end and i think they’ve turned out better than I could have imagined.

I think the teaser speaks volumes for what our team are striving to achieve for our local industry; bringing another genre of films to go alongside the incredible drama and comedy we make. For too long have we had to rely on overseas action films to fill the void in that market, it would be fantastic if we could start holding our own there too.

Occupation will be released later in the year.

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2 thoughts on “Exclusive Trailer Breakdown! Director Luke Sparke talks us through his epic Occupation teaser

  1. Can’t wait, bring it on! Australian made movie to rival the big names, need something & some young stars to stand up & be counted in the Australian Film Industry. Well done!!!!!!!

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