“Die Fighting” aka “The Price of Success” story was developed in 2009 and pre-production officially began in July 2010.
The two-month shoot in Los Angeles and Glendale was grueling because the script demanded so many lengthy, detailed fight scenes, one after the other. And shooting fight scenes is no picnic. As producer and lead actor Laurent Buson noted, “A lot of the punches and kicks have to be real in order to be believable” to the audience. And no doubles were used; the actors are the fighters.
With “Die Fighting,” as with Z Team’s many short films, the battles play out with hardly any obtrusive camera tricks. The Z Team ethic mandates that the full range of martial art techniques be filmed without the choppy editing utilized in so many other action movies. Director Fabien Garcia shot the movie like a Hong Kong action flick “because [then] it is easy to understand what is happening” on-screen, whereas “American films are [shot with] the opposite” of this visual aesthetic.
Using three high-end digital cameras, including a RED ONE (Mysterium-X), the cast and crew filmed the meticulously-crafted action scenes with some notable influences in mind. The script even makes a few direct references to the movie heroes from the Z Team’s youthful years. Without sacrificing originality, an homage was made each to Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” Jackie Chan’s “Drunken Master 2,” and Chow-Yun Fat’s “Hard Boiled.”
The finale between director/actor Fabien and producer/ actor Laurent took a full 10 days to shoot.
During the epic showdown between best friends turned savage by the manipulations of the Director, Laurent insisted that Fabien kick him particularly hard for a realistic effect. The result was Laurent having to fight with a broken rib for 9 of the 10 days in the warehouse finale. He also dislocated his shoulder (a recurrent problem since his time at Shaolin).
Since “guerrilla-style” shooting was not an option, most locations locked in with the help of co- producer Steven Gorel were utilized to their fullest capacity with little time to spare. Yet and still, director Fabien was meticulous about getting enough footage to pull the best takes from his actors/fighters. Similarly in post-production, Fabien was a painstaking editor who took a year and a half to cut together the rough assembly. That’s the true meaning of “kung fu”—working skillfully toward a particular endeavor.