Longship Films

Dedicated to seat-of-the-pants filmmaking

Longship Films produces highly engaging and consumable feature films through a process we call ‘Seat of the Pants Filmmaking’.

This approach is based on a the combination of our experience with indie filmmaking and lean start-ups. Independent filmmaking is all about the story and the experience. We bring human stories to the screen. Lean start-up is a methodology which allows teams to focus on value producing activities, and not waste time and effort. Longship Films uses lean filmmaking tactics to create and market wonderful human stories.

Typical industry film making is based on forcing the Universe into a script, a shooting schedule and a marketing plan. Seat of the Pants filmmaking puts the Universe in the lead and the rest follows. The Universe plays a direct part in writing the script while the shooting is underway…

The creative process is essentially a small team of highly adaptable and capable film professionals embarking on a week long journey to shoot the story. We have three weeks of pre-production, however there are only story concepts and character ideas ready before the boat sets sail. We do not have a full script when we start shooting. Flexibility and responsiveness are key, and the writer is on the team to adapt the concepts and characters based on whatever the Universe puts in the teams path.

The post-production is limited to two months, so the full creative window is only three months. Each of the team members is a volunteer and covers their own costs. However, should the film be sold, each team member will receive a higher percentage of profits than they would on a typical industry production. There are a set of rule which each team member must comply to in order to join. These rules are designed to achieve the objective in the most creative and efficient way possible.

The marketing process is based on a rapid testing approach with the market and waterfalls quickly to next concepts. We will pitch the finished film to a select group of distributors and agents while submitting to a few select festivals. If this first round does not respond, we will quickly pivot and release online via pay-per-view platforms. Sometime after that, we will release it for free viewing.

This approach allows us to create high quality stories with essentially zero costs. This is the sharing economy applied to filmmaking. There are no assistants. We all do our part and come up with a viable story on film, and give it a chance to reach various audiences.

The Longship Team

Who are these Longshippers?

Kristjan Knigge

Kristjan Knigge

Director - CEO, CVO, CAO, CCO

Kristjan has worked professionally all over the world: camera crew, art department. production manager, electrical unit, grip, special effects, editing and 1st Assistant Director. In 2004 he took the plunge and decided to direct. To date he has made commercials, corporates, music videos, a full length documentary, 15 short films and a feature film.

Chris Parker

Chris Parker

Producer - CFO, CIO, COO, CAO, CBO

Chris works with, coaches and leads people going through transformations, either as individuals or as organisations, with a passionate focus on using information technology and customer experience strategy to enable increased satisfaction and performance. And he produces and sells films.

Erik Bannenberg

Erik Bannenberg

Creative Producer

Since 1992 Erik worked in the camera department all over the world. As DoP he shot commercials, music-videos, documentaries and feature films. He also owned a production company specialising in corporate communication. In 2003 he started working as a coach and trainer in the field of personal development. At Longship Films he seeks to combine those passions.

Sytse Faber

Sytse Faber

Creative Producer

Sytse is an actor, filmmaker and writer who loves to tell new and unseen stories through film. For the past 4 years he’s given everything for his life in film, and has worked on over 100 different productions, ranging from shorts, commercials and corporate to feature films, winning awards and nominations along the way.

F.A.Q.

General
Questions

Why the name Longship?

Kristjan is Danish. He considers himself a bit of a Viking (even if he’s a big softy at heart). Chris thought we should come up with a name then captured the Viking spirit and ethos of risk-taking, discovery, co-operation, efficiency and friendship. Viking warriors traveled across the known world, for conquest, and for trade. The Vikings didn’t use slaves on their ships. The warriors rowed themselves. They rowed themselves across the Arctic Ocean to Canada, they rowed themselves to the Black Sea. No assistants, no slaves. Each member of the crew invaluable. Each warrior sat on his travel chest to row, which saved weight on benches. Kind of captures the spirit of Longship Films.

How big is a Longship crew?

There is no set number, however there is an advisory… a guideline, if you will. We recommend a team, including cast & crew, of 8 to 12 people. This, we have found, is the ideal size to allow maximum inclusion and collaboration in the entire creative process, and still have the human resources to get a movie made. There is one absolute rule to a Longship Team. NO ASSISTANTS. This rule is non-negotiable. No one on a Longship Team is anyone’s assistant. Each member of a Longship Crew is head of their own department. This fosters commitment, responsibility and involvement.

How can I get in touch with Longship Films?

Send us a message using the contact form, find us on Twitter, or Facebook, or send up

Can I join a Longship Team?

Yes. If you dare.

LSF#1
Second Honeymoon

Where can I watch Second Honeymoon?
That’s the best question, really, the best question. You can watch the film on a variety of VOD platforms. Head over to FreshFlix to choose your favourite platform.
How was the team put together?
Most members of the team who worked on the first Longship production were crew and cast that had worked with Kristjan in the past. A team that can merge together quickly and harmoniously is key to a successful project, and especially so in the condensed filmmaking form of a Longship production. Kristjan thought carefully about each person he invited to join, considering them as individuals as well as keeping the whole team dynamic in mind.

