Director Biography – Tobias Bieseke (NUCLEUS)

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Tobias Bieseke was born in Kassel. He has been a student in the Film & Sound program at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts since 2008 (studying under Prof. Dubini, Harald Opel, Prof. Adolf Winkelmann, Prof. J. U. Lensing, and Prof. Hacker) and has participated in symposiums and lecture events at the invitation of Prof. Hans Ulrich Werner. The author of several experimental films and short narrative films, he has also worked on two anthology features, an animated film, and a music documentary about the Harry Partch premiere at the 2013 Ruhrtriennale. His films have been shown at art shows and film festivals in Rome, Vienna, Heidelberg, Milan, Erie, Paris, Bochum, Madrid, and Pompano Beach. He is currently working as a research assistant at the Dortmunder U, where he studies digital visual worlds and their interactions with sound and space. In 2017 he successfully completed his master studies at the FH Dortmund. After that he started working as a scientific assistant at the kiU Lab of the FH Dortmund. Since November 2018 he is doing his doctorate at the KHM in Cologne.

Director Statement

Nucleus is a story whose characters search for knowledge in the microcosm, as well as in the macrocosm and in themselves. So, on the one hand, we have the search in the smallest part, the atom, the judgment or primordial core that conditions and influences existence. On the other hand, we have the plane that extends beyond our horizon and makes us search in the macrocosm. We fill this space only with our hypotheses and fantasies. Therefore, the protagonist Falk seeks the comparison, to the proof of the general theory of relativity, which Arthur Eddington 1919 on the island Principe has yielded. The story should work on several levels, questioning reality, but also creating connections on a visual and playful level that have not yet been told. Thus microcosm and macrocosm are related, inside and outside, happiness and destiny, as well as time and space. Nucleus is a small compact story that can do a lot. The audience gets the opportunity to read the film on various levels. So it can see the history of interpersonal relationships, a scientist fighting with himself, as a thriller or as a media-theoretical reflection.

Director Biography – Tara Tusher (INNER-CRITIC)

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Inner-critic is the third short film directed by Tara Tusher. Her work fuses fantasy with real life in a dark and quirky way. The darkness introduced in her films is always met with a whimsical point of view and is the signature style of this independent film maker.

Director Statement

I love the art of visual story telling and the way film can open our minds to new perspectives in a way that no other medium can.

Director Biography – Brian Eric Johnson (STRANGE LIGHTS)

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After moving from Sacramento to Los Angeles, I directed several plays in the NoHo Arts District. Changing my focus to film, I wrote and directed several short films before directing my first feature, ‘Mobster.’ I currently have two feature projects in development.

Director Statement

With ‘Strange Lights’ I explore one man’s life as he deals with tragic circumstances. The film is pro-military, but anti-war. My hope is that we can all accept and love each other a little more.

Director Biography – Alexandria Collins (REBORN)

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Alexandria Collins is an LA-based director, screenwriter and actor. Her latest project REBORN, produced by Fox Digital Series was selected for Canneseries through their “Bite Size Horror” slate and she is developing it to become a feature film. Her digital series GOALS N’ SHIT, is streaming online after being named one of Seed&Spark’s ‘Favorite Teasers of 2018’ and raising over $20,000 via crowdfund.

Alexandria is a graduate of Florida A&M University, where her thesis documentary LOVE PLUS, won the 1st Place AP Award for Best Doc. Her narrative directorial debut, MILK RUN, premiered in competition at NYCIFF and was selected for several festivals internationally. She’s directed episodes of the limited series HILLARY (avail. on Amazon Prime) and music/concept videos for multiple artists.

She is developing features, VIVID UNDER and EDGE OFF under her company label, Supernormal Ventures and has worked as a commercial producer and 1st AD at NYC-based agency, Definite Films.

As an actor, she’s starred in Cannes selection, The Collegians, and over a dozen commercials for major brands (Apple, Hilton, Crest, Marshall’s etc). Alexandria has appeared on ABC’s Time After Time and Amazon’s Bosch. Alexandria is represented by Sovereign Talent Group and Innovative Artists.

Director Statement

I walked briskly from the parking lot of our baptist church/elementary school focused on remembering those words. “The Sun and the Moon” I called it. I was seven years old, rushing from the gravel lot to my book bag, that seemed to be miles away, so I could find paper and pencil to write down my very first poem. It was in that moment that I knew I was a writer and that poem has stayed with me since.

I grew up in a single parent home, with a powerful mother in politics and a three-degreed father that was in and out of my life, but always present with his drug addictions. Our reprieve was the church and television. My reprieve was my mind and my notebooks. As I got older, I pursued acting and writing in varying forms as an outlet and found myself in college taking the journalism equipment on weekends and shooting short films with friends.

My background has lent itself to my storytelling in innumerable ways, but I see now where threads of redemption and understanding are often woven in. Perhaps its me wanting to see people come back from the mire of their lives, but I also think it’s important as we become more polarized in our country, to give way to the nuance of life. Even the nuance of those we may despise on the surface.

At 22, I moved from Florida to New York City where most of my acting life was fulfilled. Being in front of the camera and onstage has shaped me immensely as a director. The way I work with actors and crew; the performances I’m able to pull from talent are specific to the training I’ve received.

