Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with this week's short picks. This is a hot weekend, hot becuase of all the news bits pouring out of SDCC and quite honestly hot because we have a handful of incredible shorts here. Below you'll find shorts I was totally blown away by, shorts that smacked me in my genre loving brain, shorts that will hopefully knock you off your feet. And how about a first? Today marks an online premiere of sorts of an incredibly fun short called PostHuman. I dug that film so much that I decided to hit the filmmakers up for a quick Q&A, a SATURDAY SHORTS first. At any rate, enough with the chit chat, let's get into some films eh?
Go grab yourself some popcorn, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here:
And kicking things off incredibly nicely, we have a film from Cole Drumb and Jennifer Wai-Yin Luk of Colliculi Productions. I first caught the film at Fantastic Fest almost a year ago and have been itching since to get it on SATURDAY SHORTS. Since then, at any given moment the film was at a different film festival, leading up to this year's San Diego Comic Con. Everyone wants to screen this short and for a damn good reason, it's just cool as hell. After the short, feel free to check out a quick interview I had with the two just right before they left to Comic Con.
First up, where the heck did you guys come from? Can you tell me a tiny bit about your background and where the initial concept for the film came about?
Cole: Jen and I are both avid film fans. We both worked in the industry for quite a few years in nearly every conceivable job. I studied 2D and 3D animation and worked briefly as a character animator for some games companies.
I was introducing the original Heavy Metal movie to Jen. We were discussing how much fun it would be to put together an animated short in the same vein as that episodic flick. This is when I dusted off an old ESPer storyline I had knocking around for years.
The visual style of the film seems heavily influenced by anime, things like COWBOY BEBOP and SAMURAI CHAMPLOO. I could be way off, but could where there any films/comic books/TV shows that you used as reference visually? PostHuman stands out as unique, but I'm sure at some point you had to grab an image and say "Like this, but a little less of this and more of that..."
Cole: While writing the script I had been sketching out preliminary boards. They looked a bit like a brain damaged psych patient scrawling images with a pen strapped to his foot. It was good to have a real board artist. His name is Tom Price. He's brilliant and he ended up cranking out more than 500 boards for us!
As reference for him we had my boards plus an entire DVD filled with scanned comics panels and pages, anime and manga, and clips of movies and TV shows. It was subdivided into things like "characters", "style", "guns", and "F/X". These all were referenced back to my wacked-out drawings.
There are a ton of artists and works that inspired us - to name a few: Cowboy Bebop (you are correct), Scanners, Akira, Heat, Aeon Flux, The Matrix, and of course Heavy Metal.
Within seconds there's a very strong sense of sound design, an urban-tech feeling that instantly sets the tone for the piece. I believe it's about 30 seconds before we really see an image, yet that world's already well under way simply based on your sound design and score. Who scored the film and what how did they come on to your radar?
Jen: The score for PostHuman was composed by Neill Sanford Livingston. We were introduced to him by our sound editor Jesse Peterson. Being big fans of the original Heavy Metal movie, Cole and I had in mind a kind of guitar-heavy, hard rock score, with elements of techno and electronica mixed in. At the time, TRON: Legacy had just come out, and that score by Daft Punk made quite an impression on all of us. We went through about 5 or 6 iterations of compose/feedback/update leading up to completion of the score for PostHuman, and we think it turned out great!
Speaking of talented folks popping up on your radar, the film features two prominent characters, "Terrence" (played by Ulric Dihle) and "Kali" (played by the lovely Tricia Helfer). How on earth were you able to grab the two of them? They're spot on.
Jen: For the actual casting process, we worked with Wendy Wills at Bad Animals to contact the respective talent agencies representing the actors. Being big fans of Tricia Helfer since Battlestar Galactica and Burn Notice, we thought she would be perfect for the role of Kali. For the role of Terrence, we put out an audition call in Seattle and went through approximately 30 reels before choosing Ulric, who brought a great energetic vibe to the role.
