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2015, 85m, crime, drama
Soyan is a computer prodigy that works for a company he previously hacked. This "online security" firm runs covert activities for high-profile clients around the world. Loise is a cyber-detective who investigates war crimes for a human rights organization. She is obsessed with the truth. Loise and Soyan meet on a rooftop and bond together through a virtual chess game. But Soyan's employer, Russell Belial, has asked him to protect the same arms-dealer that Loise is determined to help to capture.
What is Soyan's real goal? Who will call the game now?
10 questions with Hacker's Game director, Cyril Morin at the half-way mark.
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
1Hi Cyril! Thanks for coming back and letting us showcase another one of your films. First, what was the initial seed behind Hacker's Game? After I shot my first feature film, The Activist, which took place in 1973, I wanted to direct a contemporary story with young people trying to connect emotionally in the wired world of Internet. I wanted to do something with timely significance just a couple years in the future. And we are in this future now.
2You wrote the script for this film as well. Was your writing process any different for this film or is writing every film similar? My first film "The Activist" was a one place movie. Hacker's Game is more sophisticated in term of locations, movements. I had also to create an intimate relation between the two main actors, Loise and Soyan (Pom Klementieff who is starring in Gardian of the Galaxy 2), and Chris Schellenger (who is starring in my new feature film "NY84").
3This film reminded me of aspects of Aaron Swartz, Ed Snowden, and Julian Assange's lives. Did you draw any inspirations from their stories or did you write this script before that stuff happened? First of all, the death of the hacker Aaron Swartz happened during the script writing; he influenced the character of Soyan. Hacking was already a hot topic when I began developing the film but it became even more important after the shooting, with the news about Edward Snowden. It become also a big deal in Hollywood after several movie stars had their iCloud accounts hacked but that was nothing compared to what happened at Sony Pictures recently. Then new hacking cases come up almost everyday and this phenomenon is changing our lives.
I also followed how the media depicts hackers. The most common news story revolves around whether they are heroes or traitors. However, I was more interested in their motivations. What drives an intelligent young person to hack into a top-secret database to reveal something to the public? It requires a great deal of courage. And I was curious how several young hackers died just before they planned to release secret information.
4I was aware hackers could take info that people didn't want found, but I had no idea that they could also virtually erase somebody. That's such a crazy idea to me, how did you find that out? I know from some secret sources, that you can change, erase, and transform a lot on informations on internet. You also just need to send false informations, and it becomes viral. And for me the goal is too make a difference between real and false informations. For example, when I read a fact that I'm not sure about, I cross-check the information with many other links until I'm sure it is not a hoax.
5Both The Activist and Hacker's Game both deal with controversial political themes. Why do you think it's important to have films that shine an unfavorable light on political events? Political events were also changed over the centuries, first by the winner of a war, and now by "other sources". By other sources I mean you or I, and it creates a chaos in term of informations. This is why I mentioned how Mao and Lenin falsified photos and informations on modern materials like photos or even films. Nowadays you can create a war, just by falsifying a video.
6Since you made this film after The Activist, I wonder if there's something you learned from the process of making The Activist that helped you as a filmmaker while making Hacker's Game? Yes, I get more free with the camera. I started with the drawing, and I consider the camera as a pencil. And I know I can go much further way.
7Can you share a war story from the shoot? Lots of tension and big laughs at 3am in the morning, while we were using a hotel room with no authorization, knowing that we had to change the light (to the blue light) in a second, starting a love scene. After all the tension, we ended up non stop laughing before, during and after this scene. But, globally, it was a taugh shooting with many scenes shooted in one day (5 to 7 scenes, a crazy schedule).
8I just read the star in your film, Pom Klementieff got a big role in Guardians of the Galaxy 2! What was it like working with her (before she becomes a huge star)? For Loise’s character, I looked at some French actresses in Los Angeles but none of them quite worked for various reasons. Then, by chance, I met Pom Klementieff who was finishing Old Boy (Spike Lee). It took only a few days for me to come back and cast her. Then I discovered her own biography was very close to that of Loise’s character. There was many signs during the shooting which were related to her own life. Even her name was on the Mustang 1964 we rented for the shoot. Her name was written "MOP" on the car registration. This is how her brother used to call her.
9You also cast the terrific Alena von Stroheim in both The Activist and Hacker's Game. How did you two meet and why do you like to continue working together? Alena is a great actress; She is also in my short film "The Application cafe". In Hacker's Game I wanted to show a cold character, who is deciding every steps of her life, even her death. I wish she could be in my new film.
10What's next? My new film "NY84" is completed and it will be release in October in the States. Then in Europe. The story is about three artists in NY in the beginning of the eighties when AIDS was starting. It is freely inspired by artists of the time like Robert Mapplethorpe. This time was great for the artists, and at the same time death was around their life everyday. For my characters it is the end of their youth. It was the end of mine too, in a diferent way. The three film "The Activist", "Hacker's Game", "NY84" will be release together as "An American trilogy", which is actually a "three American tragedy", it concerns not only America but also the world.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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