Karl Poyzer and Joseph Roberts

Floaters is a mundanely futuristic look at space travel in, or rather above, the UK in 2120. Karl Poyzer’s Retro brutalist art style is inspired by the works of John Harris & Syd Mead. Joe’s comedy stylings are rooted in banal observations and day to day eccentricities inspired by Armando Iannucci and Jesse Armstrong. Floaters is a conscious clashing of these styles, referred by Karl and Joe as “Kitchen Sink Sci-Fi”

Joe Roberts and Karl Poyzer, are a Director and DOP respectively. Their previous dark comedy short “Kelly” was recently selected for Best Comedy at Palm Springs ShortsFest 2020 and has been selected to screen at Aesthetica and Encounters Film Festival later this year.

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Dust Films

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?

KP: The setting is a world of environmental disaster, poverty on a mass scale with a runaway capitalist economy in which total buffoons have control of potentially deadly technology that they don’t fully understand so... it doesn’t really make much difference really. If I could pick any Sci-fi world to move to I’d have to go with Blade Runner because of the lighting. JR: I’d pick the world in Spike Jonz’se “Her” for the high-waisted trousers.

Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?

KP: Marvin the Paranoid Android JR: Howard The Duck

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?

KP: In regards to AI making films I’d say no but I’ve seen a few interviews with Nicolas Winding Refn and I can’t say for definite he isn’t a robot so... JR: I for one welcome our Digital Directing Overlords.

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?

KP: I’d go with 2001’s HAL9000 TARS from interstellar and Wall.E for the banter.

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?

JR: I recently tried to give all ideas equal space and respect. Having a book nearby or board where you can put all the bad & good ideas up on, puts them all under the same light. The good ideas stick around your head and will withstand scrutiny and tensile testing. The bad ones won’t. Bad ideas sometimes morph into the better ones or becomes cogs in bigger ideas. I wouldn’t dismiss any idea off-hand, I’ve been writing lots down, your brain will only remember the good ideas naturally, so give the bads ideas somewhere to go and get laughed at in a year. KP: The trick to working through bad ideas is to take a stupid script, agree to make it, spend six months learning and executing animation with no experience until your personal and professional life suffers and eventually you have a weird short film that you don’t really know what to do with. Once it receives plaudits then you tell yourself you knew it was a good idea all the way through.

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?

JR: Consciously or subconsciously, Karl and I made a film about not being in 2020. I think we’re not alone in feeling that. KP: In regards to isolation, we made this film in lockdown from our respective apartments in two different countries and I have to say this is one of the least isolating film experiences I’ve ever had. It was rare more than a day would go by without us having a conversation about the film in maybe 5 months which is bonkers really. I’m not quite sure how I’d have mentally managed without this silly project. Thanks to Joe having a stupid idea in the shower, lockdown really became bearable.

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?

KP: Analogue analogue analogue. I spent three hours one evening watching YouTube videos of 90s printers looking for sound effects. None of which ended up in the film but my point still stands. JR: Floaters technology is built upon soft-world building. Things work without us asking a lot of questions. In a similar way, when I watch Karl create his beautiful art, I’ve stopped asking questions.

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?

KP: In regards to props and stuff, I use a lot of references but it always comes back round to Syd Mead or Ron Cobb. Their work on Blade Runner and Alien was weird and vague and utilitarian. I like to think of Sci-fi this way: If I were to be teleported for 90 minuets to an oil rig in the North Sea, so much of what I’d be experiencing would be foreign to me and that’s how sci-fi should be because it’s characters we are drawn to. I don’t need to know who the Space Jockey is, I just need to know something weird is going on and that Ripley saves the cat — God I hope Ridley Scott never feels compelled to re-visit the origin story of the alien universe and reveal how everything happened before the original film. That would be awful....

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?

KP: Star Trek (Only TNG) / JR: Star Wars (Only 4,5 & 8) KP: Dick / JR: Burroughs KP: Practical / JR: I literally just watched Karl make a whole film with a computer, I’m converted, CGI KP: Utopia / JR: Utopia. KP: post apocalypse as a change of scenery. / JR – Pre-apocalypse, around 1997.