Since my early days sci-fi always fascinated me. The idea to create new worlds, very different from our own reality, has always been one of my main motivations to get into filmmaking. For most people, sci-fi is nothing but special effects and flair. But there was a time, for many called “the Golden Age” of science fiction, in which the true essence of the genre was used: the shifting of context, in order to render the invisible, visible.
For quite some years we’ve been working on an ambitious documentary about immigration, Origini, and its research phase soon proved to be very complex. It was this complexity that lead us to delay the production of the documentary. If we were to do it, we had to do it right.
But the migrant situation worsened very quickly, and soon we felt in the need to make a short film that would touch the subject. That could tell a story of many. And that’s when we knew about Zooppa’s contest with the Milan’s African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival , FCAAAL, and Lenovo .
We wanted to produce a minimal yet impactful sci-fi story, in a not-so distant future. We had only a week to shoot and edit, so we had to keep it simple.
The migrant crisis in Europe is so present in our daily life, that it becomes hard for everyone to actually analyze it and grasp its gravity in its full breadth. That’s why we chose to make a sci-fi piece, to be able to take it out of context. We tried to project the course of events in its worst possible outcome.
We chose to make a sci-fi piece, to be able to take the current migrant crisis out of context
That’s why we imagined a post-war Italy, in 2050, in which a young woman receives a message from his deceased father, a casualty of World War 3.
Personally I’m very influenced by the work of Ridley Scott, since my youth. His sci-fi work has many highlights, but in my opinion few like Blade Runner. His ability to convey complex human emotions with such elegance was the perfect inspiration for us.
Our brief short is plagued with references to the film, that we will leave you to find, but the main reason to reference the film is the symbolic meaning of the replicants. The fear of the unknown, this beings that behave, act and feel like humans, and the inability of societies and governments to empathize with those who are slightly different. That, for us, was the core message to convey in our short.
For this project we counted with the generous technical support of Owl Studio , who helped us with the self-driving car scenes. We wanted to hint a technological future but yet familiar, a mix of old and new that would be expected from a post-war scenario.
That’s how the self driving car in a contemporary garage would be a great visual hint of this future. We remotely sent photogrammetry data of the garage to Esteban Ponce in Argentina, who then projected the space in 3D space in order to place the digital car inside, but specially to project the light casted by the car on the floor.
The technology is also the bridge between past, present, and future. A revisitation of a message in a bottle. A letter within a letter.
Three different technologies living together to make an important message survive. The screens were inspired on different works from Scott as well, like Prometheus. An intensive layer work was performed to create a 3d display template that then was match moved into the real footage before the final grading.
The sound design
We wanted to underline the circular aspect of history, with its several war and migrant crisis, in a very subtle way. That’s how we made an audio research from media statements in history that were either part of the public domain or creative commons. That’s how we used an old news report audio from the 40s in which it’s mentioned the efforts of the argentinian government to receive the hard working europeans escaping from war.
We wanted to respect the color palette from Blade Runner, and that’s why we made a heavy work in color grading, to match as closely as possible our raw footage with the source material. We used DaVinci Resolve for the grading, with a very satisfactory result.
The short film was one of the three winners of the Italy 2050 prize during the FCAAAL, for which we’re extremely grateful. During the award ceremony Yoseph Baraki also was awarded for his afgan feature, “Mina walking”, and during his thank you speech he said: “we don’t make films to win awards, but to tell stories”.
“We don’t make films to win awards, but to tell stories”
That’s exactly the way we feel about this project. We want to tell this story to help remember it as many people as possible. So if you feel like us, help spread the message by sharing our short film. We put time and effort to create this message, in order to get to people, but we need you to make it go far.