Q & A with Nguyen-Anh Nguyen, Director of Temple

Nguyen-Anh Nguyen is the director of Temple (2016), a short film about the struggle to obtain cybernetic enhancements in order to survive a deadly disease in the year 2045. Nguyen is also the director of The Akira Project (2014) and the 2016 feature film, Hyperlight, as well as the producer of Pear Tree Blossoms, another 2016 feature, A L’Aube (2012), and On The Way To The Sea (2011).

Questions for Dust Filmmakers…

This is our attempt to ask standardized “Interview Magazine” questions of all our filmmakers. But, we understand that your films are far from standard. If a question doesn’t apply, take a page from Robert McNamara and answer the question you wish you were asked.

1. If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in?

– Probably not. I like my air pure, and my body human. But I also like cybernetically augmented martial arts, so it’s a tough question.

a. Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?

– The world of the Fifth Element, flying cars for everyone!

2. Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level?

– Kaneda from AKIRA. The 16 year old I wish I had been.

3. Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence?

a. What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films?

– They’ll probably be better than 80% of the stuff out there!

b. Will you support them in their endeavors?

– Of course, better befriend them before they take over. Keep your enemies close.

4. 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?

– The Major from Ghost in the Shell – to plan things out. Robocop – to take over the court.

5. You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas.

– I wanted to make a film inspired by Blade Runner and Drive, its working title was Blade Driver (lol) and I wrote a synopsis for it that really crossed off every sci-fi cliché you could think of. And it started with a hero with amnesia…

a. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?

– I write a synopsis for it, let it sit for a few weeks/months then go back to it. If I’m still inspired to do additional work, expand the story, find more inspirations, then I know it’s probably not half-bad.

6. Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community?

– I am part of a group of like-minded directors and cyberpunk aficionados online.

a. Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?

– It is sometimes, but I try to accept the current world as it is now. In 5 years though, everything will change!

7. Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person?

a. What kind of balance do you strike between the two?

– I like high tech to make things efficient and for work. For my day to day life, I like the warmth of wood, old half broken things, to remind me that there is history in things I use.

b. Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?

– Not by much – my films are never too far off into the future, and I like to extrapolate on ideas that already exists or will inevitably exist in a few years’ time.

8. When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration?

a. How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

– I try to think about what I would love to design if I had access to the unlimited budget of a major megacorporation. So usually those ideas come from my geeky self and actual needs.

9. Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?

– Star Wars duh!

– Philip K. Dick all day

– Pratical 80% of the time

– Dystopia, we are closer to that than we’ll ever be to Utopia

– Pre-Apocalypse, there is more tension in the fight for survival of the human species.