Director BIO: Oskar Sjöberg (CAN SOMEONE HEAR ME?)

Oskar is 27 years old, born and raised in Sweden. He has obtained both a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting for film and television (2015-2018, Dalarna University) and a diploma in film production (2018-2019, Vancouver Film School). He has also worked as a production assistant on a documentary called Hasse and Tage a Love Story; directed a spec wine commercial (2019); and directed a short film called “Förfesten” (2016).

Director Statement

Our film ”Can Someone Hear Me?” is a sci-fi, post – apocalyptic thriller short taking inspiration from classical 80s sci-fi horror like Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982).

Within the film’s story, we follow Miller (23) who goes about his tedious work day relaying the status of his bunker, Station Pegasus, to Simon, radio operator of adjacent bunker, Station Rear Guard. One day, Miller’s routine gets turned upside down when his close colleagues, Eva (32) and Lance (30) comes back from a repair mission, bearing injuries and news that Lance may have been infected during an ambush there by infected station operators. Eva pleads with Miller to not notify Simon or anyone outside of their station in hopes of treating Lance themselves, as well as to believe that she will take care of this situation. Reluctantly, Miller agrees and tries to sell a lie even as Lance’s condition worsens rapidly.

Speaking of the story, it’s made to feel as one small part of a larger, living world. With the help of set decoration like posters and marketing materials like PSAs from the new government, audiences will get a feel for how daily life is like for the operators of these bunkers. Regarding this alternate reality, it is a timeline where in the 1980s, the cold war has gone hot and caused nuclear armageddon across the world. Mankind was forced to live underground in bunkers, hiding from the radiation above. In what was once considered Canada and the United States, the remnants of both country’s militaries under the leadership of one General Grey, took control of the situation and began making efforts to eventually move back to the surface. However, a new danger was found to have emerged from the radiation: a virus that has those infected mimic the way they sounded and acted before being infected as a way to trick more potential victims. To monitor and keep the infection from spreading, relay stations reporting on infection incidents were set up along with clean up squads that dealt with reported infections with brutal efficiency. Also, if given a chance to, we have plans on exploring the rest of the world within a web series or feature.

Our entire story is connected with the main theme of ”who can you really trust and how far can trust go?” Putting your turst into someone can put oneself in a vulnerable position. You could give them information that could be turned against you horribly or that they can use your relationship to their advantage and get you to do something that mainly benefits them. We really wanted to explore how putting your trust in someone can put you in a dangerous position.

We believe that our primary audience groups will be fans of post-apocalyptic films, thrillers, alternative history, 80’s sci-fi horror, revival of 80’s style content, and apocalypse prepping.

In terms of visual representation, we wanted the camera movement to match the level of tension at any point in the film. When Miller is going through his repetitive daily routine of reporting his station’s status, the camera will move slowly and steady. Upon the retun of Eva and Lance and the the discovery of Lance’s infection, we use tighter framing and handheld shots to reflect that Miller’s world has been shaken. As Miller and Eva lose more and more control over the situation, the shots get get tighter and tighter and with some lapses in focus; Miller is questioning himself over what he should do and the panic is spreading throughout the station.

At the same time, to reflect the dire and grim situation the inhabitants of Station Pegasus are facing, the lighting is consistently harsh and artificial looking. Any shadows that exist are made to cover large areas of space. Any sources of danger such as Lance are also usually accompanied by shadow to reflect their unknown and volatile nature.

On the auditory side, we are consistently buiding up tension. Eerie and monotonous ambient music scores help push the fact that Miller and Eva never are given a chance to catch a breath or gain a better understanding of how to fix Lance’s condition. Moreover, all the sound design in our film is designed to be loud and echoey in order to establish the scale of the bunker and how hollow it is, just like the lives of Miller and his friends. There’s also always some form of mechanical ambience in the background to show that the bunker is always in operation and the artificial nature of the world. At many moments we can hear Lance slowly losing his sanity to the disease, in order to always have the problem Miller and Eva face be present and worsening. Also, our original soundtrack is in the style of 80s synthwave in a bid to conjure up memories and pay homage to the horror and thriller classics of that time period.

Speaking of classical 80s sci-fi horror, I attribute myself gaining interest in filmmaking to them. I’ve always wanted to shoot a rich and easily enjoyable film of the same vein. Moreover, those films regularly used practical effects, and thus with the film, we decided to do a full studio build and use makeup to achieve the effects of the infection, rather than use visual effects.

Finally, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read over my thoughts on the film and hope you enjoy the film!

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