The Internet is bringing new possibilities to film, and New York-based filmmaker Rubidium Wu plans to use this to its full potential in upcoming online series, “The Silent City.” The series follows one of the last men on earth as he wanders through empty streets searching for meaning while struggling to survive.
The series will bring in the audience by allowing them to interact with the direction of the show. This is one of the best parts about a Web series, says Wu.
“When you work on a film, you collaborate with a cast and crew, but when the audience sees the film, it will be locked. Nothing more can change,” he said via email. “With a web series, people can (and do) comment, email and tweet about it, telling you what they liked and what they didn’t.”
He added, “I’m not saying you need to create by committee, but it is of enormous help to hear what people are saying, what they respond to, and allow that to shape the episodes that come after.”
He and the team are funding the film through Kickstarter, where they state “We want to show that smart, meaningful, soulful films don’t have to be boring, and that zombie films don’t have to be brainless.”
Taking the post-apocalyptic theme from outside the mainstream opens doors denied to most films. He used zombie films as an example, saying “Since Zombie films have become mainstream, are by and large big popcorn movies with big budgets. To support their costs, they need to appeal to a very wide audience and usually that means slanting towards the lowest common denominator.”
But things weren’t always this way. “When Zombies were fringe, they spoke about weird and wonderful ideas that didn’t appeal to everyone,” he said.
“With advances in VFX and some free set design courtesy of the urban decay, I think we can make something that looks good enough to make people suspend their disbelief, at a cost doesn’t mean we have to cater to some studios idea of ‘what sells.’”
The series pulls from Wu’s own interest in abandoned places. “There is a very distinct beauty that is somehow tragic and noble,” he said. “When I see a ruined building, it reinforces for me the power and place of time and nature, and how everything we make and do will be untimely come undone, no matter how hard we struggle for eternity.
“I think that fact we continue despite this is a very deep part of what makes us human,” he said.
Inspiration for the film came during the hurricane in New York City. The streets of Manhattan were nearly empty, and he realized it would have been a good time to film a good zombie movie.
But he waited, and looked, and found there were places abandoned and unused throughout the city. This was interesting, he notes, since in NYC, even its abandoned places “are very well visited.”
“Even in the disused army base at Fort Tilden (on the Rockaway coast) there are signs of life, even habituation. They have become tourist attractions in their own right,” he said. “Even in death, these places have found a new life.”
[box_light]Image courtesy of Rubidium Wu[/box_light]