For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed writer-director and Zip Creative client Arthur Vincie. His latest film, the multi-award winning sci-fi feature Found In Time, will be screened at the Lovecraft Bar, 50 Ave. B in New York City on August 10 from 6-9 pm. Admission is $5 plus drinks, which includes a social hour before and a Q & A after.
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
Oh boy … I’m promoting my existing sci-fi feature, Found In Time, and developing a new horror/supernatural film, Bitter Child. Also on the table is a war/horror series, The Spectral City. Found In Time is about a psychic who lives his life out of order, slipping between past, present and possible futures. When he kills someone in his future, he has to figure out how to go back into the “present” and prevent it from happening. Bitter Child is about a troubled young vet, Mara, who is granted her greatest wish – she’s reunited through magic with her estranged 10-year old son Simon. But what starts out as a dream come true quickly turns into a nightmare, as her sense of reality unravels and people in her life start turning up dead. Spectral City is about a small band of refugees who are trying to escape a decades-long civil war in an unspecified country. Chased by the army, rebels, bandits, slavers, demons and ghosts, they end up heading to the one place no one ever goes – the Haunted City in the heart of the country.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
Spectral City started out as a small horror film that quickly blossomed into a 450-page epic. I was inspired by anger – at the current plight of refugees across the world – there are 60 plus million now and climbing. I wanted to tell a war story from the civilian point of view and show them as more than victims but also as agents in their own lives. I realized after page 120 that I had too many plotlines and was too in love with the characters. So I thought it might make more sense as the first season of a tv show.
Bitter Child came straight from a dream I had. I’m not sure what I was thinking about, except that I’d just finished writing Spectral City and wanted to do something a bit more intimate – a chamber piece that focused on what happens to a person suffering from misplaced guilt and the stress of not fitting in.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
Music: Peter Gabriel, Diamanda Galas, Berlioz, Charlie Mingus, Jaco Pastorius.
Books: William Gibson, Douglas Hofstadter, Octavia Butler, Martha Nochimson, Samuel Delaney, Phillip K. Dick, Ralph Ellison, Nietzsche, Neil Gaiman.
Poetry: Adrienne Rich, Blake, T. S. Elliot.
Film: So Many. Jane Campion, David Cronenberg, John Sayles, and David Lynch are my go-to folks in so many ways. A few indie directors that have inspired me recently: Lisa Cholodenko, Shari Berman, Chris Benker, Art Jones, Shane Carruth, Scott Schirmer, Dale Fabrigar, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jennifer Kent. Seeing Star Wars (A New Hope) in the theater as a really young kid had an enormous impact on me. It transported me to another place altogether.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
The dream of owning a kidney-shaped pool. Ha! Seriously, though – I think it’s more like a compulsion. I can’t stop writing and working on projects. I think I’m attracted to stories about the people we leave behind in society. The outsiders’ story. It’s also a joy to work with the folks I’ve come up with in the film making community.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I’m writing a super-low budget feature, Stories From The Third City. It’s a group of interrelated stories about immigrants who’ve just moved to or are leaving New York. I’m also working on a novelization of The Spectral City. I may abandon if it proves too time consuming but it was so much fun writing prose again after writing screenplays for so long.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
When I’m casting. It’s such a great part of the process, even though it’s very tiring. You’re watching your work come alive, seeing it interpreted by real, living people for the first time.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Writing, producing and directing The Spectral City. Then directing my super-high-budget fantasy thriller The Witches’ Road.
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
Access to money and connections to larger business entities.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I read a lot, and watch films and series that inspire me. I try to seek out new stuff to read, listen to and watch, so I don’t get stale in my tastes. I keep in touch with the directors, producers, crew and cast that I know. I’m lucky – I’ve met so many talented folks in the course of making Found In Time, working on other people’s films, and while traveling on the festival circuit,
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
My anxiety at having my characters explain everything.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
The universe in its manifold beauty and complexity. Seriously – I don’t think I have a favorite.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
My brother Tommy. He has had to overcome a lot in his life, and has somehow managed to stay creative, loving and compassionate.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
Making thought-provoking, emotionally involving, accessible films; and writing books.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Video games and sweets.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Do another rewrite of that script! My first film, Caleb’s Door, features great work on everyone’s part, but I think the script needed to be pushed another level into something either more dramatic and thoughtful or more straightforwardly horrific.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
By the ocean.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Making a good living at what I love to do, working with great people, and having time for my girlfriend and friendships.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Being constantly engaged in life – not tuning out – and working creatively as much as possible. Also having a little more time to relax and recharge.
Q: Final Thoughts?
My pro tips – for what they’re worth: It’s not personal. Don’t forget to be organized in addition to being passionate. Don’t be afraid to learn new skills – it’s part of being a filmmaker. Don’t write what you know, write what you don’t know or what scares you to know.