Barred from release due to its raw exposé of the corporate filmmaking process, The Sweatbox is one of the best- and least available- inside-filmmaking movies. Packed with unrivaled insights into the animation process, it documents a tumultuous big budget production through Sting’s work on a film called The Kingdom of the Sun. Until it wasn’t.
What follows is a timeless story of ambition, adaptive ingenuity, Incan myths, ego, emotion, and flutes as directors John-Paul Davidson and Trudie Styler document Sting’s dissatisfaction watching the film’s tone and story shift dramatically amid executive doubt, uninspiring test screenings, and the unyielding deadlines dictated by Happy Meal toy production. Paralleling the intensely focused musician’s work with the tireless efforts of heroically talented animators, the film takes its title from the grueling processes of review and revision that make this chaotic milieu a thrilling viewing experience and often disillusioning look at creative collaboration.
“At first, I was angry and perturbed. Then I wanted some vengeance.” - Sting, 2000