Are We at the Dawn of a New Movement in Independent Film?
Back in 2004, a small movie by director Shane Carruth, entitled Primer, took the independent film world by storm. Made on an insanely modest budget of only $7,000, Primer went on to win the Grand Jury prize and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film award at that year’s Sundance Film festival, as well as being nominated for a slew of other awards. The film tells the tale of four friends/tech geniuses/entrepreneurs who, upon building their livelihood off of inventing error-checking devices in their garage, stumble upon the fact that there is something more in the mechanisms they are creating. Through trial and error, and constant tinkering with a device whose purpose is still shrouded in mystery, the men stumble upon an innovation the likes of which none of them, or the world for that matter, has ever seen. I’d like to give it away right here, but the film is so much more fun to watch for yourself and ultimately realize what it is they’ve created. The side effects and consequences of what they make take up a good portion of the film’s second half, and this is where the writing gets smart, astonishingly intellectually smart. The film is hard to follow, don’t get me wrong, but it works, and it makes sense. After a few viewings one truly begins to realize the intelligence behind the script, and the social commentary that follows. Primer is indeed a landmark film in independent cinema, and I’m convinced that, over the years, it will become a landmark of science fiction cinema as well.
So now, after a 5 year absence of the lo-fi sci-fi movement , writer/director Matt Osterman has finally continued the trend. Receiving comparisons to Carruth’s Primer, Osterman’s debut film Phasma Ex Machina (pictured above) is currently in post production. The crew just released the opening title sequence of the film online which can be found below, along with the original trailer for the film and some behind the scenes stuff. The footage and photos I’ve seen so far look absolutely stellar, and I’m really hoping that films like this and Primer continue to get made and continue to garner the acclaim they’ve been getting. Director Matt Osterman has been featured on the cover of Screen Magazine recently and on Wherethelongtailends.com, who have called the film ‘One to Watch For’. Keep an eye out for more news on the film as I continue to update you all on it. I’ve included a brief synopsis of the movie right from the film’s blog itself just after the break.
What would you do to bring someone back? How far would you go? Phasma Ex Machina explores the grey area between life and death and how science may be the bridge between the two. A young man named Cody, tasked with raising his younger brother James after the death of their parents, plunges himself into the murky science of the supernatural. Ignoring his responsibilities as a caretaker, Cody invents a machine he intends to be a conduit to the other side. In his pursuit to build the device he befriends an affable electrical engineer named Tom who has his own tale of love and loss. Cody eventually reaches an unintended level of success that not only threatens his safety, but also the well-being of James and Tom. He quickly learns that the supernatural isn’t all that super and human nature can even be worse.