Online Rock Salt's Small Part in Oscar Nomination for 'War Horse'
Downtime on the bagging plant at Online Rock Salt led to a very different sort of contract bagging order - to make all the sandbags for Oscar-nominated film War Horse!
Many customers don’t realise that Online Rock Salt keeps bagging plants running all year round, or that these bagging plants can bag a wide variety of goods. Or indeed that these bagging plants are for hire for a wide variety of projects including making all of the sandbags used on screen in smash film War Horse, which today has been nominated for and the Best Picture Oscar.
The company was initially approached to create a sample pallet of sandbags for a film called ‘Dartmoor’. The company was simply told it was a small World War 1 film, to be shot in Britain. After the pallet had been received by the procurement company, the company was told that the director of ‘Dartmoor’ liked the sandbags, but would require hand-tying for the remaining several thousand bags bags. What Online Rock Salt didn’t know was that ‘Dartmoor’ was a multi-million pound film project - and that the director was Stephen Spielberg!
We didn’t know at the time what film the bags were for. It was just important to us to work to the customer’s specifications, although a few members of staff were looking forward to seeing the film it was quite a surprise when we found out it was such a big Hollywood picture!
War Horse is an adaptation of Michael Morpungo’s award winning book of the same name, which details the life of a horse that is taken to the fields of World War 1, an often untold aspect of the war. It was of vital importance to the authenticity of the film that the sandbags looked like they were created with the technological constraints of 1914-1918, to help create an authentic look on screen when depicted the often harsh conditions in the trenches. The hard work by Online Rock Salt was, of course, only a very small part of the overall feel of the film, but it is in this category that War Horse has succeeded in winning several coveted Academy Award nominations, announced on 24th January 2012, crucially including nominations for Cinematography and Art Direction. To be nominated for these technical awards shows the dedication put in by the production team to source the best possible products for the look of the film. More importantly, of course, War Horse has also been nominated for the overall Best Picture award.
To make the sandbags, Online Rock Salt used the bagging plant to fill the empty hessian sandbags to an even and safe weight, but to create the authentic period look staff from all aspects of the business helped with tying the sandbags even the office staff got involved, making it a real team project. They also feel that the result on screen and the nomination for the cinematography category - was well worth their hard work, and speaks volumes not only about Online Rock Salt but about the appeal of British industry on an international level.
Although Online Rock Salt doesn’t quite expect Hollywood to come knocking, Ian Mercer certainly hopes that it might go some way to showing the flexibility of the bagging plants. Although we always concentrate on having our winter salt stock available, the seasonal nature of the rock salt business means we can give all our attention to any new customers who might have a need to have large amounts of varying products bagged up. As War Horse and its award nominations show, we can work to very technical specifications indeed!
To make the sandbags, Online Rock Salt used the bagging plant to fill the empty hessian sandbags to an even and safe weight, but to create the authentic period look staff from all aspects of the business helped with tying the sandbags even the office staff got involved
War Horse is now out on general release across the UK. The Academy Awards will be held on 26th February 2012 in Los Angeles.