Swifter, Higher, Stronger, Older

Director Carl Burgess has shot a self-initiated film that looks to add “older” to the classic Olympic motto of “Swifter, Higher, Stronger”…

Director Carl Burgess has shot a self-initiated film that looks to add “older” to the classic Olympic motto of “Swifter, Higher, Stronger”…

Something of a master at creating uneasy weirdness in his films, Burgess here captures the sporting endeavours of five ageing actors (clad in the red, white and blue) who exchange batons, put shots and spray champagne in victorious celebration – all in glorious super-slow motion. Combined with a stirring soundtrack and the result is both compelling and uplifting too.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger, Older from More Soon on Vimeo.

“The core idea came from an article in the Daily Mail I read a few years back about the World Masters Games,” Burgess revealed to CR. “The images [of athletes as old as 100] in that piece have been in my references for ages and I always wanted to take it further,” he continues.

“I wanted to shoot my film on high speed to not only beautify the movement and to capture the expressions,” says Burgess, “but I also liked the idea of these old folk doing these usually explosive sports really slowly.”

The film features actors rather than athletes and apparently it wasn’t easy finding people that looked old enough but who were also physically fit enough to take part in the activities lined up for them on the day of the shoot. Burgess also learnt a few things about working with older actors. “Aside from the obvious physical limitations that you have to be aware of, I had a few people dozing off on set,” he tells us. “It was absolutely imperative that cups of tea were in constant supply.”

The day wasn’t without its (thankfully injury-free) accidents either. “The outtake of Keith letting off the champagne prematurely proved to be a highlight of the day,” says Burgess. “We were in the middle of framing up and moving lights when it just went off. The footage shows this really expensive camera falling over backwards as everyone gets blasted with champagne.”

See more of Burgess’ work at moresoon.org

Director Carl Burgess
Production More Soon
DoP Matt Day at Clapham Rd Studios
Gaffer Max Halstead
Design Lauren Kinley
Cast Maurice Fleisher, Rosemary Bannister, Keith Heppenstall, Abigail Hamilton, Jean Elwood

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