Veverka Brothers' New Documentary PASSFIRE Records World's Most Amazing Fireworks
Back to the Article
by Movies News Desk
Two award-winning filmmakers are ready to dig in to the international passion for fireworks with their forthcoming film PASSFIRE. This documentary about the world's most amazing fireworks, the passionate people who make them and the cultures behind them is sure to explode on the big screen.
The Veverka Brothers, the duo behind the film, have already raised seed money with the help of the National Fireworks Association, Skylighter Fireworks, and independent producers. The filmmakers have launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign [http://kck.st/VAxGS0 to raise at least $38,000 to finance the next phase of the production, which will take them around Asia and back to the United States in time for Independence Day.
Brothers Jesse and Jeremy Veverka have spent more than six months planning the latest production, which aims to document the rich, yet rapidly changing fireworks traditions that exist around the world and make them accessible to both fireworks enthusiasts as well as the broader public.
The Veverka Bros. aim to record the biggest blasts, along with traditional manufacturing methods and cultural affairs with fireworks. Having already been to Japan and China for filming, the filmmakers' latest footage can be seen in their Kickstarter video. It takes an exclusive look at the legendary 36-inch san-jaku shell in Japan, which takes six months to craft, weighs about 400 pounds and costs almost as much as a new car. Also in Japan, "Passfire" shows how a master shellmaker assembles a 12-inch shell, known as an "ichi-shaku." Stars (round balls) are sandwiched between layers of bursting charge to create a beautiful burst-within-a-burst affect that is nearly perfectly symmetrical. The Kickstarter video tours massive Chinese fireworks factories, where viewers can meet some of the main characters in the film, as well.
"Ever since I was a boy, I would always look forward to fireworks shows on the 4th of July - a fascination I still haven't outgrown," said director of photography Jeremy Veverka, 31. "I realized that there are many other adults who haven't outgrown it either. People have based their entire livelihoods on fireworks, not for the money but for the love of making things go boom."
The brothers were inspired to pursue a long-term film project on the topic after Jesse, 34, wrote an article for CNN Travel entitled "Liuyang: Where the World's Fireworks Are Born." His profile of Liuyang, China - the world's de facto capital of fireworks - sparked interest from Harry Gilliam, president of Skylighter Fireworks, who signed on as an executive producer for "Passfire."
"Fireworks have a powerful, almost magical attraction to people," Gilliam said. "I'm tickled pink that such an accomplished, professional film company is producing a documentary on how and why fireworks affect people so universally. I have been particularly impressed with the Veverka Brothers' insights and enthusiasm for the link between fireworks and different cultures all over the world, and I am honored to be able to help bring this production into being."
Highlights of the production will also include scenes of jumbo-size Thai Girandolas helicoptoring into the sky, celebrations at a fireworks festival in Tultepec, Mexico, honoring the patron saint of pyrotechnics, San Juan de Dios, and a glimpse of Malta, where Catholic parishes compete with one another for the best fireworks shows.
"There've been some interesting stories about the way fireworks are made, their history, or how shows are put together, but there has never been a film of this scale that looks at the way people show their love for fireworks around the globe," says director Jesse Veverka, adding that many of the scenes offer glimpses of fireworks that have never been seen by the broader public before.
Despite the global perspective, Jesse and Jeremy realize that a part of fireworks culture lies in their own backyard - the United States. They are documenting the work of Tom Dimock, a licensed pyrotechnician in Ellis Hollow, New York. Dimock co-organizes a special fireworks show every Labor Day, and has won several awards from the Pyrotechnics Guild International. They'll also be checking out fireworks around American Independence Day (July 4), where the sky of the entire nation lights up with brightly colored blasts and the largest shows of the year.
This is the largest project that the Veverka Brothers have taken on in their careers so far. Previously, they created the feature-length documentary "China: Rebirth of an Empire," which screened at 24 film festivals internationally and took home six awards, including Best Documentary. Their documentary short "Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village" and narrative short "Bus to Somewhere" continue to screen at festivals worldwide.
Support the Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/veverkabros/passfire
The filmmakers are available for immediate interviews and can be reached at info(at)veverkabros(dot)com or 607-216-4304.