Are there any plans for a feature? Or better yet, what are your plans for the future? Do you have any cool projects in the works?
Cole: We have a full slate of PostHuman projects we hope to get off the ground - certainly not limited to animation. From comics to episodic pieces to a feature - it's a big world and we hope to tell more of those stories!
Jen and I also have some indy feature projects we want to get off the ground and, wishful thinking, we would love a shot at something like a 100 Bullets tv show, or a We3 feature!
There's just a ton of work we would like to dive into. A new Heavy Metal movie, for christ sakes!
Lastly, the pink slippers. Where/why/what... That particular idiosyncrasy with the doctor type is just so out there, so perfect. What's the deal with that?
Cole: Ha - it's great that you caught that! The pink slippers are an affectation of Dr. Wolcott, the lead scientist of the lab post-coup. He's a scientist who has been pushed rather willingly over the edge. It's his one rather sad way of pushing back against those he reports to. Dr. Wolcott operates within a rigidly controlled black ops test lab. So yeah, he's wandering the grounds in pink bunny slippers. It's his very open way of saying "fuck you, you don't own all of me..." Which of course, they do.
I know you guys have shown the film at an insane amount of festivals. Were there any that stood out as exceptionally fun?
Jen: Fantastic Fest, Sitges, and Screamfest comprised the filmfest trifecta of 2012 for PostHuman!
We received the email regarding acceptance of PostHuman to Fantastic Fest at 2am on a weeknight, and we opened up a bottle of champagne right then and there! Fantastic Fest was the primary (genre) festival we wanted to screen at, so to be invited was a huge thrill and an honor. Tim League and the Alamo Drafthouse team really know how to throw a genre-tastic party of epic proportions!
Anyways guys, I know I've stolen a decent amount of your time, so I'll let you get back to all the craziness and buzz I'm 200% sure you'll be sifting through for the next few weeks. Thanks again. I really do look forward to whatever you have coming up next. Cole, your style is second to none. Thanks for taking the time.
THE FLYING MAN
Holy hell. Marcus Alqueres has created something incredibly wicked with our next film, THE FLYING MAN. Over the last few weeks, this short has set the internet ablaze with it's rather simple premise, but spot on execution. If you like what you see, which I have to hope you will, then go hit up the film's website.
Coleman McClung brings us our next film, a poetic and well crafted piece: "A young boy is chosen to be part of a space colonization program after it is discovered that very soon, the world will no longer be capable of sustaining life. This film was originally a channel to convey some of my frustrations with the nation's disinterest in the space program. That was what sparked the script at least, but looking back on pre-production, I now see that this film was motivated mostly by wanting to build the professional relationships we rely on today and prove that even in the most corporate environments (Dallas) narrative filmmaking can exist and thrive. I hope you enjoy it."
And speaking of poetry, Chaz M. Gentry has a creepy visual poem for us all with LUCY. According to Chaz, "This story was built off of a conversation I had with a friend who fantasized about digging up graves. She never followed through with her plans, but within the fantasy came an interesting poem that I was inspired to write." It's pretty engaging. You could say I really... dug it.
From Will Higo we get a mix of superhero and horror (two things that just click for me). "Whilst investigating the brutal murder of two drug dealers, cynical journalist Jess Jackson becomes embroiled in a struggle between a local gang and a twisted vigilante... Taken hostage by the increasingly desperate youths, she finds herself at the centre of a plan to lure out their Nemesis and put an end to his reign of terror for good... " I love the perspective of a news reporter when it comes to superhero flicks. Incredibly well acted and wonderfully lit.
That's all for this week. I really, really like all the shorts today, but how about you? Shoot your thoughts off in the Talkbacks! And hey, want more? Bam:
If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!
Shoot me an email at "Mike@aintitcool.com"
In the subject line include:
“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”
Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published. The more info you send my way, the more info there is to put with your short.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.
Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (JUST DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you like 'em?
- Mike McCutchen