Choosing the out and indoor locations, the design and the color – these are the first moves which determine the production design of the film. “Production design is a great power” – as it not only gives the visual and the atmosphere of a film but it has a role in the interpretation of the story as we make a different sense of a sentence in a conventional. a realistic or a fairy tale like movie or in the tuning of the characters.
In the first round I always deepen in the material of a film with the cameraman, at this point a concept about the production design starts to evolve in my head which we share with the production designer who reflects to this and tries to work on the design based on this. The production designer is a creative artist, but many tasks depend on him/her logistically, he/she needs to harmonize the tasks of the costume designer, the technician, the architect and the set decorator.
Production designers receive awards at many film festivals as creative department leaders but it is very good that this film festival (ATAFF) focuses directly on their work as many times their job disappears next to the cameraman and the costume designer, especially when the production design of the film is not decisive.
In case of the film, Don Juan, Péter Klímó production designer had a very difficult task with the cameraman, Dávid Hartung as we dreamed of a colorful, fairy tale like costume movie with many locations set in the 1920’s-30’s, for which we only had a small budget of a TV movie. Choosing the outdoor locations is the most difficult in case of a film like this as we have no chance for modification or building an entire set, so only the nature or a narrow street view can be considered – of course these can be integrated smoothly and pleasantly into the production design of the film. For example, it was a very statuesque scene when we choose the only small street view in Szentendre where it was possible to shoot the 1930’s scenes without cloaking. We were brainstorming how to place many scenes – which regarding the story happen elsewhere - on this spot. As for the inner location we were freer to choose; the different atmospheres and feelings of the flashback scenes in the film were nicely differentiated; and the film’s grotesque mood produced many possibilities for playing with the creation of the sets.