Last week director Mischa Rozema and his production agency PostPanic launched an interesting new project on KickStarter – the crowdsource-funding platform; Sundays. It’s “a film about our future” and will be a cross-over between a trailer and a ‘short.’ Through KickStarter PostPanic wants to raise $50,000 to finance a 5-day shoot in Mexico and plenty of CG post production. Rozema is typically known for using 3D animation to enrich his cinematographic, alien worlds – as he did in the idents for MTV and the leader for OFFF that was recently nominated for the VIMEO awards and viewed 1 million times already. It’s exactly this style that will give Sundays. its distinctive look. Quite an ambitious project. A good reason to ask Rozema a few questions.
We meet up with Rozema at PostPanic, the morning after Germany practically kicks Holland out of Euro2012 (1-2). Even though his KickStarter project has gone live the same morning it looks as if he’s not really happy.
I’m hungover. Not just because of the booze, but primarily because we got humiliated. But let’s not talk about this. Too painful. [Rozema is a big football fan, AAB]
O.k. let’s talk about Sundays. The trailer on KickStarter looks promising. When did you get the idea to make this?
That’s a long story. Already for quite a while I had a short film script lying on the shelf. It was something I was going to make at some point, but I didn’t really know when. Then, one day, about 2 years ago, I was approached by Warner Brother’s. They were looking for new, talented directors; directors with a fresh look on the movie industry and with a distinctive signature. They showed me a list – known as the ‘black list’ – with about 50 scripts, all blockbuster-type movies, ready to be made. I read about 8, but didn’t like any of them. When I showed them my own short film script Warner Brother’s said: “this is going to be your feature.”
Just like that?
Well, that’s when things started become difficult. I started re-writing my initial script with a scriptwriter from Hollywood that I liked and ironically threw all the typical stuff out that makes films sell in Hollywood. So then when my agent tried to sell the full feature script to numerous film producers, they either said “this is a $60/$80 million blockbuster, we’re not going to give that much money to a Hollywood rookie” or, if they were willing to pay, they made me sign my life away in blood, so that they could change it completely into a Hollywood blockbuster. When they’re investing that much money they want my mom also to like it.
They made me sign my life away in blood, so that they could change it completely into a Hollywood blockbuster
When did you decide, we’re going to do this through KickStarter?
The world of movie producers is very slow. Phone call here, phone call there, meeting here, meeting there. And rewriting the script also took ages. So nothing really happened. At some point someone said why not try ‘KickStarter’ and that’s when everything fell into place. This made sense. I couldn’t imagine why we hadn’t thought of that before.
So what will be the next steps after the short has been made?
The short film should generate the first ripple. It will raise questions – questions that are going to be answered eventually in the feature. This way we create awareness and interest to see more. So then we can go to the Studios and find support to make the real thing.
With this project is PostPanic moving towards film making and away from making commercials?
Making commercials has never been our core business. Our independent projects are. With our commercial work we finance our own projects. And these independent projects attract parties that bring in new commercial work that fits our DNA. It thus feeds each other and works as a sort of perpetual mobile.
With our commercial work we finance our own projects
O.k., so about the film; why Sundays.?
In the short the sun plays a very important role. The sun is the spark that initiates the end of the world. And then it starts.
Can you explain the plot in a few phrases?
Well not really, cause then I would give away too much already. What I can tell you is that we’re creating a copy of the world. An alternate reality. But the film starts very normal. Slowly it becomes stranger, like in Being John Malkovich. Things turn out to be fundamentally wrong. Small mistakes become bigger and bigger. Which is something you see for example in the architecture.
What was it exactly in your script that scared off Hollywood?
That it doesn’t fit in a genre. They ask questions like ‘Where’s the thriller element?” or “Where’s the love interest”. But it’s not that kind of movie.
Would you call it science fiction?
Yes. But Hollywood associates science fiction with Star Wars or Star Trek and I hate that stuff. I like what Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick made; 2001: A space Odyssey – in my opinion the best film ever made. It is the psychology behind science fiction that fascinates me. Films like Twelve Monkeys, Moon, Inception. Films that deal with ethics and force you to take a standpoint. Like in Moon: what is the definition of mankind; is a clone worth less than a ‘real’ person? We have to answer these questions at some point in the future. That’s science fiction for me.
It is the psychology behind science fiction that fascinates me
Well, if you say that we need to answer those questions in the future, then its science, not fiction.
That’s right. At some point we’ll be influencing the course of evolution. And beyond a certain point we cannot predict where it’s going to; there will be a form of artificial intelligence that is more intelligent than us human beings. Maybe already within 30, 40 years.
But first a feature film.
Yes, it’s out there now. It too will take its own course. [Rozema smiles broadly]
About Sundays. on KickStarter: You can contribute to Sundays. financially. In exchange you will not only make the execution possible, but you will also get a t-shirt, signed/framed poster, digital download, your name mentioned as ‘associate producer’, a lunch with Rozema, or even your name incorporated in the film – depending on how much you’re chipping in. The deadline is July 20th. The project has raised $4,000 at the time of this interview going live.