THERE'S A HIPPOPOTAMUS ON MY ROOF EATING CAKE

SHORT FILM ADAPTATION OF HAZEL EDWARD'S BELOVED CHILDREN'S BOOK

MY ROLE:

Cinematographer

PRODUCTION YEAR:

2009

DURATION:

15 minutes

SYNOPSIS:

In collaboration with the creators of worldwide arena spectacular, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, comes a beguiling adaptation of the 1980 classic, THERE’S A HIPPOPOTAMUS ON OUR ROOF EATING CAKE. Dedicated to the now adult fans of the book, this live-action interpretation brings a new angle to the much-loved Australian story. The story follows rogue 9-year-old Zoe and a shower singing, bike-riding, cake-eating Hippopotamus.

PRODUCTION NOTES:

The Creature Technology Company constructed a 1/8th size animatronic hippopotamus. They also built a full size back half, which a puppeteer operated from inside, and two separate front legs. As cinematographer I worked closely with the director, Jaime Snyder, to figure out how best to sell the illusion. We got to play with green screen, forced perspective and even a miniature set. Jaime really wanted to achieve a whimsical tone and embrace the nostalgia of the book, so we shot on super 16mm to give the picture ‘imperfections’. 

Our female lead, Portia Bradley, had her leg in plaster for the duration of the shoot. This mean we had to come up with inventive solutions to achieve the required blocking.

RECEPTION:

Written by children's book author, Hazel Edwards:

Seeing the completed film was poignant for me. Thank you for giving me and the audience the gift of the imagination in taking my book into the film world.

One of my most thrilling moments was to be invited one Wednesday morning to the workshop of Creatures Technology to see the hippo, which had been created by their people as in-kind support for the project. A massive warehouse, with gigantic models of dinosaur creatures, roof high, and a buzz of creative enjoyment in the quality of the problem they were solving in hippo parts design. 

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake... retains the sentiment and childlike focus of the original book, but uses the strengths of the medium to add new insights.

FESTIVALS:

  • Little Big Shots
  • Austin Film Festival
  • Tacoma Film Festival
  • Melbourne Underground Film Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • St Kilda Film Festival

CAST:

Zoe: PORTIA BRADLEY (My Year Without Sex)

Mother: BRIDIE CARTER (McLeod’s Daughters)

Father: ANGUS SAMPSON (Where the Wild Things Are, Kokoda)

Carpenter A: TERRY CAMILLERI (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

Carpenter B: ROB ALEC (Eraser Children)

CREW:

Based on the book: “THERE’S A HIPPOPOTAMUS ON OUR ROOF EATING CAKE”

Written by: HAZEL EDWARDS

Illustrated by: DEBORAH NILAND

Published by: PENGUIN GROUP (AUSTRALIA)

Director: JAIME SNYDER

Writer: JAIME SNYDER

Producer: JOEL SHARPE

Director of Photography: LACHLAN RYAN

Production Designer: MELIA RAYNER

Editor: JESSICA LAWTON

Sound Design by: LACHLAN HARRIS

Original Music by: GREAT EARTHQUAKE

Executive Producers: ADAM LOWE, FRANZISKA WAGENFELD, JAIME SNYDER

Casting Director: LANI KINGSTON

Technical Director: CHRIS HOCKING

Post Production Producer: JESSICA NJOO

Production Assistant: ALLIE PARKER

Primary Camera Assistants: JOHN PAUL BEIROUTY, MICHAEL LUCAS

Secondary Camera Assistant: SHELLY FARTHING-DAWE

Gaffers: JARROD THEODORE, BEN OSBORN

Lighting Assistant: JESSICA NJOO

Lighting & camera assistant: TIM DEVINISH
Catering: ALLI PARKER

Stills & lighting assistant: ALAN BENNET

Sound Recordists: LACHLAN HARRIS, NICK THEODORE

Production Design assistant: JESSICA NJOO

Safety Officer: RUSSELL FROST

Set Construction: MATT COCKERELL

Hair & Makeup: ELOISE LOXTON

Visual Effects: JAMES OTTER

Laboratory Services: DELUXE

Colourist: SARAH SPARNENN

Additional VFX: KASPAR ZKIRNER

Post Production Supervisor: PAUL CROSS
Studio services: SOUNDFIRM MELBOURNE

Sound master & mixer: SIMON ROSENBERG

Facility Coordinator: KATHY CHARLES

THE CREATURE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY TEAM:

Project Manager: MIA CARTER

Puppeteer: LLIAM ANSTEY-SPRIGG

Sculptural fabrication: SARAH WARNER, TIM SHEPHEARD, LLIAM ANSTEY-SPRIGG

Lead Painter: JOE BLANCK

SPECIAL THANKS:

THE BRADLEY FAMILY, MUSH RECORDS, COREY O’MEARA, SONNY TILDERS, CAROLINE RICHARDS, PHILLIP MILLAR, KATE MACPHERSON, DENNIS NICHOLSON, TIMOTHY WATTERS, JILL HOLT, SIAN DAVIES, MAT GOVONI, JAMES VERDON, WARP RECORDS, LISA WHITEHOUSE, DAVID TAFT, PEG MCCOLL, AMADEO MARQUEZ-PEREZ, THE FRASER FAMILY, NATASHA MILOSAVLJEIC, MICHELLE FILLERY, MANDA FRANKLIN, YAMA BOY, KATHY FRANKLIN, LOVE CONNECTION, CHRIS & JOHN SHARPE, JUTTA & JON SNYDER, JOSH BACH

PRODUCTION STILLS: