In a creative project that brings awareness to the alarming number of endangered tigers left in the wild, Goodoil Films director Justin McMillan and Heckler editor Andrew Holmes, have teamed up to create a series of powerful documentary films for Tiger Beer.
In a quest to save the brand’s revered mascot, the campaign titled ‘3890 Project’ (the number of wild tigers left in the world), saw Tiger Beer saddle up with not-for-profit WWF to create a series of gritty documentary films. Spotlighting six street artists from six countries, the films tackle the plight of tigers, using uncaged art to fight the illegal tiger trade by bringing the majestic creature’s cause to city streets around the world.
The shoot took McMillan and a documentary crew on a whirlwind three-week crusade to interview street artists Nick Gentry (London), Tran Nguyen (Los Angeles) Momo (Marseille), Nootk (Moscow), Kenji Chai (Kuala Lumpur) and Hua Tunan (in Foshan, China). The documentaries, narrated by LA rap artist Dumbfoundead, see each of the artists express what the extinction of wild tigers means to them.
Says McMillan: “The biggest challenge we faced on this project was how do we make six street artist from major cities around the globe (some of which hardly speak English) become informed and engaged when talking about Tigers becoming extinct in the wild?"
“These days social media has become incredibly noisy when it comes to getting behind a good cause so for the 3890 campaign to hold its own I wanted to cast a front man who was a little unexpected,” McMillan explained.
“I’ve always had a solid appreciation for the way battle rappers can think on their feet so I trawled the Internet for the right man. I’m stoked Dumbfoundead agreed to come on this journey with us.”
Whilst still on the road shooting, McMillan’s footage was being sent over to Heckler editor Andrew Holmes. He says he couldn’t look away, locking himself in the edit suite to create a trailer and six films as an artist-driven weapon to expose the injustices of the illegal tiger trade.
Says McMillan: “A large part of documentary story telling is developed in an edit suite so you need a solid story teller on the keys. Andrew was definitely the right man for the job. He brings a contemporary editorial approach to traditional story telling and his energy level is infectious.”
McMillan worked with a skeleton film crew, and in some instances spent only 36 hours on the ground in one country. He took with him four cameras including an Alexa Mini, Sony A7S, Drone and Gopro Stop Motion, sending rushes back to Holmes who started to cut and build the frames. Both the director and editor collaborated in close partnership on the campaign.
Says Holmes “The thing about good documentary filmmaking is there’s no short cuts. The only way any good doco comes together is through solid collaboration in the edit suite. Its always nice to work with a director that is as passionate about story telling as I am. Hopefully these films can start a conversation and help to create more awareness around the issue”.