Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed chronicle of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini’s time as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, is currently being shot in Australia with ARRI ALEXA cameras supplied by local rental house Gear Head.

According to Gear Head principal David Knight ACS the Unbroken rental contract was won on the basis of the company’s strong professional reputation and a very solid collaboration between Gear Head and ARRI globally.

Knight explained, “At Gear Head we survive on our reputation and relationships within the industry. So when the rental contract for Unbroken became available my business partner and Gear Head GM Nigel Gorham reached out to the film’s DOP Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC and began the pitching process.”

Deakins and Gorham, who have a working relationship spanning several films in the UK and South East Asia, quickly got to the basis of what the technical requirements were for the new movie.

Gorham then discussed the possibility of supplying Deakins’ requirements for Unbroken with the film’s producer Clayton Townsend and put forward a comprehensive strategic proposal which included partnering with ARRI Australia, ARRI Media UK and LA-based rental house Otto Nemenz to provide all the equipment and support the movie would need for a local production on budget.

Unbroken is the biggest movie of its kind to have its equipment supplied by an independent rental house in Australia, something Knight graciously acknowledges along with the extra responsibility it carries for the local industries’ reputation. As a result Knight, Gorham and the entire Gear Head team made sure all of Roger Deakins’ expectations were met and exceeded on all fronts.

Knight added, “Unbroken is a massive deal for Australia. Directed by Angelina Jolie, written by Joel and Ethan Coen – they don’t get any bigger than that. This simply meant we worked even more closely than we would normally with Stefan and the ARRI Australia team to get this deal across the line. To get and then carry out a project of this scale you simply must have the full support of the camera manufacturer and we got it. ALEXA cameras speak for themselves in terms of quality but ARRI Australia truly stands out in terms of their exceptional sales, service and support and their incredible commitment to the local industry. I can honestly say in all our years of dealing with them they have never let us down."

The fourteen palettes of equipment supplied by Gear Head for Unbroken is comprehensive but the cameras are the real stars as they include an ALEXA XT Studio, two ALEXA XT M, both rare models in Australia, and two ALEXA XT all recording ARRIRAW with onboard XR Codex recorders and using the in-gate ARRI FSND filter system. The production is also using two complete sets of ARRI Master Prime lenses amongst an array of accessories that include matte boxes, filters and rain deflectors.

Knight added, “Film production of this scale is now truly a global and international business which often requires more resources than may be available locally – hence the need to partner with companies in the UK and the USA to ensure everything that’s required is brought together at the right time. We have also committed to supporting the production 24/7 for the thirteen weeks of principal photography and this includes all backup support working with the Gear Head team."

All the ARRI equipment for Unbroken was tested and prepped at Gear Head’s Marrickville offices in Sydney with the team working very closely with Roger Deakins, first assistant Andy Harris and a very experienced local camera team that includes Ricky Schamburg.

David Knight ACS concluded, “In our minds Gear Head is an extension of the camera department team and thus we all live and breathe the production. That said I simply cannot stress enough that we could not have made this happen without the collaboration of Stefan Sedlmeier and ARRI Australia, Martin Cayzer and ARRI UK and Otto Nemenz in LA. This unique collaboration was unquestionably the key to getting the right equipment solution and giving the production diversity of choice with a credible supplier in the Australian market.”

Unbroken began principal photography on 21 October on the Gold Coast and will move to Sydney’s Fox Studios and various locations throughout NSW during its thirteen week shoot.

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