Movies

Feb 122015
 

It’s a great time to start watching Haphead, the cyberpunk webseries I wrote/created — we’ve got half the first season online now! Plus, we’re doing a watchalong of the first season this Sunday afternoon — an online collective viewing of the full 72 minutes of season one for people who have (or are willing to) chipped in a couple bucks. Plus a Twitter Q&A at the end! Details below.

Those Bittorrent-lovin’ disruptive culture types VODO are selling the full HD version for download or stream for $4.99 (or make an offer). You can also get the download or stream for the same price on VHX at over here.

Trailer here. We’re getting some pretty sweet responses like this one from Hugo-award winning author Peter Watts:

Haphead is way better than it has any right to be. Little gems of technosocial extrapolation glitter throughout Munroe’s screenplay: upscale malls with perky automated security systems, apologetically refusing entry to consumers with “mixed-income backgrounds”; insurance companies with their own paramilitary SWAT teams to go after false claimants. The plot itself— at first glance a straightforward lefty bit of capitalist-bashing— takes turns you might not expect… Star Elysia White is a real find; whether Max is mourning or raging, pondering some mystery or cracking wise, her performance is spot-on throughout.

Continue reading »

Jan 152015
 

hapheadmovieposter-blog

We’re putting the finishing touches on the first season of Haphead, an 8 episode webseries I wrote and created, and we’re going to watch all 70 minutes at the Royal Theatre a week today. It’s the whole deal — q&a with cast/crew, afterparty for everyone, and the theatre is a beautiful venue — they’re even licensed for the occasion. Our last Royal screening sold out, so we recommend ordering tickets online to avoid disappointment.

If you’re not in Toronto, you’ll want to subscribe via the service of your choice at haphead.com as the first episode is going online immediately after the screening.

Haphead is the story of a girl who’s literally empowered by videogames.

Ten years from now, a new haptic peripheral makes videogames so immersive that people learn skills just by playing. Maxine makes less than minimum wage at the factory where they make them, so she decides to become an unofficial beta tester by stealing one for herself. At home, her favorite rabbit-ninja game gets a whole lot more punishing, with the haptic feedback loop beating lethal skills into her muscle memory. Which is good: she needs to level up quick once her employer discovers her on-the-job theft.

Luckily, she’s not alone. There are other hapheads out there, with a variety of game-trained abilities. But while some of them are kindreds, one of them brings death….

It’s pretty incredible seeing these projects come together, each successive iteration getting closer and closer to what we imagined. And as the poster above declares, this is not a No Media Kings production — it’s an entirely new and exciting thing. We’ll be announcing more about that at the screening!

Oct 312014
 

hoodiefencemaxine

We’re Kickstarting post-production for Haphead, my cyberpunk web series about a girl who’s literally empowered by videogames. Consider backing it and get some rewards like parkour lessons and producer credits!

Running a Kickstarter is a lot of work, but it’s work we need to do anyway — spreading the word about our new project. As always, we’re trying to balance the hype with a good deal of content.

First, the Kickstarter video starts with a teaser using the brand new footage we shot in the summer. Then we created a new reward with our talented artists, a calendar of post-apocalyptic pin-ups called Fallen Toronto.

Yesterday we posted a gallery of amazing production stills like the one above. Today we released a recruitment ad voiced by a local radio personality, “Fearless” Fred Kennedy from Edge 102.1. I’m really happy with it — it’s a parody of the “Get into the Game Industry!” ads that aim to profit from people’s dreams of getting to work in their favourite medium. Listen to it here.

Jul 312014
 

hapheadtrain

About a month ago we got the word that Haphead, our near-future videogame subculture webseries, received funding. It’s a lot of the same folks I’ve been making lo-fi sci-fi no-budget films with since 2007 — except this time we’re getting paid a living wage for it! Pretty wild. Having a budget also means we can consider renting locations (like the train car above!) as well as accelerate the process — we’ll be releasing the first 45-60min (AKA “Season 1″) in January, instead of the 3 year odyssey that Ghosts With Shit Jobs was. I also won’t be wearing as many hats (just three: executive producer/creator/writer) but I know from the awesome proof-of-concept trailer our team produced with minimal interference from me that it’s in very, very good hands.

If you want to jump on the Haphead train before our mid-August shooting begins, this is what we’re still looking for!

  • a large abandoned warehouse or factory we can rent for a day (something like this pic)
  • people with physical talents: parkour, martial arts, circus skills, skateboarding/scootering, breakdancing
  • adult background actors (AKA extras) of different ages/ethnicities (no experience needed)
  • small camper / magic van / Winnebago
  • a house with a little character
  • onset medic

If you have a lead on any of the above, please drop our producer Anthony a line at anthony@lofiscifi.com and he can give you more details.

