Cidney Hue is a director and filmmaker in NYC with a focus on building inclusive futures through science fiction. Her most recent award-winning film, Ovum, is a Black Mirror-esque short on the convergence of reproductive rights and VR technology. Her previous award-winning short, Odessa, recounts the journey of an astronaut’s last night on Earth. Her webseries for Wired & Reddit, Cyborg Nation, profiles scientists at the forefront of prosthetics, robotics, and brain-computer interfaces. The series has garnered over a million views and was nominated for a Webby. Her environmental documentary, Shark Loves the Amazon, toured nationally and premiered at the World Sustainability Forum in Brazil to leaders and policy makers. Throughout her career, she has directed and designed content for United Airlines, NASA JPL, Condé Nast, Endeavor Content, Scholastic, Imagine Science, and more.
Cidney serves as the Director of 360 Video at NSENA and has traveled across the US to film VR for law enforcement and corrections training. She teaches filmmaking at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. Cidney founded NYC Women Filmmakers in 2015, where she leads its monthly workshop series and its thousands strong community to support female filmmakers in NYC. In her spare time, Cidney designs and creates art, graphics, sets, and futuristic visions from her imagination. She can often be found traveling the world with her camera in tow, capturing Earth’s most spectacular natural phenomenons. Her lifelong goal is to visit space by 2050.
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?
Definitely not! I made the film as a cautionary tale of what could happen if we continued on this current social and political trajectory. In fact, the state of reproductive rights is even worse than I had envisioned when I wrote the script back in 2016. The onslaught of heartbeat bills, TRAP laws, and mandatory fetus burials have evolved to unprecedented number of abortion bans that would severely limit a woman’s freedom and bodily autonomy. I wish my film and its subject matter weren’t so prescient and could fade into obscurity. Sadly, that is not the case in the U.S. right now. I’d buy a one way ticket to the world of Cowboy Bebop and travel the galaxy with my ragtag bounty hunting crew. My backup would be exploring the ‘verse with the crew of Firefly.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
My sci-fi spirit character is Trinity from the Matrix Trilogy—kicking ass in patent leather dusters is my general mood day to day. My spirit alien is Lord Nibbler from Futurama—I may look innocent but I’ve been making moves for eons.
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’m a forever friend of cyborgs and robots. I bet they would make extremely fascinating films and art.
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?
Ripley. Trinity. Leela. Scully. Sarah Connor. Zoe Washburne. Basically all the biggest badasses from science fiction.
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’ve built my own sci-fi community around me so I can always enjoy, critique, and gossip with fellow fans. It’s not hard to find sci-fi lovers amongst my friends and quite frankly, around the world. We’re everywhere! Sometimes I do get bummed out about not living 1000 years into the future where we’re an intergalactic space faring society. Then I remember how everything’s kind of going to shit and appreciate that we might be at the pinnacle of human society before the Great Fall.
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 gravitate towards digital throughout my work and life but agree 100% that balance is key. I always strive to have as many practical effects and sets built as I can afford. CGI generally doesn’t age well and I like to tell stories that stand the test of %me. As with all technology, it’s about choosing the right tools for the story and situation. If I had a budget and story that lends itself to film, then I’d absolutely shoot on film.
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?
I find most of my inspiration from current news and trends in art, architecture, design, science, and technology. I also look to the past and research the history and context of the characters, subjects, and objects I’m building. I love creating futuristic worlds that are worn in with layers of grime and pockmarks from use. If something is new, it should be a deliberate choice and not the default just because it takes place in the future. The future is an extension of a long, complicated and evolving history and the worlds I build reflect that.
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 Trek Philip K. Dick Practical Utopia Pre Apocalypse