Nik Kacevski is a Sydney-based, Macedonia-born writer and director with an extensive background in VFX and animation, including work on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, and the upcoming Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF…? Nik has written and directed two features, SKINFORD and SKINFORD: CHAPTER TWO, both of which are streaming on STAN Australia. Nik’s latest proof of concept for the sci-fi thriller SOULMATE premiered on Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST and is being developed into a feature. Nik is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Zero Gravity Management.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in?
Jennifer: I think this kind of world already exists, people are conducting these kinds of experiments and behind closed doors I have no doubt such a thing exists (pig human hybrid). Nik: A large part of exploring science fiction worlds for me, is the ability to get a glimpse of what it might be to live in that world when we are filming. Over the course of this project, I decided I would want to live in this world and meet fascinating characters like Bardolph.
Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Jennifer: Not particularly, all my favorite sci-fi films are set in pretty terrifying worlds. Nik: If I left my home, and everything outside looked like Bladerunner 2049, I’m in.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Jennifer: Sarah Connor, the right amount of Rock N Roll, angst, kick ass but a heart of gold. As a kid she was my idol. Nik: Robocop… would love to see him sort a few things out in today’s world.
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?
Jennifer: You’ve seen the Terminator films, you have your answer. Would I let the T1000 make a film? Sure, why not. As long as its focus is away from killing people I’m cool with that. Nik: I think everyone should make films. Having said that, AI creeps me out.
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?
Jennifer: The alien from The Thing, we can take over and imitate the best players from other teams. Ripley from Alien for her determination and kick ass-ness. Leeloo from Fifth Element to bring the hotness. Nik: Dark Phoenix. Robocop. Hulk. Game over.
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?
Jennifer: My worst idea involved a kind of futuristic Hitler (without going into too much detail). Feel like I have to say I’m anti Nazi anything but characters like that can be great in film. This idea was best left in the trash for sure. I think as you grow, study, explore, you can’t help but be inspired. When the right idea hits you, you know because you can’t stop thinking about it. Best not to force words on to a page but definitely keep seeking that inspiration by reading, watching other films, documentaries etc. Just reading science news/journals has inspired many ides in me for example. Nik: I don’t have bad ideas. It’s a gift and a curse.
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?
Jennifer: A bit, I’ve gone to some conventions and things and speak with other creators. When my brain is in another world for a story I tend to live in there a bit so don’t really notice the present. It’s not isolating with all the voices in my head – don’t lock me up please. Nik: This question gives me anxiety… Pass.
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?
Jennifer: I’ve used both and it depends on the project these days and what benefits it most. It would be nice to have some of the gadgets in the movie world but I wouldn’t say there’s a disconnect. We know what we have to work with and the other part is fiction. That’s why it’s so interesting. Nik: Even though I mainly make sci-fi films, I still consider myself an analog person. Holding onto the “old school”.
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?
Jennifer: There are a lot of great artworks and films to reference. I tend to look at art a lot or architecture and how it can sell a tone or mood. For the short for example the world is kind of bleak and empty. A young woman is struggling with a cold father who doesn’t love her and at the same time she is able to create an intelligent living creature to kill coldly. So the architecture is brutalist: empty and cold, concrete slabs, sharp and unsettling. It’s all there to sell what is happening in the story. Nik: I usually let the characters speak first, and through them, design what they need or want. Props are an extension of a character. They should always give an insight or deeper meaning.
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?
Jennifer: The original Star Wars trilogy was a big part of my childhood but I love original Trek also… Philip K. Dick but Burroughs is good too… Practical! (Finally an easy one). Dystopia. Post Apocalypse. Nik: Star Wars. William S. Who? Practical. Dystopia. Mid Apocalypse.