Based in New York City, Alex Casimir is a multidisciplinary visual artist specializing in creative producing, film production, and sculpture.
He graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.F.A in Film and Television Production. As a half Black/half Chinese filmmaker, his work looks to explore the intersectionality of history, race, and masculinity with a touch of magical realism. Which is a more pretentious way of saying he enjoys identity pieces that not only examine the individual but the time in which they operate.
His short films have screened at international festivals such as LA Shorts, NewFilmmakers LA, FilmQuest, Austin Film Festival, NFFTY, and USC First Look.
As a freelancer, he has professional experience working for major institutions such as Participant Media, HOOKED, NBCUniversal, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Most recently, he handpicked filmmakers to participate in NBCUniversal’s Scene in Color Series, founded by Target and Will Packer.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Would I want to live in a world that's a barren desert where everyone is rude to me and it's impossible to find work? I already lived there for four years, it's called California. But in all seriousness, I don't see myself living in any of the worlds I see in speculative fiction. I feel like all of them, even the utopias, are usually bogged down by some fatal flaw that makes it no different from the world we live in. Like if I'm in Omelas, seeing a miserable filthy child would likely kill the vibe for me.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Cassius Green in Sorry to Bother You because I'm just another black guy trying to make it in all these predominantly white spaces.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I've been messing around with Midjourney and I think AI generated art has already nailed down the visuals but all of it lacks clear intent. Midjourney can generate images based on keywords but the work itself has no significance to the machine and there's no clear artistic vision other than the words provided. Then again, I feel like you can apply the same thought to artists today; a true symptom of the postmodern condition. Anyway, I hope humans don't become obsolete in a few years.
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?
Colson Whitehead, Jean Pierre-Jeunet, and Grant Morrison.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I had an idea for a short film set during WW2, where the Allies send a group of time traveling assassins to Vienna in 1908 to kill Hitler, while he's still a struggling artist. But one of the assassins questions the morality of executing a man before the crime has been committed. So the rest of the movie would be one of the assassins trying to help Hitler get into Academy of Fine Arts while simultaneously warding off assassination attempts by the rest of the hit squad.....so Jojo Rabbit had just came out and I thought this was a good idea for a subversive sci-fi action comedy. While I don't think it's the worst idea I've ever had, I do think it's in poor taste.
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 was a bigger part of the sci-fi community when I was in high school. I would be on message boards and even did an independent study on worldbuilding. While I still love sci-fi, I'm not really as engaged with the community as I once was. That being said, I do feel like my brain is constantly speculating the future and how my work might fit into that future.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I'm split 50/50. I shoot on digital but I also have a growing collection of VHS tapes that I've had since I was a kid. I think there's a lot of value in holding onto older techniques. It'a even more valuable to figure out ways to blend the old with the new.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
When building a world, I always like when props look like they've been used a hundred times over. Even if it's an object that's purely speculative, having it look roughed up and even having it malfunction, adds so much more character to a setting or situation.
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 (I don't even like the current product but I just know so much about the lore that I can't pretend like it doesn't occupy my brain).. Philip K. Dick. Practical. Utopia. Post Apocalypse.