Tag Archives: dystopia

Protocolo, Sci-Fi Short From Mexico (Trailer)

Check out this trailer for Protocolo (Protocol) a short film about a malfunctioning “American-Chinese Cloning Company” machine. The film was made by Rodrigo Hernández as his film school senior project. He is working on a feature-length film based on the short’s premise.

Hernández will be presenting his short this weekend at SciFi London.

Source: El Economista

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DNA, Future Tool of Big Brother in Plurality (Short Film)

Chilean audio and film studio Filmosonido let me know about Plurality, a scifi film they did the sound for.  The short is very well done, especially considering its low budget. The special effects are impressive! The story is set in the near future, where your every move is watched by the government via your DNA. But what happens when there is more than one of you?

Link to the Plurality Facebook page here.

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Military and Religious Dystopia in Mexico’s 2033 (Movie Review)

Pablo orders some Pactia Pop

Mexican science fiction film 2033 is an intriguing glimpse into a dystopian future set in Villaparaíso (Paradiseville), the newly renamed Mexico City.  The Mexican government is a military regime that uses a drug called Tecpanol (and its derivative food product, Pactia) to control the population. Under pressure from corporations and the original coup d’état leader, the ailing PEC, General Jamaro crushes any sort of rebellion coming from religious rebels that are banned from practicing any form of worship.

The movie has a “Gattaca” look with its futuristic buildings and pretty privileged people. In contrast with the Gattaca protagonist, the story is seen form the point of view of a privileged person, Pablo- the closest thing to a son General Jamaro has. Pablo is basically a douchebag that believes in the system, and abuses his power quite dramatically. What will someone who is destined to become a regime commander do when confronted by the religious leader of the rebellion and his father’s secret past?

[SPOILERS!] As you might guess, Pablo will become involved with the “good guys.” However, the way this happens is one of two issues I have with the film. Pablo quickly accepts the rebels in spite of his lifelong indoctrination and hatred of religious fanatics. Also, the rebel priest leader Miguel trusts Pablo far too easily with sensitive missions- why risk telling him so much so soon?  The second issue I have is Pablo’s out-of-the-blue romance with rebel Lucia. It was so out there I could only justify it with “pretty people in peril” syndrome. Still, I think 2033 is a good movie and recommend you check it out. Seriously, there is even a Mexican standoff. [END SPOILERS]

Nerd harassment is alive and well in 2033

2033 is a solid scifi film. It’s definitely set up for a sequel, although no word as to whether this will happen. If you’ve seen it, comment and let me know what you think.

Francisco Laresgoiti directs, Jordi Mariscal wrote the screenplay. The official website is here and their Facebook page is here.

Watch the official trailer below. If you’d like one with English subtitles, click here.

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Afterglow: What happens after we defeat alien invaders? (Sci-Fi Short and Interview)

Afterglow (2009) is a science fiction short film written and directed by Andres Anglade. It is a story told by a militia officer reporting to his superiors about an incident during his alien patrol. In this world, humanity has repulsed an alien invasion, but it’s still possible part of the enemy remains on Earth. The officer’s job is to find them.

Afterglow has been shown at several film festivals and San Diego Comic-Con, and won the 2009 Director’s Choice for Short Film Category at the Rincón International Film Festival in Puerto Rico. This is director Anglade’s first professional film.

Andres Anglade is of Puerto Rican and German heritage, and currently resides in California. I had the opportunity of interviewing Anglade which was fun because he’s very much “one of us.” He loves science fiction and telling stories through a visual medium. We talked about the short, where he got his inspiration and his work on Battlestar Galactica and NBC’s Community.

Where did you get the idea for Afterglow?
The basic idea came from one simple question “What would happen if an alien invasion happened right now?” What would you do? How would you act? That’s essentially the genesis of the story behind the film. But what I really wanted to explore was how people dealt with an alien invasion after the invasion. They invaded. We won. What comes next?

