Ancient Visionz interview with Harry Assouline, Writer/Director/ and Visual Effects Supervisor of New York 2150 (Sci Fi, Indie Film)
New York 2150 links:
1. How did you come up with the name for bounty hunter Jayden Jaxon? It’s a very catchy, futuristic name.
>> That's what I was shooting for, so, thank you. I’ve always liked using alliterative names. Like you said, it’s catchy.
2. Without giving too much away about the film, and I understand if you cannot answer the question, but what motivated Jayden to become an inter galactic bounty hunter?
>>Jayden's past is not revealed in this episode. As the show goes on, there will be more flashbacks in addition to full episodes taking place in the past that will reveal more about Jayden’s history and how he teamed up with Mac.
3. Does he have a code that he has to adhere too?
Absolutely. It might not be the code that you or I adhere to,
Jayden tends to do things his own way, but over the years he’s developed a pretty specific outlook on the world. Again, we’ll learn more about Jayden’s make up as the show goes on.
4. Jayden struggles with returning to New Manhattan, as it brings up many painful memories, and reminds him of a place he doesn't feel welcome including his lost love. Are you hoping people can relate to the protagonist, and can form a relationship with him, and ask what happened to him, and what drives him forward?
>> Of course, we have all had past relationship that didn't end the way we thought. And as we try to move on we have all had to face this brutal, universal truth: It’s hard to let go.
5. Who does Jayden work for, and will we see this organization in the short film?
>> Jayden recently teamed up with Mac, an ex cop. As bounty hunters, they work for themselves.
6. New York 2150 seems like one very dark brutal environment with ruthless competition for the bounty hunters. Rival bounty hunters seem to be as dangerous as the targets they pursue. How long did it take to develop the film?
>> It’s definitely a pretty grim take on the future. I had the story developed in a few weeks and creating this futuristic world took me a few months but between writing, casting, rehearsals, shooting, editing, visual effects, it's been one year. Still, the process is not quite finished.
7. What was the biggest challenge whilst working on New York 2150?
>> I think the biggest challenge for me, personally, was simply getting it off the ground and running. I took on a lot of responsibilities normally assigned to a few different people myself because of the smaller, independent nature of the project and have had a lot of different things on my plate from the very beginning.
8. Had you worked with any of the cast before?
>> No, but I look forward to working with them again.
9. The opening shot of the trailer has me excited to learn what is happening, and how New York has changed in the future. Is New Manhattan the future version and evolution of Manhattan Island?
>> Yes. We can recognize existing buildings and other architecture, but you can also see that there are flying cars. There will always be people afraid of or not able to afford the new technology, though. I like to think that new developments in technology will never completely replace the old ones.
10. Its nice to see the trailer depicting a familiar world, but also showing how it has changed. Was this your intention with the trailer to stimulate the audience's mind to ponder how things have progressed, but still retain something they can relate too?
>> Of course, by the title we know right away where we are and when. I am doing my best to bring a visual as realistic as I can that will hopefully make the audience feel a little more at home in this crazy future world.
11. How long did it take you to select the score for the trailer, which is very dramatic and adds to the tension.
>> The music of the teaser was not easy to choose. As I was researching music for the film I kept the teaser in mind but it took awhile to find the right one. When I did, I contacted the artist immediately.
12. What makes a good film score?
>> It needs to serve the rhythm and tone of the film. A good film score should elevate the entire film. It’s probably the best medium we have when it comes to eliciting emotion.
13. You are originally from Paris, and the French electro band Daft Punk were featured on the soundtrack for the latest Tron movie. Do you think the futuristic side to electronic music works best with sci-fi, or would you like to see other music used for sci fi soundtracks?
>> I certainly don't think electronic is the only type of music that would fit best with the genre. I love that movie but I like mixing it up, there are other music styles in the film like funk or folk. The right song is the right song.
14. When you were designing the space ships was there a certain 'look' you wanted to go for?
>> I wanted something asymmetrical, like the Millennium Falcon. The 3D modeler, Barthélemy Aupetit, and I went back and forth on the design rebounding on each other’s ideas. The process was really interesting.
15. One of the characters at the end of the trailer is wearing what looks like a visor. I'm not sure if its a bounty hunter, the killer, or perhaps the ex cop Mac? Are they connected to a network that is used for tracking bounties or targets?
>> If you're referring to the green visor, it's Jin, another bounty hunter. To make sure, I invite you to review the different profile pictures on the website www.newyork2150.com
16. The last shot in the trailer depicts a guy with some kind of ear piece attached to him. I'm wondering are they cybernetic implants or a communication device?
