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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!