8/20/2013

Vessel (2012) Mark Diaco
What if talking to aliens slowly took away your humanity? The Australian film Vessel answers that question and premiered to rave reviews in London. We caught up with Adam Ciancio, the Melbourne based director, and asked him a few questions in our exclusive interview.

Here's the official description: "Ash has the power to communicate with ET's, a gift he needs to be stripped of by the end of the day or risk succumbing to its side-effects completely. This power is beginning to make him one of them - incredibly calculating, but devoid of any human emotion."

Watch the haunting trailer below.



Thanks for joining me Adam. Please tell us more about your film Vessel?
Essentially Vessel is a micro-budget film about a guy named Ash who has the ability to talk to Aliens. With this gift he is required to disclose the information he gets to the military yet every time he interfaces with one of these entities he loses a little bit more of his emotions. Basically the film takes place over one day, actually the last day of his life where he goes about tying lose ends with friends and trying to find a possible cure to his syndrome.

As for the film itself it was a pretty bare bones operation that essentially fed off its own momentum. It was written in a week, filmed over two and cost roughly 15,000 bucks. Actually before festival and music rights fees it was closer to 10K. All this was possible because I had a pretty kick**s crew and some brilliant producers.

What was the inspiration for the film?
It's weird I've always been massively interested in Aliens and our place in the universe.

There is a guy called Clifford Stone who claims to have interfaced with Aliens back in the 70's and 80's for the military so once I heard that I knew I could base a story around a gift like that.

Having said that if I wasn't a director I would most likely be some zany, recluse guy out in the desert working for SETI. Imagine a hairier, more grizzled version of Jodie Foster in Contact. That's still probably a retirement option if I ever decide not to write or direct again.

[Laughing] Let's hope it doesn't come to that Adam. Most alien invasion movies are big apocalyptic films like Independence Day. So, what made you decide to take such a personal take on an alien invasion?
The first reason is budget, the second reason is respect. Budget is a given, I'm not going to pack the thing with huge amounts of VFX even if it was a possibility on the cheap. I've seen it done before and it becomes a distraction, you're not focusing on characters, themes, dialogue or story instead you're basically giving us a demonstration of all the plug ins available in After Effects.

Once I've seen an effect done three or four times in the first twenty minutes it's not going to make a difference for the next seventy. Not that it doesn't look cool and can't work, it totally can but I guess this is just not the story I wanted to tell.

As for respect I just find it totally f-ing crazy how we assume they would come down here and start blowing s**t up, actually it's pretty ironic every time you see aliens on screen they're basically acting like humans when they discover new land. Destroying s**t, terraforming the earth so it suits them instead of adapting. If they have that ability to travel light years in seconds and bend space and time I'm sure they are going to be a little less obtrusive than a couple of giant laser cannons over The White House.

Physical violence would definitely be something behind them, with technological advancement comes spiritual advancement as that's where the responsibility comes from. Hence why we're still in the stone age on a lot of things because we're not spiritually progressing with our technology.

You funded your film using a Indiegogo campaign. Raising almost $7,000 in about two months. What was the key to your success and what tips would you have for other fund raisers?
Be honest, yourself and realistic. My intro video was just me being really honest to camera about who I was and what the film was about.

If you're asking for twenty thousand make sure the people who are donating know where it's going and how much is going where. Be proactive in your updates, make people feel like they are part of something, even with the smallest donations make them feel like they have contributed thousands, and those who have contributed thousands make them feel they have contributed millions.

Also make sure the page is enticing, an intro video, pictures of those involved, art work and succinct descriptions of what is going to happen after the money has been raised.

Another thing I realised, don't solely rely on crowd sourcing, I see it as one of many sources you can tap in regards to funding.

Great tips Adam. Now, are there any plans for a theatrical release of the film?
Well the film was picked up by a distributor even before it premiered at Sci Fi London so I'm sure it will be up to them if they think it's worthy. I know we have some options in some European Territories that are not covered by the Distributor and we've been getting some interest from countries like Japan.

Down here in Australia there are a few companies who can facilitate a theatrical release but at the moment we're just concentrating on giving it a decent festival run and a Melbourne screening possibly next month.

Now that you've done this film, what's next for you?
Hopefully direct a few commercials so I can go back to making some sort of a living. I've got three scripts that I'm developing with the help of my managers over in the US. It's essentially a race between them so whatever one comes first. I don't mind I'm just happy to have something cooking.

One of them is sort of similar to Vessel but just a bit bigger and the other is a drama that I thought would be my first film but has been in the wings for almost five years. Basically I made Vessel because this film was going nowhere. I spent almost four years going through four producers and trying to source two millions bucks so we could shoot it in Louisiana. I even filmed a teaser for it years ago to help me get it going but I just kept hitting brick walls.

Now it's starting to gain some legs because of the success of Vessel so hopefully it sees the light of day.

Thanks for your time Adam! Hopefully this will make it to the US or even a major motion picture!

To learn more about the film Vessel go to http://www.vessel-movie.com and, to see some of Adam's amazing commercials, go to http://adamciancio.com. Also, make sure you follow the movie on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think of the film? 

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4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hopefully we do get to see it, Adam.
Reminds me of Monsters. Made on a super low budget and yet amazing.
If it doesn't get a theater release, I will watch for it on NetFlix.

DAVID WALSTON said...

That's a cool concept, sounds like a great movie.

MedeiaSharif said...

This looks eerie and I'd like to watch it.

Maurice Mitchell said...

@Medeia it does!

@David its one of the most original alien stories I've heard

@Alex Netflix would be perfect

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