A female android discovers she has feelings for her owner and must put her life on the line to gain a human connection.
Interview with Director Jeremy Lutter
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The film started at an award show for a film festival where I met soon to be award-winning writer, Ryan Bright. We both had films in the festival and started chatting.
My previously successful short films have been on a family nature but this is mostly because my writer friend Ben Rollo wrote them (Joanna Makes a Friend & Gord's Brother) and he doesn't write a story with a protagonist over eleven years of age.
Ryan - who had noticed this trend in my filmography - remarked in the middle of our conversation over the snack table at the awards gala, "You don't want to get pigeonholed as a family filmmaker do you?" This comment caught me off guard - I thought, "I don't know. Do I?" I certainly never set out to be known for that. I also thought those films had a bit of a dark edge to them. He then suggested that he had just the break out project for me called "Reset".
I asked him to send me the script. He did, and when I read it - my first thought was this is the exact opposite of anything I had ever made. I loved it. The script touched on themes of loneliness, technology, love, objectification, and what it means to be human. I thought it was a story that is set in the future but also very much about the problems we are facing today. I agreed to look for financing to get the script made. I pitched a fund in Canada called BravoFACT that funds short films and we won a grant and thanks to the kind people at Bell Media - we made this amazing short film.
In short, I made the film because it was a story I thought needed to be told now and it was outside of my comfort zone as a filmmaker and I always like to expand.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It's a sci-fi film about both humanity and androids. And it's sexy.
It also hopefully raises a bunch of good questions.
And it's only 15 minutes. Why wouldn't you watch the film?
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I don't know because I am not the writer. Let's ask him shall we?
Ryan Bright (the writer):
It's been so long that the script evolution is a little hazy. The key characters were always the same, but how the relationships played out was something that evolved. The two female characters in particular, we spent a lot of time trying to develop the moments between them.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Ryan's answer to this question:
Two major themes of the film are consciousness and objectification. At what point do the experiences of someone, or in this case, something, matter. If we get to a point where machines want or feel, whether because they’re designed to or as an unintended by-product, how will we justify our experience of the world above theirs? And on a human level, how is it that people are able to use and discard each other so easily?
And mine (Jeremy Lutter):
The biggest personal theme for me is loneliness. All of the characters in the film are lonely and struggle with it in different ways. I have spent most of my life feeling lonely and trying to fill a void inside myself. I have even tried to use technology to fill the gap. When I was younger, I would search for people online. The relationships I built were interesting but not very grounded. Human relationships without ever being in the same room, but what if it was the opposite - a non-human relationship but with someone or something that is real.
I think all universal themes once boiled down are something that look personal. The theme of love and humanity in the film are both universal and personal and work on both levels. Can we replace these human connections with technology? What does that mean for us?
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We have been fortunate that Reset is having an awesome festival run.
We premiered at the Long Beach Film Festival in New York where we won the prize for Best Narrative Short Film! This came as a big surprise to us, a small team from Canada; we didn't expect to win. The judges praised the film for its chilling look and solid performances. Reset has been fairly well received where it has played. The film has had the most interest from festivals in Europe and the United States. Our reception in Canada (our home country) was less than expected from festivals, but where we did screen it was always well received. At the Victoria Film Festival, which is our hometown, the film played to a full house, including my mom. She said she liked it.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
We always hoped people would enjoy the film, so being able to attend screenings and have people react to the material has been amazing. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me has been how people have interpreted aspects of the film. Where as I always saw it as more of a human story that uses sci-fi elements, some viewers have seen it very much as a cautionary tale about technology.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We hope to reach a wider audience. And if you are still reading this I hope you are somewhat interested so please follow us on twitter and facebook. Ryan and I are working on a bunch of new projects and we have a new short film coming out soon. Links to our social media can be found here:
Reset is currently (Oct 2016) nearing the end of our festival run. We are screening in Spain (Oct 2016), Italy (Early Nov 2016) and Germany (Mid Nov 2016) - after that we should be releasing the short film online! So stay tuned. The best way to find out how and when you can watch the film is to again follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above, and audience members who are excited by this sort of story, because I will be making more.
I need all of the above for my next project as well. Please contact me or follow us.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Ideally, I would like two outcomes at every screening. The first is for people to enjoy the experience - to be intrigued and surprised. But the other goal was always to start some sort of dialogue, even if it's small, about humanity. I think it’s easy for people to make a checklist of what the perfect companion should be, and often that checklist is a bunch of really trivial stuff. Every time the film screens, I hope there’s one person in the audience who starts off seeing Sidney as the perfect fantasy. Then hopefully, as the story progresses, they start reconsidering why that fantasy exists. The movie is told from the android’s perspective for exactly that reason. It’s tough to objectify someone, or something, if you can empathize with it.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What does dating and love look like as we get deeper into the 21st century? And how do we use each other with barely more empathy than we might show a robot?
What is the role of technology in society? Can human beings be replaced and what will the future look like?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thank you for the opportunity to talk about films, the creative process, and universal ideas about life.
I think the cast and crew really did a great job on this short film and it shows. A big special thank you to the project's producers Jocelyn Russell and Arnold Lim for helping it through production.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Ryan Bright (the writer) of Reset and I (Jeremy Lutter) the director of Reset - are currently working on a feature film project.
Check us at at www.brokenmirrorfilms.com we have another short film coming out soon. Hopefully.
Interview: October 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Jeremy Lutter - Director
Jeremy is six feet seven inches tall. He does not play basketball instead he became a filmmaker. He feels that he made the right choice.
Ryan Bright - Writer
Ryan studied business briefly, but to his parents’ dismay, he decided financial stability wasn’t for him. He is now an award winning screenwriter and filmmaker in Vancouver. His parents still love him. They have to.
Jocelyn Russell - Producer
Jocelyn was raised on the stunning Canadian West Coast in a family of artists. She was the black sheep of the family and studied Commerce. She has produced several award wining short films and first feature.
Arnold Lim - Producer
Arnold is an award winning filmmaker and photojournalist whose work has been show all over the world, including TIFF and "Not Short on Talent" at Cannes.