Thirty years after a devastating disease has consumed humankind, Jack and the last if humanity live under the ultimate truce: to never touch again. Working as a disposal officer, Jack sees the last terror of the plague - in those who defect, who succumb to touch, disease and a despicable death - all from behind the safety of a pane of glass. But as the memories of his mother's last loving touch begin to unravel him, Jack sinks deeper into a void between the sterile and the depraved, where desire is forbidden, fear is mandatory and everything depends on which side of the glass you stand behind.
6 questions with Twenty Forty Three director, Eugenie Muggleton at the half-way mark.
Monday, May 22nd, 2017
1Hi Eugenie!Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Twenty Forty Three? I had this image of a hand running down someone’s face and leaving a red print there - I suppose that was the initial seed, but really I was at film school and going through a zombie phase. I also love the second chance you get with zombies, they die and then come back so you can tell them you love them or whatever before blowing their heads off. Y’know, I’m a romantic.
2I loved the idea of a disease you get from touching other people. It's something technically we can all do, but eventually it would become very difficult to go through life without ever having any physical contact. What inspired that idea and how difficult was it it to take that idea and find the right story and genre to put it in? It wasn’t really meant to be literal – we weren’t trying to make a comment about STDs or anything – it was more about holding on to your humanity, what you can’t live without and I think for me that’s always been some kind of connection with someone else – just to feel that one hand on your face, when you haven’t been touched in ages and first contact is so electric. And then of course to make it impossible to fulfil that desire for the protagonist, so a dystopian future worked perfectly. But actually it was the other way around – I wanted to make a dystopian sci-fi and then this idea happened. I love dystopian narratives, always have – I think because they aren’t constrained by reality, it’s dramatic freedom – using unrealistic scenarios to create very real, powerful human narratives.
3They say good sci-fi is never about the future, it's a commentary about where we are at today? What topics drove you to tell this story? There is this fear we are supposed to have of each other that allows us to disconnect and think of other people as less than human, the ‘us’ against ‘them’ thing that drives so much bullshit in the world – that is something I feel strongly about. But it was also a smaller motive than that, it’s all about coming back to some kind of simple human connection or emotional truth.
4What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? Oh boy. Um, technically I think that it was something like The Lion King or Jurassic Park – stuff I watched a thousand times as a kid and could disappear into. Then when I got a bit older it was films like Casablanca and Rear Window that really opened my eyes to what movies could mean. There are so many movies that daily make me want to be a filmmaker still, most recently stuff like Prisoners. Denis Villeneuve - so good.
5Can you share a war story from the shoot? What was the biggest challenge making this film and how did you get through it? I think the biggest challenge was pulling all the art department together to create the world – but the crew was amazing, and when you have so many willing and talented people on set you can kind of work your way through anything. One day an actor just didn’t turn up and so I got my non-actor Dad to play the part – that was a bit of a treat. And the blood cannon was pretty damn temperamental.
6What's next? I just finished another dystopian short film called Blue Games which is about to start it’s festival run. I got to work with some really amazing Australian talent on that so I'm pretty damn excited about it.
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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