30 October 2020

Behind the video: Interview with the director

Brooke teamed up with The Progress Film Company and Visualise to shoot a 360° VR film following a young couple living and working in a Pakistan brick kiln. Here, Progress's Matt Hopkins shares his experience.

What were you thinking the moment you arrived at the Brick Kiln in Pakistan?

When we arrived at the brick kiln there were two things which really struck me. Firstly, how hot and treacherous it was and secondly, how were we going to explain what we want to do to the people who work here? While we’d prepared them all in advance that a film crew was arriving, a 360° shoot is a lot more complicated to pull off, so we’d really need the help of everyone there. Thankfully Brooke has a fantastic relationship with these people, so there was already trust there and through clear communication (we used Playmobil people and horses to explain what we wanted them to do), we were able to get everyone on the same page. 

Describe the filming location to us

I’ve worked a lot in difficult environments all over Asia and Africa, but this must have been the hottest location I have filmed in, both from the natural environment and the kiln itself. The weather was also extremely volatile with monsoons coming in at a moments notice so we had to work quickly and adapt at a moments notice.

What was the most significant moment during filming?

The most significant moment for me was the interviews. We weren’t sure how open and honest the family were going to be with us about the working conditions in the kiln because they were obviously employed to work there. Working through a translator also meant that I wasn’t always sure of exactly what had been said, so we had to treat the interviews like conversations where we went over things multiple times to ensure we were telling the story fully.  As it turned out, all of the interviewees were very articulate and open about the challenges they have working in the kiln and providing welfare to their animals.   

How did your experience reveal what Brooke is all about?

The experience was extremely eye opening to the incredible work that Brooke does.  The poverty within the kiln, and also the monotony of the manual labour was very difficult to consider. What I came to realise is that Brooke isn't just a safeguard for the horses and donkeys who work in these environments, but it is integral to the wellbeing of the people and the communities as a whole. If the animals here aren’t being looked after, then the people themselves have no livelihoods, so I really understood the importance of Brooke on many levels.