After setting up in front the big screen the popcorn debate started

Whilst we couldn’t agree on salty or sweet we were unanimous in our choice of winner.

Martin Kolembar of 89 Vision Pictures takes home the award for his film “Me and My Monkey”

The 26-year-old Czech director created this visually compelling Western with an intriguing storyline that had our team hooked.

Watch Martin’s short film below and scroll down to read more about the project including our Q&A with the man himself.



Me and My Monkey

(Director; Martin Kolembar, Date; May 2016)


Treasure hunters, Cowboys and Outlaws race to obtain a map leading to an old Indian fortune, crossing paths and each other along the way.

GripUp Filmmaker Competition Winner

Filmmaker Competition Q&A with Winner Martin Kolembar

The GripUp budget didn’t quite stretch to a flight to the Czech Republic so we sent a fax, email and carrier pigeon to Martin Kolembar, the director of “Me and My Monkey”. Unfortunately, the Pigeon did not make it back but here is what Martin had to say via email;

Congratulations on winning our first filmmaker competition, can you tell us about your background in filmmaking, how did you start out?

My first short film was shot 6 years ago, whilst playing an Airsoft game. I simply grabbed a handy camera, filmed some clips then edited it in Movie Maker ( yeah that was a thing in those days). We had a premiere in my school class and after that, i shot small projects for the school and for myself. 3 years later I used all my money to buy my first camcorder, a Panasonic HVX200e.

Are there any films or filmmakers whose work has been influential to you?

I love movies from Christopher Nolan like Inception and Interstellar. I admire Mad Max, The Revenant and the works of Bartholomew Cubbins (Jared Leto) But I remember seeing Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” for the first time and thinking that’s something completely different. 

“…I remember seeing Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” for the first time and thinking that’s something completely different”

What is the filmmaking scene like in the Czech Republic?

I think there are many Czech indie filmmakers doing great work, that in my opinion is better and more interesting than the professional scene. One problem for us in the Czech Republic is the high price of gear due to import costs, which is why I choose to buy from you (GripUp)

Can you tell us about the origins of the project, how did it come about? What inspired the title?

We had never made a Western film and discovered that it could be fun, so I teamed up with my friends from U.F.O theatre group to make it. Some people were saying that it (the title) was the Robbie Williams song but … oh, yes that is totally true!

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Can you tell us about the film’s visual style?

It was totally inspired by spaghetti Western style films, drawing on ideas from Tarantino and from Sergio Leone. In post production, i used a combination of two luts to do colour correction. For visual feel I only wanted to use natural light for the desert scene, our country has no desert places so we used an active sand mine. For the Bar scene, i used LEDs mixed with yellowish oil lamps.

“For visual feel I only wanted to use natural light for the desert scene, our country has no desert places so we used an active sand mine”

How did you create the blood effects? Was this After Effects?

I composed a few layers of blood, dust and particles in Adobe Premiere and was happy with the results, I think I stayed true to spaghetti Western effects.

How did you finance the film?

I financed it from my own pocket, some of this from previous commercial projects. Luckily all of the actors played for water or beer so big thanks to them, but it was fun right guys? You want to hear the costs right? Well the budget was about 7000CZK (200GBP)

What was the hardest part of filming the project?

At first, it was filming the desert scenes, there was rain every 15 minutes which made it difficult. I think you can see some rain in one or two scenes. So thanks to all the people involved. The guns were a never ending problem, it is not easy to find a good gun for filming, then we destroyed one at the end of the bar scene shooting day (sorry Jirka) so i had to find another one, but everything was out of stock and I ended up getting a bb gun and painting it the night before the next shoot.

“I used the Red Scarlet with a Sigma ART 18-35mm which is a combination I love, that and my Vinten tripod, it’s a staple piece of kit in the film”

What camera and kit did you use? 

I sold my soul last year to get my dream camera, a RED Scarlet and then waited with fingers crossed for a month for it to arrive from the USA. I used the Red Scarlet with a Sigma ART 18-35mm which is a combination I love, that and my Vinten tripod, it’s a staple piece of kit in the film.

What is your personal favourite piece of gear?

That which you have with you, and definitely RED cameras. I also like DJI Ronin, you can do some remarkable work with it.

Which piece of equipment would you most like to try?

Arri, I have never seen it in the wild but it is definitely a heart-melting piece of gear.

What areas would you like to explore in the future? Do you have your next film idea?

Yes, I am planning to do a short movie for festivals and maybe in cinemas over here in the Czech Republic. It may be a combination of action thriller and light sci-fi, more of a dark dreamy theme. For now, i am working on the script and waiting for the end of the season.

To learn more about Martin’s work visit his production company 89 Vision Pictures

GripUp Filmmaker Competition Cast
Winning a filmmaker competition can’t be done alone, here is the cast and crew of “Me and My Monkey”

Core Team

Martin Kolembar
Petr Horky
Jiri Proche
DOP, Sounds, Camera and Post
Boom Operator, Sounds
Cast Member (Cowboy)
I’m a 26yr old IT specialist. Filmmaking is my hobby, I love creating my own worlds. All the money i make from commercial projects is spent on gear and movies, but i am not the best director, even in this team. Petr is a childhood friend. He can operate a boom pole and knows how to record sounds and dialogue. He was an important part of the film and also has great acting skills. Jiri is the leader of U.F.O. a group of amateur theatre actors. He is a funny guy open for every role. Because of his leading skills he helped me a lot during this movie. He is a happy husband now.


Lucka Proche
Veronika Pulpanova
Jindra Bartos
Cast Member (Lusy)
Cast Member (Rocket)
Cast Member (Michael)
Lucka is the wife of Jirka Proche. She was the best food supplier!. This was one of her first roles and she took on a main character and played just great. Veronika is a strong part of U.F.O.. She is studying at one of the top acting schools in Czech Republic (DAMU) Her knowledge was very helpful and she is an amazing actor too. Jindra is in U.F.O. band. Writing and directing theatre shows for them. This wasn’t our first collaboration and i always remember him as a great actor who can play almost everything.


Dont let budget or location hold you back

“Me and my Monkey” was shot for under £200 in a country that doesn’t even have the setting for its main scenes. Don’t let anything hold you back from making the piece you want to make. We would like to say a big thank you to Martin, It was great to talk to him and learn more about his project. We are very pleased with how the Movie Master Award turned out and hope it can help spread the talented work that our customers and subscribers are creating. We hope this inspires you to get filming, and for those who are just finishing a project, the next filmmaker competition will be open for entry soon. For more information and details on how to enter read our competition page and to stay in the loop follow us on Facebook and subscribe below.

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