C: director’s statement

February 9, 2013

C is my homage to classic sci-fi and real life science. By blending my favorite elements of 1980s anime, soviet propaganda, and oldschool space opera and B movies, I hoped to create a kind of retro action/educational pro-science disco propaganda film.

C (299,792 kilometers per second)

I was inspired primarily by Yoshiyuki Tomino’s frantic pace, Stanley Kubrick’s cold and calculating perspective, Ed Wood’s enthusiasm, Hideaki Anno’s colorful formalism, Dziga Vertov’s obsession with cameras & technology, and of course Carl Sagan.

Influences

Mobile Suit Gundam, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Gunbuster (Aim for the Top!), Man with a Movie Camera, Cosmos

For a first film this was a way-too ambitious project, but I felt strongly that even in a short film I wanted to tell a whole story, and not just make a sketch or mood piece. Part of the concept for me was to go way over the top, to push everything past 100%, and make every shot communicate a reckless optimism with the lighting and effects. I had an intense desire to hit every key moment of the story at a frantic pace while keeping the action understandable, so I employed rapid-fire cutting between lock-off shots to focus attention.

RoughCutL (1)

Realistic or predictive sci-fi doesn’t interest me, instead I wanted primarily to make a visual art piece. A retro aesthetic was the best way to unify the C and Beyond the Infinite sections of the film, and also a necessary practical choice; trying to make the spaceship interiors “realistic” on our super-low budget would have been an impossible challenge. Creating an impressionistic future through shapes & color was more appropriate to the theme and more cost-effective.

RoughCutE (1)

RoughCutP

As far as the characters go, they’re not people, they’re genre archetypes; like the backgrounds and graphic displays, they are merely visual forms that help communicate the central idea of re-appropriating military technology to serve humanity as a species. In a film of this short running length and such a complex subject matter, introspective character analysis would simply derail the audience. We filmed a few interpersonal scenes, but they were removed in the edit for this reason. The colored key lights, long-lens compositions, and ADR were all attempts to make the characters become cartoons, and useful tools towards the film’s end goal.

RoughCutN

Malleck herself is a subversive, ideological anti-hero, something close to a villain by most people’s standards. But I like characters with master plans, who think everything through; I’m always disappointed in action movies when the plucky hero defeats the villain’s brilliant scheme through sheer luck or some nebulous appeal to the power of the human spirit. So Malleck was my attempt to have a main character that would effortlessly crush the opposition with crazy plans and SCIENCE!

Logo in finished frame.

With my current resources, there’s no way I could accomplish everything I set out to with this film, but I believe that the enthusiastic core of the endeavor shows through. I am thrilled that so many people have enjoyed it so far, and so grateful for the generous support I received from both friends and strangers during all stages of the project. This was an incredible learning experience for me; at the start of it, I was driven forward almost purely by intuition, but now I know so much more about what I want to do as an artist and how I want to do it.

I cannot say this enough times: thank you thank you thank you thank you, to everyone. I am so grateful for even the chance to try and make this crazy movie that’s been spinning around in my head for so long. Caroline, Otto, Cilnt, Charles, Thomas, Sellorket, our kickstarter backers, just to name a few…. Thank you all so much!

C – Behind the Scenes: Beyond the Infinite

December 1, 2011

For the kickstarter campaign, I wanted to show a brand new element of the story. “Beyond the Infinite” is a retro educational TV series that we’re creating for the film, modeled after shows like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and other 1970s/80s science education programs. It stars Damien Langan as Dr. Harold Newman, and Eric Muller as the astrophysicist. These clips frame the far-future story in a historical context and provide some insight into Malleck’s motivations.

Read the rest of this entry »

C – Kickstarter campaign

November 22, 2011

We’ve just launched a new kickstarter campaign for C!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1282316546/c-299792-km-s

Over the last year I’ve shot a trailer and tons of test footage, but in order to get this film off the ground for real I still need much more– full sets, more costumes, props, miniatures, equipment. If this kickstarter campaign is successful, I’ll finally have what I need to make C a reality.

Check out the page, we’re offering some nifty rewards. If you like what you see, share the link with your friends!

c: behind the scenes

February 28, 2011

I want to thank everybody who took the time to share the trailer for c with friends! I’ve received a few emails asking how certain effects in the trailer were achieved, so here’s a general behind-the-scenes post with photos and hopefully some helpful information.

Set for the spaceship interior scenes.

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c (299,792 km/s)

February 22, 2011

“c” is my upcoming science-fiction film. Set in the distant future, “c” tells the story of First Lieutenant Malleck and her radical attempt to salvage reason during an interplanetary cold war.

No CGI or greenscreen is being used in the making of the film; instead I’m going back to the old-fashioned methods of miniature photography, rear-projection and in-camera effects. I’m shooting on a shoe-string budget, so I’ve had to get creative with limited resources; a lot of the interior sets are built out of tape, milk crates, holes poked in cardboard, and tricks of light & depth-of-field. Expect some in-depth behind-the-scenes posts in the near future!

 

Starring:

Caroline Winterson, James Fauvell, Dan Region, and Xandra Stegmaier.

Updates… very soon!

December 31, 2010

Wow, I haven’t updated this blog since I started it! Have been constantly busy, worked on countless projects, and at some point in the near future I plan on putting a ton of updates on here. Just a note for future reference!

“Metro-North” – short film on Super 8mm

May 27, 2009

Just finished a new student short, “Metro-North,” shot in NYC. This was my first time using Super 8 film, and I’m very happy with the results. Super 8 has an off-kilter, impressionistic quality that’s impossible to replicate digitally. Plus, it’s a blast to work with! The camera size and cartridge loading make for fun, easy film shooting, provided you have a reasonable idea of what you are doing. Though the format is supposedly outdated (Super 8 cameras are no longer manufactured), it is still often used professionally in music videos, commercials, and films where a specific vintage quality is desired. It also continues to be quite popular with artists and independent filmmakers.

Sarah Silbert in "Untitled"

Sarah Silbert in “Metro-North”

Huge thanks goes out to my talented actors: Zeth Zena, Shermaine Liggions, and the lovely Sarah Silbert. They all went above and beyond.

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First Entry

May 26, 2009

Hi there, I’m Derek VG, a filmmaker living in NYC. Stick around and expect to see camera & equipment impressions, movie reviews, shooting diaries, project updates, and whatever else I feel like throwing out there.

Need a DP or editor? Check out my website, http://www.derekvangorder.com.


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