Back in January of this year, director Liam Garvo and the Dresden Pictures team crowdfunded a proof-of-concept short for an ambitious dystopian sci-fi called Biopunk, starring Game Of Thrones‘ Hodor himself: Kristian Nairn. That campaign was successful and now the short is available online, and it’s looking excellent. In fact, just check it out:
Now, Garvo and the team are getting the plans together for the feature-length film, and he took the time to answer some questions about Biopunk, the inspirations and what comes next.
How would you pitch Biopunk?
The feature is a sort of cross between Children Of Men and Logan. But really, at its heart, the film is a story about family and the lengths we will go to in order to protect them. It follows Resha a young street smart woman on her journey to get her younger brother Kio back after he has been kidnapped for his unique special abilities. And the concept film is loosely based on the opening few pages of the feature script.
How did it come about?
From an obsession with sci-fi! I’ve been a fan ever since I was a kid and over the years I’ve made a number of short films which have all had some sort of sci-fi element to them. But the aim has always been to tell a longer story and direct a feature at some point. So at the beginning of last year I sat down and wrote the original treatment for Biopunk. I then approached Andrew Harmer to write the screenplay whose first film The Fitzroy I produced along with my business partner James Heath. Andrew’s a great writer and having worked together previously I was excited to get him involved in writing the screenplay for Biopunk.
There’s an immediate sense of a world just from this teaser. What was the hardest part of creating this time and setting?
I have been very lucky to work with an amazing production designer over the years. Natalie O’Connor and I started working together about ten years ago and she’s been involved in every project I’ve directed since. She even did the production design for the first feature I produced, The Fitzroy. So I’ve been extremely fortunate to have someone so talented that I’m able to think up worlds with and be able to translate those to something you see on screen.
One of the difficult things was shooting on such a tight budget, which we were able to raise on Kickstarter from some amazing people that believed in the idea. In order to make the market scene in the concept film feel really busy we had to reuse parts of the set in different areas from one day to the next. It was the only way we were going to be able to create a since of scale in camera. Natalie and her team did an amazing job tearing down large portions of the set and repurposing them over night between the days we were filming.
How did Kristian Nairn become involved?
We approached Kristian early on during the Kickstarter campaign and were lucky enough to be able to get him on board. He’s such a lovely guy to work with.
What’s the plan for what comes next?
We pitched the teaser to a number of people during Cannes and it went down really well. We’re now following up on those meetings and are in advanced discussions with a few people on partnering up to make the feature film happen. So fingers crossed! I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make the feature in the near future.
Were there any particular inspirations for it?
Children Of Men. It’s one of my favourite films and I feel a lot of the themes Alfonso Cuarón portrayed in it are probably more relevant today than they were when they made the film in 2006. Since then we’ve seen a rise in nationalism as evident in recent elections, an increase of individuals and families seeking asylum from oppressive governments and most recently horrible terrorist attacks in the UK. I feel those issues are important and Biopunk draws a lot of similar parallels to what is happening in the world today.
How have you found the reaction to the project so far?
It’s been great! The community has been really supportive of the idea and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from potential partners for the feature. So I couldn’t ask for more at this stage!
For more information on Biopunk, visit the film’s Kickstarter page. Keep up with the latest genre news with the new issue of SciFiNow.