No Guest Found in this category
Sydnova was graced with the presence of iconic Australian filmmaker Alex Proyas back in June. Highly recognised for films such as The Crow, Dark City, I, Robot and many more to list, he started his career off by directing music videos in the ‘80s for bands such as INXS and Crowded House.
“I always wanted to make films, you know, that’s the main thing, and music videos were just one way to get to make movies,” Proyas recounted to the audience, “I love genre, and by that, I mean science fiction, fantasy and horror are kind of my wheelhouse.”
Proyas reminisced on the magic of researching when reminded of his film I, Robot and how close this film compares to our reality today with the fast development in artificial technology.
“At the time, we looked at all the developments in artificial intelligence and robotics, and you know, a lot of it comes true… but science fiction is not about having a crystal ball and predicting the future, it’s more about commenting on our present and twisting it a little bit.”
With numerous feature films attached to his name, Proyas noted the beautiful possibilities in Hollywood but established that he was disillusioned early in his career.
“It’s very easy to plug into the franchises and the remakes and the sequels, etc, etc, but it’s very hard to create unique original films,” he said.
Despite the hardships, Proyas’ passion for the art of filmmaking is more vital than ever. It is established further through his creation of the streaming platform Vidiverse, a streaming service for worldwide short films (although there are some documentaries and feature films).
Short films are submitted, and if they pass the selection process, they are uploaded to the platform, but the better part of this concept is that the filmmakers get paid. This respectful and candid approach in Vidiverse came from a couple of years ago when Proyas and his wife ran an art gallery.
“It was her venture, really, and there was a very honest approach to the artists who bring their work to hang in the art gallery, right?” Proyas explained the process of hanging the artist’s paintings they loved for a couple of weeks, and if any paintings were sold, the proceeds were split 50/50. The artist makes a profit, and the gallery has the money to keep it running.
“I’m not talking about filmmakers who are gonna make the next Marvel movie, I’m talking about often struggling filmmakers fresh out of film school or those who have just made a few short films that show immense talent – these folks don’t make any money. They don’t make any. It’s something they do between work. It’s something that they struggle to try and get their career up. So literally, anything we can do to help them rather than exploit them, like so many other platforms do, then great.”
Despite Proyas’ love for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, that is not the only type of films he would select for Vidiverse. Instead, Proyas seeks that spark in filmmakers, the ones that capture one’s attention with their originality.
“I think an original voice is the most important thing. Whether you’ve spent nothing on your film, you made it for free, or you spent millions of dollars on your film. It makes no impact on me at all. It’s really about that spark, that initial quality that I can’t really put my finger on, that makes me want to encourage and support the filmmaker.”
You can submit your short film or subscribe to watch and support a range of talented indie filmmakers now on Vidiverse.
Lead Image: ‘I, Robot’ poster image next to a photo of Alex Proyas at Supanova 2022 – Sydney taken by Steven Yee.