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DG Sept - Justin Hennard Creates Thinking Man's Sci-Fi PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Sep 05, 2005 at 02:00 AM
Director Justin Hennard has produced a mind-bending sci-fi tale that some critics are likening to the works of famous sci-fi authors like Ray Bradbury. We talked to Justin about his impending Sub Rosa release, MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA.

DG: How did you get into making movies?

Justin: Probably from my background in still photography. My interest in images gradually moved from stills to super 8 and 16mm and then on to video. As far as making films, Moonlight was my film school. Everything that needed to be done, I tried to teach myself how to do, some things I was better at than others, but it was an amazing learning process.

DG: What is MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA all about? What is the basic plot?

Justin: Mostly it's about trying to look inside oneself and understanding the choices that we make, good or bad and how we live with those choices. Or not. How we live with fate. The basic plot concerns a top salesman for a faceless, nameless corporation in a future time who has a mental crisis. He's left sift through the bits that make up his life and decide if its worth living any longer. In the midst of this we see other persons of the this fascistic, corporate world and their various copping mechanisms.

DG: What lead you to the decision to shoot in black and white?

Justin: The choice was completely intuitive. From the beginning, the tone of the film and story just seemed very black and white with many hues of gray. B&W, but not in a simple way. The popular misconception about black and white is that it is somehow colder and more lifeless than color images. I can't agree with that. On a more unconscious level, it could function as a sort of homage if you will to the written word. Black text on white paper. Before I became interested in film in a way that was reflective, I was very much into reading. In fact many of the ideas in 'moonlight' were inspired by books.

DG: Tell us a bit about some of the special effects you needed for the movie.

Justin: In order to show the main character's ship crashing, I had the artist, David Baker, hand draw some stills of the ship in various states of flight. We simply flash cut to different stills and then did zoom pans on them to add a little variation. Over these images I had some video feed back footage that looked like being in the midst of a weird topographic map, so we overlapped them both, which worked quite well. For the most part, the film is fairly tame with effects. A pair of white contacts, chocolate syrup for blood, the usual staples.

DG: MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA has been called a "thinking man's sci-fi tale," as well as an "art film" and "surreal." Do you think those descriptions are accurate?

Justin: Well, I'll be the first to admit that the film is pretty dense and subsequently a little tedious at times. "Art film" could imply that there is something about the film that is different from the typical 3 act structured film, perhaps more stylized. So in that regard, I think it's appropriate. But really its probably more aligned with what types of films one is accustomed to viewing. For some people it would be artsy and for others not so much. It makes me happy that some would say its surreal. We really wanted there to be a psychedelic quality to the film, that would work as a sort of like a trance or a fugue state on the audience.

DG: Thanks to Justin for giving us the inside scoop on this ambitious new sci-fi release!


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