From the get-go, Andre Janse had a complex assignment. As the producer responsible for logistics on the FlyOver Iceland film shoot, he's been juggling complicated and remote locations, a crew from around the globe with jam-packed schedules, extreme weather and that elusive Icelandic 'magic'.
Fortunately, Janse is a master at this kind of thing. He's been producing theatre and films for many years, including television series for FTL, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. FlyOver Iceland's creative director Rick Rothschild calls Janse "strong, steady, calm and affable." In other words, he's the ideal producer for this scale of a project.
Since filming began in spring 2018, the FlyOver Iceland crew—including field producers, a camera operator, creative director, cinematographer, talent and a helicopter pilot—has covered 30 different locations to date, with a handful left to capture during the winter of 2018–2019.
They key to the Janse's success has been his ability to be highly adaptable, quick to respond and to keep a level head amidst uncertainty and quick changes.
As could be expected for a long shoot on an isolated island in the North Atlantic, Iceland's varied weather has proven to be quite the challenge. There's no level of expert planning that can completely control the impact the weather will have. When a storm rolls in (and they roll in a lot in Iceland), shots that have been planned for months are swapped at the eleventh hour, requiring huge logistical rearranging. The crew needs to be nimble to get the absolute best conditions, which means sometimes shoots can go on through the night when the light for filming is peaking. Janse says there's definitely been an element of luck involved.
"We have learned that having expectations on the weather in Iceland is like expecting to win the lottery—anything is possible," he says.
In Iceland, the team has been overwhelmed by beauty and inspiration. Janse says orchestrating such a complex shoot really comes down to the people, though. For FlyOver Iceland, it's a combination of passionate Icelanders and experts from other nations. And that group is fiercely united in a singular goal—to create the very best flying ride experience possible.
"A good film is great because of the team that puts it together," Janse says. "The FlyOver Iceland team consists of Americans, Canadians, Icelanders and a lonely Dutchman—myself—with different backgrounds and specialties. But the mix of people works like a dream."
Janse must stay one step ahead of everybody and to make his work feel seamless.
"Always pleasant and well organized, he keeps everything moving smoothly," Rothschild says. "That allows us to stay focused on capturing all the extraordinary sequences necessary for making FlyOver Iceland."
With so much of the work now finished, early reviews have been outstanding. The element of magic that's so central to Icelandic culture has played an important role in what the film production has achieved. And for Janse, it's incredibly exciting.
"When we started filming, the whole team was aware that FlyOver Iceland had the potential to become an awesome and stunningly beautiful flying experience," he says. "Now, we have filmed the majority of the shots we had in mind—and done so under the best possible circumstances light- and weather-wise—I dare say that FlyOver Iceland will be an awesome and stunningly beautiful flying experience."
For more on Behind the Scenes with the crew at FlyOver Iceland, watch Chapter 1: Breaking Ground, and stay tuned for Chapter 2: Getting the Shot in early 2019.