So Afterglow is from a “common person” point of view instead of the major players?
Yes, exactly. I’ve always been a fan of seeing how “regular” people react to large scale events. I’m also a fan of not showing the big event, but letting people’s imaginations run wild and let them envision what may have happened.

What type of science fiction inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of [genre films where] there are moments that you forget they’re science fiction. One of my all time favorite sci-fi films is the original The Day The Earth Stood Still. And with that film, sure you have the classic flying saucer landing on Earth, but the exploration of people’s emotions and reactions to it is so well done. That film holds up today and I always tell people to watch it. A more recent film that explores a new world [that] way was Children Of Men. It was able to explore individual lives in and around much larger issues.
Don’t get me wrong, though, the little kid in me still loves to see the action spectacle and will go see films where stuff blows up, but the ones that inspire me also touch upon the relationships we have. The Abyss is my favorite sci-fi film, and again it has moments where you forget you’re watching a sci-fi film. But the action is spectacular and [director James] Cameron makes us really care about the characters.

Andres Anglade at the Science Fiction Museum

In Afterglow, people are highly suspicious of each other after they defeat the aliens. Is Afterglow an allegory of how we treat others in a post 9/11 world?
We do now live in a world of suspicion and that was definitely a theme I wanted to explore. But again, the most important things for me were the characters. I wasn’t trying to touch upon the issue of torture; it was more of trying to explore the most horrific way someone could just snap after a tragic event.

How did you finance Afterglow?
For financing, I saved up money, and Executive Producer Melissa Scotti helped raise around $3000, which was awesome. And all of that combined was still not enough, so the rest went on credit cards. The final budget for the film ended up being around $12,000. But I also called in a lot of favors. That’s what’s great about being around a film-loving/making community of friends. We all like to help each other out.

Does Afterglow have a future (part two)?
I wrote a few scripts for a webseries and pitched it around, but nothing ever happened. I’m glad it didn’t work out, because looking back at them, the scripts need work. I’ve tried several times to turn it into a feature, which I still want to do, but I have to find the right story to tell. There are so many to tell in that world and I want the right one. I don’t want to settle.

How was winning the Rincón award in Puerto Rico?
It was such a great festival. Doug Lantz [Festival & Programming Director] and everyone involved were so accommodating and generous. Winning the award was surprising and unexpected. Unfortunately I left the day of the awards ceremony, so they gave me an impromptu ceremony out at dinner the night before. It was great!

Tell us about the work you did for the Battlestar Galactica shorts and NBC’s Community. Were you a fan of these shows before you worked on them?
I worked at a company that did all the special features for the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of BSG. Those two special features [Cylons – The Twelve and The Journey] were something that was kind of thrown at me by the producer with an impossible schedule. We managed to turn those in and because of the hard work I put in I was given producer credit on it. It was rough, but I got to know the company editor on it really well, Brian Kelley, and he ended up doing the color correction for Afterglow.
I did watch BSG. It was amazing. I do have to admit, though, a friend tried to get me to watch it way back and I couldn’t get through the mini-series. A few years later I gave it another shot and once I saw [season one, episode one] ‘33’… once you see that, you’re in. I actually got some of my non sci-fi friends into that show.
I’m currently the post coordinator for the show Community. I work with the post department and I love it. I was a fan of the show before I got the job and everyone I work with is really cool. I couldn’t ask for a better crew.

What’s next for you?
Right now I’m in pre-production for my next short that I plan on shooting in Puerto Rico next summer. The script is done, we’re raising money, location scouting, prepping VFX [visual effects] and all the fun stuff.

Watch Afterglow below or here and check out its Facebook page for behind the scenes photos!

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‘Repo Men’ the Movie Compared to the Book ‘Repossession Mambo’

The Repo Men film is a dark, at times comedic dystopia with plenty of action and tension. Essentially it is about a Credit Union repo man –the kind that takes your car if you don’t make your payments– except instead of cars, he repossesses artificial organs (artiforgs), almost always killing the client in the process. It is gruesome -at times qualifying as torture porn- and definitely earns its R rating. It is great popcorn fun and I really enjoyed it; you will too if you have the stomach for it.