Apr 152014
 

otherworlds
I first heard about Vodo a few years back when they were using BitTorrent as a form of alternative distribution for science fiction shorts and web series — something we did as well with our 2007 effort Infest Wisely. Currently they’re trying out a pay-what-you-want model, and they approached us to include Ghosts With Shit Jobs in their indie sci-fi Otherworlds bundle. They’ve brought together a great bunch of sci-fi shorts, experimental videogames (Tale of Tales) and speculative graphic novels (Cory Doctorow), and we get a bit of money whether you pay-what-you-want for the main tier or “unlock” our movie on the second tier. (I guess we’ll have to update our profit-reporting post after this!) Incidentally, this is the first time you can buy a DRM-free digital version of our movie since the Kickstarter.

The Otherworlds bundle is available for the next two weeks.

Mar 152014
 

Factory_Interior-Press-Kit.resized

We started making Ghosts With Shit Jobs in 2009, released it in 2012 and screened it in 25 cities thanks to a Kickstarter campaign through 2012-13. We’ve learned a ton and recently applied what we know now to a proof-of-concept trailer for a new project — it’s called Haphead, and features the infinitely stretching electronics factory pictured above. And bunny-ninja fights.

But before we move on we thought we’d talk frankly about the numbers behind our lo-fi sci-fi feature.

We attracted attention to the project by being up front about our original $4000 production costs, and now we want to do a final accounting in the hope that it’s useful and/or interesting to other indie filmmakers. There’s a certain amount of pressure to not talk about this stuff when it’s not super-impressive — that somehow it hurts our credibility — but we think it’s useful to show people what very minor success looks like.

Ghosts With Shit Jobs cost $20,180.97 to create and promote and earned a gross of $39,317.18 $40,917.18. Continue reading »

Mar 072014
 

Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads.

The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I’m working on. Don’t know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore — with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it’s way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I’m thinking what’ll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural mileau that’ll emerge. This trailer a proof-of-concept thing meant to rally the interest we need to get it made — so if you’d like to see it, share it.

Feb 042014
 

I’ve been getting together with folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with to make a trailer for our next project, Haphead — starts shooting on Sunday, get in touch if you’d like to help out. We’re going to be working with the same actress who starred in “Just Ella” — a short I wrote/directed for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge. It screened at Toronto After Dark (my favourite Toronto film fest) a few months back, and now you can watch it here.

“Just Ella” posits a future overrun by gibbering monstrosities. Ella takes refuge in a “the Ossington Safehouse, a collectively-run space dedicated to human sovereignty.” But despite doing the assigned tasks on the chore list, the Safehouse isn’t safe — the terrors outside are nothing compared to those within.

Contains perhaps the first cinematic example of autocomplete used for a dramatic reveal.

Credits here.

Sep 052013
 

At a time of year when everyone’s talking TIFF, we thought we’d talk BIFF. For us, getting into the Beijing International Film Festival was a bigger deal, what with Ghosts With Shit Jobs being about a future where China’s the first world and North America’s the third world.

Co-director Tate Young interviewed BIFF-goers earlier this year on what they thought about the premise of our flick, and got lots of great city shots to boot, in this 6.5 minute mini-doc.

It’s now four years since we began this project and it’s been quite a trip — literally and figuratively. Since its London, England premiere last year we’ve toured with the movie to nearly 20 cities across the world. Figured it merits its own commemorative tour t-shirt, which you can buy at cost for the next week (mens | ladies). It’s got all the cities on the back!

As an aside, you should enjoy TIFF while it lasts — it ends in 2019 after cultural funding disappears completely. BIFF buys all the red carpets at an auction afterwards.

Jan 142013
 

Put your trillion dollar coins away! Ghosts With Shit Jobs is available to rent for as little as $4.99. Our lo-fi sci-fi mockumentary about the slums of Toronto in 2040 is now in wide digital release at the links below.

To help support this we’re offering to do 20 videochat Q&As between now and when the Debt Ceiling falls in. To enter, sign up over here and plan a GHOSTS screening party of five or more people in January and February. Then, if you’re one of the lucky 20, one of our lo-fi faces will be beamed via sci-fi into your very home!

iTunes / Amazon (US only) / Xbox / PSN Vudu

Trailer / First 20 minutes

For people looking for DRM-free options, we recommend buying the DVD and then ripping it.

(And sure, Cloud City is a bit of an ethically dubious place. But it’s not like Lando would sell us out or anything, that dude is solid!)

Sep 082012
 

In the next month I’ll be visiting a bunch of cities to do Q&As after the screenings of Ghosts With Shit Jobs. If you know folks in these cities, it would be great if you spread the word!

