Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is "APACHE"?

Apache has been my focus for the past year. A sci-fi action comedy with almost no rules. It is ridiculous, in the vein of anything-goes type entertainment--Saturday Morning Cartoons for adults, if you will. It's an homage to the greats, and not-so-greats of the sci-fi film and television genre.

Originally conceived as an outlandish television pilot, the film became a sort of self-destructive anti-plot. There remain a few logic gaps, and it's certainly attempting to adapt a style of its own with a micro-budget approach. What I think is really working is the devotion of a cast and crew that greatly appreciates the genre. Everyone involved contributed a countless number of their own influences from the genre (as well as hours). My brother Nick especially went out on a limb to contribute incredible f/x make-up and on-set effects. Daniel Kharlak served a very bold and impressive display of talent as Cinematographer, and without his contributions as Co-Producer the film would not have continued past its first week. From story, script, art direction, production design, props, costumes, production, and finally to the editing room, I've worked with somewhere near 40 or more people on this production, and its about to see its last few weeks in post-production this month.

Since its original conception, everything about Apache was epic and old school. I had decided from the start that miniatures would be used for the space ships, f/x make-up for the role of Orin was a definite, and because there were ships, that meant a number of interior sets had to be designed and constructed. In total, six sets were designed, built and dressed for the film. Five miniatures were constructed for in-space and brief live-action visual effects. A slew of props, including space-age looking rifles, hand guns, and elaborate set pieces were accumulated over the course of nine months leading up to principal photography. I spent those nine months designing everything from the ground up while holding a job as a waiter in Greenwich Village.

So why have I not written anything about it until now? Well I didn't want to jinx it. I knew this production was going to be huge, and so I took the opportunity to go all in and not say that anything was for sure. Filmmaking means taking risks, as I inadvertently learned from 'Alone Together'. I should expect to lose everything at any moment on a low budget indie or otherwise, and not be afraid to try something new. This time I decided to go all in and make a hardcore sci-fi. The influences range from Roger Corman to George Lucas and Repo Man to Cowboy Bebop. It's a mix of everything I love about sci-fi, especially the brand I was raised on.

Concept Art
A test shoot for miniatures
An early design of the Apache

Max Lewin shooting a take.
A screen grab from the miniature effects test shoot.
Working with John Castaldo (Production Designer)
Scale model
Flats constructed for the Bridge
Day before production

End result

These photos only constitute a small block of the tedious steps involved in putting this production together. I'll certainly post more later. For now, enjoy the trailer.

Apache is a sci-fi short that follows a rag-tag mercenary trio in the year 2075. Just scraping by, contracting and smuggling, the gang struggles throughout the known galaxy to survive on the fringes of a newly colonized network of planets.

In this episode, "Against The Current", the Apache crew plots to kidnap a war criminal from a local gang on Alpha Prime, but is caught off-guard once they've discovered the war criminal is not simply what he appears to be.