A Science-Fiction film about virtual reality directed by a Frenchman ? While Joann Sfar grumbling about the reluctance of the French industry vis-à-vis this type of project, we wanted to know more about Guy-Roger Duvert and his movie the VIRTUAL REVOLUTION, first produced in the United States, but filmed in France in English with a large part of the cast and the technical team of French nationality. For those who are interested in the approximation between video games and movies, you can get an irrepressible urge to see the movie. You can view the trailer at the bottom of the page of this interview.
Thomas Coispel : VIRTUAL REVOLUTION this universe is very rich visually but that there was little opportunity to see to coexist in a single feature film. Medieval fantasy meets SF cyberpunk. Can you explain us how have you brought together these two worlds so far away ?
Guy-Roger Duvert : In fact, the film takes place in 2047, the aesthetic is of course SF cyberpunk (towers futuristic, flying cars, members, cyber, dark atmosphere, etc.). This being said, the characters connect in virtual worlds through avatars, a bit like MMOs today (video games type World of Warcraft). The atmospheres of these virtual worlds are so very different, one of which may be a western, a space opera, another a pirate world, etc., In the film, we visit, in fact, two of these worlds : one is a classic world of heroic fantasy (warriors, wizards, dragons…etc), and the other is a post-apocalyptic world a futuristic (a world made up of humans only, but with traces of alien technology, or general technology is advanced, but where everything is in ruins). This explains the three visual atmosphere very different from the movie.
T. C. The teaser of the VIRTUAL REVOLUTION does for the moment not a lot of elements on the plot of the film. How would you present the story of your film to the audience ?
G-D. R. Paris. 2047. Virtual reality is now also realistic in terms of the sensations that the real fact that people have no real interest to stay in the real. The life and the sensations offered by the virtual being much more interesting. 75% of the population now spends all his time connected, leaving the reality for a small minority. What are the Connected. Those who refuse firmly these virtual worlds are called the Living. Finally, some have never really made a clear choice, spending most of their time between real and virtual. These are the Hybrids. Our hero, Nash (played by Mike Dopud), is a hybrid. It is also a killer in the pay of multinational corporations who have created and developed these virtual worlds. His mission : to track down, identify and eliminate terrorists who attack the system.
T. C. what is it that has given you a desire to tell a story as ambitious ?
G-D. R. All started from an article I read around 2005, which was talking about a MMO which I played a bit at the time, Everquest 2. It said that 25% of the players were giving more importance to their virtual life in game as their real life ! While we are talking about a technology that is archaic (2D screen, basic interface type keyboard and mouse). We know perfectly well that soon enough, one will arrive at a realism to the Matrix. I could not help but wonder to what extent this percentage will increase when the technology has evolved. And it is from here that is born the story of the film.
T. C. seeing the first images of the teaser and the poster, one can’t help but think of Blade Runner by Ridley Scott. What were your influences ?
G-D. R. Blade Runner is very clearly the main reference, even if in fact, our history has nothing to do. There were other influences : Two Ex (video game), Remember Me (video game), Ghost in the Shell (japanese anime), Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun (games of roles), Akira (japanese anime). Beside books, I’m a fan of‘Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, even if their themes don’t really appear in the film.
T. C. VIRTUAL REVOLUTION is your first feature length film, but you’ve been noticed for your short film Cassandra, and takes place in a medieval world. Is there a connection between the two films ?
G-D. R. Not really. Even though it is clear that there is a risk of finding a bit of the atmosphere of Cassandra in the party of fantasy film. Cassandra is, in fact, destined to one day become a long. If all goes well, the next long after the VIRTUAL REVOLUTION. In addition, two of the actors of Cassandra are found on the Virtual Revolution. And a large part of the technical team !
T. C. as a French filmmaker, do you find the industry hex ready to embark on projects like yours ?
G-A. D. there was a gap huge in France, between the artists and the public, fond of different worlds (fantasy, SF, Etc), and the other broadcast type television stations, which until very recently were confined to comedy, drama, and a bit of polard. Having regard to the productions ambitious and original recent channels such as Canal+ and Arte, and the arrival of new actors like Netflix, one can only hope that things are moving, but we are only at the beginning, and for the moment, clearly a filmmaker arriving out of nowhere with this type of project is not taken seriously.
At the level of the producers, it’s complicated too, because there is not in France a genuine risk culture. For example, when it was in preparation of the VIRTUAL REVOLUTION, I was very pleasantly surprised to see quite a lot of producers interested in the project, and eager to climb into the ship. On the other hand, no one wanted to put a penny ! They offered us services that we did not need, or they talked about possible grants that they could touch to participate in the financing (and which have remained hypothetical). But NONE have agreed to put every penny staff ! I can’t blame those who did not have the means, but some of them clearly had the money, so the entry ticket was not that high. I found individuals willing to take the risk to invest in the film. But production companies to be established? No.
That being said, while the post-production has barely begun, I am already starting to make me contact by several producers, both in the US as in France, who want to know what are my next projects. Therefore, if it is, there may be a risk culture in France, but only from the moment where the producer has already achieved a long.
So, unfortunately, the only advice I could give to a filmmaker is not yet being passed along, is to stop to hope that others do the job of the producers that they are supposed to do, and doing it yourself. But hey, it means being able to put up the money, and that, while the world may not. Personally, I have been very fortunate to have some success as a composer of film music, which has allowed me to inject money into the film, but I am well aware that everyone does not have this chance. This being said, it is possible to make films that are cheap and of high quality. One of my friends, Jean-Luc Herbulot, has written and directed his film Dealer, for a budget to be particularly small ! And the result dépote and it opened a lot of doors !
• Achievement : Guy-Roger Duvert
• Scenario : Guy-Roger Duvert
• Main actors : Mike Dopud, Jane Badler, Maximilien Poullein, Jochen Hagele, Kaya Blocksage, Petra Silander, Emilien de Falco
• Country of origin : USA / France
• Output : 2016
• Duration : 1 hour 40 minutes
• Distributor : distributors interested can contact the international seller KOAN that approach currently at AFM (American Film Market in Santa Monica, California)
• Synopsis :Paris. 2047. Virtual reality is now also realistic in terms of sensations as the real world. Nash, is a killer in the pay of multinational corporations who have created and developed these virtual worlds. His mission : to track down, identify and eliminate terrorists who attack the system.