For my final interview of the 2010 competitors, I met with Dominique Brézac of Brézac Artifices, competing for their fourth time in Montreal. They nearly won the Bronze Jupiter at their debut display in 1997, also just missed a place on the podium in 2001 but won the Silver Jupiter in 2006 in a very closely fought competition.
Since 2006, Brézac won first prize in competitions in both Macau and South Korea in 2008 as well as South Korea again in 2009. Dominique said that this year was very busy in the period around Bastille Day, July 14th with over 2,000 displays either put on directly or purchased from the company.
To prepare for their return to Montreal, where they are clearly setting out to win the Gold Jupiter, they carefully studied and analyzed all the displays that were produced in Montreal for the 2009 season to try to determine their strengths and weaknesses. This is interesting as 2009 was a rich vintage, being the special 25th edition of the competition. This analysis was performed with fellow team-mate, Franceso Ambrico, who specializes in soundtrack design (more on that later).
Dominique and Franceso solidified their theme in November last year and worked from then until January of this year to finalize the music. Most of the music was specially composed for their display by well-known French composer, Régis Peters, and the soundtrack was assembled jointly by Régis and Franceso. After this was completed, Dominique worked on the pyrotechnic choreography of the script until February so that all the special products they needed to implement the display could be ordered in time for the shipping deadline for Montreal.
In terms of products used, Dominique was somewhat coy about naming the manufacturers but said that he merely selected the best products in each class for the effects he wanted to produce, using manufacturers from Spain, Portugal, Italy and China. He said he was more focussed on the quality of the effects themselves rather than the brand-name of the manufacturer. He didn’t reveal how many large calibre shells would be in the display and was very consistent in his focus on the choice of the appropriate effects for his script. He did say that it was a very important consideration for him to use all of the official jury evaluation criteria in producing the display – meaning that every possible position in space would be utilized in the display, including ramp 5. Also, for the first time this year, rockets will be used and, once again, despite the presence of ramp 5, nautical shells will be fired.
When asked if there was any similarity with their 2006 show (which was entitled “The Emergence of Man on Earth”), as this year’s theme is entitled “Our Earth”, Dominique emphatically that this year’s display would be entirely different. In one sense, the 2006 theme was easier to comprehend as the music obviously lead through historical periods of time but this year’s display was designed to be assimilated and appreciated by the audience. To that end, Brézac have produced a very nice bilingual pamphlet outlining the theme and the music used as well as stating:
“The Earth is in danger. It’s at risk of becoming unbalanced. It’s both hot and cold, dry and wet, peaceful and volcanic. It’s also colourful, noisy and varied. We need to act now to make sure it stays that way for our children!!!”
The pamphlet also includes all the sixteen thematic elements of the display “Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer, Melancholy, Serenity, Joy and Anger”. The finale will be unusually long at 4 minutes and will form the 17th part of the display. The pamphlet has various colours and I asked if these represented the different elements to which Dominique replied that this was not necessarily the case. The display would be multi-coloured in parts but there would be quite a lot of usage made of monochromatic segments, but with specific accents in other colours where appropriate. Dominique also noted that this year’s display would invoke stronger emotions this time around and that they had actually test-fired parts of the display to refine them for Montreal.
The final technical detail is that they are using the FireOne firing system with over 4000 cues, Dominique noting that the display was designed with pretty much one effect per cue. This will make it the most complex, in terms of number of cues, of all the displays in this year’s competition.