Curvature is an interesting independent low budget sci-fi film which dreams big and offers-up some interesting concepts and edge-of-seat tension. Movies In Focus caught-up with Diego Hallivis, film’s director to talk about making a time-travelling film, what it’s like making films in the independent arena and following in the footsteps of James Cameron.
How did you come attached to the project?
I’m good friends with the writer, Brian DeLeeuw. This was just one of the several projects we’ve developed together. The initial idea was to explore time travel in a more indie, intimate way and the story evolved from there.
Creating the rules for time travel can be tricky. How hard was it to make them seem realistic?
Every time travel movie is different. The best ones, in my opinion, set clear rules or limitations for the time travel technology and refrain from breaking them. We’ve hopefully succeeded in that, but I also wanted to make this film feel more realistic by not showing the machine too much. To have the audience focus more on the consequences of time travel and less on the technology itself.
The face of movie making has changed over the last decade or so. What challenges lurk out there for filmmakers?
Technology has definitely democratized the process of making a movie. Virtually anyone can get a hold of a camera and equipment, which I think is exciting. Of course, then, that means there’s just so much content available at all times across all different types of platforms. So it can a bit challenging for your project to stand out among all the others..
The film has quite a modest budget, which must have been difficult because you were making a science fiction film. Did you face any difficulties in trying to do this?
Any independent film faces this challenge, whether to not it’s a genre film. You’ll never have enough tme or money. The trick is making it work within the sandbox you have. At one point, you have to face the reality of what you can and can’t do and you need to modify certain story elements accordingly. It’s all about being stubborn with your vision but flexible with your approach.
Could you tell me a little about your process – from pre-production, right through to post-production?
I like to work very closely with all the department heads to make sure everyone’s on the same page. I work vey closely with my DP, Noah Rosenthal. We broke down every sequence and had a plan coming in everyday. There were times, of course, where we deviated due to unforeseen constraints (weather, etc.) or happy accidents that would improve a scene. My editor, Joel Griffen, would then play around with different variations of all the scenes we shot. Ultimately you wind up making the choices that feel truest to the story you’re telling.
Did you draw on any films or books for inspiration when making Curvature?
Time travel is one of my favorite genre of films — everything from Back To The Future and Looper to Primer and Timecrimes. I especially like the ones which present the technology as just a device to serve the emotional journey of the character. This is my own personal take on that kind of time travel film.
How did you go about casting the film?
The script was sent all around town, but when I met with Lyndsy there was an instant connection. She understood what I wanted to do with it. She’s done a lot of action-driven stuff, such as Nikita, so I knew she wouldn’t be fazed by the action elements and would be able to instead concentrate on the emotional core of the character.
Getting Linda Hamilton for the film was quite a coup. How did that happen?
Linda responded very positively to the script, especially how its female protagonist was not portrayed as a damsel in distress. She wanted to support that. She’s also the true postergirl for that kind of character. Sarah Connor is as badass as you get it. So who better to be the godmother figure for Lyndsy’s character.
Hamilton has obviously starred in two of the greatest time travel movies ever, Terminator and T2. Was it intimidating to follow on from James Cameron?
I love James Cameron’s work, but see myself as following my own path with no intention of one-upping him or anything. I suppose the only person who could justifiably compare my directing to his is Linda, who was nothing but supportive and collaborative from the get-go. She’s such a joy to work with.
As an independent filmmaker, how do you go about making sure that you get your film seen by the widest audience possible?
You just submit your film to as many film festivals as possible and try to promote it as much as you can. A limited budget for promotion and advertising make that a challenge, but word-of-mouth by people who watch it through streaming platforms certainly helps.
What’s up next for you?
I’m working on a horror film that will have social commentary about the experience in America. Hopefully we’ll be shooting it next year.