However, the team, and the team leader, must also be flexible and open enough to accept new and unknown members into the fold, integrating their skills, passion and energy into the project. During LSF1 this happened in the case of UPM and set photographer Gonzo. He was unknown to anyone on the team before the first day of production, and yet turned out to be a huge asset and wonderful and valued team member.

Why did you choose to shoot Second Honeymoon in Portugal?
Kristjan, founder and director of Longship Films, grew up in the Algarve in Southern Portugal. His feature film debut, The Right Juice was produced in there too, so when it came time to choose a venue for the first ever Longship Films production, the Algarve seemed a natural choice.

The Algarve is also heaven to shoot in, specially if you are improvising and making it up as you go along. People are genuinely open, helpful and supportive, we could write scenes in the evening and find the perfect location to shoot them by the next day. The landscape in the Algarve and the Alentejo is also stunning, providing a range of possibilities from beaches, to vineyards, to mountains to villages and towns.

How long was the production period for Second Honeymoon?
The idea for LSF1 was born in May of 2015. On the 22nd of June the team boarded a plane to start the production. During the lead up to the production period a minimum of pre-production took place. Securing air tickets, arranging vehicle and equipment sponsoring, initial concept brainstorming, and some preparatory homework for the actors.

The writing started in earnest on the first day of production. Less than three days later Marie produced a script! Shooting took 6 days, and script development and rewrites continued on throughout those shooting days. As the actors developed their character, and the scenes built towards the story, the script was altered and adjusted to improve it. Writing continued right through to the final scenes of the final day’s shoot.

Editing is currently under way, and is predicted to take three to four weeks, followed by around the same amount of time for audio post-production, music, colour grading, visual effects and titling. The film should be ready to pitch to festivals, sales agents and distributors by September of 2015.

 

What camera was Second Honeymoon shot on?
Are you in film school?

The Sony PMW-f5, three superspeed lenses (18mm, 32mm, 50mm). Most of the scenes where shot handheld. there are a number of driving scenes, where a three point suction mount car rig was used.

The above where sponsored by GoldenEye Camera & Grip.

For two days of shooting we were joined by the amazing done using the amazingKnut K. Pedersen who operated camera with his Steadicam/MKV Alien Revolution rig.

 

What does the title mean?

LSF#2
Exposure

Why did you choose to shoot Exposure in Wisconsin?
Kristjan’s first feature film, The Right Juice, screened at the Flyway Film Festival in 2014. He attended and fell in love with the festival, the region and the people. The festival is based in the tiny town of Pepin.

After completing Second Honeymoon, Kristjan asked the Flyway Festival if they would host the World Premiere, which they agreed to do. As an number of members of the team from the first Longship project where going to attend the premiere anyway, they figured they could shoot their next film right there on the shores of Lake Pepin. So they did.

Is the Exposure the same team as worked on Second Honeymoon?
Partly. Geerteke and Sytse joined again as actors, Kristjan directed and BJ did the Production Design. The rest of the team was new. The wonderful Jacky Poplar joined as screenwriter, and a fabulous DP from Nashville, Chad McClarnon came aboard, bringing a Prius-load of camera and lighting equipment. Sidenote – Kristjan and Chad met at the Flyway Film Festival a year earlier.

The rest of the team was found on the ground in Southern Wisconsin, mostly at the festival. Erica Anderson plays a lead role in the film and also Production Managed the hell out of us, and more actors where cast: David Potter, Charlie Woodruff, Lexi Loreth, Lulu Vaicius, Rick Vaicius et al.

For the second part of production in the Algarve, the team is extended with the addition of Jelle Helwig, who is editing Exposure, Erik Schuring will record sound, and Gonçalo Osório joins once more, as he had such a fantastic time working on Second Honeymoon.

How come the film didn't get finished after shooting in Wisconsin?
The Longship method is still in development. We are refining the process, learning from every film and developing the methodology. It is an ongoing process. After returning from Wisconsin and completing the first edit of the film we realised we had not shot a complete story. We have amazingly beautiful shots, a deeply intriguing main character and interesting well performed scenes. However they don’t add up to a complete film.

After much deliberation we decided that instead of abandoning the work already done, we would look at the material and see if it inspired a new idea to complete the film in a different way, in a way we had not envisioned during production. And it worked. We have written a new story outline, so armed with that, and knowing what we want to use from the original footage, we are heading to the Algarve to write and shoot the rest of the film.

One of the key pillars of the Longship method is flexibility. Being open to changes, rolling with them and letting them be the inspiration to create. We have discovered that what happened so far with Exposure fits perfectly in that vision.

So why are you finishing the film in Portugal?
Part of that decision is financial. Most of the team is based in Amsterdam, and as we all pay our own way during production we simply could not afford to return to the US. We will be joined by actress Erica Anderson and DOP Chad McClarnon, but the rest of the gang will be flying the much more affordable route from Amsterdam to Lisbon… except BJ and Gonçalo who are based in Portugal Already.

One other reason is accessibility. Kristjan, the director, and BJ the Art Director have shot two movies in the Algarve together already, including Second Honeymoon, and they know what is possible there.

And lastly the amazing locations and landscapes that can be found in the Algarve. The beautiful Atlantic beaches should form a wonderful counterpoint and complete the grey green hills of southern Wisconsin.

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