Definition October 2021 - Web


ON THE ROAD Equipped with drama and thrills, focus puller Alex Rawson shares his filmmaking journey across the world for a documentary about Patrón’s prestigious cocktail contest

For focus puller Alex Rawson, this was one of those unforgettable once-in-a- lifetime experiences. Not only for the thrill of seeing something unique, but because of the sheer exhaustion that came with creating what was essentially a travel doc with booze. “We did 30 days of travel with two days off,” explains Rawson. “First, we flew to Mexico for the competition, and then left to film the mixologists in their home towns across the US and Europe, where they were being interviewed about the inspiration behind their drinks. “Getting to Mexico with our kit was gruelling, because although we had thought about packing a lighter load, there was an issue with our transfer at LAX. There was no layover, so we had to get another flight to Mexico – this meant having to import and export all our kit in and out of the US within the space of two hours at the airport.

OVER 60 MILES, the road from Guadalajara to Atotonilco El Alto offers commanding views of the horizon. As dense suburbs give way to rolling fields of blue-green agave and rust-red soil, billboards promote the alcohol that has made this region of Mexico famous for 400 years. This is tequila country – and at its heart is Hacienda Patrón, annual host of the Patrón Perfectionists global final. Last year, a filmmaking crew was invited to document seven out of the 22 mixologists who had entered the competition and made it through regional heats in their own countries – before being flown to Patrón’s HQ to decide the ultimate winner. Unlike many similar contests, there is no cash prize for winning. But people from all over the world are still keen to enter, as Patrón provide unrivalled insight into how the spirit is made – and even offer tours of its fields and distilleries.

“Filming among crops, semi-arid landscapes and old haciendas isn’t for the faint-hearted” Carnets are laborious enough without having to do everything twice, especially since each bit of equipment – including cables – has to be labelled and authorised by a government body.” He adds: “Then, when we finally got to Mexico, all the kit had to be taken out of their boxes and checked again because the officials didn’t understand the carnet, which was written in English. It was a 29-hour travel day. I was so exhausted when we arrived at the hotel. But, after a day’s rest, the fun began: shooting in rural Mexico.” FULLY CHARGED Filming among crops, semi-arid landscapes and old haciendas isn’t for the faint-hearted. Yes, it’s hot, but you also need your head screwed on. There’s a lot of preparation involved in a shoot that combines searing, challenging desert temperatures with limited access to resources.


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