An exchange with Mark Slutsky, creator of THE DECELERATORS. Mark is a filmmaker using futuristic tropes to explore intimate and personal themes in ways that harken to HER and PRIMER. His film NEVER HAPPENED premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
If the world you created in THE DECELERATORS became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in?
I think I would be tempted to try it. I probably wouldn’t have imagined it otherwise.
Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
The Culture civilization dreamed up by the late, great Iain M. Banks. I would spend some time exploring that particular utopia.
Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
The five-note alien melody in “Close Encounters.” Re-Mi-Do-Do-So, that’s my spirit animal.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence?
All I know is we better treat them verrrrrry politely.
What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I’m into it! One of my favourite contemporary writers is @MagicRealismBot, a Twitter bot that uses algorithmic techniques to come up with brilliant short stories.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad.
Peter Falk, August Darnell and Mary Shelley.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas.
I had this idea for a long time that I just couldn’t crack about a college kid who goes backpacking in Eastern Europe and finds himself in the middle of an alien invasion—which he doesn’t notice at first because he keeps ascribing the weird behaviour of the people around him to cultural differences. Actually, I kind of like that idea now that I think about it again. Oh, and I just remembered a script I wrote about a pair of spaceships who get married. One of them gets “cold thrusters” and leaves the other at the “space altar.” That. That has to be it.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I read (and watch) lots and lots of sci-fi, as well as write it—short stories as well as films—but I don’t feel like I’m really part of the community, either where I live (in Montreal) or online. (Which is not to say I wouldn’t want to be, it just hasn’t shaken out that way.) I find inspiration equally from the sci-fi stuff I absorb and from everything else I read, listen to, see on the street, etc.
I actually think most sci-fi is about the present. And the stuff I write, I try to hew as close to a world my viewers and readers can easily recognize and relate to, with the sci-fi elements sort of sneaking in through the back door.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do you strike between the two?
I’d like to pretend I have some sort of “analog soul” or something like that, but let’s be honest here, I’m digital through-and-through and have been since my dad first brought home a computer when I was six years old.
I like the tech in my movies to feel homemade, worn in, actually used. Maybe that’s a more “analog” approach but I think the digital world has room for that type of warmth—it’s just not what we typically associate with it.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Tough one as the original Star Wars trilogy are among the first movies I remember loving, but I feel like I owe much of my moral development to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs?
Practical or CGI?
Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Dystopia or Utopia?
Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
I think we’re always living in both. There have been so many apocalypses and there are plenty more to come.