Proyas Taking Control
COVID-19 has taken a lot of things, but it’s given us a new event: The Bangalow Film Festival. Alongside some nostalgic screenings, a reimagining of the drive-in, and cutting edge films, the Festival offers a series of In Conversation events with prominent film practitioners. One of the sessions will feature acclaimed Australian director Alex Proyas; Director of cult classic The Crow and a passionate fan of his favourite genre, science fiction, Proyas knows how to create worlds. Interestingly it’s exactly what he is doing now – building a Heretic Foundation. Not a film, but a state of the art film making facility in Sydney.
‘Virtual production was meant to streamline the way we work and I wanted to bring it all under the same roof – so we can post-produce – combining green screen and editing, and we can finish the whole thing on site. Over the years I have been frustrated with how compartmentalised filmmaking is. You shoot in one place, do sound at another place and do visual effects somewhere else. So I tried to bring it all together’ says Alex.
Proyas admits part of the motivation is creative control.
‘As a director I am a control freak – I like control over everything. I find it weird to hand a whole lot of production over without my full attention. I like to be much more involved and as visual effects are becoming more of a thing the demarcation between production and direction is getting less clear.’
Alex believes that the film industry has to be super adaptive. Things are changing fast and there’s no point lamenting how things used to be.
‘The commerce that this industry runs under, it has changed so much, the big screen is being killed – not by covid – but by the big franchises. Even if you are in my sphere of big original fantasy and science fiction – that was viable a few years ago, but not now. If you are making anything original, the studios just don’t want to know. We have to find new ways – my studio is only part of my masterplan that I am working on so I can continue. I love big visuals. My imagination isn’t limited by my methodology, I have never had a lack of imagination, I have however had a lack of budget!’
Heretic Foundation aims to reduce the overhead cost of production.
‘We have to adapt and change in our industry’ says Alex. ‘If we can get through this damn pandemic we will be okay.’
And although Alex sees a demise of the big screen he says ‘we can engage in different ways – through film festivals and boutique screenings we are going to have more opportunity to tell stories that are uncompromised.’
Proyas blames the studios for alienating audiences.
‘Studios, by seeking the biggest profit margin they can find, have alienated a whole percentage of the audience, to the point where we have to go elsewhere.
‘Commercial madness has gripped all industry, this obsession with the big money – this hunger to be ridiculously profitable.’
Bring back the art of filmmaking!
Alex Proyas, in conversation with Jim Robison Thursday 21 January at the Bangalow A&I Hall at 3pm.
More info and tickets at: bangalowfilmfestival.com.au