Ann Arbor (Sept. 9, Workantile)
Ottawa (Sept. 14 [with Q&A], Sept 15 & 16, Mayfair Theatre)
Austin (Sept 19, Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek)
Tucson (Sept 27, Arizona Underground Film Fest)

Note that the Austin one will only happen if 30 tickets are reserved in the next 4 days as we’re using Tugg to gauge interest. (UPDATE: Austin is Go!) We can do it in other towns in the US too, so if you’re interested in bringing GHOSTS to your town in November, just fill out this form and we can start to try and make it happen! If you’re not in the US, just email us directly.

Jul 242012
 

I’m involved with the new Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge that’s happening at the end of August. In my role as Creative Director I’ve programmed four Lo-fi Sci-fi Salons in the run-up to the Challenge.

Each Salon will be hosted by a different local filmmaker who will be showing some inspiring fantastical shorts and then sharing some tips from their experience making science fiction movies. There’ll be lots of time before and after to meet & drink with other lo-fi sci-fi enthusiasts.

  • July 30: I will be chatting with Louis Savy, Programmer for SCI-FI-LONDON, over Skype. S-F-L is a big inspiration, and we’ll be watching some of the best shorts from its long-running 48 hr Film Challenge.
  • Aug. 6: Matthew Nayman (“Blind Spot“) will be talking quick and dirty visual effects
  • Aug. 13: David Fernandes (“Re-Wire“) will be sharing tips on props and sets on the cheap
  • Aug. 20: the folks behind the upcoming feature A Brand New You

They’re happening Mondays at 7pm at the Monarch (12 Clinton St., Toronto). They’re free and open to the public — you don’t have to be signed up for the Challenge.

But you totally should! It’s a great way to collaborate with new people, try something too weird and experimental for a feature, and get something small and achievable in the can. Hot tip: if you check out the first Salon you’ll get a sense of what it’s about and still have time to get the Early Bird rate ($50/team til Aug 1st).

Jun 072012
 

Only now recovered from the Toronto Ghosts With Shit Jobs screening last week — we sold out the theatre and got a really nice response from people. Thanks to all the folks who came!

We showed trailers prior to the screening for our pals at Iron Sky, ByoLogic, Manborg and Rasputin’s Bastards, and afterwards Sean announced the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48hr Film Challenge and I showed off a brand-new GHOSTS USB Bracelet.

We’re excited about our next screening and Q&A: Saturday July 14th at 8pm at MIT in Boston. It’s a free screening and open to the public, and I’m doing a bunch of other game related stuff while I’m in town.

May 272012
 


It’s been a wild week! Our Kickstarter ended up raising $20,000 (quadruple what we asked for!) and we got the Best Feature award from the awesome Sci-Fi-London fest. The Grid also just posted a great article on the movie with a bunch of tips from me on low budget filmmaking — the writer really got the spirit of the thing, with phrases like “happiness is the only real currency exchanged on an all-volunteer set.”

Next week of course we have our North American premiere in Toronto. (We’re 2/3s full at this point, so you might want to pre-order tickets.) But the day before that is the party for the new issue of Spacing – the Disaster issue. Spacing is one of my favourite magazines both to read and to write for, and I’m delighted to reveal that I wrote a Ghosts With Shit Jobs-inspired spread in this issue — it’s a tour given by Anton Karrento of Toronto in 2040. Plus, the Karrento Brothers are going to be at the magazine launch party, combing the area for spider silk caches in the nooks and crannies of the Evergreen Brick Works. Spacing parties are always fun and the location’s amazing — come on out!

The little article below was a sidebar that didn’t end up in the spread, but I thought I’d post it here as an early taste. Continue reading »

May 142012
 

I’m not crazy about Blu-ray, so I started to think of alternative ways to deliver the 1080p version of the movie and came across these usb bracelets. When I started to think about what else you could put on it, I realized there was a connection to one of the ideas in the movie: that in 2025 the Cloud was repossessed. I like the idea that people can also use it to store their own locally owned data, as insurance against that day. Or even if nothing happens, for a time when you make the choice to get off the Cloud (or the grid) and find out that something you clicked I Agree to years ago limits that choice.

You can buy it here. (Sorry, only DVDs left now.) More thoughts below. Continue reading »

Apr 302012
 

Hey, I’m taking part in this youth initiative that looks pretty good! More deets here.

BFI Future Film and SCI-FI-LONDON Present… Micro Budget Sci- Fi Filmmaking – May 5th, 12:45
Join us for a Q+A with Directors Jim Munroe (Ghosts with Sh*t Jobs), G B Hajim (Strange Love) and Sloan U’Ren (Dimensions) as we discuss the future of sci-fi on film, and making sci-fi movies on a micro budget. Our panel will also be giving feedback on sci-fi shorts made by young filmmakers that will be screened as part of this event.