>> The guy with ear piece is Jayden who is in communication with Mac.
17. Where can we watch New York 2150?
>> The film still needs to be finished but the goal is to bring it to many festivals, because of their disqualification rules I can't post the movie for everyone to see quite yet, so for those who will back up the project, they will be able to watch it through private projection, otherwise you’ll have to check out a festival screening.
18. Any plans to submit the film to any movie festivals?
>> The film can be accepted to short film festivals, but also TV pilot and since couple years in Europe, we have now medium feature from 15 to 50min.
19. Would you consider expanding the world of New York 2150 into comics and books?
>> I have expanded the world in the bible, but the film is story driven, no world explaining. It's been developed for three seasons with 8 episodes each.
20. What did you enjoy the most about working on New York 2150?
>> Creating the world, meeting the cast and, mostly, the shooting part. It was all very exciting.
21. Will the web series explain what happened during Jayden's past in New Manhattan?
>> We will have flashback episodes to reveal some of the characters’ background stories, Jayden especially.
22. Are there any new characters you are planning to introduce to the web series that we should look out for?
>> Of course. The world of New York 2150 is full of colorful characters, but you’ll have to wait and see.
23. I was looking at the perks for the forth coming crowd funding campaign. One in particular stands out, which is drinks and dinner with the cast. I honestly don't think I've ever seen that before in any campaign whether film or music. Why did you feel it was important to include that option?
>> Some of my actors play in indie movies and some producers may want to spend time with the cast before working with them. So I created the opportunity. Plus, it’s a fun group so it’ll be a good time, guaranteed.
24. Do you think this kind of approach is the way to evolve and move forward with marketing indie film and independent media?
>> Well, I think that everything helps when it comes to getting a project out in the world. The approach we’re taking gives us a great opportunity to reach a lot of people. Do you have any suggestions?
Gaz, Ancient Visionz: Imo you are conducting business in the right manner and building solid relationships with people, which is always good for any venture. New York 2150, certainly has all bases covered.
25. How did you form the partnership to work with the Outwear Brand & their Electric Styles range?
>> I decided to use some of their clothing in the film and we created a relationship from there.
26. Are you interested in fashion and the steam punk scene?
>> My mother worked in fashion for almost 20 years in Paris and I have always been attracted to new styles and original visions of the future built in sci-fi movies.
27. Do you think fashion/music/film goes through a continuing recycling period?
>> This is more personal than about the movie but I'd be happy to respond. I think fashion does come back as a recycling period. Good music is timeless. Same goes for film. Now the style of the film or music will be somehow appreciated depending on the culture and the taste of the person.
28. I noticed you cited Guardians of the Galaxy's Peter Quill as one of the influences for Jayden Jaxon. Sci fi fans rank the movie along with the Star Wars saga. It was a film that kinda sprung up on people, taking everyone by surprise. What do you think was behind its success?
>> They adapted the style of dark comics into a funny, entertaining story with amazing visuals. I guess the success was inevitable.
29. Who are some of your favorite characters from sci fi movies and books that captivated your imagination as a filmmaker?
>> My interests are pretty widespread. A few things I’ve always been into are the Star Wars films, Cowboy Bebop, and anything by Christopher Nolan. I also get inspired by the people around me.
30. What in your opinion is it about sci fi that engages the human mind, to ask questions and seek answers about our place in the universe, and where we could go?
The beauty of sci-fi is that you can not only create worlds from scratch but, more interestingly to me, you can also expand on existing ideas and concepts visually and otherwise. You can visualize what you’d like to change in the world, for better or worse.
31. What do you enjoy the most about independent film?
32. Are there other films/stories you would like to develop after New York 2150?
Of course, it has been more than a year I am on this project but I never stopped writing, for more episodes but mostly short stories, scenes, concept for 3D animation films.
33. One of my favorite movies was District 13, but I also own the remake Brick Mansions. Have you seen the movies, and would you ever use Parkour (free running) in a film?
I don’t see anything in my immediate future using Parkour but I wouldn’t ever rule it out.
34. When I was reading the press release for New York 2150, I saw that you hold a huge passion for sci fi and technology. Do you think humans will continue along a path to become more integrated with machines?
As if we have a choice... In the world we are living in, we see everywhere that technology became more a necessity than a passion.
Gaz, Ancient Visionz: Thank you Harry, for taking the time to answer all questions. It was a great interview, and I'm sure it will be an awesome film. Please visit the links below for New York 2150, and help support the film in anyway you can. I personally would also like to thank Rebecca for helping to set the interview up, and for all her hard work.
New York 2150 links:
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