I believe through filmmaking we can begin conversations otherwise untouched in communities. I’m in this industry for the long-haul to amplify the stories of marginalized groups with all of our diversity and power. Thank you for your consideration.

Director Biography – Cameron Currin (INFINITUS)

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Cameron Currin is an up and coming director looking to improve his craft through extremely ambitious short films. He serves as an active duty member of the United States Coast Guard as his primary job. His first ever directorial debut was with the short black and white 1900s horror Kushtaka. He loves scifi/horror films like “Alien” and “The Thing”, dark ambient music, and making interesting and artistic short films.

Director Statement

INFINITUS was an attempt to make an ambitious and practical science fiction short film with an emotional storyline. My hope with this film is to show the beauty of practical FX and set pieces on a low end budget.

Director Biography – Geoffrey Uloth (MOMENT)

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Geoffrey Uloth has made five award-winning short films. Two premiered at TIFF, and The Ecstasy Note is one of Quebec’s highest-selling short films. He is developing two features and writing and directing the hit adventure series CHASING MONSTERS (Mordu de la pêche) for Discovery, Netflix USA, BBC World, Canal Évasion and Travel & Escape.

Director Biography – Sascha Karner (SEASAPIEN)

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Sascha is a DIY filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia. Sascha originally aspired to be a researcher but he discovered his ambitions were more science fiction than science and were better suited for a career in cinema. Against his parent’s wishes, he studied Film and Television at Swinburne University, graduating top of his class.
Sascha currently works as a creative producer for an online educational video platform. His educational content has been recognised with multiple awards and has been broadcast on free to air television in Australia.
Sascha is currently producing his first feature film, a found footage homeless Noir called CCTV Nasty.

Director Statement

SeaSapien started with a bet.

As a filmmaker, I’ve always had difficulty overcoming procrastination on projects where I’m only accountable to myself. Despite my curiosity and eagerness to learn, I had indefinitely deferred the leap into 3D graphics. Between work and life, I just never had the time.

The solution came during a boastful night out with a fellow creative. After confiding in each other our mutual dilemma, we realised we could hold each other accountable with a bet. The terms were as follows: We both had to finish our prospective project by the end of the year. If we both succeeded, then that was its own reward. If we both failed, then we would commiserate in each other’s company. However, if one of us finished and the other did not, the looser would have to pay the winner $5000. I’ll do almost anything for a thousand bucks, so the bet was on.

I’d been holding onto the ocean sky idea for a few years. I thought that making the sky look like an endless ocean would be both visually arresting and an interesting technical challenge.

The concept of the ocean sky initiated from two sources. The first was a photoshopped image of the golden gate bridge. Some anonymous genius on the internet had swapped the sky with the ocean. I remember seeing the image and being immediately struck with a thousand questions about how this sub-oceanic world would function, none of which were “where is the sun?”
The second inspiration was Super Mario Land 2 on the original Nintendo game boy. One level included a game mechanic where you had to swim through slime attached to the ceiling to avoid spikes on the floor. Functionally, Mario swam through the slime like any other body of water, but if he got too close to the bottom, he would fall to his death.

Together, these two inspirations gave birth to a tragic image; a man drowning in the ocean sky, unable to get a breath of air without plummeting towards the twinkling city lights below.
But how did he get there, what was his story? The ocean sky would remain a shallow aesthetic notion until I could think of a suitable plot. Luckily, re-runs of the X-files would provide the answer. He’d be an extra-terrestrial investigator. The investigator /detective plot gave the perfect structure to move quickly through this world. Then the story just flowed to wherever felt fun. I didn’t consciously look to reference or subvert the Noir genre. I was just trying to go where it felt natural and surprising.

Through the process of developing the film, it became apparent that the ocean sky meant something more than a pretty picture. I grew up next to water, and I have mixed feelings about it. In my opinion, the ocean is irrefutably awe inspiring, but also dangerous and drowns people with depraved indifference.

As the film developed, I realised that an ocean above stirred feelings of both anxiety and depression. Although I tried to make the sea mysterious and fantastical, it often felt claustrophobic and oppressive. I think these notions created a feedback loop with the story and informed the development of my flawed protagonist.

The production process was slow. Although I tried to be economical and efficient with the shotlist, the postproduction requirements were still substantial for a novice. My research and planning were considerable, but internet tutorials were limited to demonstrating tried and tested techniques, and I couldn’t find one that simply showed me how to make the sky an ocean. The result was a lot of trial and error, and it felt like some solutions were willed into existence.

If my goal was only to learn new skills, then I achieved it. Not only did I complete all of the modelling, rendering and compositing in this film, but I also taught myself how to mould, cast and pour latex prosthetics.

However, I also wanted to make a fun film by a deadline, and despite serious social reclusion and the achievement of numerous personal goals, I was unable to complete the project by the end of the year. Thankfully, neither was my colleague. So, we commiserated and pondered what we could improve next time. My colleague suggested I bit off more than I could chew. I said I didn’t. We agreed to disagree.

Apparently, spite is also a powerful motivator and I continued to work with the same ferocity as I had before. Soon I would show that smug bastard!

Shot by shot, SeaSapien was brought to life. And now I’m writing this silly, self-deprecating dribble. I might not be five thousand dollars richer, but having completed SeaSapien is a great consolation prize. And there is always the next project – double or nothing.

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.