Every year I look forward to the moment when a filmmaker takes me to a world I have never seen before. Inevitably, that moment comes when I sit down to watch the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival. This year, that moment came when I saw the work of Evan Mann.
Evan Mann makes deliciously absurd films packed into bewildering worlds of practical effects, unusual inventions, and intriguing characters. He describes his short film as simply “A cave man meets a spaceman,” but that description can’t prepare you for the zany, magical, manic journey Mann takes you on in Voyage of the Galactic Space Dangler.
The film will be screened as part of the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival this March.
What attracts you to science fiction and fantasy as genres?
I am interested in how the everyday can become otherworldly. Fiction transforms the ordinary and makes it extra-ordinary. The rules can be broken. Laws of gravity, time, and space can be altered or ignored. Creatures can be born.
Why do you think sci-fi and fantasy continue to be such popular genres for storytellers?
Storytellers are able to invent a new context for the human narrative to unfold. Fiction allows us to see the old with a new perspective.
What inspired you to create Voyage of the Galactic Space Dangler?
It’s hard to pinpoint how this film was born. It was certainly not conceived in one big, concluded chunk. It took me 2+ years to create, and the story was being influenced the entire time.
One of the initial ideas was a scene that displaced scale. I thought of a spaceship poking a small moon with a proboscis as part of a mining operation. Inside the planet was another world, much larger in scale. I also thought about the two most unlikely characters to meet: A caveman and a spaceman.
You’re narrative and visual style are delightfully fresh. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I have a visual artist background, so when it came to creating films, this is what I pulled from. Materials are really important to me, so when it comes to building sets, costumes, and implementing practical effects, I pull from the everyday. Weekly Goodwill raids, dumpster diving, and Walmart. I source readily accessible materials and transform them into fiction.
What’s next for you as a filmmaker and an artist?
I run a commercial video production company, Otherworldly Productions, which is my day job, making commercials for companies. We use a small percentage of our net profits to create a short film each year. Currently, I am writing another sci-fi short film, tentatively called Shipping and Receiving. Let’s just say it involves lab grown hot dogs and rolls of toilet paper...
The Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival takes place at Cinerama Theater on March 24 and SIFF Cinema Uptown on March 25.
Photo credit: Evan Mann