Director Biography – Bruno du Bois (ZEALANDIA)

Belgium born; Bruno moved to New Zealand in 2006. Before “Zealandia”, Bruno directed two other award winning short films: “Serial Killer” (2008) and “Dangerous Game” (2019).
Bruno also worked as an Assistant Director on local and international productions such as “Hobbit Trilogy”, “Avatar”, “Ghost in the Shell” and “Mortal Engines”.

Director Statement

Written and shot before the world crisis of the COVID-19, the film explores a possible outcome of a global pandemic.

Aline Tran (writer) started to develop the film during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. One of the themes of the film is what happens if a government uses a past pandemic as an excuse to push its countries’ culture too far with an obsession of maintaining purity and biosecurity. It also has larger themes, about the borders of the world and what constitutes a terrorist. Is the terrorist a person who tries to fight for a certain freedom by breaching the rules or is it the state that oppresses them and leaves them with no alternative?

I wanted the style of the film to be gritty & rough, almost in contradiction to the beauty of New Zealand landscapes. One of the inspirations was “Children of Men” from Alfonso Cuaron.

As the writer and Director of Photography is also my partner, we could literally think and develop the film almost 24/7. The baby in the film is our second child.

With Aline, we are developing a feature film (Sci-Fi) based on the short film Zealandia. I am also developing a drama following a man travelling to New Zealand to find back the love of his life he briefly met during WWII.

Director Biography Ian Asbjørnsen (ODYSSEY OMEGA)

Ian Asbjørnsen is an in-house director and cinematographer at GUESS? World Headquarters, where he’s shot & directed international campaign videos.

Asbjørnsen’s short films have premiered internationally, winning at festivals like the Vogue Cultural Calendar’s New Renaissance Film Festival (Best LGBTQ Dance Film). His AT&T commercial was awarded for telling the story of an immigrant businesswoman.

Music videos he’s directed have played on mtvU on rotation, premiered nationally on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly, and have been featured on Spin Mag, Pitchfork, Noisy, XXL Magazine, Brainfeeder Records, Glamour Mag UK, and Topshop.

With an M.F.A. from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Asbjørnsen’s work explores the intersection of science fiction, psychology, and popular culture.

Director Statement

My first draft of Odyssey Omega began as a freewriting exercise to help me deal with the death of my best friend, Kyle Bell. When Kyle died of a prescription drug overdose at the age of twenty-two, I found myself in a toxic, white male culture that left me completely unequipped to deal with grief and vulnerability. What’s more, growing up together, Kyle was always the one who helped me deal with things head on. When we made movies together as kids in the backyard, he would bring me out of my shell, support my most creative ideas, and show me how to be myself.

After Kyle died, I didn’t know how to care for my mental health. Struggling with my identity, I got into ego-based bar fights. Refusing to make true connections, my relationships became roller coasters. Suddenly faced with pain, I found myself getting caught up in drugs like Kyle had. All of this isolated me, and kept me from being vulnerable. Until my inner truth came out through my art.

It was only after my therapist suggested I freewrite that I tapped into the psychology behind my depression. I finally realized where my inner rage was coming from, allowed myself to grieve, and began making healthier choices. When I decided to turn my story into a script, I brought these choices to the screen: choices of healing over violence, of connection over isolation, and of externalized expression over internalized pain. So through space exploration, 90s nostalgia, and handdrawn animation, I directed a film where a writer comes to terms with the death of his brother through his fantasies of being a space marine.

Odyssey Omega is a film that changes the culture, that shows men that they can apologize, they can change course, and they can fight their inner demons instead of each other. Stories of overcoming isolation, like my character Erik who is alone for years in his space travels, are especially important and relatable right now as we fight COVID. And what’s more, this film is a personal victory for me. Kyle may no longer be here anymore filming with me in the backyard. But he lives on in my characters to inspire others, so in that way, we’re still making movies together.

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Director Biography – Ryan Larkin (CURIOSITY)

Ryan Larkin is a writer-director from NY. He began making films as an undergraduate at Cornell University in Ithaca, shooting short projects on DSLRs and 16mm. After graduation, Ryan moved to Los Angeles to complete an MFA degree at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television. He currently works as a social content producer for Netflix via Big Machine Productions.

In Ryan’s films, characters struggle to transcend the limits of their worldviews in small, intimate settings. These settings are typically realistic, but with one surreal twist that externalizes some flaw in the protagonist’s perspective. The intent behind this is twofold: Ryan wants viewers to empathize with his protagonist while confronting a visual metaphor for closed-mindedness. Phenomena that don’t match our existing beliefs are messy and uncomfortable, and our natural instinct as humans is to disregard or minimize them. In the worlds that Ryan creates, these phenomena are front and center: impossible to ignore.

Director Statement

Today I’m excited to share my new film CURIOSITY, a short horror film that incorporates imagery from the titular Mars rover. CURIOSITY applies my transgressive instincts as a filmmaker to a genre famous for exploring the repressed parts of the psyche. Horror movies make literal monsters of things that don’t fit the “normal” side of a binary, creating an existential threat that calls characters to action. Accordingly, the creatures you’ll meet in CURIOSITY are disruptive in formal and thematic ways. These creatures, called Martians, are invisible to the naked eye: they can only be seen in recorded images. However, recording the Martians gives them control over time and space, enabling them to travel through screens and attack their viewers. CURIOSITY thus inverts the typical power dynamic between See-er and Seen, stripping away the safety we expect while watching others on devices. It is a topical experiment at a time when more people are glued to screens than ever before.

Short Film: CURIOSITY, 5min., USA, Sci-Fi/Horror

A young man discovers a dangerous new species while browsing photos from the Mars rover Curiosity. His excitement turns to terror when one of the creatures appears in front of him.

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Short Film: WORLDLINE ABYSS, 3min., UK, Sci-Fi/Experimental

A lone astronaut drawn to an alien desert by an ominous sphere finds exactly what he was looking for buried amongst the sand.

  • Project Type:Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:2 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:August 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:0 GBP
  • Country of Origin:United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:United Kingdom
  • Language:English
  • Shooting Format:Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:21:9
  • Film Color:Color