Dirk Wachsmuth

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Dust Films

Monju Hunters of Sofugan Island

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?

It would probably be a shock to my body to breathe the air that prevails in the dystopian world of our short film. I don't think I would want to live in such a world, but that's the point. I think I'd rather stay in the here and now and work to create visions than live in someone else's myself. But if I have to choose, I'll choose some insignificant, remote, paradisiacal planet in the Outer Rim of the Star Wars galaxy where neither a Jedi nor a Sith would ever stray.

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

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda was always right.

Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?

The red beach ball alien from Dark Star movie.

Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence?

They only become the enemy if we allow them to and if we continue to give up our integrity for the sake of convenience. But yes, Terminator could become a reality one day.

What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?

I will probably have no choice but to support them in this. Already, algorithms and AI are having a big impact on what we see on screen, whether it's movies being suggested to us, or directors, designers and writers increasingly relying on the quick help of artificial intelligence. It could be that we are heading toward a future where there is an almost infinite amount of high-quality, generated material that is tailored to its viewers, always offering new individualized experiences. It's possible that artist support will become less important as we know it, as AI masters the craft and evolves on its own. It is possible that so much will be created that no one will ever be able to consume all of it in their lifetime.

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?

I don't even know how many players such a team needs, but I would put opponents together in a team so that they have to pull together, that's how dramatic stories are created. Maybe Vader, Obi-Wan, Kirk, Kahn, Flash, Ming, Ellen Ripley and the Alien Queen?!

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?

It would be good if the bad ideas were recognized early enough. The wonderful world of popcorn cinema shows us every year how stupid ideas also make it into the cinema. But I don't have any examples - I only have good ideas, of course.

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?

Thinking about what ifs has been with us since the beginning of analytical thought, and that's how all the imaginative stories have come about in cultures and religions to explain where we came from or where we're going. Science fiction is a part of all of us, I think we are all one big community of which I am a part. Isolation I think is a healthy part of being able to think up fantastic things, you have to take a step back to see the world through different eyes, it can help to isolate a little.

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?

Both paths belong together and are part of the tools available to us today. Both have their justification, and I like to use all the tools that are available to me. Of course, it's tempting to do everything completely digitally because it's often faster and you can iterate more elegantly. But it's also good to sketch a storyboard with a pencil or write text by hand. I like the contrast and the mix of both. Especially in the development of raw ideas, analog techniques are irreplaceable for me, the further it goes into the implementation, the more important are digital techniques. But the result is still a hybrid in my eyes.

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?

The process that was used on Star Wars at the time inspired me a lot. Ultimately, you look for things in our real world that you know and give them a new meaning, change their dimensions, add something, change the context. Supposedly, you shouldn't take design so far that as a viewer you don't understand the functionality. But science fiction is more than just advanced technologies. In my opinion, it can also go into the realm of the completely strange and unknown, which is where it gets really interesting.

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 - Philip K. Dick - Both, but if I have to choose: CGI (because of the possibilities) -Dystopia - Post Apocalypse