Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Joshua Philipp
A Discussion With WeWereMonkeys On the Film Industry, Sci-fi, and the Fantastic
WeWereMonkeys is a talented group of indie filmmakers who have made their mark with a collection of fantastic short films. They often blend magic with science fiction, and bring a sense of wonder to dystopian futures. We had the pleasure of speaking with the team at WeWereMonkeys about their work.
TechZwn: Your “Hello” page mentions that you love a good story. I know the film industry is hurting right now, and some attribute that to manufactured films that shy away from any forms of daring storytelling. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.
WeWereMonkeys: It’s true we love a good story, especially ones involving interesting, relatable and authentic characters. We also dig stories that steer clear from cliches and predictable endings. To be honest, we don’t know if the film industry is hurting or not, as films keep being released.
Some films are more focused on creating spectacle and making money at the box office than telling a good story, but we believe that you can have it all.
On the flip side, TV is back! Some of the new TV drama series like Games of Thrones, The Wire, and Southland are bringing new exciting ideas to narrative storytelling. But ultimately it’s really up to filmmakers to rock the boat a little, dig our heels in, and take responsibility for what we are putting up on the screen.
(Interview continues after the video)
TechZwn: I see a common thread with bleak landscapes lit by some glimmer of hope. This is an interesting theme. I’m curious what you’d like to relay in your films?
WeWereMonkeys: We’re really attracted to dark foreboding imagery, and love the drama that can be created in gritty dystopian worlds. The bleakness of a dead world can really amplify a character’s struggle to survive. Some of our favourite films like Alien, A Boy and his Dog, Blade Runner, Mad Max, The Road, and The Thing have characters that ride near the edge of hopelessness, but still carry a torch of hope. But in our own work, we don’t like to dictate our themes or be preachy in any way, because we love it when the audience can build their own interpretation of the story.
TechZwn: You often blend mysticism with science fiction in your films. This is an interesting dynamic.
WeWereMonkeys: We definitely steer towards sci-fi because it gives us a limitless blank canvas to work with. There are no rules or preconceived formulas for the future. We also love the supernatural and fantastical, because again, there are no rules and we can let our imaginations run wild.
But besides filmmaking, we love travelling all around the world. The unique landscapes, peoples, histories and myths that we’ve experienced out there are a huge inspiration to us. In our work we like to mix-and-match what we’ve experienced in those far-flung places with places that only exist somewhere in our imaginations.
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
WeWereMonkeys: This is really just the beginning for WeWereMonkeys. We have so much we want to share that sometimes we feel like we’re going to explode. So stay tuned as it all unfolds!