Director Biography – Chino Saavedra (WHERE DARKNESS LIES)

Chino Saavedra is a Director and Editor born and raised in Spain. He graduated from Sydney Film School in 2009, and since then he has directed multiple music videos, including Comiendote a Besos from Spanish Singer-Songwriter Maria Rozalén. Where Darkness Lies is his directorial debut in narrative form.

Director Statement

The idea for this short film began as a proof of concept for a TV show I have been developing with my writing partner, Miwe Valle Parra. However, it quickly took a life of its own. I intend to explore human behavior, especially after a traumatic event, even if self-inflicted, and how these events will always be a part of you, re-defining who you are. It’s not a journey of forgiveness but ownership and acceptance.

Director Biography – Adrian Powers (BROLGA)

Adrian Powers is an Australian film director, editor and screenwriter. Several of his films have screened at film festivals across the globe, including the 69th Venice Film Festival, where his film ‘Scruples’ screened as part of a special collaboration between YouTube and Sir Ridley Scott, and during which Scott commented that Adrian and his fellow filmmakers were “all clearly talents for the industry to watch”. In 2013, Adrian completed work as co-director and editor on the WWI feature ‘Forbidden Ground’, which was released worldwide (including distribution in the US through Lionsgate Entertainment). He has edited ten feature films, including ‘Skin Deep’ (officially selected for the 2014 Austin Film Festival), ‘Embedded’ (officially selected for the 2016 Sydney Film Festival), ‘Zelos’ (officially selected for the 2018 Gold Coast Film Festival) and ‘Rip Tide’ (released worldwide on Netflix in 2018). Additionally, as both an editor and director, Adrian has worked on hundreds of corporate videos, TVCs, music videos and documentaries, and frequently helps to produce content for some of the biggest brands in Australia. His latest short film, ‘Brolga’, premiered at the 2019 Sci-Fi Film Festival, where Powers was awarded the George Pal Award for Best Director (Short Film).

Director Statement

Brolga is science-fiction short film set in a society which has collapsed, yet still possesses a few determined souls intent on preserving what remains. I was particularly interested in reflecting upon Indigneous and Non-Indigenous Australian relationships and attitudes in the piece. As such, the film contains references to the Dreaming stories of the Murriwarri clan of New South Wales, as well as breathtaking paintings from Indigenous artist Michael Connolly (Munda-gutta Kulliwari) of Dreamtime Kullilla Art. All of these elements were respectfully used with permission.

The film was shot in various locales around NSW, including the Richmond Vale Train Museum and Ball’s Head Reserve, North Sydney. Establishing and landscape shots were filmed in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine.

Director Biography – Justin Daering (PROGENY)

Justin is passionate about science fiction filmmaking. He believes sci-fi stories encourage us not only to empathize but also to be curious and wonder. Justin started directing when he was ten years old, borrowing a video camera and dressing up his basement to look like a mad scientist’s laboratory. His continued interest in film led him to The University of Wisconsin where he received a BA in Cinema Studies. In 2009, his short film THE SHADOW OF THE NIGHT was featured in film festivals nationwide and in 2011 his micro-budget feature FRANCESCA premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival. Justin has an MFA in Directing from the AFI Conservatory, and has worked as a director’s assistant on films including THE ACCOUNTANT and JANE GOT A GUN, and the television series THE AMERICANS.

Director Statement

I love the ooey gooey stuff.

ALIEN. THE FLY. Even GHOSTBUSTERS has its fair share of goopy slime and bodily transformations.

A story (like a body) can take many forms. A drama about truckers who are abused by their company is interesting, but put it in space and throw a deadly Alien into the mix, now it’s fun. Observing the way drug abuse destroys relationships and cripples the addict can be moving, but make that addict a six-foot-five arthropod and now you have my attention. Grad students make a breakthrough in science but the world continues to doubt them? Okay… The breakthrough is that they can catch ghosts — I’m in!

So I could tell you a story about how the ruling class takes advantage of hard-working Americans, about how they manipulate us through coopting popular narratives and shaping them to suit their personal and economic interests. I could tell a story about how the greatest systems of control utilized by the wealthy are the ones that are self-enforcing, about how they trick us into trying to succeed within the system by allowing just enough of us to achieve the appearance of wealth to maintain the myth that it’s possible for everyone. But Eisenstein covered that base almost 100 years ago, and frankly it was a little dry then too.

I’d rather tell you about the alien’s grotesque insertion appendage, the greasy gestational sac it discharges and the fibrous, invertebrate tendrils that tear open the flesh at the nape of your neck to wrap around your spine and integrate themselves into your nervous system, sucking the life force out of you to feed itself. There’s a story that is shocking, disgusting, and appalling.

And above all, fun.

Director Biography – Patrick Lewtschanyn (PNEUMA)

Patrick grew up in rural Michigan and began making short movies with his cousins at a very early age. Film school was a natural choice for him. He graduated from from Columbia College Chicago with a focus in cinematography in 2005 and has began working for multiple production and post houses. In 2012 Patrick decided to go freelance and founded Loose Cannon Films. He has been recently focusing more on short films while maintaining an advertising career as a director and DP.

