Go Beyond Fate and Beyond Destiny: A Conversation with Schuman Hoque for BEYOND EXISTENCE
What happens to our world when technology exceeds humanity?
Ellen is an agent sent on a mission to seek and destroy a professor who’s been illicitly trading government information to foreign territories. However, the Professor reveals a source of intelligence so powerful that Ellen has no choice but to spare the Professor’s life. The unlikely couple set across the barren landscapes of England on a new mission to save humankind.
Ellen, the ultimate professional, and the Professor, an old drunk with an acid tongue, don’t exactly make for the perfect travel companions. But the pair learn just how important their newfound relationship is when the road trip turns into a car chase.
As they flee from the Mysterious Man – a bounty hunter resolute that the Professor sticks to his original assignment, Ellen discovers that the technology assumed to make her civilisation superior, is also the source of a predetermined path of destruction: and the Professor is the instigator.
To save humanity, Ellen will go beyond fate, beyond destiny, and beyond existence.
In our latest interview, filmmaker Schuman Hoque tells The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali about the initial inception for Beyond Existence, making a sci-fi film on a low budget and his thoughts on the future of Cinema…
If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Film Industry?
There wasn’t really a defining moment, it was more of a gradual realisation. I went from loving watching films to being curious about how they were made, to becoming completely fascinated and captivated by the craft. The process of filmmaking makes sense to me in a way that nothing else every really has.
What can you tell me about the initial inception for Beyond Existence and how you fit into the story?
Claire, Steven and I had been trying to get another feature film, ‘The King’s Men’ into production. We shot a proof of concept trailer that got over 2 million views on YouTube and managed to get a sales agent on board, but we could never really get investors to truly commit the money because we hadn’t made a feature yet. So we decided to just make a feature for ourselves with our own money.
I thought a lot about how most no budget films tend to have just a few characters in one or two locations and thought that if those characters were in a car we could then at least get a sense of a visual journey and open up the story at key moments, but still keep the budget low.
I then came up with the initial idea of a cantankerous old scientist and a young government agent on the road to a secret location.
Steven then took the bare bones of the idea, fleshed it out into a real story and turned it into a fantastic high concept sci-fi thriller script.
Do you have any memorable moments from working on Beyond Existence?
It’s hard to pick out just one moment, or even a handful because the whole experience of making your first feature film is one all-encompassing moment.
I can tell you the most unmemorable moment though – at the wrap party Steven opened a bottle of tequila and about three hours after that are a complete blank!
What is your preferred genre, and do you have any favourite films?
As a film viewer and maker, I’m not drawn to any one particular genre. I like cheesy action movies as much as indie films, as much as big budget drama, as much as hard sci-fi and everything in between.
Are there any other aspects of the Film Industry that you would like to pursue?
Ron Howard said of directing “One of the great things about being a director as a life choice is that it can never be mastered. Every story is its own kind of expedition, with its own set of challenges.”
I agree completely and really wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Who inspires you within the industry?
I’m always inspired by stories of people who made it into the industry by taking massive bets on themselves and making their first feature off their own initiative. That’s a long list, but it includes people like Satyajit Ray, Peter Jackson, Shane Curruth, Christopher Nolan and Jeremy Saulnier.
Fandoms are a big part of the industry, who or what are you a fan of?
Fandom is a very serious business these days, so I don’t think my level of enthusiasm for the things I love would qualify as fandom. That said, I have loved Star Trek from the first time I saw the original series as a child, and then continued to love it, through every iteration right up to and including Discovery.
I guess it was inevitable that I’d make a sci-fi as my first feature film.
Is there a book that you are a fan of that hasn’t been adapted to film or TV or Netflix yet that you’d love to be a part of?
Oh there are so many! Quite often though, I’ll read something and think ‘that’d make a great movie/TV show’ and then read a few months later that someone has optioned and is developing it into a script but then never hear of it again. For example, Max Barry’s ‘Lexicon’ would be a fantastic limited TV series, but I know it got optioned soon after publication back in 2013.
I’d love to make pretty much any of his unmade books into films or TV shows.
With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, what do you think the future of Cinema is?
Konstantin Stanislavski said ‘There are no small parts, just small actors’ and for me, there are no small screens, only small films. If what you’re watching is great and you connect to it, the experience is completely engrossing, whether you’re watching it on a giant IMAX screen or on aeroplane seat back.
That said, there will always be a place for the big screen cinema experience, people have been predicting it’s death since it started and it’s still here.
Follow the journey for BEYOND EXISTENCE on IndieGOGO.