Laura – part human, part cosmic humanoid – longs to be of the peoples’ world. However, this search for connection proves tenuous because her survival depends upon siphoning the lives of those she seeks to join. When Laura’s corporeal form flickers into non-existence, she ventures amongst these strangers – her inadvertent pray. She pursues rando’s in anonymous places: a lone man in an underground club, a wealthy woman with a penchant for promiscuity. But when Laura encounters Dave – a man whose life she may indeed grow to cherish – she must reconcile her instinct for survival.
Produced by: Simona Kessler, Denny Wong & Anna Zlokovic
7 questions with Shorty director, Anna Zlokovic at the half-way mark.
Sunday, June 4th, 2017
1Hi Anna! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make this film? At the time I made the film, I had just gotten out of college and I guess I was feeling a little lonely and out of place as I was trying to find my footing. The idea of an alien that looks like a human being but can't really be a part of the world seemed fitting to me. The rest of the story kind of fell in place from that initial thought.
2You wrote this film as well. What was the most challenging aspect of writing the script and how important is the script to you? This was the first script I wrote out of school at 22, and now it feels like I rushed through it. There are many things I would change if I had the chance. The greatest challenge I think was piecing together my first story and trying to mix a more experimental idea into a narrative structure that was still unique to me. Through all that I learned that writing and directing are different hats and I have to take one off while doing the other. When writing the script, I try to focus on the story completely and nothing else. The story is the most important to me.
3The cinematography in this film by Madeline Berger is fantastic! How did you two establish the look for this film and what was it like working together? Madeline and I spent a good chunk of time together discussing the look of the film, looking over references, and meeting over my storyboards and the best way to tell the story cinematically. We settled on using a really unique set of old Lomo anamorphic lenses that gave the film the dirty look it has and that amazing true widescreen. And our colorist, Stephen Derluguian, really pulled everything together to help the film find its place between gritty and beautiful.
4What was the most challenging aspect of making this film and how did you get through it? We definitely had some production struggles on set-- two separate cameras broke on two separate occasions while filming, putting us back and throwing off the flow of filming. As a really small indie film that was self funded, I didn't really have the budget to extend the shoot to make up for it the way I would have liked to. But we came back from that and finished shooting, although it was definitely difficult.
5This story is almost like a new take on the vampire genre but I like that you didn't go the vampire route. You have a humanoid that wants to be a part of the human society but can't really because she needs to "feed" on them in order to live. What was it about that idea that excited you and why do you go with an alien humanoid instead of a vampire or a more traditional monster? I definitely purposefully tried to avoid doing something that was seen too many times before. While I love vampires and traditional monsters, something about doing it a little different itself excited me. The idea of someone who wants to be a human, looks like one, can function in the world as a fake one (essentially), but can never fully become one because her mode of survival is in direct opposition to that, seemed like something without an easy solution. In fact, I kinda liked that there wasn't necessarily a solution or easy answer. I feel that way about a lot of things, so it seemed like a poignant conflict to me.
6The visual effects by Alex Familian and Luc Delamare in this film are also great. How long did those effects shots take to do and how did you come up with the looks for the "essence" that's withdrawn from the necks and the closing shot? This was the first project I had ever done with VFX. I made a lookbook before we started shooting for reference and I tried to create as strong of a description as I could before we went into it since I had never worked with VFX artists before. The real discovery took place in the back and forth between me, Alex, and Luc. The final look that was created in collaboration with them is better than I had imagined. It was always important for me that it looked like she was a true "drop of space" and what she consumed also looked like the cosmos itself. So we were influenced a lot by actual photos and footage of space. At one point, Alex even sent me some time lapses of the sky that he had taken as reference as we pieced the look together. It took us around 2 months to do all of the shots.
7What's next? My big dream is to finish writing my first feature film soon and shoot it. It's a sci-fi/drama/coming of age film with some very dark humor. Still trying to exorcise those high school demons. I'm also working on writing a proof of concept short and some other shorts for fun.
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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