Director Biography – Alex Farias (ANIMAL HEADS)

ALEX FARIAS is a 23 year old Los Angeles based filmmaker and director from the Pacific NorthWest. At age 18 she turned down enrollment to Tisch for her Bachelor’s degree to backpack overseas for two years. Upon returning home she began working in production. Since 2016 Alex has transitioned into the camera department, worked on 10 feature films, completed a screenwriting certificate at the University of Washington and a summer screenwriting intensive at NYU Tisch, directed two short films (“Animal Heads” and “Tempo”) and wrote two feature scripts. One of those scripts, “Georgia” has been finalist (top 25) in the ScreenCraft feature screenplay competition and her other script, “The Other Side”, won best feature at the Harlem film festival. Alex is passionate bringing media and art to underrepresented communities. She volunteers with foster youth organizations shooting video content and most recently directed a stage show through HomewardLA with a cast of eleven actors which went up at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles as a benefit for the Midnight Mission on Skid Row. The organization raised 125,000 for the homeless community in the greater Los Angeles area.

Director Biography – Ilya Abulkhanov (ARXIV/ARCHIVE)

Ilya V. Abulkhanov is a Russian director, designer born in USSR, based in Los Angeles. While pursuing an auto-didactic approach in the attempt to consume / produce the world differently, he makes (dis)organized notes, (re)arranges desires and (dis)orientates expectations.

Most recently his work for Mill+ includes the music video, Rihanna ‘Sledgehammer’, the creative direction of the opening film title sequences for ‘X-MEN: Apocalypse’, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, as well as the ‘Zoolander 2 Trailer’ and the opening film for the video game ‘Destiny’. Some of his earlier work includes the 2009 OFFF Opening Film, creative direction of Display Graphics and Holographic Interfaces for ‘Iron Man II’, the opening title sequence for the film ‘Married Life’, as well directed live action broadcast packages for the MTV Video Music Awards, MTV-Movie-Awards-2009, the Movie Awards, and MTV Network Rebrand. He also collaborated on the design and animation of the opening credits for ‘RocknRolla’, ‘Iron Man I’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’.

Ilya also draws science-fictional characters and takes pictures. Aside from contributing to the culture industry outsourced by Hollywood he applies a trio of cynical, hypocritical and ironic strategy to survive.

Prior to living in Los Angeles, Ilya studied media-theory & film and worked as an editor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1999-2005.

Director Statement

Something is missing. Yet, I would briefly describe the film as a certain kind of delay; a delay of narrative, a postponed continuity. I was interested in making a film that is both orienting and disorienting, frustrating and welcoming at the same time. This, in turn, I suspect, would allow the audience to enjoy making sense of things, because far along down the line, I think, we find enjoyment in producing meaning. In this sense, the film is playing with desires.
Having said that, one would say that any meaning itself is directly connected with the imaginary as well as its capacity to relate and shape a meaningful reality. Ultimately, what we dream of and desire is a byproduct of the conditional surroundings we find ourselves in. Which perpetuate and manifest the various ways we imagine these dreams; whether or not they are dreams of exodus, utopian accomplishments or the defeatist aspect of the seemingly nightmarish banality of the everyday.
If we change our surroundings, perhaps our dreams would change as well. If we change what we dream for, perhaps our surroundings would change as a byproduct of our insistence on this imaginary environment.

I thought it would be nice to make a film in which a protagonist from a future, whoever it might be- would be forced to dream a little. What if, the brain would produce a dream, what if one neuron combines with another and produces a protein surplus that could be the beginning of something new. The real meaning of that surplus could hang in the unconscious, as the assembly of processes recorded in one form or another and stored in some kind of an ARXIV/ Archive. Regardless of the usefulness of the archive, there would also be a possibility to dream for another world.

Director Biography – G.S. Leitgeb (THE SECRET BOX)

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Having directed numerous music-videos and commercials, THE SECRET BOX marks the international Drama Short-Film Debut for Austrian creator G.S. Leitgeb – with his current feature film in development, pursuing the same vibe, pace & colour. Following in the footsteps of well-known masters T. Burton, G. del Toro and W. Anderson, G.S. Leitgeb combines his work as writer, designer and director – moulding a fictional world filled with adventure, fantasy & mystery. Garnished with a sense of slapstick-comedy as the cherry on top. Inside the Dublin & Vienna based World-Building Studio KTC®Slingshot, he’s leading a Team of Creatives formerly involved in The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, Penny Dreadful or A Series of Unfortunate Events – offering services for writing, design and directing.


Director Statement

This journey about discovering something hidden, ancient and buried, with its secrets only waiting to be unlocked, feeds our universal hunger for curiosity. Its stories, characters and objects move us back to the days where we used to hang out in treehouses and spent hours dreaming up dangerous adventures, only to come home late – dirty and bruised, but a tick wiser. Those happy days where fantasy and imagination ruled our world, and emotions were floating so effortlessly.

With its quirky designs, its eccentric characters and its twisted story-lines, THE SECRET BOX triggers our senses for retro, nostalgia and playfulness; inviting us to experience the world through the eyes of an innocent kid.

To go into great detail during the process of writing & development was vital for the creation of an authentic and wide-spread world. It doesn’t stop with the characters and stages. Fictional bodies, organisations and objects needed their own branding and identity – such as the ‘Peltzer Publishing Group’ – a fictional distribution company that runs a newspaper and is in cahoots with the secret Can Society. Or the company Straussman Werke Gmbh, which is dealing with all kinds of scientific gadgets in providing the equipment for The KTC® Time Jumper Program. When building a timeline from 1600 towards 1985, all of these things needed to be thought through to finally connect them with the events happening on The Secret Box.

The entire making of The Secret Box involved around 60 international Creatives plus 20 additional heads who worked as consulters in the back. For such a short format entertainment which is as complex as it is new, with all its different media-channels and story-parts, that is a lot of people to be held together. Right on top, you constantly have to keep an eye on not to loose focus of ‘the bigger picture’.