HENRI 2.0 -- A science fiction short film about what it means to be a conscious individual, utilizing old-school, in-camera effects techniques.
PRODUCTION BLOG: www.henrilives.tumblr.com
HENRI 2.0 is an emotionally powerful short film, two years in the making, which explores human existence at the most fundamental, personal level – what it means to be a conscious individual. Set thousands of years in the future, a derelict spacecraft powered by a human brain floats aimlessly in the outer reaches of space. HENRI, the name of the ship’s power system, is an acronym which stands for Hybrid Electronic / Neuron Responsive Intelligence, and was the first of earth’s Neuro-Tech space exploration research vessels. The brain has been wiped of its memory and acts as a biological interface with a computer which can interact with the crew, reason, and problem solve. Trapped in the cold, mechanical prison of the vessel, the ‘brain,’ which has no recollection or concept of self, gradually begins to experience disjointed images of its former life – images it cannot understand.
Carrying the remains of a crew long dead, and becoming increasingly self-aware, HENRI experiences the instinctual desire to be free. Yearning for freedom and yet unable to move, HENRI devises a plan to build himself a mechanical body from parts of the ship. Maybe then he will understand the images he is seeing - maybe then he will feel alive. Utilizing the ship's Systems Assistance & Mechanic (SAM) droid, slowly a crude humanoid robot form takes shape. Camera lenses become “eyes" and the brain is placed in the chest cavity of HENRI’s new body. Finally, HENRI 2.0 takes his first steps toward re-discovering his ‘self’ and uses his newfound freedom to merge with eternity.
WHY IS THIS SHORT UNIQUE?
Consciousness, an understanding of ‘self’, memories, social interaction, expression, emotion and the ability to choose – all of these things make up our human experience. Now imagine all of these things taken away, except for consciousness. Imagine what a lonely and pathetic existence that would be. This unfortunate individual would lack a sense of self and/or humanness, and could even be considered soul-less (to use a loaded word). You can take the brain out of the person, but can you take the person out of the brain? Where does a person reside anyway? Must one be whole to be considered human? These are the questions HENRI 2.0 raises and builds upon; it is a thought-provoking character study, an examination of life and death, and a celebration of that which makes us human. We have a tendency to take our incredible existence for granted. HENRI 2.0 is a powerful story that will impact audiences emotions in a primal way, reminding us of the importance to protect that which is most sacred to us -- the things that make us human, the things that make us unique.
The intended audience is a wide spectrum: the themes transcend age, nationality, religious or political beliefs and social standing. The visual nature of the story makes it accessible to everyone, including non-english speakers.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THIS AMBITIOUS FILM?
To bring the futuristic world of HENRI 2.0 to life, veteran hollywood effects supervisor and model maker, Clark Schaffer (http://www.schail.com/) and his team, will design and build highly detailed quarter-scale sets of the spaceship, which will be shot to look full-scale. The HENRI robot will be realized via an articulated rod puppet, which lends smooth and natural motion to the character. This in-camera approach is unique in a time when most effects have turned to computer generated images -- indeed, HENRI 2.0 will showcase the artistry and attention to detail that physical miniature effects offer a production, an artistry that is sadly loosing its footing in the industry. The goal is to have the effects be seamless and invisible so that all the focus and attention is on the story. We are excited by the challenge of bringing a synthetic character like HENRI to life on screen. If we can get our audience to feel empathy for this scrap-metal robot, we will have met our goal.
There is an art to making miniatures look real on screen. To accomplish this, we have enlisted the talents of Cinematographer Tim Angulo (http://timangulo.com/) -- Tim has worked as the miniatures and VFX Director of Photography on major films like Spiderman 1 - 3 , and The Dark Knight . His experience and expertise will be a huge addition to the film, ensuring a visually striking experience.
Margot Kidder (Superman, The Amityville Horror) has signed on to play Dr. Calvin, the ship's captain and senior scientist. Dr. Calvin helped design the HENRI system, and throughout the mission she interacted with HENRI on a daily basis. During that time, her relationship with HENRI became almost maternal in nature. When a tragic accident leaves the crew dead, Dr. Calvin’s absence is especially difficult for HENRI. It is crucial role that establishes character relationships, and we are thrilled to have Margot bring her wisdom, experience, and talent to the film.
We shoot throughout June -- the film is happening -- we are running this Kickstarter campaign to supplement our post-production budget to allow us to give HENRI 2.0 the best possible finish. We need to raise $20,000 to pay for the sound design, visual effects compositing and music. Your donations will go directly to these costs. Through your support you will become part of the community that helped make HENRI 2.0 possible. We will make the experience a memorable one with frequent project updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes videos chronicling the unique way the film is being made. Soon we will launch a production blog that will become the project hub where you will be able to interact with the filmmakers, and donors will have special access to material not available to the general public . The production blog will be updated throughout the production, keeping you informed of the process and progress. In addition to the above, we are offering some awesome rewards as a thank you. For $25 you will get a private HD download of the film when it is complete. As the donations go up, the rewards get more exciting -- but any and all support is greatly appreciated.
So jump onboard this exciting project and help us bring this unique story to life. Thank you for your time and attention.
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- (60 days)