The book was written by Eric García (Anonymous Rex trilogy) and the screenplay by García and Garrett Lerner (John Doe, Smallville, Roswell). Besides García, there are other Latinos in this production:  director Miguel Sapochnik, cinematographer Enrique Chediak, and supporting actress Alice Braga (I Am Legend). There are other Latinos in the cast and crew. For example, John Leguizamo is in it, although we’ll have to wait for the DVD because his main scene was cut and you barely get a glimpse of him in the movie. He plays Asbury, a black market artiforg dealer. All in all, lots of Latino love in this film. Just listen to the musical intro! Of course Forest Whitaker, Jude Law, and Liev Schreiber help make the movie first-rate.  Law plays the main character Remy and Law’s son Raff plays young Remy. And for NBC’s Community fans (like me), there is a nice surprise! The casting was perfect all around. There were no weak links among the actors.

Overall, the movie is faithful to the book. Even the name change to Repo Men is redeemed. Speaking of names, in the book the main character had none. So, according to the book’s Author’s Note, screenwriter Garrett gave him a name based on ‘Repo Man,’ RM, or Remy for reference. The name isn’t used in the movie  (unless it’s in a deleted scene). Jude Law is credited as Remy though. Here are some differences between the book and movie:

  • The repo men tattoos in the book are dark circles with golden arrows running through it; in the movie they’re Union logos with stripes underneath according to rank.
  • The endings were very different. I’m not spoiling this bit, but let me say that they are both interesting endings, and I’m not sure which one I like better.
  • [SPOILER] In the movie, Remy is married and lives with his wife Carol and little boy Peter. He is a likeable anti-hero. The book Remy is divorced four times and is arrogant in his repo man status. He is married to his fifth wife Wendy. His one good feature is his relationship with his son Peter, a college student (son of third wife Melinda), even though he manages to frak that up too.
  • [SPOILER] The one adaptation I was totally bummed about: in the book, a woman called Bonnie finds Remy and goes on the run with him. Bonnie is badass and more interesting than her movie counterpart Beth, who needs to be “saved.” (In the book, ‘Beth’ was the name of the first wife, a prostitute who couldn’t be bothered to switch careers once married. This Beth is unrelated to movie Beth.) In the movie, Remy finds a drugged-out woman in hiding called Beth, helps her detox, and wants to save her. In the book, the woman he finds hiding out is someone else entirely, and it’s the most dramatic point of the novel. The screenplay watered down the female costar and that dramatic moment.
  • [SPOILER] The four times Remy became unconscious according to the movie: tank test during soldier training, a bar fight, defibrillator accident with songwriter T-Bone, and botched repo job. In the book: tank test; attacked by two “beefy” guys he interrupted at the Red Light District while searching for his prostitute wife Beth; misuse of ether on first solo job, and defibrillator accident with kid show actor Captain K.

I liked the movie more than the book it’s based on, Repossession Mambo (itself based on the short story The Telltale Pancreas)  although they both have pros and cons. The best feature of the movie over the book is the stripping of excessive wives and soldier back story. The storytelling is linear and straightforward. The book jumps to different times and characters, symbolizing Remy’s fragmented view of the world. It’s not as easy to grasp as the movie. Plus action sequences do much better visually, especially an awesome hallway fight scene that’s not in the book. The movie soundtrack is excellent, by the way. The best feature of the book over the movie is the expanded artiforg, supply house, and Credit Union history. Also, the female lead is stronger in the book and you get a better sense of Remy’s thought process- something that’s hard to do with a movie script.

If you liked the book, you will definitely like the movie. If you liked the movie, you might want to read the book for its extra details and character development. The jumping around in the plot won’t be a problem if you know most of the story already. On the other hand, reading the book first might be confusing. To sum up, it’s a great story of a scary future that just might be ours.

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